I read an appeal on the ACO Acorn blog the other day - reminding those of us who eat and sleep to patronize those of us who endeavour to maintain historic homes by converting them to inns and restaurants. That's a powerful challenge to those of us who say we value heritage yet dine at home or patronize roadhouse restaurant chains. The writer of the blog entry, Lloyd Alter, president of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, talked about staying in a "charmless and tacky seventies replacement" of the former Newfoundland Hotel which was a heritage structure on the order of Toronto's Royal York. I agree. We trudged the entire downtown of St. John's, to find the Newfoundland Hotel (okay, it wasn't a pilgrimage, I had a haircut appointment in their highly recommended salon). We climbed the impressive height of land on which the hotel stood, and found ourselves in Cleveland (well not Kansas, anyway). Alter concludes with this caution "unless we support the historic hotels and inns they will follow it." Yikes. Let's take our love of heritage out for lunch.
Queen Anne style homes, with their stately if overdecorated sense of style, tend to do well in the restaurant and inn business. Gananoque has a wonderful example. The Queen Anne grandeur also suits them well for other purposes. This beautifully maintained Queen Anne villa is in Napanee. It has everything - turret, balconies, dormers, encircling verandahs, picturesque irregular massing, rusticated stone sills, terra cotta inserts, an elaborate chimney, a grand variety of window styles, an acroterion, shingles, brick and fish scale cladding...it has everything, including a future. It is well patronized by the folk of Napanee. It's the home of the local funeral parlour.