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Photo illustration by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gaze

Little love boats

Local couples find canoes perfect for cheap summer dates

Fort Wayne Outfitters
Kelsey Church and Kristian Gayday had a canoe date.

Love may be in the air but for many area couples it’s also on the rivers and lakes.

Taking a canoe out on the water is a popular choice for spending time together, according to area canoe rental businesses.

Eden Lamb, manager of Fort Wayne Outfitters on Cass Street, says the store rents canoes to many couples, including people celebrating their anniversaries. She says the couple will rent a canoe and spend the night on the water.

Lamb and other employees will suggest places and things the couple can do in the downtown area, she says, such as paddling to the outside deck of Don Hall’s Old Gas House, which sits along the river, where they can grab dinner and drinks.

Lamb says she has seen an increase this summer in younger couples renting canoes for dates.

It may help that the cost of renting a canoe is somewhat cheaper than dinner and a movie. It costs $12 an hour to rent a canoe at Fort Wayne Outfitters and $25 for up to four hours.

“It’s something unique to do downtown,” Lamb says.

Something different was what Kelsey Church and Kristian Gayday, both 22 and of Fort Wayne, were looking for when they rented kayaks for an afternoon date last week. The couple have been dating for two years.

Church says she had been wanting to go canoeing for a while and looked up the information online. She’s a little sore, having used muscles she hadn’t used in a while, she says, but the 1 1/2 hours on the water was fun and she plans to do it again.

At the Trading Post Canoe, Kayak & Campground in Mongo, “couples come in all the time,” says Christine Foley, office manager.

She says it starts in April and continues through October, which is a popular rental time as people come to see the colorful leaves.

Couples will rent canoes for dates and anniversaries and will pack a picnic for along the way, she says. It’s so popular that the rental company even has a couples getaway package listed on its website.

Foley agrees that paddling in a canoe is romantic, “as long as the mosquitoes aren’t bad.”