(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.
It’s been awhile since we’ve visited – but Gary & I have been enjoying a week at our cabin in Vermont. Along with plenty of naps and a reading a couple of good books, we’ve spent time with family (a fun Saturday with both brother Dewey & family and sister Elna & husband Henry and our son Josiah), done research on the best place to get an ice cream cone (the Mini-Mart in Bradford has a good selection of flavors and their baby size cone -one very big scoop in a waffle cone- is 89 cents. Yes, that is 89 cents!), had a lovely long weekend with good friends Joe & Janet Ikoniak (they were also at our Saturday picnic), and did some general chores both at the cabin and in and around our RV, Lizzie. Although I had wonderful internet access while at my sisters, the cabin is delightfully free of all inroads of modern necessities. Well, we do have electricity, but no running water in the cabin and certainly no cell phone reception. We’re pretty happy to get a couple of radio stations (but are not always sure we want to listen to them!). Throughout the week we hone our card playing skills and just generally unwind from the world around us. This year there wasn’t quite so much unwinding for us (being that we are in that unemployed by choice condition), but it was still a soul-refreshing week.
Today we head off to Canada for a visit with family in Ontario. There might be another quiet spell from us as I’m not sure about internet connection in Canada. I know my cell phone will be on roaming so I won’t be usin’ that! After the weekend in Canada, we head to Toby & Tammy’s in Columbus for a nice visit with them (and of course The Granddaughter!)
Check out the travel picture for some cabin memories and pictures.
Off we go – I think Gary has the engine running……
Well, here’s one cabin shot…I couldn’t resist
Have I told you about the Cabin? It’s a small one room cabin built my grandfather in the 1930’s. He was the town doctor up here in Bradford Vermont and needed a little get away that wasn’t too far from town. The Cabin, built on the foundation of an old farming settlement about 8 miles outside of town, is on about 100 acres on Wright’s Mountain (elevation 1800 ft+/-). Growing up I remember the cows that wandered through the fields on the way to their upper pasture (and watching out for the cow plops that dotted the grass), the two gas lights that were the only illumination other that candles, and the chemical toilet bucket that my father would ever so carefully carry through the cabin to be disposed of in some unknown (to me) location. The water was hand pumped from the well and the kids were the beasts of burden to get it to the Cabin. There’s a small pond where we would swim, catch salamanders and frogs and fish. Trust me, there’s nothing like a fresh caught trout for breakfast! Electricity came in the 1960’s along with the Destroilet ( a gas toilet – but that’s an entire other story!). A loft was added to accomodate the next generation (as in my kids and my siblings’ kids), and now we even have running water – well, it’s to the shed anyway! The Destroilet died several years ago, and we moved to the good old fashioned outhouse. It’s a two holer with all the ammenities ~ a magazine rack, pretty curtains and scented candles.
The Cabin is where I go to re-fuel emotionally and spiritually. The scenery has changed only in the addition of a few houses on the hillside and the growth of new trees. Maybe these pictures will help explain the special qualities of this family gem –
Here is my favorite view – with the cabin reflected in the pond (I know, I know, Lara – I take it every year…but there are little changes every year, honest!)
This is the view from back porch –
And this is the view from the back porch when we eat dinner…
We took a drive to one of the hills in the above “view from the back porch” to see if we could see the cabin. Well folks, if you look really hard you can see a tiny dot in the middle of this picture – and that my friends is the cabin. And that is also why we feel free to leave the outhouse door open to enjoy the view when we are doing our -ahem- business!
Here is a closer view of the cabin….
OK, so this isn’t the cabin – but it was a pretty neat picture of an old cemetary and church that we came upon in our travels that I thought I’d include it!
And here we are with our friends Joe & Janet who joined us for Labor Day weekend at the Cabin. (Honest, the triple chins are from the way I’m sitting, not from all that ice cream research!)
As the co-pilot on this trip, I am called upon to follow directions and keep track of route numbers, etc. This has, unfortunately, not been the easiest role for me.
However, if you think (know) that I am Directionally Challenged – then what about this sign?
And you think I’m confused?
I’m sitting here in my sister Elna’s living room, enjoying her wireless internet, washer and dryer, and view of the White Mountains. She lives in Bradford, VT right near where we will be staying for the next week. I’m really ready to stay put for a little bit. Catch up on some real world bill paying, web site updating, and family news. We’ll be leaving Lizzie in Elna’s drive for a week while we enjoy time at our cabin. I don’t know when we’ll be back in this part of the country, so I am savoring my time here.
This past week was pretty quiet –
We left the Acadia area and headed to New Hampshire on Monday. Along the way we stopped at Fort Knox, ME – a fort that was built in the early 1800’s and was used for a total of about 2 months. By the time it was complete it was obsolete (kinda like computers today!). It was an interesting stop nonetheless.
Then we stopped at the last working Shaker community in the country. There are 5 Shakers left – 3 men and 2 women (aged from 30 something to 70 something). This was one of the most interesting places we visited because even though they had guided tours, it was still a working community. It’s hard to move the Shakers (in our heads) from 1800 to the Shakers of today – but yes, they shop at Walmart and drive cars and watch TV. They are a very progressive community – and are always looking for a better way to do something. Their most recent convert is a 30 yr. old man who has joined within the last year. It was very interesting.
By Tuesday we were at North Conway – with it’s outlets and fun little shops. Did a little shopping and sightseeing and then headed off to Plymouth NH where we had an appointment for Lizzie. Checked out Franconia Notch, the (formerly known as) Old Man in the Mountain and walked the Flume. Once again – spectacular examples of God’s Glory!
Even the view from the Campground du Walmart had a great view –
I have posted some new travel photos – plus a new picture of Ellie – so check’em out!
Take care, all – we’ll stay in touch!