"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

September 17, 2018

Sept. 16 - Old Québec, QC

“Love is the food of life, travel is dessert.” – Anonymous 

Just a short blog today to let everyone know we left Montreal this morning and headed east. We arrived in Québec City around lunch and the weather is amazing...we've finally found some nice temps. It's been crazy hot up here and in upstate NY lately. We had a wonderful day wandering around Old Québec. I will give more details (and pictures) when I have time. For now here's a look at the place we're staying and Stan's birthday dinner.

We ate at Le Lepin Sauté in the Petit Champlain neighborhood. This little street is in lower town...outside the city wall.
We had the Maple Whiskey Smoked Salmon for an appetizer, Stan had the trout and I had pasta with tomatoes, olives, kale pesto and caramelized nuts, and for dessert we had the deconstructed carrot cake.
Our loft os located in the walls of Old Québec City, it's close to everything. We are on the top floor...lots of narrow stairs...lots of exercise. This is our street.
This is our house
We have a small terrace, but to get out to it we have to go throw the window.
This is our view from the terrace the Château Frontenac in the back ground.

September 16, 2018

Sept. 15 - Montréal, QC

SpringHill Suites Marriott 

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.” – Cesare Pavese
The first stop on our Québec Adventure was Montréal. We spent a few days here in 2012 and thought it would make a nice stop on our way to Québec City. Montréal has many wonderful neighborhoods to explore, but we spent our time in Old Montréal. Old Montréal sits on the edge of the St Lawrence River, it's the city's oldest district founded as a fur trading post in 1605 by Samuel de Champlain. It's composed of picturesque squares and grand old-world architecture. Today the cobblestone streets are full of museums, shops, art galleries, parks, bars and sidewalk cafes. The perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. We got to town in time for a late lunch at sidewalk cafe at Place Jacques-Cartier. We enjoyed music by street performers while we ate lunch. 

Montreal City Hall is the seat of local government in Montreal. It built between 1872 and 1878.
Place Jacques-Cartier, has served as a marketplace in Montreal even before a European settlement was here and it's now one of Montréal's most bustling tourist areas, lined with outdoor cafés and filled with street performers.  
Bonsecours Market has been a public market for more than 100 years. It also briefly accommodated the Parliament of United Canada for one session in 1849. 
Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is one of the oldest churches in Montreal, built in 1771 over the ruins of an earlier chapel.  
The La Grande Roue de Montréal (Montreal Observation Wheel) gives riders a breathtaking view of the river, Old Montreal, downtown and the mountains, but at $25 a person...we decided to pass. 
The best shopping in Old Montreal, in my opinion was at La Cour, a courtyard full of artist stalls filled with locally made items.
We enjoyed dinner was at Pizzaiolle, our food very good and it was far enough away from the touristy areas around Place Jacques-Cartier and the Old Port to make it quiet and peaceful.
SpringHill Suites
A video look at Montréal

September 15, 2018

Québec Adventure

"Fascism is cured by reading and racism is cured by traveling" -Miguel de Unamuno
We're off on a new adventure...this time by car. We're heading to Québec City. It's been on our list of places to visit for a long time. It felt a little daunting to go by boat, so we decided to drive over this week to celebrate the captain's birthday.

History Lesson:
Québec City is the capital of Québec. It has a feel and look of an old European city with its charming cobblestoned streets lined with cafes, patisseries and artisan shops. It’s the only walled city north of Mexico. The French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded Québec early in the 17th century, and the ramparts, gates and other fortifications that surround the city serve as a reminder of its role in the colonial wars for control of the Americas.

The name "Québec", which comes from the Algonquin word kébec meaning "where the river narrows", originally referred to the area around Québec City where the Saint Lawrence River narrows to a cliff-lined gap. Québec is the only province in Canada to have a predominantly French-speaking population, with French as the sole provincial official language.

Québec’s Upper Town (Haute-Ville) is perched on cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence River and provide views of the countryside for many miles beyond. Accessible by steep stairs or via funicular car, Old Québec’s Lower Town (Basse-Ville) has its own historic charms. It sprang up around the city’s harbor and was the original neighborhood of the city. Over the next few days we plan to explore every nook and cranny.

The orange section of this map is Old Québec (upper town), the purple section is the Old Port and the red section is du Petit-Champlain (both sections are lower town)...all places we plan to visit while we're in Québec City. To see details on this map, click on the picture to enlarge.
A short video showing Old Quebec City

September 4, 2018

Thousand Islands Lighthouses

I've enjoyed taking pictures of lighthouses since we left Texas in 2011. I have a lighthouse map and an online photo album with 267 lighthouses that I like adding new lighthouses to. The past year or so I haven't seen too many new lighthouses, but our trip to the 1000 Islands gave me a chance to collect a few more.

Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse - There have been a series of lights marking the entrance to Oswego harbor since 1821. This is the most recent and only one remaining today. It was built in 1834.
Stoney Point Lighthouse - First built in 1939, a new tower was built in 1869 to increase its visibility. It's near Henderson Harbor, NY.
Horse Island Lighthouse - Built to guide mariners into Sackets Harbor, the first lighthouse was established in 1831 and replaced in 1871. It's a private island now and only the top of the light can be seen from the water.
Galloo Island Lighthouse - Built in 1820, construction of a replacement limestone lighthouse was completed in 1867.
East Charity Shoal Lighthouse - A buoy was placed on the shoal in 1900. In 1934, a more permanent solution was created when the old pier light form Vermillion on Lake Eerie was placed on the concrete pier and base on the shoal.
Tibbetts Point Lighthouse - Located in Cape Vincent, New York, it was the first Thousand Islands lighthouse built at the outlet of Lake Ontario in 1827. 
Wolfe Island Lighthouse (Québec Head) - It was built on the eastern shore of Wolfe Island in 1861 to mark the route to Kingston to the North and Lake Ontario to the south. It's a short 20' tall "pepper pot" structure. The owners of the land around the light built a replica of the Thomas Point Shoal light (located in the Chesapeake Bay) as their summer cottage.
Rock Island Lighthouse - Established in 1847 and rebuilt in 1903. It's owned by New York Parks and open for visits during the summer months.
We took our dinghy over to the island and had a chance to climb to the top. It gave us a great view of the river...unfortunately the windows were pretty dirty and I didn't get many good pictures.
Sunken Rock Lighthouse - Established in 1847, the lighthouse was rebuilt in 1882.
Sisters Island Lighthouse - Built in 1870 and is now privately owned.
Crossover Island Lighthouse - this light station was established in 1848, but completely rebuilt in 1899. It's now privately owned.
Cole Shoal Front Range Lighthouse - Erected to mark a rocky shoal which lay in the river off property owned the Cole family in 1860. The lantern was removed in 1923.
Cole Shoal Rear Range Lighthouse - Erected in 1917 to serve as a rear range to the 1860 Cole Shoal Light. It was deactivated in 1923 and is privately owned.
Prescott Lighthouse - The light was originally on the redbrick building known as the Dominion Lighthouse Depot, that sat along the waterfront in Prescott from 1903 to 1985. When the old building was demolished in 1986 the light was saved and placed on this new building in 1989. It serves as an ice cream shop and visitor center during the summer.
Of course this isn't a lighthouse, but I forgot to add it to another post. This island is very close to Heart Island where Boldt Castle is, it's called Just Room Enough Island. Just Room Enough Island, also known as Hub Island is the smallest inhabited island, located on the United States side of the Thousand Islands.

August 31, 2018

Thousand Islands Boathouses

Heaven is a little closer in a home by the water.

The Webster Dictionary's definition for boathouse is simple: a shed at the edge of a river or lake used for housing boats. In the Thousand Islands they take their boat houses a little more serious than that and some are over a century old built as lavish retreats on their own, with bedrooms, dining rooms, fireplaces and even ballrooms. Grand boathouses dotted the St. Lawrence River during its Golden Age when wealthy business barons owned fleets of vessels. Other boathouses are practical ports of call. Like every island, every boathouse has a story to tell. 

Boathouses in the Thousand Islands come in all sizes.The Boldt Yacht House was built in 1899 to accommodate as many as 60 of Boldt’s watercraft, including skiffs, steam yachts, runabouts and his luxury houseboat. 
Some are extremely small like this one we found close to Brockville, ON.
They also come in all colors, like these in Thousand Island Park
Some are very interesting like these two found near Alexandria Bay.
And some are plain...but most are well kept and decorated with with flowers.
Some of the boathouses look like houses.

August 30, 2018

Aug. 25 – Thoroughbred Horse Racing

Baldwinsville Free Dock

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ―Mother Teresa

Early Saturday morning our friends from Oneonta called...they raise horses at their Waterhill Farm. One of their babies was running in a race at the Finger Lakes Racetrack and they wanted to know if we'd like to join them. Of course we wanted to! They picked us up in Baldwinsville and off we went for a day of fun at the racetrack. Finger Lakes Racetrack isn't as fancy as Saratoga Race Track, that we visited last summer, but it sure was fun watching a horse run that our friends had raised.

Playin Disco is a three year old filly bred on Waterhill Farm and owned by Dr. Blum. This is her first year to race. She came in third today, but she won a race back in June. It was so exciting watching her run and of course being at the track with breeders meant we got access to places others didn't. We had a wonderful day watching the horses run and catching up with Maryann and George. 

Playin Disco coming into the paddock
Getting ready in the paddock  
Playin Disco heading to the track
Playin Disco came in third in her race
Enjoying the races with George and Maryann
After the races we went to the barns to visit Playin Disco
George and Maryann really love and miss their horse
Maryann talking to Playin Disco's trainer
 We had dinner at the Lock 24 Restaurant.