After months of planning and a few agonizing weeks getting things in order to leave town, Todd and I have finally done it -- we're on vacation!
The first leg of our trip was in the Thousand Islands region of New York. We flew into Syracuse, New York and picked up our rental car to drive to Clayton. We arrived early afternoon to a town that looked suspiciously like, well . . . Eminence.
With one big exception: the St. Lawrence River. Lord, this river is gorgeous. If your idea of a river is the Ohio, you ain't seen nothin'. This water is CLEAR -- I swear you wouldn't mind drinking it! It's a pretty good area for all water activities. Our first afternoon we saw a new one -- bike retrieval.
Seriously, some dude dove down right in front of our inn and hooked himself two bikes. Huh.
Anyway, after checking into the inn (site of the first serving of Thousand Islands dressing to the public, no less) we drove around the area a bit and ate dinner at a little restaurant on the river, where we saw this:
Oh, yeah. That's when you know you're on vacation -- when you take sunset photos.
Monday morning we went on what turned out to be a great kayaking trip. I have to admit, kayaking is not my absolute favorite activity in the world, but in the right conditions, it can be great. And these conditions were right. Beautiful weather (in the mid to upper 70's), great conversation, and cute little islands to navigate around. Here's proof that I actually took part in this activity:
Not that I think you wouldn't believe me, but proof never hurts.
Todd took advantage of our own little deserted island to do some snorkeling:
Later that afternoon, we tried the hardest two people could ever try to go scuba diving. Here's how the afternoon went:
1. Arrive at dive shop. Encounter the world's surliest, most unhelpful and quite possibly craziest dive shop lady. Rent equipment. Ask her for directions to dive sites. She responds: "it's right there in town."
2. Locate first dive location. Discover we have no way of determining our depth (yes, that's important. Haven't you heard of the bends?). Snorkel for awhile, trying to figure this out.
3. Go back to dive shop. Ask about depth gauge. Learn we've had one all along. Harumph.
4. Locate second dive location. Have to stop for directions from girl at national park: "it's right there in town."
5. Drag dive gear to site. Discover that we have been given wrong equipment.
6. Curse crazy old bat who gave us defective equipment.
7. Give up and snorkel.
Actually, although not diving was a big bummer, we did some great snorkeling. We found the remains of some kind of wreck that was shallow enough we could dive to it without equipment. And I just love to watch fish hanging out in their own environment -- and I'm not ordinarily a fish kind of person. But did you know that fish hang out and sit on rocks?
I swear, I saw a fish sitting on a rock. Cool. Todd kept trying to catch one with his bare hands, but those fish were all, "get OUT, crazy land dude. We are not getting caught by bare hands."
This morning, after returning defective dive equipment and getting our money back from crazy dive shop lady, we took a tour of Boldt Castle:
Here's the story: this dude Boldt, some kind of hotel magnate, became enamored of the Thousands Islands, so he bought himself an island, changed its name to Heart Island, and started building a big ol' castle for the love of his life, Louise.
You wouldn't think someone named Louise would inspire such passion, would you? Celeste, maybe. Or Delilah. Louise -- not so much.
Anyway. So, Boldt is just building along, and Louise dies. (Of "consumption," which is what all romantic heroines are supposed to die of.) Boldt immediately orders that all work stop, and the place sat vacant until the mid 1970s, when restoration began.
The coolest part of this story? While it was sitting vacant, it was apparently a graffiti mecca. Seriously, we saw graffiti inside dated WAY back -- like in the 1920's. How cool is that? Some dude even put his address, with a plea: "Please write." I swear, if it hadn't been dated 1927, I would write to the poor schmuck.
After the tour, we headed out of town, crossed the border (where we encountered very suspicious Canadian dudes) and arrived in Montreal tonight. So far it's been great (I'm writing this while listening to the music from the jazz bar downstairs, for example), but this his been a super long post already, so I'll pick up with Montreal tomorrow.
In the meantime, greetings from the Lewis Family vacation!