Saturday, September 10, 2016

Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle

After visiting the ECHO Center, we headed further west to the area of Alexandria Bay, NY where we camped at a brand new resort. By far the nicest place we had along our way. The sites were all concrete pads with pull-through access. It's own drive to the P&C next door. And it was right on the water with a marina. And a swimming pool with a tiki bar. Only thing missing were trees. They did have some small saplings they had planted but the drought was taking its toll.

But enough about the campground. We were here to take a two nation cruise of the Thousand Islands and a stop at the famous Boldt Castle.

The summer "cottages" on the American side were both older and more elaborate than most of those on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence. Part of that had to do with the early development of the American side (late 1800s) versus the late development of the Canadian properties (1950s) and part of it had to do with restrictions placed upon developers on the Canadian side. There could be no clear cutting on the Canadian side, for instance. Builders could only remove enough trees to provide for the foot print of their homes and a buffer between the home and river had to be maintained. Still, a few took advantage of rock outcrops along the shore to have a clear view of the water.

American Cottages

American "floating" cottage

Catholic Church on the Canadian side

Canadian cottage

Canadian cottage

Canadian cottage and boathouse--It's for sale!

Statue of Saint Lawrence on the Canadian side
 We weren't the only ship taking advantage of the beautiful weather.
Canadian tour boat

Sister ship to ours.
This is the last span of the bridge on the northern end of I-81 crossing over to Canada. I've driven it many, many times. What I didn't know is that the construction of the bridge was a make-work project back during the depression. At that time there was no I-81 or the equivalent on the Canadian side. The bridge's construction was considered a frivolous waste of time and money. Today it's one of the busiest crossings.
Span of the International Bridge

Shortest bridge between two nations.
 If this guy and his wife have an argument, he can cross the bridge and be in another country! (Canada on the left, USA on the right.)

 Boldt Castle was being constructed at the turn of the century by millionaire George Boldt (manager of the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC and the Bellevue-Stafford Hotel in Philadelphia) as a gift to his wife, Louise. When she suddenly died in 1904, he cabled the construction crew to stop what they were doing and neither they nor he ever returned. The Castle was 95% complete at the time.

Over the years, weather and vandals had their way with the vacant building. Then, in 1977, the Thousand Island's Bridge Authority purchased the place from Boldt's heirs for $1 with plans to rehabilitate the Castle to its initial glory. The only stipulation is that it never be completed. The most they can do is bring it back to it's 1904 status.

They've been hard at work and the place is an amazing testament to the Gilded Age.
Heart Island and Boldt Castle

One of the many indoor fireplaces

The patio fireplace

The dove cote

The clam shell fountain
 To generate electricity, there were two diesel generators installed in the powerhouse.
The powerhouse

Another view of the powerhouse

The powerhouse seen from the water
 One area never completed was the main entrance. The stones they planned to use for the steps still lay on the lawn.
Planned original main entrance
 This side was to be the grand view looking back to the USA side of the St. Lawrence. The round extension in the front right is the indoor swimming pool.
Original main facade of the Castle
 Guests arriving by boat would have come through this archway and into a small, protected lagoon.
Stone Peristyle Archway

Stone Peristyle Archway
 Feel like taking coffee out on the lawn, there's a gazebo for that.
 Send the kids out to the playhouse to entertain themselves.
Alster Tower--The playhouse.

Alster Tower--The playhouse.

Two lane bowling alley

Terry-sized entryway to the tower

More entries to the tower and a covered patio--with fireplace

View from the docking area.

Boldt Castle's Boathouse on the Canadian shores.
Time to go home. And we did.

Straight down I-81.

No comments: