This was part of our journey to Niagara (here), and eventually to the cities of Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal (here). Continuing on from the great falls, we drove on to Lake Ontario, one of the great lakes that separate the US and Canada. This was thus a short stop before we made the longer part of our journey.
These interconnected lakes form the largest fresh water lakes in the world, containing 21% of the globe’s surface fresh water it is said . Situated between both countries, it eventually connects to the Atlantic ocean, so theoretically ship traffic can traverse all the way connecting the landlocked US state of Minnesota with the Atlantic ocean!
Naturally with water flowing or “gathered” at the path of least resistance, the basins for which the lakes formed will have many islands. In fact, across the five lakes there are said to be more than 35,000 of them. If one tries to visit one each day, one would need more than 95 years. But today we are not here to see all of them, or even many of them.
Rather, we were here for the
From the little town of Rockport we boarded the Heart of the islands cruise. It was interesting to note they don’t have sailings on certain days, so look out for the schedules at their website. And be aware of their booking policies too… alternatively, drive further down to Kingston where they are a few other cruise operators.
This hour long cruise took us first to the wide St Lawrence river which forms the northwestern section of the border with the US state of New York. Fear not non Americans and Canadians! No passport is required for the cruise even though we may cross over to US territory…
In this part of the great lakes there are already said to be a thousand islands. And it was for one specific island that that we were here for. For it is to ‘Heart’ island that we wanted to wander close by. Our cruise did not include a stop, so for those who wish to visit the island do take note that there is a US customs and border station to check identifications for those coming over from the Canadian side. Ok so who says a passport is not required!
Bodt castle, built by a lovelorn man for his wife commenced construction from 1900. Originally an island with a cottage for summertime, its owner wanted to build a “castle” as a present for his wife.
Unfortunately his wife passed away before its completion and the works on it were halted in 1904. For many years it was left derelict and prey to the elements until 1977 when the authorities purchased the property and started restoration works. Today if one really lands on the island, one can wander about what was once a happy summer home.
It was a pleasant cruise, especially that we had such nice sunny weather. And this was complemented by the wonderful views of the houses built on the islands. Yes, there are a great many of them. And today one can search online to view the islands that are for sale in the great lakes.
And it’s no wonder. Look at these beautiful homes that had been built by the wealthy in the late 19th century and the hey days of the booming 1920. Imagine spending many a beautiful summer’s day there! Of course one needs to consider that these are but summer homes… as the harsh winters can be really cold and damp. Plus access is likely to be a challenge. We assume you have your own boat to get here…And then there are the facilities to be maintained. How to ensure running water, electricity and gas? Folks who have summer homes elsewhere should appreciate that. And we have not mentioned the taxes too… Anyway we digress.
If we do chance upon a return here, we would probably plan to stay a night. For walking on Bodt castle is probably the one thing to tick off our bucket list. Not to mention other attractions that are in the vicinity.
A day trip might suffice for casual visiting like we did. But if you want to enjoy paradise even for one day without having to own it, then come here for at least two.
This journey took place in July 1997