Tag Archives: vacation

George & Louise…A Great Love by Valerie J. Patterson

George and Louise Boldt–their story is one of a great and deeply felt love.  It’s also a tale of tragedy and a future with a broken heart.  George was a poor immigrant in the late 1800s who managed to gain employment at the famous Waldorf Astoria, and later would own it and another hotel here in Pennsylvania.  It was while he was working at the Waldorf that he met Louise Kehrer and fell madly in love with her.  While vacationing in Alexandria Bay, more particularly, the Thousand Islands, he bought Hart Island, which he legally changed to Heart Island.  In 1900, he commenced building a castle there for his lovely Louise to live in.  In 1904, tragedy struck and Louise Boldt died suddenly at the young age of 41.  That same day, George sent a telegram to the island and ordered all construction to cease and all workers to leave the island.  The heartbroken George never stepped foot on Heart Island again.  He never allowed his children or their families to visit the island either.  Boldt Castle was 96% finished the day Louise died, and it would remain unfinished, too.  So great was his love for his wife, and just as great was his pain from losing her, that he could not bear to live there without her.

In 1977, the heirs of George Boldt sold the castle and Heart Island to the state of New York for $1.00 with the following conditions:  1) The castle was to be open to the public and every cent from the sale of tickets was to be put into restoring the castle, which had been vandalized over the decades it remained empty; 2) the restoration was never to go beyond 96% completion, which was the last Louise had ever seen; and 3) no one was ever allowed to live there or stay there.  To date, $38 million have been used in restoring the castle and only one and a half of the 6 floors have been fully restored.

Beginning at the top left corner and continuing clockwise, the photographs are: A view of 75% of Heart Island as seen from our hotel suite’s balcony; the Italian Garden at the rear of the castle with the castle’s power house (also a castle-like structure) in the background; the view of the castle’s main arch entrance where George imagined his guests docking their boats and visiting he and Louise at the castle–to the right is a 6 story playhouse he had designed and constructed for his children and their guests; a rear view of the castle; and, again, the arched entrance to the island.

Steve took me to the Thousand Islands for our anniversary trip, and I was instantly overtaken with the immense love George Boldt had for his wife.  I snapped over 500 photographs, and I apologize that I don’t have a closeup of the front of the castle for you, but those are on another camera card that I have not yet downloaded.

The entire time we were exploring the castle and its grounds on a self-guided tour, Steve and I discussed George and Louise.  All around us were visual signs of their love from heart-shaped flower beds to hand-carved granite benches with huge hearts carved out of the center of each bench’s backrest to the portraits of Louise to the Italian Garden with its carved granite statues.  We wondered what George would think of all the people tramping around the grounds and invading the castle.  We wondered how he would have looked upon the vandalism each room on each floor suffered from careless youths who didn’t know the story behind the castle or perhaps knew it and didn’t care.

As we sat on a magnificent porch, on a heart-shaped bench, I became weepy thinking about George and his immense love of Louise.  With all that Steve has been through this year, perhaps George’s story hit a little too close to home.  Or perhaps I’m just too softhearted and enjoy a good love story.  Maybe a little of both.  One thing I know for certain, George and Louise Boldt are now a part of my own history, and their love story reminds me to be thankful for my own love story!

Finally–so as not to leave on such a sad note–It has been my dream to own an island.  Strange dream, I know.  But ever since I learned that Raymond Burr owned his own island, I’ve wanted to own one myself.  During our stay in Alexandria Bay, we came to learn that there were 3 islands for sale.  The first one we saw had a price of $1.4 million.  The second one we saw had the hefty price tag of $5.5 million.  And the third one was selling for $80,000.  I’ll leave you with the photo of the third island, which is still swimming around in my thoughts as a possibility!

DSCN1396

It’s not the size of the house that matters, but rather the island itself that remains important to me.  <grin>

Until next time, may you be as loved as Louise!!  ❤

Boldt Castle

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I’m Back and Then Gone Again

Jillian here. Now that I’ve wrestled the computer out of Hobbes’ hands, I can tell you all about the fab time I had with Laurie, Lavada and Laurie’s husband. We had a wonderful visit. Mark is a master at making his own apple cider- he even built the press- how cool is that? I very much enjoyed the taste of it and killed a two liter of it while I was there.  He also has a superb garden and we ate fresh from it as well.

Speaking of gardens, I have to tell you, Lavada has shared pictures of hers with us but man, those do not to the place justice. She has created a beautiful outdoor oasis and she should be very proud of it. It has a definite wow factor.

They fed me so much good food while I was there, I got quite spoiled. Lots of great meals and laughter around the table. It was an easy visit and just like home. Except the cooler air was much appreciated. I’m glad they arranged that foe me. 😉

Highlights (as Hobbes said) were the fish market- with beautiful flowers- the space needle, Mt. Rainier (where I got super car sick- bleh), the capitol building and the awesome scenery and the old houses we looked at.

The weirdest thing about the trip was meeting so many people from Florida and even a guy from Alabama who’s dad is best friends with someone I know. How wild is that?

A great trip and now it’s time to plan one where we can all meet up!!

I am in Rhode Island as you read this. Visiting my son and daughter-in-law. Hadn’t  been anywhere in a year and now two trips in two months. That’s how I roll.

Dude, Where’s My Mom?

Hobbes here. On the prowl for Dude. My human mom, Jillian, went missing the week of September 21st and I heard a rumor (and even saw photographic evidence) that she was hanging out with Laurie’s cat, Dude.

the evidence

the evidence

This did not make me happy. I was kind of glad to hear when Laurie and Lavada took Mom (a/k/a the can opener) to the Space Needle and the fish market that Dude had to stay home. Too bad, so sad, Dudester, no fish for you. 011

Hey, wait one second. You know what? She didn’t bring me back any either. Hmmm. I may have to go claw a piece of furniture over that slight.

I also heard no cats got to make the trip to Mount Rainier. Mom said it was gorgeous and I sure would have liked a chance to loll in front of the fireplace in the lodge there. But at least Dude didn’t get to either, right?061

I’m sure when Mom, Laurie and Laurie’s wicked cool husband visited Lavada’s house, they would’ve had to sneak Dude past the home owners association – his fur is probably the wrong color, right? My black and white color scheme would surely pass approval. Poor Dude. He’s pretty but you know how those associations can be.

Mom says the state Capitol building was beautiful and the old houses were really nice. She really liked downtown Olympia and dining near the falls. In fact, she was fed pretty nicely the whole trip. Bet she never thought of poor ole me starving to death at home. The man who lives here isn’t such a softie when it comes to me needing a snack.089

Mom had a great time on her trip but I can’t help but think it would’ve been better for her to stay here and make sure I had enough to eat. Dude and I have that in common. We don’t like it when the can openers leave town.IMG_20150926_050352075

Mom told me that despite my opinion to the contrary, I  am NOT the boss of her and she will go wherever and whenever she pleases.

We’ll just see about that. Won’t we?

Hobbes out!

The trio

The trio

I’m Late! I’m Late for a Very Important Date! by Valerie J. Patterson

Good Saturday morning to you!  As you can tell by the title, I’m late…with this blog article!  Thursday evening as I began to head here to type in my article, the Internet went out and stayed out until sometime Friday afternoon.  Friday evening–after a stressful week–I couldn’t muster the energy to type in my article.  Very sorry if you came and saw NOTHING from me!

The article I was going to post will wait for another day.  Instead, I’ve been inspired by my laziness to offer up something thought-provoking and perhaps memory-recalling!

Last month, Steve and I took our annual wedding anniversary trip, which was quite lovely, very relaxing, and extremely revitalizing!  As is our normal habit, we take one route to our destination and another route back home.  It was on the route back home that brought the only sad note to the entire trip.

While I was growing up, my family practically spent the entire summer camping/living in a very rustic, deep in the heart of nature resort in Deep Creek, Maryland.  Those summers were some of the best times of my youth.  Every trip, we stopped at a restaurant called the Lone Star.   We were such regulars, the waitresses would recite our beverages as we were seated at a table!  This place had the best fried chicken!

There was nothing special about the place.  It was a large diner along the highway, but the food was good, affordable, and the place was clean, the waitresses friendly, and it was a staple in our summer lives.

It’s been years since I last ate there.  In fact, I don’t think I could tell you when it was that I was last a patron there, but in my mind, it remained the same: same waitresses, same food, same decor.  That is until Steve and I happened to pass it on our way home from vacation.  We passed it and my eyes flew to the giant FOR SALE sign in the parking lot.

I made Steve turn around and go back.  I snapped a few pictures, sighed some heavy sighs, and shed a tear or two.  It sounds silly, I know, but my life has changed so much since the death of my dad that I simply wasn’t prepared to see one more casualty of my childhood.

Life is meant to be ever changing as opposed to stagnant.  It’s meant to be a journey of new places, people, and memories created.  You’re intended to go through it as an ever changing being as well.  However, as we age and lose people in our lives it sometimes becomes difficult to let go of “things” that remind us of simpler times or loved ones.

As I said, it’s not like I frequented the Lone Star, but the loss of it means I can never go back!  Perhaps this is also a good thing.  Everything changes with time.  Perhaps being able to go back…and actually going back…would have been harder.  New waitresses.  New menu items.  New cook.  New tastes.

There’s a saying that you can’t go back home again.  I think this is true.  I think it’s a bittersweet “good” thing that you can’t go back.  Not being able to go back keeps our memories pristine and unchanged by time.  While it is hard to let go of the past–be it people, places, or objects–let go we must.

Until next time, as the weather turns cooler, may you have many memories to wrap around you and leave you with a warmth that touches your heart!

The Art of Doing Nothing, by Valerie J. Patterson

Life’s been hectic for a long time, but I’ve been doing my best to just keep moving and get things done as I can.  August 9th was our anniversary and Steve and I took a few days off and allowed no grass to grow beneath our feet as we headed out of town, away from obligations, away from phones and computers, and into the heart of nature.

Oh, and a spa and resort!

In the middle of a state park in Flintstone, Maryland is the Rocky Gap Spa and Golf Resort.  The resort is surrounded on two sides by a 243-acre lake that is a slice of heaven.  There are multiple public beaches along the banks of the lake.  There are plenty of docks for getting a boat in the water, fishing, camping, picnic areas galore, and absolutely gorgeous scenery to help a person forget their cares and leave the work place behind them.

Our room was a lake front room, and the view was stunning.  Steve and I spent long, lazy hours on a blanket on the beach.  We spent evenings ensconced in Adirondack chairs sipping beverages and enjoying quiet conversations, giggles, and memories as we allowed the sun to set around us.  We did nothing we didn’t want to do.  We chased no schedule.  Kept no itinerary.  Barely paid attention to a watch!  Cell phone?  What’s that?  We simply enjoyed one another, our surroundings, and the gorgeous weather.  We took naps and moved relaxation to new heights.

We came back home refreshed, recharged, and rejuvenated.  Every once in a while you need to slow down, take a seat in the grass–or the sand–and soak in the beauty God has given us, has placed all around us.

Until next time, may your next meeting be with a loved one, in the heart of nature with no phones, no noise, and no schedules!

A Bit of Paradise by Valerie J. Patterson

I had a completely different topic in mind for this blog article, but here I sit with my toes deep in luxurious beach sand and out popped this article instead.

The bubbly hubby and I are on holiday at the Outer Banks where the temperatures are a wonderful 83 degrees and absolutely no humidity daily and the evenings are balmy in the 70s.  Our days are spent lazily on a private beach we’ve been sharing with less than a dozen people.  Every hour or so we run into the surf and crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.  There are no cares here on the beach.  We sip chilled glasses of juice or ice cold bottles of water, snack, nap, search for sea shells, talk quietly, and soak up the beauty surrounding us.

But this article is not about the holiday in its entirety.  That’s coming next month complete with some photographs.  No, this blog is about what happened at the beach today.

I was studying the horizon–vast spanse of blue sky meeting vast spanse of ocean–and what should appear?  Two dolphins frolicking in the water.  Their beautiful, water-silkened bodies literally leapt out of the ocean, arcing gracefully before plunging back into the water’s depths.  Then again, they appeared as though playing a game of tag.  Over and over these two beautiful creatures danced in and out of the water to my very delight and ecstatic pleasure.

Because it’s off season, the dolphin and whale watching tours are done. Steve and I were certain we would have little chance of seeing any dolphins. Then it happened. I was right where I was supposed to be, looking exactly where I needed to be looking, and the dolphins were there right where they were supposed to be, and I had a wee bit of paradise.

Until next time, may you find paradise right where you least expect it to be.

October Already? WOW!

Jillian here. Wow. Another month turned over on the calendar last night and here we are entering the fourth quarter of a very speedily passing year. Cripes, before you know it, I’ll be having another birthday! Of course, I don’t mind them since I usually get gift cards to book stores! What could be better than that?

I have zero fall pictures because here in Florida, it hasn’t arrived yet weather-wise although we have actually had some evenings in the 60s and will have the 50s this weekend (that’s Fahrenheit for you guys over the pond)- this will be magnificent and I will wallow in it by going outside and flopping on the still-green grass.

When I was in Paris in August, it was in the 50s at night and I was really digging it. My son and I went on a Seine river cruise and the cool air was divine. As we waited for our boat to arrive, I was amazed at how many different craft were on the river- a lot of them were dining cruises. Here’s some shots of them since Kit wanted to see some more Paris pictures. How cool that I could segue my post with that, huh? LOL!