A little history and a lot of islands

Trip Start Jun 16, 2012
Trip End Jul 28, 2012

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Where I stayed
Rideau Acres campground

Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Monday, July 16, 2012

July 15 – Montreal to Kingston

We left as soon as we could to get out of the worst campground we had ever stayed at. Pulling out was a little tricky as there were a ton of trees around the supposed pull-through site. But I made it without any scratches. However, as par for the course until we could leave this place, a car blocked our way out so I had to wait a few min. to have them move it. Just GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!! Finally we broke free and were on our way out of Quebec. Though I'm sure the rest of the province is not so bad, this campground does not help its reputation.

Our destination, Kingston, is only a few hours away. Right across the border to Ontario we got some diesel at a Flying J for much cheaper price than in Quebec. The drive on the 401 highway was easy with nice hills and farms along the route. Our campground is located to the north of the city on a wide part of the Rideau Canal system – called Rideau Acres. Wow, what a night and day difference. The price was a little lower than the cesspool of a campground near Montreal, but this place was one of the best. Check-in was easy, the WiFi was fast at the office, the grounds were well kept, and we were right on the canal/lake. This was a place you could spend time in and relax. Just like the Montreal one, most people here were seasonal campers.

The only negative thing to happen right away was the electrical power – we flipped a campground breaker. So I went outside and found what I thought was our electric box and flipped a switch. It did not help, but I did get a few complaints as it turns out I flipped the switch for my entire row of campers and cut their power. Opps!!  After a bit I finally figured out which switch was mine and everything worked after that.

After lunch we drove into town. Kingston is one of the oldest towns in Canada and was a major port on Lake Ontario for hundreds of years. It was very large during the War of 1812. We parked several blocks outside the town center in a residential section and walk our dogs all over. We walked the harbor front and went in and out of a few shops. Nothing of major interest on the shopping front though some of the restaurants looked interesting. After our walk we went back to the RV to relax for the evening and for me to do some much needed WiFi.

July 16th – Kingston

Since Pooja is not much into history, today was my day just to bum around the town and do some historic things. My first order of business was the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. They had a small exhibition of the War of 1812, but nothing like the Military Museum in Ottawa. There was a retired ice breaker parked outside the museum which was neat to run all over and check out the rooms and imagine how people lived. Inside the main building, which was an old pump house to work on ships, was a great exhibition on many of the ships that plied the water around the great lakes. Again, I budgeted only a few hours here but stayed much more.

Across the river I went to Ft. Henry National Historical Site. Again, being Canada, museum and historic sites are a little more expensive than in the US. However, they do more stuff here than many places back home. At Ft. Henry, there were several re-enactors doing various things. Many of them are high school and college kids doing summer jobs. My guy gave us a one hour tour around the fort which was worth the $15 price of admission. Besides the tour and history of the fort – which was never fired on, even during the War of 1812 – some of the re-enactors we marching up and down the parade grounds playing traditional English military songs. At the end of the tour was a firing of the cannon which was pretty loud and impressive. I only had an hour here however they have activities throughout most of the day. My ticket is good for tomorrow too so I might try to drop by.

On the way back to the RV I picked up some Cambodian food to go – never had it and they have several Cambodian places in town. Maybe because it was to go the food was just OK – it was a little bit spicier but still mostly Southeast Asian type. In the evening we just relaxed and I did some more WiFi. I tried to read a little on the back at the lake but right as the sun was going down the "no-see-ums" were out in force and bit me all over – even with the mosquito coils burning around me.

July 17th – Kingston to Boldt Castle

In the morning, I took Pooja to a U-pick farm to get some raspberries. The place is called Fruition Farms. There were so many ripe raspberries that it did not take too much time to fill our buckets up with the yummy red berries. Of course, Pooja and I had to sample a few also along the way. After the u-pick, I dropped Pooja back off to the RV while I took a drive to another village to take a small cruise.

I took an all day cruise today on the Thousand Islands between Ontario and New York and spent a few hours at Boldt Castle. The cruise left from this quaint town called Gananoque – another old port town. I made my way to the top of the boat to get a better view of the area. The Thousand Islands are actually tens of thousands of island located in between Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Some of the islands are only an acre or less big and most have houses of them – some just lake-type houses with a few rooms and others massive cottages that was the home to many of the robber barons of New York City. It is neat to imagine what life is like on some of these island houses – expensive I am sure, but very picturesque. The main event on this cruise was a stop at the most famous island house – Boldt Castle. The island was several acres large and there was a massive house on a hill in the middle of it that looks a little like a castle in Europe – Boldt got a lot of his inspiration from the Newchinstine castle in Bavaria. We got two hours here which was just enough time to explore most of the rooms and the grounds outside the castle. Boldt was building this for his wife with all the modern convinces of the late 1800s and early 1900s. However, with the house 90% finished, the wife died and Boldt never set foot on the island again, and the house remained unfinished. Many decades later, the state of New York bought the island and has been slowly renovating it ever since. Some of the buildings reminded me of a Dr. Suess wonderland. The last 30 min. it rained like crazy which gave everything a different feeling. Also, my camera decided to stop working – not fun as there were a few more shots on the cruise back that I wanted to take. The cruise back just took a few hours and it was very relaxing as I had no camera to concentrate on pictures.

Back in Gananoque, I took the scenic road back to the RV. I did stop by the fort again to check out just a few more things I had missed the day before. Since Rideau Acres was such a great park, it was easy to come back and relax and do a little WiFi. Pooja did not spend much time in the town but had a great time taking care of the dogs around the campground.

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