Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thousand Island Adventure


I hope you aren't bored with my vacation yet.  I have a few more spots to hit.  This one will probably be picture heavy too.

Oh before I forget, I want to mention again that Gillie over at http://britishladybythelake.blogspot.com/ is having a giveaway in honor of her blogaversary, anniversary, and the exciting news that she and WT have become American Citizens!   Congratulations you two!  Welcome to the great melting pot!  (I apologize for not mentioning your good news in my last post)

Our next stop was to New York, where we picked up my Mom and headed for Alexandria Bay and the Thousand Island region.  We had planned to spend a night in Singer Castle on Dark Island, but we couldn't settle on a day, and then couldn't make reservations...ah well, there's always next year.  Instead we took two boat tours.  The first tour we saw a few things along the way but it was too hazy for decent pictures, I did see two lighthouses (another thing I'm fanatic over...LOL)
We stopped to see Boldt Castle on Heart Island.  Now just a little background, according to our tour guides, there are over 1,000 islands in the Thousand Islands.  Many of them barely big enough to stand on, but they do have vegetation and remain above water 365 days out of the year.  It is expensive to build there (most everything has to be transported in) and not all have running water or electricity.  You can imagine what it must cost to run cables to an island through a river that does freeze in the winter.  I was fortunate enough to have an Aunt who worked for a man who had a "camp" on the river and we spent a couple of days during the summer there when we were younger.  I love the river!  The big boats fascinate me, but so does the rhythm of the river.  Ok, so I can't explain it in words, but hopefully you get the idea.  

Boldt Castle was built for a man whose wife was the love of his life.  It originally was built as a hunting lodge (if that's the case I would like to see what his idea of a home was!)  He was spending tremendous amounts of money to build this castle, but in the middle of construction his wife passed away.  His heart was broken, so he suspended construction and willed that it never be finished.  As a kid I had seen this castle many times, and it was heartbreaking the state it was in.  Graffiti covered the walls, it was crumbling from the inside.  It has been about 30 years since I've seen it and I can't believe the transformation.  The people restoring it plan to leave it 90% completed it in honor of Mr. Boldt's wishes.  Pictures do not do it justice, it is breathtaking inside!
Here is a picture of Mrs. Boldt.
This is what I remember the inside looking like...
And this is what it looks like now...
They even had an indoor swimming pool...
And a bowling alley which I didn't get a picture of.
I pointed out islands along the way that looked vacant, maybe up for sale, and asked when DH was going to build me a little "cottage" like Boldt Castle...I mean, didn't he love ME enough to build me a shrine?  LOL  Maybe if he was some kind of corporate mogul he would.  Honestly, I'm happy with my townhouse in the "burbs".


Now Singer Castle is one place I had never visited before.  From what I understand they have only been having tours of the castle for about 8-10 years.  My best friend from High School told me about this place.  It's an interesting place, full of wonderful artifacts, and secret passageways.  I think the man's name was Borne? who built this castle, he was an executive for the Singer Sewing Machine and that is how the castle got it's name.  Here are a few pictures of it, and it is available for overnight guests.  
 

Can you see the little peek-a-boo picture he had installed?  Three was a cat walk behind this picture, and the servants could peek through the picture to check on the visitors dining below to see if anything was needed by the guests at the table....creepy if you ask me!!
We interrupted our boat tours with a quick trip to the race track.  Now that DS has his learner's permit, we had to allow for a few minutes of driving.  These two are so competitive...LOL  But don't they look like they are having fun?
 
After our tours, we headed back to Gouverneur.  This is the only picture I have on the computer at the moment...I remember many years, marching in the memorial day parade as a girl scout and ending up at this arch for the services and the 21 gun salute.  This was erected of marble, that is quarried nearby.  Many of the buildings are made of this marble and it really is a pretty little town.
We took one day to take a trip to a nearby town to visit with a friend from our college days.  It was so nice to visit with these folks, and to meet their 6 yr old son for the first time (see how neglectful we are of our friends...but they still welcomed us with open arms).  This man was one of the usher's in our wedding!
Next stop was the Adirondack Park, where my DH was from.  I only have a few pictures, it was so hazy when we visited that none of the pictures really showed up too well.  It's a beautiful town on a clear mountain lake and is usually so cool in the summer time.  After the heat this year, it was a welcome place to visit.  Here is a picture of all of us with DH's Mom.
 
Next stop was...you guessed it...sports related.  As if the Hockey Hall of Fame wasn't bad enough, we had to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY too!  I will admit, this place held my interest a wee bit more than the hockey did, as I am an Orioles fan.  We saw quite a few exhibits on the Orioles, they really were a decent team at one point in time.
Our last stop was an unexpected one.  We were looking at the map and realized we were only a stones throw from DH's Aunt who I haven't seen since the year we were married.  (We celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary on this trip!)  We have always corresponded with cards and letters through the years, but never had the chance to visit.  I'm so glad we decided to stop by.  They have a wonderful house on the side of a hill, overlooking a valley.  It took my breath away to look out their dining room window.  I truly wish I lived closer to them, as she is a craft person and is in the process of learning to braid rugs right now.  She showed me a quilt she had made for her in-laws 50th anniversary that was hand embroidered and told the story of their married lives.  We had an enjoyable visit and I truly hated to leave.
That was the end of our vacation and we headed into the sunset on our way home.  
I have to say, I can't remember when I've enjoyed a vacation as much as I have this one.  We didn't have much of a plan except a list of things we'd like to see.  We did as much as we could each day, and no one complained when we had to call it quits for the day.  I know I keep saying this, but having had cancer really made me put my life into perspective.  You know that saying?  Don't sweat the petty stuff?  Take it to heart.  You never know what tomorrow brings so enjoy each moment and live IN the moment with those you love as often as you can.  I got a chance to spend time with the ones I love this vacation and realized I don't just LOVE them, I really LIKE them and enjoy being with them.  Oh the years I've wasted just existing.  There's a song I like to sing to on my ipod (that can be embarrassing when I'm at the gym...LOL) that says "Every day I wake up thankful".  Try it for a week.  Look around and truly see what is in your life that you can be thankful for.  You'll surprise yourself with what you find.  (I can say this because I was a different person before this whole thing began!)  Even things you THOUGHT would break you and that you THINK you can't endure can lead to something truly wonderful.  Enjoy your life, it's getting shorter by the minute!

*Climbing off my soap box*  I hope you enjoyed pictures of our family vacation.  I love that people have been stopping by and leaving comments.  Your comments truly make my day!  I don't mean to make any of you envious, really the reason I post pictures is so my family so far away, that at the moment I rarely get to see, can see what we have been up to.  Next time I hope to have some stitching photos...I haven't had much time to stitch, but hopefully I'll remedy that today!  *Hugs*

5 comments:

Kathy said...

Dj, that was a beautiful post. I love, love, love all the photos. And I am so glad you and your family had such a lovely vacation. Especially the part about stopping to see your DH's Aunt. You are so right about being Thankful for what you have. And enjoying it.
Now that you are back home I hope things settle down so you can get back to your stitching too. :)

Gillie said...

Okay, first of all, do you really want to do all the housework, lol, or is M providing the servants for this palace? Stick with the MD mansion, toots! Love the tour, a treat as I have never visited any of the places. So glad you met up with everyone, too. So right, each day is a gift :)

Maureen said...

thanks for more piccies, I think i am just incredibly nosey and love seeing where people are at and where they've been lol! - it looks and definitely sounds like you had a good time.

Astrid's dragon said...

Looks like you had a wonderful vacation, I think you need to plan one for us! It's always nice to see family, it makes me want to go visit mine in GB & Germany. So glad you're enjoying life and living the moment!

Rachel said...

It looks like you had an amazing time! I love Boldt Castle. We almost took our daughter on her birthday a couple of weeks ago, but decided to do something here. We did take her for her fourth birthday, she loved it. It looks like from your pictures they have even done more renovations since the last time I was there. I love A-Bay and the boat tours. (I am in love with lighthouses as well, lol. I think I have a very similar picture to the first one you posted) :)