Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mysterious Photo Shoot at Singer Castle

Above photo, Tom Weldon at the helm with the Mondores as cargo arriving at Singer Castle on Dark Island (Picture by Bob Mondore).

As reported in the Thousand Islands Sun (9/16/09)...
Robert and Patty Mondore, producers of Dark Island’s Castle of Mysteries DVD recently revisited Singer Castle for a photo shoot. The Mondores are working on another mysterious project hopefully to be released in the spring. They were graciously welcomed by General Manager, Tom Weldon and the Castle Historian, Judy Keeler. Tom walked the Mondores through the castle sharing his vast knowledge on recent updates and renovations done by the current owners. The Mondores were greatly impressed by all of the time, effort, financial investment and care that has gone into Singer Castle since its purchase in 2002.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Morrisania's last trip, shutting down forever.

The antique wooden boat called the Morrisania (from Morristown, NY) built in 1923 will be making its last run this Saturday, 9/19/09 to Singer Castle on Dark Island (or for a shore dinner, or a twilight cruise at Josephine's Marina and Bistro). The Morristown Boat Lines running the only antique tour boat in the Thousand Islands will completely cease all tour operations.

The Watertown Daily Times reports that manager Ron Wright attributes its closing down due to "The high cost of doing business today ... Also, the high cost of insurance, inspection fees, government regulations, drug tests, docking and storage." The article continues "He said this season was a 'good year considering the poor weather in July and the slow economy.'"

To see a news video clip of the Morrisania, click on this link... WWNY (7 NEWS, Watertown).

You must call ahead to the Morristown Boat Lines for reservations to catch a last ride on this antique beauty...315-375-8213. See my earlier blog for other boat tour information for getting to Singer Castle and Boldt Castle, as well as other destination points in the 1000 islands.

Disclaimer: This blog has no affiliation with Singer Castle or Boldt Castle or the boat lines. Absolutely check out all things with the primary parties before making any plans, decisions or actions.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Boldt Castle's First Farmers Market & Wine Festival

The magnificent Boldt Castle on Heart Island, Alexandria Bay NY (St. Lawrence River), will host its first Farmers Market and Wine Festival on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009 from 11am to 4pm. Come see the best that Northern New York has to offer in its most elegant setting!

Vendors include Cross Island Farm (fresh produce from Wellesley Island), Forbes Farm (handmade goats’ milk soaps and lotions from Evans Mills), Gold Cup Farm/River Rat Cheese (cheese curd and food products from Clayton), Burnham’s Pure Maple Syrup (maple products from Adams Center) and Home Again Farm (alpacas from Theresa).

Free wine tastings and sales will be available from Coyote Moon Winery (Clayton), Otter Creek Winery (Philadelphia NY), Thousand Islands Winery (Alexandria Bay), River Myst Winery (Ogdensburg) and Yellow Barn Winery (Watertown/Sackets Harbor).

There also will be music and entertainment!

Boldt Castle: 315-482-9724

Friday, September 4, 2009

Marjorie Bourne boat fastest in its class

Picture above shows Marjorie Bourne racing her boat, the Moike (click on picture to see it enlarged).


In 1904 Marjorie Bourne, the youngest daughter of Commodore Frederick G. Bourne of Dark Island, was given her own motorboat for her fourteenth birthday. The 36 foot 9 inch boat, originally named the Eureka, was built by Charles L. Seabury & Company of Morris Heights, NY and was noted for its speed. Marjorie renamed the boat the Moike and according to the February 6, 1908 issue of The Hammond Advertiser, the first record of the boat in the 1000 Islands is from the Gold Cup Challenge Races in 1906. The article also mentions that Commodore Bourne had the boat re-powered in 1908 with a “new 40 horsepower Smalley engine making the Moike’s top speed of 27 miles per hour.”

Marjorie, like most young women of her era, kept a scrapbook and on their recent trip to Boulder, CO to visit Bourne relatives Judy Keeler and Jean Papke were able to see her scrapbook and obtain copies of several pages from the scrapbook that she began keeping in 1904. The pages contained articles from the Sunday, June 5, 1910 New York Times and the New York Herald of August 15, 1910 that described boat races in the 1000 Islands.

A New York Times article entitled “Fastest Motor Boats in America in their Classes” pictures boats owned by both Marjorie and George Bourne as well as those owned by F. K. Burnham, Alexander R. Peacock, George Hasbrouk and Mrs. A.G. Miles (Clover Boldt, daughter of George C. Boldt - of Boldt Castle fame). The names of several of the boats mentioned in the articles are recognizable by area fans of antique wooden boats and a few of them are in the collection of the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton. The boats mentioned include: the Dixie II, the Intruder, the P.D.Q., the Duquesne, the Stranger, the J.A.N. and the Moike.

During a race on August 13th, Marjorie Bourne, then 20 years old, beat them all. In an article entitled “New York Girl Steers a Motor Boat to Victory,” the New York Times said: “Miss Louise [sic] Bourne …was the cynosure of all eyes here late yesterday when in competition with the fastest motor boat of the Thousand Islands she steered the Moike to victory defeating a large field. For twenty-one miles the plucky woman held her craft in the lead. When the race was over, a round of cheers from the fashionable crowd and the din of yachting whistles greeted her as she walked down the long dock.” The New York Herald of the same day stated that the race took 52 minutes and 9 seconds to complete in perfect weather.

The members of the Bourne family, Commodore Frederick G. Bourne and his children George and Marjorie continued to participate in the summer boat races for many years and Commodore Bourne was influential in setting up the courses for many of those races. Marjorie kept the Moike in the North Boathouse at her home on Dark Island until the early 1960s but by that time the engine, the seats and the hardware had been removed. Her nephew Frederick B. Hard donated the boat to the Antique Boat Museum in 1972. The boat is stored on its original cradle in the museum’s Doebler Storage Facility.Visitors to the 1000 Islands region can tour Bourne's castle, now called Singer Castle, on Dark Island. The castle is open 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily during the summer months and weekends mid May – mid June and Labor Day – mid-October. They can also see several of the antique wooden boats that the summer residents raced and used on the St. Lawrence at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton. The ABM is open 9:00 – 5:00 daily mid-May to mid-October.

Source: Direct from Dark Island.