Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year gifts for you! And the Walleye Drop for New Year's Eve (Midnight).

Happy New Year to you! I am accepting any interesting stories or photos regarding the Thousand Islands area or the St. Lawrence River that will help us get through this winter. If I choose your story or photos to run here, you will instantly win a brand-new 1GB USB Flash Drive (also known as a Thumb or Jump Drive). It is a full gigabyte in capacity! Great for transferring data from computer to computer, or for storage. This blog concentrates on the area's two famous castles (Singer Castle and Boldt Castle), but the whole area is tied in together and therefore relevant. Please email to: mailbox [at] gold-mountain [dot] com (remember the dash), or send to P.O. Box 123, Jamesville NY 13078.

For our diehard fishing crowd (and for anybody looking for something very unique), have you ever watched the live walleye fish drop in Port Clinton, OH at midnight on the web? ("Live" meaning you can see it in real-time through their webcams on the web). If you are watching the New Year's Eve ball drop down in New York City on your TV anyway, you can have this on your computer going at the same time. Yes, a very exciting life indeed!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cool News from Boldt Castle!

Boldt Castle across the River from this blogger.

The Watertown Daily Times reported today that Boldt Castle is working on having an online ticket sales system with Gateway Ticketing Systems Inc. that will go live before the next operating season. You will be able to buy tickets to Boldt Castle at anytime from your computer. The new system will cost the owners (the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority) $171,000. 

Boldt Castle, located on Heart Island (St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands, Alexandria Bay NY), is also making major dock repairs (at a cost of $16,600), as well as building a new movie room, all to be completed before the next tourist season. This is all great news for such a popular destination spot.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

For your online Christmas celebration, here is an extraordinary site with all kinds of interesting links: Peggy's Christmas Place.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Beaver sets up winter home at Singer Castle, Dark Island

Scott Garris, the caretaker of Singer Castle (and therefore the king of the castle for the winter) has a new subject. A beaver has set up shop in Singer Castle's South Boat House which also houses Dark Island's Gift Shop. The beaver photo above is courtesy of Wikipedia. The report and actual pictures of the beaver's new home below are from the scene by Scott Garris.

"The south boat house had part of it decked over to make room for a gift shop. The boat bay is under the decking. I have noticed that a beaver has been taking small trees and branches for a few weeks  now, but have not seen him. There is snow on the ground now and I have not seen any tracks. I thought he was gone.
On December 18, 2010 I was letting the boat warm up. The sun was shining and I could see a pile of branches in the boat slip under the gift shop. I know that the wind has been blowing down stream so I wondered how long the branches had been there. As I looked further in I could see a small beaver home in the back on the right. I have also been seeing short branches (8 to 12 inches long) with no bark and sharp on both ends, floating in the boat house for the last week. I guess I have a  guest for the winter." 

---Scott Garris, Singer Castle on Dark Island

Below is a picture of the South Boat House with Singer Castle looming in the background.
Castle photo by Robert J. Mondore. Click on the photos to see them larger.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Paradise Market - Dewitt/Syracuse NY & Gold-Mountain

Do you live in central New York State and are looking for an interesting and inspiring gift related to the Thousand Islands? Gold-Mountain's inspirational multimedia (DVDs, CDs and books) which features documentaries and music videos with the lovely St. Lawrence River's region as the backdrop. We are well represented in the Islands and Watertown, but now are represented in the Syracuse area at the Paradise Market with an enormous parking area. 

[Update 1/2/11: The holidays are over and our rep is no longer available at Paradise. But I still recommend the wonderful Paradise Market, and you can still order at with our renowned service and free surprises.]

Paradise Market is located at 3179 Erie Blvd. in Syracuse/DeWitt NY 13214 in what used to be the Hechinger Plaza. Billed as "fun for all", it is an 80,000 square feet shopping bazaar with over 200 shops and restaurants under one roof, and is well heated. The market is only open every Friday (12 p.m. through 8 p.m.), Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m through 6 p.m.).
Where can our multimedia be found in this enormous bazaar?

We are located right in front of King David's Restaurant stand near the enormous "rest rooms" sign. 
Below is the floor plan where we easily can be found.

The red dot below is where Photos by "K" (owned by Karen) can be found and prominently displayed there is a boat with our unique gift DVDs, CDs, and books. The green dots are at the main entrance of the building. Also featured in this (red) spot are photos by Linda Long Photography. (Click on any of these pictures to see them larger).
Note the boat-shaped display below which contains the special booty.
Visit us at online to get a taste of Bob and Patty Mondore's works.
Items on the boat at this time include:

"Dark Island's Castle of Mysteries" - the renown Singer Castle on Dark Island documentary DVD; 
Singer Castle Revisited - book; 
River-Lations - music video DVD; 
A Good Paddling - book; 
Heaven & Nature Sing - music video DVD (music CD also available); 
Proclaim His Praise in the Islands - music video DVD (music CD also available); 
Wondrous Love - music CD; 
Treasure of Your Love - music CD.
Please email  me with any questions. Let me know how your experience is at the Paradise Market.

[1/2/11 UPDATE:   The holidays are over and our rep is no longer available at Paradise. But I still recommend the wonderful Paradise Market, and you can still order at with our renowned service and free surprises.]

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Exclusive Report - A Thanksgiving special Day in Upstate New York

This report is off-topic, but I have an exclusive on it and it needs to be told. It is Thanksgiving Day and The Father's Heart Ministries in Syracuse NY (quarterbacked by Pastor James Gebhardt) has done an amazing thing. He opened his ministry to the feeding of hundreds of the less fortunate and poor. And right there in the midst of those doing the yeoman's work of serving the destitute were members from the Syracuse Police Department. May I share some of my photos from this incredible event? Click on the photos to see them larger.

Syracuse Police Officer Al Thompson serving the poor.
Some of the hundreds receiving a full Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings and dessert.
Pastor James Gebhardt, the man behind The Father's Heart Ministries.
Musical message: Tracey Dubuc (left), Minji Cho, and Patty Mondore (right).
Syracuse Police mixing with the crowd.
Giving thanks on Thanksgiving.
Paul Sofranko (right) hard at work helping the less fortunate. His wife, Linda (not shown), was a major organizer for this event.
Volunteer Joe Pfohl with Pastor James Gebhardt.
More of Syracuse's finest, volunteering to help the poor.
Servants of the less fortunate.
James Pannafino, also on the front lines of helping.
Medical Student, Minji Cho, sharing her musical talents with the less fortunate.
Peace Warrior. Officer Al Thompson. This is such a great shot!

There were many others too, non-police as well as police, serving others on this Thanksgiving Day. This was a wonderful thing that these folks have done. So I am happy to give you this exclusive report so you can be aware of this awesome event in this area.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

St.Lawrence Gallery - Salmon Run Mall, Watertown. Open now through the New Year.

We made a special trip up to the new opening of the St. Lawrence Gallery in Watertown, NY 13601 at the Salmon Run Mall. Kevin and Marsha Topa have again put together a wonderful museum-quality shop featuring Michael Ringer's famous artwork, as well as many other great gift items (you will want them for yourselves).

And now a short word from our sponser. ;-) (That would be me). Yes, they are also stocked with our Singer Castle documentary DVD called "Dark Island's Castle of Mysteries" and the new book that is a hit in the Islands: Singer Castle Revisited. Other Gold-Mountain inspirational Thousand Islands items are also in stock, such as the River-Lations music video and Proclaim His Praise in the Islands (both on DVD), as well as the book: A Good Paddling by Patty Mondore.

Being just off from the easy access point of Route 81, Kevin says he expects to see many folks visit from Canada and Fort Drum as well as from all other points. It is only open now through shortly after Christmas. Pictured below is Kevin Topa manning the helm of the new shop. (Click on the pictures to see them larger).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day - November 11, 2010

November 11 is Veterans Day, a U.S.A. legal holiday honoring all veterans of the armed forces. (Memorial Day honors those soldiers who perished in wars, Veterans Day honors all who served).

Below is a memorial located in Alexandria Bay, NY that honors Pfc. Jack T. Sweet (located across the St. Lawrence River from Boldt Castle). He gave his life on Feb. 8, 2008 in Iraq at the age of 19 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His home was in Alexandria Bay and his home base was at Fort Drum, Watertown NY (10th Mountain Division). Click on the photo to see it larger. (Photo by Bob Mondore).

The well known phrase (author unknown) is apt: "The price of freedom is never free."  It reminds me of the ultimate sacrifice for freedom: Galatians 5:1.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dark Island communique just in: End of the Season Final Report. Looking Good!

2010 A Very Good Year for Singer Castle

As Singer Castle staff members work to prepare for the coming of winter, it is an excellent time to reflect on the milestones and the accomplishments of the 2010 season.

•    There was a 16% increase in attendance over the previous season. Between the beginning of May and the end of October more than 22,000 visitors from all over the United States, Canada and several foreign countries came to the castle for guided tours, weddings, special events or overnight stays in the castle's Royal Suite.

•    The castle has become increasingly popular as a site for weddings ceremonies and receptions, surprise marriage proposals, birthday celebrations, special events and anniversary and honeymoon getaways. The castle staff works with our guests to help them plan the wedding, special events or overnight stay of their dreams. There were twenty weddings at the castle this year and our Royal Suite was occupied on more than one hundred evenings.

•    Castle staff members have continued to gather more of the history of this special building and of the people who built the castle, the families who lived on the island and those who worked there. We were fortunate to have another of Frederick Bourne's great granddaughters come to visit during August of this year and the caretaker from 1955 was kind enough to share his memories of visits when his grandfather was caretaker and of his own time on Dark Island.

•    The castle was featured in several newly published books including Bob and Patty Mondore's Singer Castle Revisited, Ian Corstine's The very best of Ian Corstine's 1000 Islands, Kathleen Quigley's The Summer Cottage: Retreats of the 1000 Islands, and Scott Ian Barry's The Castles of New York.

---Received direct from Dark Island's Jean Papke, Assistant to the Dark Island's President, Tom Weldon. Photo also by Jean Papke.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Reminiscing and Flash Drives. What?

With the arrival of colder weather, the major tourist season in the Thousand Islands comes to a close (although some really great shopping and other activities continue). So throughout these frigid days I will be posting pictures, videos, and stories from those warmer times. (Up to date stories will continue too). Feel free to email me any related stories or pictures, you may be rewarded with one of those random free 1 gigabyte flash drives that I'm known to give out! 

When I was filming for the popular Singer Castle DVD documentary (Dark Island's Castle of Mysteries ©), I was able to get a bird's eye view of Singer Castle and the close-by Sisters Island Lighthouse. Click on the photos below to see them larger. I was very high up, so the pictures are cropped down so you won't see as much water and more of the subjects. The airplane was from the Maxson Airfield Airport, Alexandria Bay NY.
Above: Robert J. Mondore, Producer, ready for filming Dark Island from above.
Singer Castle on Dark Island from my bird's eye view.
Sisters Island Lighthouse, just upriver from Dark Island.
Sisters Island was actually three islands, but now connected as seen above. Click here to see a close up of the lighthouse.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

100 Year Old Visits Castle - Was alive when F.B. Bourne frequented Dark Island in the Golden Age.

Singer Castle on Dark Island

Communique just received directly from Dark Island...

On Saturday, September 4th over 100 members of the Eastman and Nelson families came to Singer Castle on Dark Island to celebrate the marriage of Deborah Eastman and Aaron Nelson. Making Deborah and Aaron’s day even more special was the celebration of her Grandmother Alice Eastman’s 100th birthday.  Mrs. Eastman, a resident of Ellisburg, NY, is the oldest visitor to have ever come to the castle.  At the time of her birth in September of 1910, Frederick Bourne and his family regularly visited Dark Island and he was having workmen add 50’ in length and a second story with living quarters to the North Boathouse.  The 1000 Islands area was in its Golden Age.
Following a beautiful but windswept ceremony in the Rose Garden, Deborah and Aaron’s guests were treated to a delicious dinner and dancing in a large tent that had been erected on the Castle Green.  Any adversity or delays caused by the weather on their special day were met with grace and good humor and when the celebrations concluded all of the guests were safely returned to shore having had a most memorable experience.

Communique by Jean Papke, Administrative to the President of Singer Castle on Dark Island. Photo by Tom Weldon, President. Click on the photo to see it larger.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vintage and Classic Street Meet - today in Clayton NY

The 13th annual Classic Car Meet took place today in Clayton, NY. Here are a few photos from this very popular event (growing every year). There appears to be hundreds of cars, running the entire length of the main business street and beyond.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

International Clean Up Weekend - in Clayton NY

Did you know this weekend is International Clean Up The World Weekend?

Clayton, NY was awash today in divers dredging up junk from the bottom of the St. Lawrence River. Found were shopping carts, tires, and many other items including a park bench! There were at least 14 divers in the area and more located in Alexandria Bay. Below find yours truly, Bob Mondore, with Clayton's Mayor, Norma J. Zimmer, along with some of the amazing array of junk being pulled up. Note all of the attached zebra mussels to the items. Click on the photos to see them larger.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Landmark Society Visits Landmark...Singer Castle on Dark Island

On a recent breezy August morning, twenty-three intrepid members of the Thousand Island Park Landmark Society boarded two classic craft from the Antique Boat Museum (Clayton, NY) for a cruise from the town dock in Thousand Island Park down river to Singer Castle on Dark Island.

Seventeen passengers were aboard the “Zipper” a 1930s style 41’ Commuter that was captained by Frank Beadle and six were aboard the “Gadfly” an original 1931 Hutchinson Boat Works 33’ Sedan captained by David Dodge. The group’s arrival at the castle appeared much like a scene from the early 1900s. (See photo above, taken by the Castle's own caretaker, Scott Garris. Click on the photo to see it larger.)

Once on Dark Island, the Landmark Society members enjoyed a picnic lunch in Singer Castle’s historic Rose Garden where they listened to a talk by Kathleen Murphy, an expert in historic plantings, who designed and replanted the castle’s Rose Garden in 2006. Following lunch Judy Keeler, Singer Castle Historian, escorted them on a tour of the castle. They then braved the increasing waves to return to their own historic homes in Thousand Island Park.

News directly received from Dark Island's Jean Papke, Administrative Assistant to the President, Tom Weldon.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New York State Fair, Syracuse NY

Singer Sewing Machines spotted at the New York State Fair today, in the Agriculture Building. (Click on the photos to see them larger).