Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bolt Castle Wine Tour 2014

Alexandria Bay NY
September 20th 2014

Friday Evening Mark and I went to the Turning Stone Casino and gambled. I lost! Fortunately it was his money I loss....but considering that his money is ultimately my money too...I REALLY LOSS! Re-thinking the gambling thing seriously. Mark says my time is due....perhaps, since I always loose....the probability is in my favor. Right NOW I don't care to take the risk! At any rate, my Saturday adventures made up for any moments of loss on Friday evening.
Saturday...I went to Alexandria Bay in the Thousand Islands and Bolt Castle for their Wine Festival with my new friends from the meet up group.

The View of Bolt Castle as we approach Heart Island.

The sad but true story is.....(Taken from the Thousand Island Website)
Beginning in 1900, the Boldt family spent summers in the 1000 Islands at the Boldt Families Wellesley House near Mr. Boldt’s Wellesley Island Farms while 300 workers including stonemasons, carpenters, and artists fashioned the six story, 120 room castle, complete with tunnels, a powerhouse, Italian gardens, a drawbridge, alster tower (children’s playhouse) and a dove cote. Not a single detail or expense was spared.
In January 1904, tragedy struck. Boldt telegraphed the island and commanded the workers to immediately “stop all construction.” Louise had died suddenly. A broken hearted Boldt could not imagine his dream castle without his beloved. Boldt never returned to the island, leaving behind the structure as a monument of his love.
For 73 years, the castle and various stone structures were left to the mercy of the wind, rain, ice, snow and vandals. When the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property in 1977, it was decided that through the use of all net revenues from the castle operation it would be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.
Since 1977, several million dollars have been applied to rehabilitating, restoring and improving the Heart Island structures.

This beautiful castle sat for years...even over the last few years after it was open to the public the walls were lined with graphetti.  Since the restoration the place has been put back to it's original or intended plans piece by piece.

The last time I was there was over twelve years ago and only a portion of the place was fixed up, now they have several floors restored and completed to the time period., It is pretty amazing, 

We arrived in Alexandria Bay and it was off to the boats. Bolt Castle is located on Heart Island.
 Uncle Sams Boat touring company charges like $8- to charter to the Island. You can also take a longer cruise that takes you around Ontario Lake and the 1000's of Islands for more money. When my older children were little we took the cruise and they got to steer the boat. They even got certification of doing so. On this boat trip we were simply going to Heart Island about a 10-15 ride across the waves.
The boat trip was fun,

 Goodbye A-Bay
Some of the Islands that dot the lake.
 and there is Heart Island...with Bolt Castle
 The dock.

 The play house. Can you imagine this as your PLAY!!!
Once we descended the boat ride we purchased Bolt Castle tour tickets. I think this was about $8- too.

The Wine festivities began minutes after we arrived on the Island and I was soon trying multiple samples of the area wines.
Chris, Laura, Carol
 My new friends "showing the bird" as our line moves faster...

Carol and Laura

Laura and Kim

Scott, Leslie, and Carol

After several tastings and even more bottles we all made our way to a nice picnic spot for a snack.

 One of my favorites of the day...from Coyote Moon...
I also really enjoyed the Rat River cheese curds.

Then some group PIctures before a Castle tour. 

 Notice that most of these bottle are EMPTY or nearly there....

I enjoyed the day. The location, weather and festivities were amazing..but I really enjoyed getting to know everyone. I had such a great time. 

The playhouse

The architecture 

The butler's kitchen

The library after and a picture of the before Library

Mrs. Bolt

The waiting foyer


The GRAND Skylight

In one of the un-restored rooms on the third floor.

 View from the third floor veranda,...

This is an example of what most of the building looked like when I was last visiting. Some of the writings were in the early 1900's. When I was playing hockey back in the 1980's we stayed at a house on this river and walked to the Island across the ice. I was too scared to go in, but many kids did and had all kinds of fun when this place was abandoned. 

The swimming pool

More of the building...

Truly AMAZING!!!
After the castle tour, we headed back to the wine tasting tent. There was music and of course we had to dance.

 and a few more tastes..


our little spot on the shore...

Heading back on the boat...we were outta control by NOW!!

 Bye Bye Bolt...

After we landed back in A-Bay we made our way down to a restaurant at the end of the Road.

The view was better then the food...
 Isn't it beautiful...

 Till next year......