New York Wanderings: Boldt Castle the grounds and the view!

October 7, 2014

Apparently, Louise Boldt found the Thousand Islands to be a place where she could relax from the stress of living in New York City and her husband’s career as a hotel man.   He managed the Philadelphia Club and later the Bellevue, and later the Bellevue Stratford Hotel.  Astor built the Waldorf Astoria and Boldt was its proprietor.  I guess George had to mediate a hotel war with the Astor brothers.  The Empire State building now occupies the site of this hotel.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Boldt

Boldt Castle rises out of the island and is surrounded by lovely landscaping and great views.  You can get right down to the water.  The pictures will show the Castle and the other structures on the island:  The Power House at the east end of the island, the Italian Garden, Alster Tower the whimsical tower, the archway, the Tower and the gazebo, views of Alexandria Bay, the Boathouse across from Heart Island.  I spent a happy 3 hours on the island.

This is a slide show so click on one of the photos and it will open, then go to the upper left corner find the x and click that to close otherwise you will close it all out and have to come back.

 


New York Wanderings: Boldt Castle…a sad story!

October 7, 2014

Why is it that a wealthy person builds something so amazing like Boldt Castle and never really gets to enjoy it?

George Boldt built the castle for his wife Louise Kehrer Boldt.  She died in 1904 and he abandoned it unfinished.  They think he never went back to the island.  So it sat exposed to the elements until 197 7 when it was purchased by the Thousand Island Bridge Authority and then they started to restore it.  They were not planning to finish it just restore it back to when George had abandoned it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boldt_Castle

Here are two more links to explore:

http://www.boldtcastle.com/visitorinfo/ and it is also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BoldtCastle

George Boldt was a wealthy hotel man who knew the Astors, Vanderbilts and all the wealthy influential people of the time.  He liked the Rhineland Castles designs and that gives the style.  I thought it also had some whimsy to it and even felt like I might run into a troll or fairy if I was not careful. He and his wife had vacationed in the Thousand Island area and decided they like it there so it was a joint decision to build there.  He purchased the island changing the spelling from Hart to Heart.  If you look closely you will see a theme of hearts through the island.

This is not the only time I have been to a castle.  My hubby and I took all the tours at Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. I have them on my Facebook.  I probably should put them out on the web they are very cool.  George Vanderbilt built Biltmore as his home and he did get to live it in a while but not long.  He basically took a very destroyed piece of land and redesigned it with the help of the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.  I also toured the castle in Trieste, Italy called Miramare and it has a sad story.  Ferdinand went to Mexico to be their king but was shot by the Mexicans.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miramare_Castle

When you visit a home like Boldt  Castle you do have to read about the history of the persons who created it and the area around it.  I knew nothing about the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River when I toured in 2012.  It was a big surprise to see the all the different sizes of the islands, some with houses and docks.  To find out that someone built this castle on one of them was too good to pass up.

On the 2nd floor of the castle up the grand staircase is a room with a movie that gives an overview of the castle history and of George and Louisa’s life. It was good, a little hokey, but worth sitting for about 10-15 minutes.

The following pictures are of the interior of the castle.  You will see the entrance, staircase, living room, dining room with original furniture, bedrooms, some unfinished areas on the upper floors and the roof area from a veranda.  The roof is very complicated.  This castle will never be finished because it was abandoned so you do get to see the structure of it.  Do notice the colors of the wall paint, one room is a vivid rosy color.

Just click on one of the photos and the slide show will open for you to scroll through.  To close look to the left upper corner for the X and use that to close the show otherwise you may close out totally.  Of course, you can stop by the gift shop at the entrance of Boldt Castle and by videos and books about Boldt Castle which would give you much more detail and professional photos…of do a Google search and click on images…

 

 

 

 


New York Wanderings: Getting To Boldt Castle

October 6, 2014

It was now about 1 pm and I had my boat shuttle ticket and was ready.  I had parked my car in a gravel parking area behind the main part of the town. There are signs for parking.  I had loaded myself up with cameras so I could just have fun.  The ticket booth for the shuttle boat to the castle was at the far end of James Street.  Notice anything?  NO FOG!

The Marina and Boats

The Marina and Boats

Docked Boats

Docked Boats

Well I least I knew where my lodging was going to be that evening.  Bonnie Castle was right across the bay.  This whole trip to see Boldt Castle was just a bit of whimsy on my part.  I had booked a riverside view room so it was not cheap but it was great!  Oh, they take your money when you reserve so be aware of that fact!

Bonnie Castle across the bay

Bonnie Castle across the bay

The shuttle boat on the right and some another tourist boat on the left.  You can do other tours, I just wanted to shuttle directly to Heart Island and back.  I was seated in the front of the shuttle boat on the right so I had a great view.  The bigger boat was very quick, it actually came back twice and moored for just a few minutes?

Shuttle Boat & Tourist Boat

Shuttle Boat to the right & Tourist Boat on the left

Heart Island is right across the St. Lawrence from Alexandria Bay.  If you lean a little over the wharf and around the building you could see it in the distance.

Heart Island & Boldt Castle

Heart Island & Boldt Castle

Heart Island Coming Up

Heart Island Coming Up – I believe this is the Powerhouse!

The shuttle boat takes you around the island going to the east.  On the north side of the island are the docks and Welcome Center.  It departs going to the west around the island.  This means you get a whole tour of the island on the water by the time your done.  Very lovely.

Tour boat is moored at the island.

Tour boat is moored at the island.

Boldt Castle rises above

Boldt Castle rises above

The welcome area

The Welcome area

 The Shuttle Boat

The Shuttle Boat

The Uncle Sam’s shuttle boat took about 10 minutes to cross from Alexandria Bay.  You spend more time waiting to get on it.  Here is the Entrance where you pay for a tour of the castle $8.50 and get hand stamped and they also have restrooms, a concession stand and a gift shop…of course!  I am a senior so I may be getting a discount.

The Entrance

The Entrance

Now for a tour of the castle and would you believe, you can take pictures!  http://www.boldtcastle.com/visitorinfo/

Note:  I have followed the St. Lawrence from Kingston to Montreal on the Canadian side 2012 and 2014.  I have been over the St. Lawrence (Champlain Bridge Montreal) and now on the St. Lawrence at Alexandria Bay in a boat. HA!  I have followed the Ottawa River on both sides in Pontiac and Renfrew County in 2012.  I have crossed over it at Pont Tachereau on my way to Montreal.  I followed the Ottawa River from Hawkesbury, Ontario to Ottawa.


New York Wanderings: To Alexandria Bay

October 6, 2014

The next leg of my journey was an indulgence.  I had learned of Boldt Castle on my last trip to Ontario in 2012 when I drove the Thousand Island Parkway and became charmed by the St. Lawrence River. http://www.visit1000islands.com/visitorinfo/?page_id=12

I love castles! So my next stop was Alexandria Bay, New York.

I headed out from Johnstown in the FOG.  I got some money at the ATM at the Key Bank and was just finishing up and wouldn’t you know it someone pulls in behind me at 7:15 am?

Anyway, I turned right on Briggs and left on Perry and found the entrance to the Johnstown Cemetery.  I drove around the cemetery and it was a large so do some research about where stones are before trying to find them.  There were two men with their dogs and chatting.  As you can see it was not a day for even taking descent cemetery photos. I am sure there is a lot of history in this cemetery.  The photos are in the morning about 7:20 am.

http://fulton.nygenweb.net/cemeteries/JohnsCem.html

Johnstown Cemetery

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DSC09731

DSC09732

Getting a descent photo of the Mohawk River was not going to happen because of the thick FOG! So I headed out on Hwy 67 west.  I went through towns like Keck’s Center, Eppie Corners and St. Johnsville. This took me onto Hwy 5 again and through Little Falls.

It then took me to Herkimer. Yup, it did!  It is a county and a town:  http://herkimercounty.org/content and the town can be studied at this link: http://www.townofherkimer.org/  I frequent town and county sites when preparing for a research trip, they can be useful but difficult to find things on.

I like Herkimer! They had this great diner where I stopped for breakfast or rather second breakfast.  What a Kick!  You do have to pay the meter so be careful and really twist the knob to get it to take your quarter in the parking lot area out front.

Crazy Otto's Empire Diner

Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner

The Empire Diner

The Empire Diner

The Empire Diner

The Empire Diner what a kick!

I was not expecting my breakfast to be so…much!  I ate most of it…!

Three Pancakes & More

Three Pancakes & More, yeah I know cholesterol city…

I was still on Hwy 5.  In Deerfield Heights I needed to get onto Hwy 49 and that was a little tricky. The big problem was in Rome, New York.  There was a lot of construction and there is this strange U that takes you south on 49 and 365 and then back into Rome where you have to get off and drive the city to get back on 49/46 to go west.  I found Gifford Road much farther on then I expected and turned left onto 49.  I was doing just fine.

Okay, I could have taken I-90 the toll road to where I need to connect with I-81 but this was more fun.  To see the different towns along the way and just realize that New York State has a great deal of rural areas and not just big cities.  Some of these towns are lovely to see like Saratoga Springs and Warrensburg.

I have not done any genealogy in the great state of New York.  I have tried for a marriage of Solomon Goss and Olive Scott Goss in this state as suggested by a Pennsylvania Researcher who told me that they sometimes went up to New York. I am talking 1776.  I was not successful but then it was not a deep search.  I have heard that New York State genealogy is tough going.  Levi Goss he married Sophia Rummersfield in a New York county before they headed to Chatham, Kent Co., Ontario where he had a tavern on the Thames.  I wrote about all this in my blog:  Solomon Goss of Fearing Twp., in Ohio.  Levi is a son and my 4th great grand-uncle.  http://sgossfamily.wordpress.com/

Here are a few links but I am not an expert on this state so this is just be dabbling:

They have the New York State Archives in Albany, NY:

http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/research/res_topics_genealogy.shtml

The New York GenWeb page

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nygenweb/

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

http://newyorkfamilyhistory.org/

The New York State Historical Association

http://www.nysha.org/

New York was one of the 13 Colonies so you do have to learn about Colonial history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteen_Colonies

This book New York in the Revolution as a Colony and State is available on Internet Archive, hmmmm???

https://archive.org/details/newyorkrevolution01statrich

Now I could have stopped at Fort Stanwix and did consider it and there were other Forts or historical places I could have explored.  I can get diverted so I was being very strong this trip.  http://www.iloveny.com/things-to-do/history/#.VDKRiPldVqI  Let’s see they list 715 pages of historical places you could visit…So many things to do so little time!

This Hwy 49 would take me along Lake Oneida but it was still FOGGY. It was still that way in Jewell but I was seeing a little of the Lake.  Cleveland was better.  It must have been Bernhard Bay where I was able to turn off and take some photos or maybe a little further on…

Lake Oneida

Lake Oneida with a hint of FOG

DSC09740

Lake Oneida

Soon I was in West Monroe and I pulled off at the Good Golly’s for a little break before heading north on I-81.  I was pretty full from breakfast so I just had an Ice Tea and a strawberry shortcake with whipping cream. Giggle…!

Getting on I-81 was easy and I was on my way north to Alexandria Bay.  The road signs read Pulaski, Sandy Creek, Lacona, Ellisburg, Adams and Watertown. It was a 4 lane highway so I didn’t have too much trouble with traffic or tailgating.  Traffic was good except when you got near the towns of course and I was able to pass slower vehicles easily.  No FOG, Yippee!

Once past Watertown the road was pretty wide open with little traffic and it was kinda tedious because I was getting excited.  The exits are very far apart and the Garamond GPS kept telling me about rest stops and I wanted real exits.  The sign for the Canadian border said 20 miles and I was not yet to the turn off for Alexandria Bay.  Sigh, I could have come down from Kingston and visited Boldt Castle crossing the border and going back to Ontario.  I knew this but was not sure about how easy it would be to cross the border?

Exit 50N finally came up and it was just about 4.5 miles to Alexandria Bay from there and I just went right on in to the town following the signs.  It was about 12:45 pm and I wanted to get my ticket for the boat shuttle to Boldt Castle.  I paid my $8.50 and would pay for admittance to the castle grounds at the landing on Heart Island. The lady said that the boat shuttle would be back in about 10 minutes.  I was good.

Uncle Sam ticket booth

Uncle Sam ticket booth for boat shuttle to Boldt Castle

 http://www.usboattours.com/1000islands/


New York State Wanderings: William Johnson House – The Mohawk Valley

October 5, 2014

After visiting Fort Johnson, I headed north on Hwy 67 to Johnstown.  It was about 8 miles. I was on schedule so I didn’t have to rush and was able to find the Johnson Hall State Historic Site in Johnstown, New York.

http://nysparks.com/historic-sites/10/details.aspx

In Johnstown I turned right onto Hwy 29 and it was about 1.5 miles to the park. At Pearl St. you turn to the right into the park.  There is a very huge statue out front so it is not hard to miss.

There is plenty of parking up near the house. This includes a video of the house:  http://historystarproductions.com/blog/a-visit-the-home-of-sir-william-johnson-johnson-hall/

Announcement Sign

Announcement Sign

Johnson House

Johnson House – front

Johnson House the back area

Johnson House the back area

The tour starts over in the left block house where they have a bookstore.  Apparently they do them on the 1/2 hour and the docent was determined to wait till 1 pm.

Once again, I was impressed, Sir William Johnson liked big houses.  We started in the basement and viewed the kitchen and butlers quarters. The main area of the house had about 4 rooms. The hallway was wide and the stairs were also wide.  Each room was carefully decorated and quite large. There were two more floors to investigate.  According to the docent, Sr. William was sick during a conference he was having in the house and died.  That must have been a very sad day.  He died in 1774 and just missed the Revolution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_William_Johnson,_1st_Baronet

I was unaware that Sir William Johnson had a lot of land, I knew he had some which he rented to tenants but I did not realize that he was extremely wealthy.  I also was not aware that he earned his fortune in the fur trade.  Because of his service in the French and Indian War he was given the barony of New York and that was a hereditary title. He was very powerful and very privileged.  His wife Molly Brant or rather second wife was rather powerful herself.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_Brant   I asked the docent if he knew the six tribes of the Six Nation and much to my delight he did and he listed them right off, the six Iroquois nations:  Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora. He was very excited because they had a reenactment that past weekend and they were cleaning up the straw on the lawn.

I purchased a book:  “Liberty’s Exiles,” by Maya Jasanoff as recommended by the docent at Fort Johnson.  They had sold their last copy.  I will see if it is of value.

Once again I have only touched the surface of the history of a place and there is more that could be learned about this man, his family and his life.   There was more to explore on the property but I was exhausted and headed for my lodging on Hwy 29 in Gloversville.  This scene reminds me of Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

Johnstown, NY

Johnstown, NY

 


New York Wanderings: Fort Johnston and the Mohawk Valley

October 5, 2014

Driving along I-87 through the Adirondacks you come upon names of towns like Elizabethtown, Saranac and the lake, North Hudson, Schroon Falls, and Warrensburg and Lake George. I saw a sign for Lake Placid and Lake Luzerne.

My goal was Johnstown and so I headed out of Warrensburg after getting some gas and checking the oil.

The fog was starting to let up, well not really, and I was soon in Saratoga Springs which I found to be a very wonderful town and really liked the main street area that I saw before I turned west onto Hwy 29.  I suggest Google Images to see sites of this very lovely town. Just put the name of something you want to see into the search engine then click on images.  You can then follow and image out to its original page if you like.

This highway took me through the towns of North Milton, East Galway, Galway and North Galway, Honeywell Corners and Broadalbin.  It was at Broadalbin that I turned south on Hwy 30 and just decided to go into Amsterdam to Hwy 5.  It was easier than what I originally had planned.   Hwy 30 took me through Perth.  Yes another Perth and we are seeing some interesting names of towns in this area.

I followed Hwy 30 through Amsterdam and onto Hwy 5 heading west. This Hwy 5 follows the Mohawk River.  No luck today for photos it was all shrouded in FOG! and the railroad tracks sort of pushed the highway away from the river…darn!  So go to Google Images for some really cool views of this river, maps and all kinds of great stuff.

The town of Fort Johnson came up quickly but it was a little confusing to find the fort itself.  I saw a sigh and turned off by Park Row and then reread the sign and went back out on Hwy 5 till I got to the turn for Hwy 67 going north and there was the Fort right there on the left.  I turned right onto Hwy 67 and pulled into the parking lot.

The bridge to the Fort

The bridge to the Fort

 

The stream beneath the Bridge

The stream beneath the Bridge

The outhouse…no not the bathrooms.

An Historic Privy

A Historic Privy

 http://www.oldfortjohnson.org/

The Visitor Center at Fort Johnson

The Visitor Center at Fort Johnson with a great book shop

Fort Johnson

Fort Johnson – a very large house with many rooms, a large hall area, basement and full attic.

I signed in at the book register, paid $4 for the tour and wandered their book shop which had excellent books.

These CD's look comprehensive?

These CD’s look comprehensive?

Fort Johnson Sign

Fort Johnson Sign along Hwy #5

Fort Johnson is a fortified house with gun ports.  I have read about this type of house in regards to the history of the Goss family.  Philip Goss had a house probably similar that he built-in Huntington Twp. in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Johnson loved big houses and this was huge with large rooms and several floors including a useable attic where he held conferences with the Indians. When Sir Johnson moved to Johnstown his son Sir John Johnson took over this house.

I had a great tour of the Fort and the nice docent answered my questions about the history of the fort and the lives of the Johnson family.  I learned he was Irish and that was very interesting.  He didn’t like his sons first choice of a wife so he intervened to try to arrange a better marriage for John.  Sir John Johnson was a son of William and his first wife.

Here are some links to investigate.  At some point I am going to have to select really good links for Loyalist research I have some but at the moment I am experimenting and exploring.

I visited Sir John’s house in Glengarry on my last trip to Ontario in 2012.  I wrote about that visit here in post dated June 26, 2012:  Touring Glengarry:  Glengarry Archives & the Sir John Johnson House.  Sir Johnson really didn’t live in this house that much or at all, he lived in Quebec and died there.  http://100objects.qahn.org/content/gravestone-sir-john-johnson-1830

Sir William Johnson was a Baronet and had lots of land.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_William_Johnson,_1st_Baronet

This article is about Sir John Johnson the son: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/johnson_john_6E.html

Mohawk Valley Region Path Through History:  http://www.mohawkvalleyhistory.com/

The Valley Dwellers:  http://www.mohawkvalleyhistory.com/

Sir John Johnson, son of William, had to take the people from the Mohawk Valley to Canada and he did this by going through the Adirondack Mountains in about 1778.  I plotted this route he took based on the article and it was right through the mountains.  I wondered why he would do that but it probably kept the people from being harrassed by the “Rebels.”

http://www.historyinanhour.com/2011/12/19/sir-john-johnson-summary/

This is very interesting as to what happened to the people who settled this area and then had to leave because they were Loyalists who believed in the Crown.

See this article: http://hortonsarticles.org/hh7thousand.htm

Electric Scotland has this great article about the Highlanders who came to the Mohawk Valley. http://www.electricscotland.com/history/highlands/chapter8.htm 

This is a historical account of the Settlement of Scotch Highlanders in America by J. P. MacLean:

http://books.google.com/books?id=Xxem9Kqd0j0C&pg=PA230&lpg=PA230&dq=Sir+William+Johnson+and+the+highlanders&source=bl&ots=64nWDJ94oW&sig=xH0RLS3xeth_JY947KoS0zxE9Xs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ojoxVJvfEeHWiwLTioGQDA&ved=0CEUQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=Sir%20William%20Johnson%20and%20the%20highlanders&f=false

 


New York Wanderings: The Adirondacks & Warrensburg

October 5, 2014

I was up early and out the door, breakfast at the Econo Lodge was not very good.  So I ate some in the room.  I had brought the remaining steak back with me and put it into the refrigerator, so I warmed that in the microwave and it was good.

My goal today was Johnstown, New York and the Mohawk Valley.  Yup, I am on the trail of Loyalists again…

My route was I-87 south through the Adirondack Park.  Unfortunately it was very foggy and thick with the stuff.  So I was not going to get much in photographs.  As I entered the park on the highway I did get some vistas of the Adirondacks to both sides of me and it was very beautiful including the fog in the valleys and sunlight on the hills.  The colors of fall were slowly showing themselves but it was not at its peak just yet…!

Tourist information can be found here http://visitadirondacks.com/ and this link describes the height of the mountains in this group: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adirondack_Mountains  My sister-in-law will not be impressed after having climbed Mt. Rainier, giggle!

My version of the Adirondacs

My version of the Adirondacks

A weathervane on the restop building

A weathervane on the rest stop building

To my surprise many of the rest stops were closed except the one with the bear weathervane.

I am a bit of a Rachel Ray fan and so I decided to stop in Warrensburg to visit Oscar’s Smokehouse which she featured on her TV show.  Oscar’s Smokehouse is on the north end of the town of Warrensburg.  Here is their website:  http://www.oscarsadksmokehouse.com/

Oscar's Sign

Oscar’s Sign

Oscar's Smoke House

Oscar’s Smoke House

Rachel's visit

Rachel’s visit is proudly displaced on their wall!

The building you see is the newer one built in 2005 after the fire, I believe.  It is very nice inside with a self-service area and the main meat counter. I purchased some self-service items: Cheddar Bacon Cheese, and Smoked Cervelet.  The cheese is very mild and I thought with bacon it might be too salty but it is very nice.  The sausage is also very nice and I just ate a big chunk! Slurp….

Self Serivce & Meat Counter

Self Serivce & Meat Counter

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They didn’t have tables at Oscar’s so I headed back to town and found a nice restaurant down the street to have my 2nd breakfast.  It was crowded and there was only one waitress but she was quick.  Notice the tin ceiling in this place.  I have more fun with small town cafe’s.

New Way Lunc

New Way Lunch

 

New Lunch Sign and a shop across the street

New Way Lunch Sign and a shop across the street

This cafe was right next door to the historical society. http://www.whs12885.org/museum.html

Warrensburg's historical Society

Warrensburg’s historical Society and mural

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Next was Saratoga Springs and then heading west on Hwy 29 to Johnstown.


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