Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Day Tripping

One of the day trips we took was a cruise to Heart Island, to visit Boldt Castle.  This was built as a hunting lodge, or rather I'm guessing as holiday home, for the Boldt family.  The Castle has 120 rooms,  in 6 stories, fancy gardens, it's own power generation building, a dove-cote and even a playhouse.  In 1904, the lady of the household died unexpectedly and all building was stopped, leaving it unfinished and never used.   It's being restored to what would have been it's former glory if it had been finished.   I didn't take photos of the inside as there were just too many people around.  Only a portion of the castle has been restored, but much of the rest was open to the public.  You could see many of the original materials.  As well, there were copies of the original plans, so they know what it was supposed to look like.

This lovely building was the power house.  It originally held generators to supply the castle with electricity.   We were able to go through the lower level which houses an interesting photo display of the Boldt family and other historical events of the buildings on Heart, including fire and the ravages of time.

The Alster Tower was the playhouse.  It was supposed to house a billiard room, a dance hall, library, bedrooms, kitchen and even a bowling alley.   It's currently undergoing extensive renovations so we weren't able to visit it.

The official entry location of Heart Island was this archway.   It was to allow yachts to anchor outside and people would be brought in through the archway.  It was supposed to have a drawbridge and covered walkways on either side.  Plans had it leading to a swan pond.

The yacht house is on Wellesley Island.  It's been restored as well.  However with only a 2 hour stopover, we chose not to take the shuttle boat over to visit it.  There was enough to see as it was.

It took about an hour and a half to get there and the same amount of time back, following different routes, so there was a lot of changing and new scenery each way.    There are a lot of raised nests with imposing Osprey sitting on them, survey their domains.   On smaller rocks and islands, there were many Cormorants in small groups.  They seemed a much more playful bird than the Osprey.

There was so much to see and so many renovations still happening that we'd love to go back in a couple of years to see how it's progressed.

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