Laboratory of Art, Taormina, Messina, Sicily, Italy

The Laboratory of Art (Laboratori dell’arte) is a Sicilian company which deals with works on the volcanic lava stones of Mount Etna. They make the whole process from the cutting of the stone to the final decoration made by Sicilian craftsmen. The range of objects realized varies a lot, you can find even small objects, a complete decoration for a kitchen (walls, washbasin, etc.) in Sicilian style and also jewelry. There is a shop in Taormina where you can find many items on sale and if you wish, you can also order the objects of your choice with the designs you desire. Beautiful tables and sinks can also be ordered.

Tips

If you decide to buy several objects or order different items, you can have them delivered directly to your country. The company makes deliveries all over the world.

There is also the possibility to buy some other typical products in the store such as soaps, liqueurs, souvenirs of Taormina and from the region.

 

Via Calapitrulli, 5 – 98039 Taormina (Me) Sicilia

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.

Gold Rock Beach, Bahamas

Gold Rock Beach, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, is part of The Lucayan National Park and is protected by the Bahamas National Trust. It’s about 25 miles from Freeport. It is a secluded beach with fine sand and crystal water. It’s said the beach has its name because the shore looks golden in the rising and setting sun. When the tide is low, the shoreline of the beach spans for meters into the sea. There are BBQ pits, picnic tables and benches there, but no other amenities. The services are in the parking area. You can also snorkel or take a tour to make a kayak excursion. You can find the Lucayan Caverns, the world’s longest surveyed underground cave system, on the North of the beach. You must pay a fee to enter the park and you can park in a small gravel area and you will have to cross the street and take the left path to arrive to the beach (about 5 minutes walk).

Tips

You can go there on a jeep excursion, by taxi or you can rent a car. Remember they drive on the left. You must take Grand Bahama Highway East. It’ll take about 45 minutes from the city or about an hour from the cruise pier.

You must take everything you want with you snacks, drinks, chairs, etc. Remember there’s nothing on the beach but if you are lucky, you can sometimes find somebody selling drinks at the entrance of the park.