Woke up this morning after a bit of a restless night. I managed to get some sleep but Nat’s night was long (he only needs about 5 or so hours and then he’s wide awake).
As we had vouchers for all of our meals, and as there are 2 restaurants and a pub in the Rockport Boathouse complex, we headed to the smaller restaurant to get a good breakfast before catching the charter cruise by 10:00 AM. Feeling like proper tourists, Nat and I both donned the requisite ID tags for the boat and group we would be with. Breakfast was good and turned out to be much needed as lunch was a few hours away.
We boarded the Sea Prince II, sat along the port side of the 2-deck ship along with about 50 to 60 people and were away. The day was cool but began to warm up bit as the hours passed. The St. Lawrence River was calm and our ship sailed along its coarse heading up to our first destination – Boldt Castle – on the U.S. side. As we disembarked U.S. Custom Boarder agents checked each Passport making sure there were no aliens amongst us, and we continued on our walk upwards and along a stone walkway to the Castle.
As our boat began to approach the docks at Boldt Castle, the cameras were snapping away like crazy. An impressive image and one with a true love story. Mr. Boldt began building this humungous structure for his beloved wife. The stone work, brick work, interior designs, and even the fabulous boat house were sites to behold, but alas Mrs. Boldt passed away before her hubby was able to finish his precious home. He immediately stopped all construction and never again returned to his Castle in the sky.
At Boldt Castle we were allowed to wander about and through each and every room as we wished, along with (thankfully) taking an elevator to the basement, ground floor, 2nd and 3rd floors, as desired. Nat and I wandered around the ground and 2nd floor levels, snapping pictures along the way. Everywhere we wandered there was amazing period furniture, gigantic fireplaces, ornate furniture and fixtures, and a massive staircase only Cinderella could appreciate. The outside gardens, fabulous boathouse and surrounding scenery of the St. Lawrence was just as amazing as the inside. With his more sophisticated camera, Nat was able to get some gorgeous shots, while I managed to snap a few myself on what is now becoming an antiquated digital camera that kept using batteries as fast as I could snap. Thank God we brought both cameras or else we would have been disappointed if we only used my little thing.
Back on board the Sea Prince after buying a couple of souvenirs at the Castle, we were soon on our way up the River to Singer Castle (yes, the Sewing Machine company but now owned by a German Company that only buys Castles to allow guided tours, etc.) Embarking onboard the boat we were guided to the lower level where a buffet lunch was being presented. A nice setting with white linen cloths draping each table and a window view of the American and Canadian coastlines. The lunch included choices of 3 different salads, a pasta, roast beef or roast chicken entree and was well received. We all felt the meal was a bit cold, however, after all it had travelled from back at Rockport to its awaiting passengers 45 minutes away.
This tour would be a guided one and, in my opinion, an impressive structure, but I was more in awe of Mr. Boldt’s meager abode. Singer Castle (on Dark Island) was certainly as impressive, along with a room for servants containing 9 beds and the same amount of wardrobe nooks. This particular Castle had all kinds of secret passageways for the servants to run to and fro throughout the building so as not to be seen by any of the residents. Frederick Bourne, President of Singer Manufacturing, apparently believed that the lesser Classes of society were not to be seen! Most of the rooms were nice but as the original furnishings and fixtures were still in use, it was obvious that some of the material on certain pieces was beginning to detiorate and fade. The proof was in massive golden green velvet curtains adorning certain doors and entryways that use to be a royal blue. If you unfurled the pleats of these curtains you could see the blue throughout. Certain lampshades sitting nearby windows were torn and faded. Kind of a shame, as I’m sure these items, when new, would have been quite stunning.
With the tour now over, and a quick look around the gift shop, Nat and I took a seat nearby the docking area. We were exhausted. No elevator in Singer Castle and we had climbed around 180 steps up and down throughout the entire tour. From the ground floor to the 3rd and 4th floors meandering up and around wooden staircases and even some stone steps, the walking was becoming tiring and my body was beginning to fade physically. I did it, however, and Nat was more than pleased that I stuck with it. We both counted this tour as my exercise for the weekend that I was missing if we had been home.
The cruise home seemed a long one. Looking around it was obvious each of us tourists were tired. Some passengers began to nod off, while others munched on bags of popcorn and/or a drink from the bar onboard. On the trip Home Nat and I sat along the starboard side and were able to catch a better view of Millionaires’ Row that we had missed on the way up. Lining the shores of the St. Lawrence on the U.S. side were cottages that looked like small castles in their own right, with boathouses just as beautiful. Nat managed to get some great pictures, along with a great shot of a sea plane taking off from one of the cottages.
Finally back at the Inn. Nat and I headed for our room, took a deep breath and a more comfy seat from the wooden benches onboard the boat, and then headed down to the Pub for our free supper. Pizza for Nat and a Montreal-Smoked Meat on Rye for me. A bit more delicious than the (frozen-style) fish ‘n chips we had eaten the previous night. We then settled in for the night after getting our new route through the U.S. set up, hoping the scenery would be more “scenic” and the travel time would be an hour less. This had been an extremely tiring – albeit “worth it” – tour. Nighty-night by 11:00 PM. Homeward bound on Monday and looking forward to it.