1000 Islands Day Adventure – 08-07-17

On Monday, my friend, Cathy and I took a bus to the Thousand Islands for a day trip. The tour consisted of time in Alexandria Bay, NY for shopping, the boat tour of the Thousand Islands portion of the St. Lawrence River (including lunch), time to tour Boldt Castle, and a dinner stop at Cracker Barrel on the way home. It was a LONG day, but a fun day. Neither of us had been to the Thousand Islands since we were kids and neither of us had ever toured Boldt Castle, so it was a nice adventure for us both.

Cathy and Kim

When I was little, my family used to go camping at Henderson Harbor in the Thousand Islands. I have many fond memories of the times we spent there fishing and camping and having fun. A couple times, we took the boat tours, but never made the stop at Boldt Castle for the tour. 

Here I am in 1968 at 12 years old showing off the fish I caught with a couple of the islands behind me.

The Thousand Islands stretch stretch out about 50 miles in the St. Lawrence River (which starts at the northeast corner of Lake Ontario, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean just down stream from Quebec City) and are part of the international boundary between the US and Canada. Most of the islands are on the Canadian side in the Providence of Ontario, but many of the largest of the islands are on the US side in the state of NY. None of the islands straddle the US/Canadian border, however, a popular bit of trivia is that Zavikon Island is a pair of islands in which the larger is in Canada and the smaller in the US with the smallest International footbridge in the world joining them….this, per Wikipedia, is not accurate – both Zavikon is completely inside the Canadian Providence of Ontario…..cool story, though!

There are actually 1,864 islands in the archipelago. In order to be counted as one of the Thousand Islands, emergent land in the river must have at least one square foot of land above water all year round and have at least two living trees. Some of the islands are large enough to contain small communities – the largest being Wolfe Island at 40 square miles – some are smaller single residence islands, and some are tiny uninhabited outcroppings of rock. And, there is only one artificial, man-made island – Longue Vue Island.

Some other points of interest:

  • The homes on the islands tend to be valued in the multi-million dollar range
  • Ironsides Island is home to the largest Great Blue Heron Rookeries in NY State – over 1000 great blue herons return to the island every April to breed
  • Deer Island is owned by the ultra-secret society called Skull and Bones Society of Yale University. Notable members include President’s George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and President William Howard Taft, as well as John Kerry and the founder of Fed Ex. If I say anymore, I’d have to kill you, so I’ll leave this right here! 🙂
  • Thousand Island salad dressing originated there!
  • Thousand Islands have several ties to our little town of Albion, NY: Horace Greeley, whose Aunt and Uncle owned and resided in the Ward House – part of the Cobblestone Museum Complex – once owned an island. George Pullman, who commissioned the building of the beautiful Pullman Universalist Church in Albion had multiple interests in the islands. And, the island that Boldt Castle is located on was originally owned and named for the Hart family of Albion. One of the most prominent monuments (and one of my personal favorites) in Mt. Albion honors the Hart family.

Here are some of the photos I took on our tour – it was overcast most of the day, so the photos are a little dark and dreary looking, but the sun was out now and then and it didn’t rain, so all was good:

One of the shops in Alexandria Bay – it caught my eye cause I love dogs and my Dad’s name was Charlie! 🙂

We stopped in a shop selling wonderful pieces by local artists – I bought three necklaces!

Along the walkway to the artist shop, we found these shoes on sticks with portulaca growing in them among the hostas! How cute is that!!!???

We boarded the Alexandria Belle for our tour of the islands and a buffet lunch

The Alexandria Belle is a replica river boat – the paddle is for show, only! 😦

Our tour guide

During the recent flooding, this home owner tethered his house to the tree on the island to keep it from sliding off the foundation into the river!

The smallest of the chartered islands

This island and home is owned by a former NFL football player…..his home is pink because he left the decision of the house color when it was painted up to his granddaughters! 🙂

This is Zavikon Island – I talked about the popular story about this island in my intro paragraphs – the foot bridge has the Canadian flag on the left and the US flag on the right and it is said to be the shortest international foot bridge in the world…..an incorrect story, as the entire island complex is in Canadian waters.

Approaching Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle sits on Heart Island – originally named Hart Island after the original owners, but George C. Boldt renamed it Heart Island – it is believed he renamed it because of his love for his wife. Mr. Boldt immigrated from Prussia in the 1860s as the son of poor parents. He built his fortune in the hotel industry – he was the owner of the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NY City, as well as other large hotels and was the president of several other large companies. He built Boldt Castle at the turn of the century for his wife, Louise, as a testament to his unsurpassed love for her. He invested $2.5 million to erect this extravagant Valentine’s Day gift for his wife. Unfortunately, Louise died in 1904 before the castle was completed and George never finished it or returned to it. The original Hart residence that was on the island prior to Mr. Boldt’s construction of his castle was slide on the ice to nearby Wellesley Island and is now being renovated into a B&B aptly named Hart House. Boldt Castle is now owned and maintained as a tourist attraction by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority.

The Power House and Clock Tower

Alster Tower – the only structure that was completed. It was to be the Boldt’s Playhouse and was where they lived for four years the castle was being built. It was to include a bowling alley, a shell room for dancing, a billiard room, library, and guest accommodations.

Heart shaped garden signifying the name of the island, as well as the tragic love story!

The first thing you see when you enter the foyer is this amazing grand marble and wood staircase open to all three floors

Formal dining room


One of many terraces overlooking the river

The basement was a maze of corridors and an indoor pool

View from the Observation Deck

From the third floor, you can look up to this incredible stained glass dome…..AWESOME!!!

Two of the bedrooms – this one was to be Louise’s and the next photo is the one that was to be their daughter’s

The organ in the Grand Ballroom

The Kitchen

I didn’t take my camera…..wish I had……and my iPhone was dying just about the time we were finishing the tour of Boldt Castle, so that is the end of my photos! 😦

It was an amazing day……left the house a little before 6:00 am and returned home about 9:30 pm with a long bus ride up and back, but it was worth it! I very much enjoyed every bit of it…..just wish the sun would have been out more, but I guess we can’t have everything!

Mt. Albion Cemetery Walking Tour – 08-06-17

Tonight was the first of this year’s annual August series of Walking Tours at Albion, NY cemeteries…..this one was at Mount Albion Cemetery and we toured the original and oldest section in the cemetery.

Here are some photos I took during the tour:

The tour was lead by Orleans County Historian, Matt Ballard, who offered some wonderful stories about the history of the cemetery and the interesting residents – most of whom lead very colorful and historically significant lives!

Note the stones just to the right of the tree in the background — the pillars on either side of the center stone appear to be decoration, but they are actually the grave markers of the young children of the parents buried in the center – both children died at approximately 2 years of age, hence the broken pillars, signifying a life cut short or life unfinished.

I always love to find stones carved like trees….this one is wonderful – carved like tree branches made into a cross!

This is the future family plot for our former Orleans County Historian, Bill Lattin – I know he loves this section of the cemetery, so I’m sure that is why he chose this spot for his final resting place! And, what an absolutely lovely spot it is!!!

It has the following quote on the bottom: “The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” ~ Wilde

One of the most recognizable monument in the cemetery is of Sanford Church – former Lt. Gov. of NY and noted Albionite

These tours always draw a big crowd — they are very popular and enjoyable!

This monument is not made of stone, as is typical of grave markers…..it is hollow and made of some sort of ZINC (Check out the comments for this blog for a great explanation by my friend and fellow WNY blogger – Tom The Backroads Traveller – cause I originally mentioned here that I couldn’t remember the metal Matt told us this was made of).

The panels can be removed and changed, if desired. My friend, Jan, and I wondered what “Only Waiting” meant — is the spot waiting for a resident or is the resident waiting for whatever comes next??? Interesting!

I always love finding the very ornately decorated stones!

The view of the chapel from our last stop of the tour…..peaking down from behind a very old stone!

Next week, the walking tour will be at the old St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Brown Rd. That will be interesting……and, a lot less strenuous – it is a relatively flat cemetery! hehehe

Photos of the Day – August 5th

Here are my Photos of the Day for August 5, 2017:

# 217 Photo Prompt – Starts with E:

“Enormous Hibiscus Blossom”

These beauties are the size of a large dinner plate!!!

# 217 Caught By My Lens:

I have several photos that caught my eye, today:

“Mountain Ash”

This is the first time I’ve noticed these trees in Mount Albion…..love the bright orange berries and the fern-like leaves!

This abandoned house caught my eye……the lacy curtain looked so pretty and delicate blowing in the wind…..and, yet, the house looked so lonely and spooky against the bright evening sun beginning to descend.


Me and my Carly

And, then, I decided to add this Lindsay kimono to compliment my Carly!


August 2017s Photo Prompts:

Adventure in the Sky

So, one of my very best friends (who just happens to also be my ex-husband) was in town for a visit. He is a private pilot, so he flew his plane up from NC…..he actually flew from NC to the big annual airshow in Oshkosh, WI for a week and then stopped in here for a few days before returning home this morning. While he was here, he was giving friends rides in his plane…..like he usually does when he’s up here with the plane….and I asked him if he would have one of his passengers use his phone to get an aerial photo of my house. He suggested I use my Nikon to get the photos myself! Well, I am not a fan of small planes, but I trust him and his experience flying, so I sucked it up and agreed to go up with him…..first time in his current light sport model plane. OMG – it was GREAT! The flight was smooth and I didn’t get at all queasy or nervous and I had a BLAST! We not only flew over my house, we flew all over the county taking photos!

I can tell you that is isn’t as easy as it sounds to get aerial shots…….things look very different from 800+ feet in the air and it is difficult to pick out what you’re looking for with trees and other obstacles through a lens – especially if using a zoom lens! I quickly decided to just put it on “action” mode and just keep shooting and sort out what I got when I download them! I ended up with 250 photos……most of which were not that great, but I got some really awesome photos in the mix and some pretty decent gems, as well!

So — here are the ones I decided were good enough to share:

Ron’s plane

Pre-flight check

Gassing her up!

All strapped in and ready to go….

Captain Ron

Downtown Albion, NY

Downtown Albion, NY

My house

My house

My house (center)…..we flew over my house several times – I couldn’t pick out my own house from the air! hahaha

Albion Central Schools

Albion Central Schools

Mount Albion Cemetery…..see the Soldiers and Sailors Monument Tower sticking up out of the trees?

Cobblestone School on Ridge Rd, Childs – part of the Cobblestone Museum Complex

Cobblestone Church and Ward House (right), Ridge Rd, Childs – part of the Cobblestone Museum Complex

Historic Tillman’s Village Inn Restaurant – corner Rt 98 and Rt 104 in Childs

Bridge over Marsh Creek at Point Breeze, Kent, NY

There used to be TWO bridges over Marsh Creek – one has been removed (see near center of photo – road now leads up to the creek on both sides, but doesn’t cross over it)

Approaching Point Breeze – Oak Orchard River meets Lake Ontario

Boats docked along Oak Orchard River near the Parkway overpass

Point Breeze

Mouth of the Oak Orchard River and Lake Ontario

The break walls with a sail boat headed out to the lake

The lighthouse is hard to see from this direction because of the trees – it is just to the right behind the sail boat

Approaching Point Breeze from the other direction

I am disappointed that all the lighthouse shots from this side were blurry…..but, I did get two fairly decent shots, so I am including them

Lake Alice, Waterport, NY

Lake Alice, Waterport, NY

Lake Alice, Waterport, NY

I love this shot of the Allen Bridge Rd bridge over the Erie Canal (looking towards Eagle Harbor) — it is a perfect example of how the canal winds its way through the state

The home we grew up in – formerly my Mom’s home – now, my brother’s home!

Canal bridge over Gaines Basin Road

Another canal bridge

The HUMONGOUS flag that flies on Ridge Rd just west of Murray

Kendall, NY school and downtown Kendall

Bald Eagle Marina, Kendall, NY

Lake Ontario shore at Kendall, NY

Lake Ontario shoreline and the Parkway (seaway trail)

Lake Ontario shoreline

Intergrow is a hydroponic tomato growing facility on Rt 98 north of Rt 104. It is a HUGE facility that keeps expanding. But, it is difficult to tell exactly how big it is from the street level. I saw it off in the distance and the sight of how large it really is took my breath away!!!

The Intergrow facility is massive…..to say the least!!!

So, there it is, folks…….over an hour of flying around the Albion, Childs, Kent, and Kendall areas of the county! I am so happy to have had this adventure and experience and to have the photos to remember it with! Next time Ron comes up for a visit, I won’t be so reluctant to go up for a view with a different perspective!

Photos of the Day – Aug 3rd and 4th

Here are my Photos of the Day for August 3-4, 2017:


# 215 Photo Prompt – Starts with C:

“Concert on the Canal”


# 215 Caught By My Lens:

“Die Hard Concert Lovers”

A couple handfuls of people braved the threat of rain to attend this week’s Concert on the Canal…..it drizzled enough to warrant breaking out the umbrellas for about 10 minutes or so……otherwise, it was a nice night to be out listening to music and enjoying the company of good friends!


Fuchsia LLR Perfect T with matching Leggings…..they could surely see me coming! 😀


# 216 Photo Prompt – Starts with D:

“Dummy? What Dummy?”


My new friend at Xpress Fitness wasn’t too happy when I suggested a selfie!

# 216 Caught By My Lens:


The pretty sunshine planter I made got blown off the table in this afternoon’s storm…..at least the drainage tray was spared!!! 😦


LLR Irma top with red roses and solid black Leggings!


August 2017s Photo Prompts:


Photos of the Day – August 1st and 2nd


Here are my Photos of the Day for August 1-2, 2017:


# 213 Photo Prompt – Starts with “A”:

“AHS Alumni Foundation Visibility Team”


Marissa, Kim, Sue…..what a team!!! ❤

# 213 Caught By My Lens:

“Surprise Inside”

I was watering my plants and noticed something red inside my coleus…..upon closer inspection, I learned it was a grape tomato – not attached – not growing there – just sitting there! Wondered if a bird dropped it there or what…..found out it most likely fell in there while it was on display at the Flower Show at the Orleans County Fair, where an entry involving grape tomatoes was displayed above it! hehehe


I attended an AHS Alumni Foundation Reception this evening, so I (of course) wore my purple Maxi skirt, white shirt, and this great Joy duster! Gotta show my school spirit!!! (But…..I wish I had chosen to wear my purple Carly with the Joy…..would have been cooler!)


# 214 Photo Prompt – Starts with “B”:


# 214 Caught By My Lens:

One of my best friends is visiting from NC this week. He took me up in his plane this morning so I could take some aerial photos – I’ll post the best ones in a separate post, but here are a few teasers:

“Captain Ron”

“Ready For Take Off”

“Downtown Albion, NY”


August 2017s Photo Prompts:

Photos of the Day – July 29th, 30th, and 31st

OK…..let’s finish up July and prepare to move on to August!

Here are my Photos of the Day for July 29-31, 2017:


# 210 Photo Prompt – Beautiful Building:

“My Little Slice of Paradise”



Love these new LLR leggings with a vivid true red Classic Tee


# 211 Photo of the Day – Free Choice:

“Pinkie Winkie Hydrangea”


Not yet started to turn pink….

# 211 Caught By My Lens:

“Hydrangea Tree”

This one HAS started turning pink…..


All ready for church in this navy blue LLR Cassie Skirt and Classic Tee!


# 212 Photo Prompt – Hair:

“My bangs grow so fast!”


Just had a hair cut about a week and a half ago!

And, then there was this…..

Ronald and me at breakfast at Boone and Crocketts at Point Breeze

Ron is one of my best friends……oh, yeah, and my ex-husband! Always happy to see him come for a visit!


LLR Perfect Tee and white capris


August 2017s Photo Prompts:

August prompts will take us through the alphabet!

This will be my third time doing the alphabet — hope I can avoid repeats on the tougher letters!