Our 2018 Vacation – Part 3: Day 2 In Gananoque

Today was a very interesting day. Despite our desire not to vacation in the United States because it’s currently not a friendly place to be at the moment, it seems that we were going to the US side of the Thousand Islands as part of a boat cruise to see a castle. That required our passports which we had brought with us. But let’s start a breakfast and work from there. If you recall, we were staying at a bed and breakfast called Seaway Manor. The people who run this place really go above and beyond for their guests. While they did have a set breakfast menu, when I asked for cereal, they not only provided that, but they got the run down on what I liked to eat so they could serve up exactly what I would like. I was pretty impressed with that.

So after breakfast, which my wife and I agreed was great, we made the 15 minute drive to Rockport Ontario where we could get on to the cruise boat that my wife booked for us through Rockport Cruises. Now in the dock area, I managed to get some pictures of the area:

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Now the cruise was scheduled to be four hours. Roughly 45 minutes to get to the castle. Two hours on the castle grounds, and an hour to come back. Thus after boarding, I started to snap pictures of the Thousand Islands:

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Now the Thousand Islands is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway which sits between Canada  and the US. Besides being used to get tons of goods from overseas into the heart of North America, it’s a popular vacation spot for people from both countries and beyond. To illustrate this, the picture below is of a house on the Canadian side of the seaway, and an island that is on the US side with a bridge in between which is the world’s smallest international bridge:


Here’s the approach to our destination. Boldt Castle. The Wikipedia article that I linked to gives you the history which is a very interesting one that is romantic as well. The castle sits on Heart Island which is on the US side of the seaway.

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And when you dock, you’ll be reminded of the fact that you’re in the United States Of America:


This is where you need your passport. No passport, no castle tour. To be fair, you get asked for your passport when you buy your ticket (prices and schedules can be found here). After you get through this checkpoint, you have to buy a ticket to the castle or to the boat house that’s a short boat ride away:


My wife and I didn’t go to the boat house as you need about two hours to tour the castle and another 30-40 minutes to tour the boat house, and our boat pickup was exactly two hours after they dropped us off. Here’s the pricing for all of that:


Top tip #1:  They take US Dollars (Canadian money is no good here) and credit cards. Debit cards don’t work here but they do have an ATM that spits out US dollars apparently.

Top tip #2: Bring a set of headphones and connect your smartphone to the Boldt Castle WiFi. Then download the Boldt Castle App from the App Store or from Google Play. That will allow you to have a guided audio tour of the grounds that is really useful. I should warn you that the WiFi won’t allow you to check your email or play Fortnite. It’s only for use for the app.

Top tip #3: Expect to have your Canadian cell phone roam onto a US carrier either when you hit the dock in Rockport Ontario, or as soon as you get out on the water depending on who your carrier is. Thus it helps to have a roaming plan to keep your costs down such as Telus Easy Roam in my case which allowed me to roam for $7. Alternately, if you want to avoid roaming charges, you should put your phone into airplane mode before you hit the dock in Rockport.

As I said earlier, the tour takes two hours and here’s a sampling of what you will see starting with the inside of the castle:

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And on the outside:

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It is a very impressive place and well worth the visit. On the way back to Rockport, we got a look at some high end cottages on “millionaires row.”

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The one thing that happened on the return trip is that my iPhone 7 Plus got down to 20% left in the battery. That’s likely due to the 150 or so pictures that I took, and then subsequently uploaded to iCloud using the WiFi offered by the bed and breakfast that we were staying at. To the other guests of the Seaway Manor who’s bandwidth I monopolized, I am sorry. But at least I had a backup battery pack to top off the phone’s battery until I got back to the car.

Upon returning to the bed and breakfast and resting up, it was time for dinner. We headed out to Kingston again and went to the place on the left called Atomica:


This place has great pizza. And you can watch it being made right in front of you if you’re seated in the right place:


If you love your pizza, you have to come to this place. Then it was off to to Mio Gelato for some dessert. Then back to the bed and breakfast for some sleep.

Next up was a hike assuming that the weather co-operates. Find out how that goes tomorrow.

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