Boldt Castle, Thousand Islands Archipelago, Alexandria, New York, USA

Boldt Castle is located on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands Archipelago on the St. Lawrence River, along the northern border of the State of New York, in Alexandria. This is a very important and known touristic place. Millionaire George Boldt, general manager of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and manager of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, and his family, used to stay in a cottage in the area near Wellesley Island. He loved the region very much and decided to build a castle for his beloved wife; Louise. The Boldt family asked to the GW & WD Hewitt architectural firm to build a sumptuous 6-storey castle with Italian gardens, tennis courts, golf courses, stables, a polo field and other four buildings on Heart Island with a yacht shelter on a neighboring island which they owned as well. He wanted to give this monument to his wife for Valentine’s Day but unfortunately she died in 1904 because of heart problems. After the tragedy, the millionaire decided to stop everything … After 73 years, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority bought Heart Island and the nearby yacht shelter in 1977 for one dollar, with the agreement that all revenues from the operation of the castle would be reserved for the restoration. The site followed improvements for several years and the original construction was also improved with marble, a dome of stained glass windows and the woodwork of the grand staircase; contemporary innovations that have embellished even more the castle. Most of the rooms are furnished with contemporary objects. In the unfurnished rooms of the castle there are exhibits showing images and objects made in the archipelago of the Thousand Islands at the time when the Boldt lived there. The bridge that connects the two banks can be lifted and lowered as required.

Tips

The castle can be visited with a fee in US dollar with a very good exchange rate for the Canadians. The price includes the shuttle transfer to the quay of the family ships, where 4 boats that belong to them are in demonstration.

It is accessible by ferry or tourist boat from Alexandria Bay or Gananoque, Rockport or Ivy Lea, all three in Ontario.

You must pass the US Customs and Border Protection office so you must provide proper identification.

Sucrerie de la Montagne (Sugar shack), Rigaud, Quebec, Canada

If you want to find a sugar shack open year round, where the owners have the pleasure of welcoming tourists from around the world, please, this place is the Sucrerie de la Montagne in Rigaud. M Pierre Faucher and his son Stefan will be delighted to meet you and tell you the passion they have for this fantastic natural site, this sugar bush of 120 acres offers you the opportunity to know the history and culture of Quebec and Canadian ancestry. The place is in a century-old maple forest. The visit gets you back in the past and you can be part of the history of an era. The current site is like a village of yesteryear with the sugar shack, the bakery, cottages, trails in the forest and it continues to grow while respecting the nature and tradition of yesteryear. You can simply visit it but you can not leave without tasting its homemade dishes, maple syrup, bread made on site, their delicious sugar pie and much more. It is the ideal place to visit with family, friends, to mix with the tourists who appreciate our traditions, in short, you will feel that you will return soon even before you left …

Tips

You can spend a few days in the cottages that can accommodate between 3 and 6 people, celebrate your birthday, your wedding, make business meetings, making your reservation by phone or email. Children under 5 years are free.

There are several trails to walk a few kilometers in the forest.

You have a gift shop where you can purchase the book by Pierre Faucher (owner): Chronicle of a rooted life.

Check on their website the menu and activities of Christmas Season to have a good time with the family or firends.

Val David, Laurentians, Quebec, Canada

Val David is a municipality village in Quebec, 80 km north of Montreal, halfway between Saint-Sauveur and Mont-Tremblant; picturesque village in the Laurentians, is a famous place to go climbing. The area has the regional Val-David Val-Morin Park where other that climbing, you will find plenty of trails for hiking, forest walking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing and skiing Nordic. This is where we also find the famous Santa Claus Village, the Linear Park the P’tit Train du Nord, 1001 Pots exhibition (the largest ceramics exhibition in North America), the Val David Market, farmer’s market of more than 60 stalls, among others. In the village, there are also many artists and craftsmen who stablished there.

Tips

The village has several events in the year, you can visit their website for the schedule.
It is a beautiful place to wander around the four seasons. You can rent cottages or stay in hostels or hotels in the area. A very special time is in the fall when the leaves change colors.

 

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