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August 5 – Alexandria Bay, NY – Boldt Castle

06 Aug

After our rude awakening the night before (with the anchor dragging and us having to re-anchor twice), we headed out to Alexandria Bay and the Boldt Castle. We had read that you can bring your own boat, so it is a good thing that we were up so early because we were the first boat to arrive.

It was VERY windy and we were quite worried about docking. Our backup plan was that if docking seemed too challenging, we would not dock and would have to miss the castle tour. Dennis though, managed to get us close enough, even though we hit bottom a couple of times (just mud) and I jumped off the boat to quickly tie up the bow line. Dennis then jumped off to tie up the stern. We then attached two more lines because we were quite concerned with the wind (gusts to 35 knots – yuck!).

We walked over to the American Customs booth and registered in the US very easily and then headed over to the Boldt Castle. Well! If you are ever in Gananoque or Rockport or in Alexandria, NY, you should take the boat tour over. It is well worth the $8 admission!

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The castle was modeled after buildings of the 16th century of northern Europe. It is six stories high and has 127 rooms.
“Boldt Castle, on Heart Island, was to be the testimony of the surpassed love of a man for his wife. The magnificence of the structure was to be equalled only by George Boldt’s adoration of Louise, who was the love of his life and reason for the construction of such an elaborate summer home. The finest of artists, craftsmen and materials were sought for the work which was well underway when tragedy struck. Mrs. Boldt was dead, and a telegram arrived ordering all work to stop. Three hundred workmen dropped their tools and left the island, never to return.” (Boldt Castle brochure)

The castle has not been completely restored but the two main floors are complete. The upper floors still have evidence or vandalism and graffiti on the walls but workers and many volunteers are restoring it.

Here are a few more shots of the castle and a couple of goofy people touring it.

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We then headed over to Alexandria Bay and were able to dock without too much problem. My jumping off was not very graceful because I caught my foot on a line, but I didn’t fall off the dock and Justin the dock boy, was very helpful.
The marina was very fancy – it is actually a hotel with some docks so although it was expensive ($3 a foot), we thoroughly enjoyed it. We took advantage of all the facilities – exercise room, pools, jacuzzi…
A big storm hit us though at around 4:00, so we ran back to the boat and closed it up. The storm only lasted an hour and then we went out to explore Alex Bay (or A Bay as the locals call it). It is a mixture of shops, taverns and restaurants but most are kind of rundown, but perhaps that is intentional as it boasts of being a pirate town. There is quite a mix of people there from bikers, campers and sailors. Anyway, we had a great time and would go back in the future (but during the pirate festival!).
Today, we are off towards the Iroquois lock and will hopefully be able to go through tonight. It’s an easy one – only a six foot drop.

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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Sailing in the St. Lawrence

 

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