The Glory Days – Then And Now

glory days

That’s me, second from the left.

The landscape of our local historic area is changing faster than ever. High rises have transformed the skyline, and new shops and restaurants liven up old buildings from Castle to Water Street in downtown Wilmington. While I understand all cities are constantly in flux, as someone who’s been here for a while, I can’t help but reflect on what once was. Underneath fresh coats of paint and new business names are old haunts of mine, and sometimes I find myself missing those ‘glory days.’

The Ice House was once the hot spot to be: an indoor-outdoor bar with “a view of the Cape Fear that was postcard ready.” Years back, nearly all of Wilmington’s local musicians – including my bandmates and me – gathered there to play. Mike Raab, former publisher of Beat Magazine, described it as a place to “meet friends over a cool brew or two,” with “music that stretched from folk to blues to rock to flamenco, and then some.”

If you used to watch the TV show “Dawson’s Creek,” then you also know it, but as S.S. Icehouse, the harbor side restaurant where Katie Holmes and Nina Repeta’s characters worked. After it burned down (thanks to some movie magic), the restaurant was later resurrected in the series’ finale.

Just recently, I got to meet up with some old friends to remember this favorite venue. Owned by the legendary Jim Bath, The Ice House is surrounded in lore – ask anyone who played there or hung out there, and they’ll have a great story to tell.

Ice House reunions are a pretty regular thing – one of the biggest, a 10-year reunion of sorts, was organized after Jim Bath passed away in 2014. He was 90. Everyone got together to play music, look at old photos and share memories.

At this more recent reunion, I found myself feeling nostalgic. I turned 55 this week, and while it’s easy to romanticize my younger self, I realize that the glory days are anything but gone. I still play in a band, and in the upcoming weeks, we’ll be at other venues, like Reel Café and Bluewater Grill. We’re still going strong, and our gigs keep me young. The music and the memories haven’t faded at all.

Fuel for Thought,