On the way to Canada

(OK, so while we’re already back from Canada in reality, I hated for you to miss any of the fun spots we hit on the way. So here’s a little flashback!).
We said good-bye to Elna & Henry in Bradford and headed north. After a quick (is that really possible) stop at the Costco in Burlington, we headed up through the Grand Isles of Lake Champaign on our way to Canada. Rte 2 through Lake Champaign is a very beautiful drive which I highly recommend. Guess I was too busy gawking to take pictures, but wanted to send the recommendation along! We were headed to the Thousand Island Bridge to Canada, and we made a stop at Alexandria Bay to see Boldt Castle. This is another of those famous “cottages” built during the Gilded Age (before income tax and the Depression).This castle was built by George Boldt, owner of both the Bellevue Stratford and Waldorf Astoria. He was building it for his wife who tragically died about four years into construction. After her death he halted all construction. Workers (so I am told) just laid down their tools and left. The property remained unfinished and open to the whims of nature (and those northern winters aren’t too whimsical) and local curiosity seekers. Fortunately, the castle was fully enclosed before construction was halted, but by the time it came into the hands of the Thousand Island Port Authority it had been ravaged by harsh winters, high waters, vandalism, fires and graffiti upon graffiti. Thirty years later, most of the out buildings have been restored and the Castle itself is safe to tour. While the first floor of the castle is mostly restored, the remaining floors (up to 6 in the turrets) are still covered with memories of curious tourists from generations ago(like “The Lewis family was here – 1947”).
This is the “out building” that housed the generators….

And building in the front was just used for entertaining. It even had a bowling alley –

And while you can’t really get a feel for the enormity of this building – this is the castle itself – taken from the boat as we approached to island –

Mr. Boldt never returned to this island after his beloved wife died. But now hundreds come every day. Go figure! It was a totally self guided tour – we took our time and even though the day was not very pretty, we were glad we stopped.

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