Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Please Pass The Grey Poupon"

Bonnie Castle Marina in Alexandria Bay, not a place to get a nice quite nights sleep. That place was rocking till 2:30 in the morning. That is a good 5 hours past boaters midnight. Having awaken from our sleep feeling like we had sober hangovers Ed, Anna and I made a nice bacon and egg breakfast, showered and quickly tossed the lines for Boldt Castle. The sun was shining with not a cloud in the sky, what a great day to be in the 1000 Islands. As we made our approach to the dock we saw that a couple we had met from Maine where also tied up, it made for a great photo opp, they too own a Nordic Tug and Anna and I enjoyed a lovely evening having Tug talk with them in Sylvan Beach. As you walk up to Boldt Castle you are left with a sensation that you have just been dropped into one of Walt Disney's Fantasy worlds. I keep looking at the walls of the building expecting them to be false like a movie set. The structures are so grand, it is hard to imagine the amount of wealth that was behind its creation. Here are a few facts we learned which helped put the puzzle of the 1000 Islands together. As I understand it, the region of the 1000 islands was discovered as a summer vacation destination in the late 1800's. The Pullman family, owners of the Pullman train car empire as well as many other affluent families started to build compounds and estates on and around the islands. The construction and opening of the Erie Canal had allowed for a tremendous amount of commerce to flow south of here allowing for goods and materials to be readily available. George C. Boldt immigrated to America at the age of 17 and quickly made a name for himself as the manager of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in NY. He revolutionized the Hotel business with concepts like having fresh cut flowers in every room. His success with the Waldorf family and the success of his own hotel the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia quickly built him a fortune. Having been unable to break into the old money social network in Newport, George Boldt and many other self made men created there own Great Gatsby like community here on the St Lawrence River. The truly spooky thing about Boldt Castle is that the Boldt Family never lived in it. When the estate was in its final stages of completion, Howard Boldt's wife Louise died, it seems the Castle was her dream, and with her death it sat unfinished. In the 40's all the iron from the Castle was removed and applied to the war effort. Ed told us that 20 years ago he had visited the castle and was able to walk through it having been abandoned. Kids would light fires on the stone balconies and names could be seen written all over the walls and ceilings throughout. Today the Castle has been partially restored and exists as a museum. Tour boats from the US and Canada bring people to and from the estate, it is truly and impressive sight. We spent three hours walking through the grounds and boat house stocked with wooden floating treasures. That evening we spent a lovely night at Keewaydin State Park and once again found ourselves surrounded by a wonderful community of boaters. Our real hero for the night was Tom "The Ice Man" His boat was equipped with an ice maker which allowed us to sip our chilled cocktails feeling as if we were with Robin Leach on "lifestyles of the rich and famous".

If it looks to good to be true it usually is, I think it is one of Murphy's Laws.

Wow Undercover Docking. Little did we know "Blue" is located directly under the disco ball.

The refrigerators stocked with beer and jello shots should have given us a clue.

"Blue" sitting pretty with her sister ship the "Ellie Belle"

The stag was a strong symbol for the power of the Boldt Family.

The Gardens are just stunning.

This is the power house, the first building constructed on the island. I guess that makes sense.

The Generators that powered the Estate.

The Boldt Family.

I just loved looking at the roof lines.

It is amazing that in all the years this castle was abandoned no one broke this stained glass dome.

"Please pass the Grey Poupon" "Please pass the Jelly"

The main parlor.

Just off the parlor is this one of many sitting rooms all with a breathtaking view of the St Lawrence.

The detail in the ceilings was right out of a the renaissance.

What a view.

Just think of all the ghost stories that could have been told as you camped on the grounds. I am truly surprised a Friday the 13th movie was not filmed here.

Once again the Stag is ever present.

Sitting in our slip we where entertained by the massive tankers going up and down the river.

Nothing like dodging tankers in your little skiff. I don't think I can ever complain about the steamship again.

Just Huge!

Our Hero Tom "The Ice Man"

Boaters Midnight without the disco. Pinch me Anna I think I am dreaming.

1 comment:

  1. You are doing a great job documenting your trip. Awesome commentary and pictures. I look forward to checking in and keeping up with your travels every day.