We had the opportunity to let the engines really let out on Lake Ontario as we cruised to the 1000 Islands area of NY. Neither of us had ever been here before and we were/are impressed. The area is at the mouth of the St. Lawrence Seaway and, despite all the commercial shipping, is “95% pure”. (As comparison, the drinking water you buy in a bottle is only required to be 92% pure). Because our friend, Janica Van Brocklin, is originally from Alexandria Bay, and she was going to be in town during our stay, we chose to center our activities at the self-proclaimed “heart” of the 1000 Islands.
The big draw in “A” Bay is Boldt Castle, a 120 room, six story, stone structure with several outbuildings, on which construction was begun in 1900, by George Boldt, famous for being the manager of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York city (“the” place for the right and famous to stay). George was building it as a Love monument to his wife, Louise and planned to give the home to her as a Valentine’s present in 1904. Tragically, in January, Louise died mysteriously (of presumed congestive heart failure, however, there is a rampant rumor that she ran off with the butler(!)). Whatever the reason, George was so heart-broken that he ordered all work stopped and he never returned to the island. George died 6 years later and his daughter and son sold the property to a local millionaire who opened it as tourist attraction, but didn’t take care of it. Over the years, the castle and outbuildings were vandalized, and left open to the elements. In 1977, the NY Bridge Authority purchased the property for $1. They have begun a faithful restoration bit by bit and today 2 of the 6 floors have been redone as well as the Pump house and Yacht house. It is beautiful and in a beautiful setting.
George Boldt was also famous for putting 1000 Islands dressing on the menu of the Waldorf-Astoria in 1894. The story goes that the original recipe was developed by a local woman in Clayton (a town about 10 miles to the southwest) who served it to her husband’s fishing clients. The recipe was given to the chef at a local hotel, and then a guest of the hotel gave it to Mr. Boldt, who put it on the menu at his hotel. It became nationally known.
There are actually more than 1800 islands in the 1000 Islands chain, in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. A local definition describes an island as: “an exposed rock that has at least 2 living trees”. The boundary between Canada and the US runs in the middle of the river, making almost 2/3rds of the islands Canadian.
At this point, we have almost reached the halfway point of our sojourn. We have visited 2 countries, 2 nation’s capitals, 2 Canadian provinces, 10 states and have enjoyed 80 ports of call. We have been “asea” 75 days and aboard the boat (not underway) 166 days. We have traveled almost 3000 miles, transited 71 locks and met 68 fellow Loopers. We have touched the farthest east, north and south points on our Loop. Unfortunately, our Loop must come to an end for this year. Jim must return to FL to take care of some business that can’t be done remotely. We’ve decided to leave the boat on Wellesley Island at the Thousand Island Club until October, when we will put it in heated storage until next year. Jim will leave for FL tomorrow (Monday) and I will follow next Sunday, in order to get some work started that needs to be done on the boat (minor repairs and some interior modifications to make our “home” even more enjoyable). Hopefully, we will find some time to make some trips back before the cruising season ends up here. At the end of May or first of June next year, we will pick up where we left off and begin cruising again.
For all of you who have faithfully followed the blog, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your interest in our adventure. Hopefully you have signed up to receive “notifications” from the site, such that when we start again, I will update the blog and it will let you know that Meraki is, again, on the move.
For those of you whom we were supposed to visit on the second half of our trip, or who were planning to join us for some cruising, I’m sorry we will miss that part of our journey, but will look forward to seeing you next year, and hopefully plans will allow for your coming on board to join us as we continue our voyage.
Until then . . . as one of our new Looper friends says . . . keep the wet side down.