Thursday, September 27

Boldt Castle

Today we spent an afternoon cruising the picturesque Thousand Islands of the St Lawrence River. It's a fascinating area where the rich and famous spend summer relaxing in glamous cottages on their own private island. Our cruise lasted four hours, including a two hour excursion to Heart Island, home of the stunning Boldt Castle.

The castle is an incomplete holiday home (or mammoth cottage as its owner once described it) built by George Boldt, a former owner of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. He commissioned its construction as a gift to his wife Louise.

In 1905, after four years of labour at a cost of 2.5 million dollars, the home was nearing completion when tradegy struck. Louise died suddenly and heart-broken George was too grief stricken to continue its construction. For almost 70 years the castle lay derilict until it was given to the nearby bridge authority who've since lovingly restored it.

While Boldt Castle is impressive, its not the only breath-taking summer house in the area. Our cruise took us past island after island loaded with beautiful, oplulent homes. Each had its own manicured lawn and the family boat house was often as stunning as the homestead it serviced. Some of the islands are so small that the accompanying summer house effectively swallows the entire island. It's quite remarkable what money can buy!

Perhaps the best highlight today was the weather. Last night's forecast predicted thunderstorms and showers for this afternoon. Instead we enjoyed increasing bouts of sunshine which made for a perfect day on the water. Unfortunately the autumn colours haven't peaked yet so the magical experience I'd originally planned wasn't to be.

However, during the initial drive south from Ottawa we did start to see some spectacular reds, oranges and yellows. Mum devoted her travel time to some impromptu photography training, snapping furiously at every splash of autumn foliage we passed. She was determined to capture as much of the colourful spectacle as possible.

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