Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Canada Trip - Day 1

Our plan was for me to arrive at LM's house on Friday evening so we could load the car and get to bed early prior to our planned departure time at 3 am Saturday morning.My timely arrival found me very impressed at his organization, to put it mildly!  LM had prepared the house for his sister, Lois's stay during our absence and soon we had the car packed, snacks prepared in a cooler, and after a little entertainment for Ms G, we were sleeping soundly in preparation for the alarm at 2 am.  My plan was to give Ms G a little fresh catnip as a parting gift, but quicker than I could call LM to come watch the hijinks, she found the envelope, and was a party animal extraordinaire....after these shots were taken, she ran around like a crazed horse and rolled all over the dining room table knocking things down, singing, "Everybody Must get Stoned".....we laughed til we were doubled over.  The catnip had come via mail from my friend, Priscilla.  A very appreciated gift for the divine Ms G.

At 2:50 am we pulled out of the driveway with Cheshire cat grins, holding hands sweetly, and set off for what we consider the trip of a lifetime....Canada bound, by way of a few days in NY's 1000 Island region.  As we drove into the morning, our thoughts were on how happy we always are on these road trips, sharing deep conversations in the darkness, and awaiting the dawn to bring us to our favorite point - getting off the highway to drive secondary roads to delve in to the real America.  We always seem to find slices of life to talk of way in to the future. 

LM drives these roads for work, much more often than I do, so he is always happy to show me his favorite landmarks, and below is one of them - crossing the Hudson River, with a very rusty, seemingly unusable railroad bridge off to the left.  He has often seen trains moving across at a snail's pace.
My view of the Hudson to the right with a sky befitting our happiness that morning.
Looking up........
Soon the promised perfect day was lighting our way.  The trees were just beginning to reveal their Fall brilliance.
After passing through Albany, and just east of Utica, we veered off the highway and began the delightful drive north, following the western side of the Adirondack Mountains.  This was new territory for both of us, so we slowly made our way through miles and miles of glorious wilderness.  A few small towns dotted our path, and we came across this happy cow, along with many, many of the real thing. 
There were a few businesses, but not many. We wondered how the residents made a living. Sadly, there were many abandoned buildings and homes, but they held their own stark interest for us. When it came time for breakfast, we hunted a long time and finally made a stop at a combination bowling alley, VERY busy bar and breakfast place.  To say we were a little happy to leave that place, is an understatement.  Let's just say it is rural....makes a good story.
Beautiful farms.......

Green, green!  We did pass through some medium sized towns that seemed to be still in 1940-50, and in one, as we approached, the aroma of barbeque was so strong that with the car windows closed, it was still overwhelming.   As we neared the town center, all the streets were blocked off (except our route), and the townsfolk were setting up row upon row of tables.  A banner welcomed us to their annual Cream Cheese festival!!  Every corner had someone with huge drums cooking barbecue.  We passed through but thought what fun it might have been to join in their celebration.
Just before 11 am, we reached our first destination. Clayton is a lovely small town on the banks of the St. Lawrence Seaway. 
 Finding the Harts Wooden Boat Inn was our first task. This sweet flower was outside to the door of our unit at this adorable 6 unit motel.
 At the rear of the main house was a separate unit, #6, and that was for us!!
This inviting outdoor sitting area with stone fireplace was just outside our door.  To the right, just out of sight, was a screen porch adjacent to the main building, and leading to a lovely very updated kitchen area.  Loved the old-fashioned wooden screen door.
More flowers outside our door.
Driveway hydrangeas.....the sky could not have been more beautiful.
Our wonderful room. The king-sized bed was wonderfully comfortable with very luxurious linens.
These sunflowers were just across the street and I had to walk  over to capture their beauty. The appeared to be dancing in the sun.
Looking at the rest of the units from our doorway.  This place is lovingly maintained and completely updated.
Clayton has a number of claims to fame but their Wooden Boat Museum has to be one of the most fascinating places we've ever visited.  It houses an astounding collection of very beautiful wooden boats, and the canoe display caught LM's attention right away. When we peeked inside the first one, there was a taxidermied Muskelunge, commonly know as a Muskie, and member of the pike family.  Of course, this beauty caught the eye my avid fisherman.
Here he points out the Muskie info on the wall.
A great collection of antique lures used for lake fishing.
He made me take his photo, and very quickly, before he was caught red-handed!
After watching an interesting video about the museum history and these beautiful antique boats, we set out on the rest of our tour.
Looking in to an engine compartment.
A lovely zinnia in one of the many gardens on the museum grounds.
A centerpiece of the Wooden Boat Museum's collection is La Duchesse, a very luxurious houseboat. The tour was so interesting and it is a treasured part of the St. Lawrence river history and its past as a summer haven for the very wealthy.
Waiting for the house boat tour to start. The weather was so beautiful that day...really warm for Sept.
Our experienced guide brought us first into the dining room. 
A  most unusual brass fireplace surround was decorated with seashells.

The master bedroom! I truly wanted to move right in.

The sitting area of the master bedroom.
Yet another lovely fireplace.
This piano is a very rare collectors item and is still used on occasion.  It has been beautifully restored after many years of neglect in a storage area.
This "most likely" Tiffany glass skylight window is above the piano in the living room.
Just beyond the living room on the second floor is this lovely outside entertainment deck. The floor is set for dancing and in summer there is beautiful wicker furniture for lounging.
Close-up of piano.

Living room flowers.
The ceilings in all the entertaining rooms were covered in white canvas and adorned with gold leaf decorations.
The kitchen.  Also, there were many rooms on the first floor for the help that was required to keep this beauty in full entertainment mode.
After leaving La Duchesse, we began the rest of our tour by strolling through the docks in the boathouse (where La Duchesse lives in the winter).  The wood on these vessels is amazing.

Next we went in to the main building to look at another huge collection.

This one was really fun and there is another shot below.

The larger boats had convenient wooden steps from which you could get a closer look inside these beautifully crafted boats.
The engine collection.
The racing boats.....

After our delightful tour, it was time to take a drive around Clayton, find a place for dinner later that evening, and see where we would like to walk, then check in to our little haven.  We found Bella's and it was a perfect choice, perched right above the St. Lawrence Seaway. We came back later and shared a delicious dinner while watching all the boat traffic. Bella's has a small menu but each dish was exquisite.  Mine was sweet/spicy glazed salmon perched on some jasmine rice and served fresh local greens. PERFECTION!
Pretty flowers along the main street.
Some lovely architecture.
Just in front of Bella's.
.....we were soon back to our haven to prepare for our river cruise the next morning. To be continued


Kittie Howard said...

What a fantastic trip! I've never visited this side of the SL River, and your photos triggered the Aha moment to visit Clayton. Loved your photos. There seems to be much to do there.

We were just on some of your early trip roads. I'm always surprised at how rural NY really is.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! I bet LM was in 7th Heaven with wood boats and fish to hold!! The boat docks were really neat. All those pretty boats!! Bella's looked to be quaint and glad to hear the food was devine! Seems like you had a full day!!!....while Ms G was back home in La La land with her Cat Nip! lol....debbie

judemiller1 said...

Taking the back roads is the ONLY way to vacation!!!

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Thanks for sharing
whst a wonderful trip you are on.