The 1000 Islands (or at least a few of them…)

Posted by danielle on April 16th, 2014

Jeremy took the tarp off the camper last weekend in anticipation of another season of camping. Although we won’t be going anywhere for at least a month, it reminded me of all the places we went last year that I never got around to writing about.

While we wait for camping season to start, I thought I’d pick up where I left off with my accounts of our summer adventures in the tiny camper.

A few weeks after our trip to Pennsylvania we headed northeast to the 1000 Islands. This is an area we’ve driven though in the past on the way to other places but never stopped there although we’d always meant too.

1000-islands-bridge-blog

The great thing about camping with a trailer is that weather is no longer a big concern. For this reason, we weren’t worried about this dark, looming cloud that chased us for hours on the 401.

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The storm finally caught up with us around dusk.

Since we’d crossed the border, we needed to pick up food and supplies (the US is really weird about bringing perishables into the country), so we unhitched the trailer at Wellesley State Park and drove to Watertown, NY to buy groceries. We decided to wait out the storm there. By the time we’d sat down to dinner in a restaurant in town, a torrential downpour, along with thunder and lightning, was in full swing.

We eventually returned to our campsite and the storm continued overnight and well into the wee morning hours. The only issue with being in a trailer while it rains, is the fact that it’s noisy. It’s basically like sleeping in a tin can and the precipitation that night was not a gentle pitter patter. It was coming down in buckets – and it was loud. At least we were dry though and that was it for the crummy weather; the rest of the weekend was gorgeous.

We spent the next day driving around stopping in some of the small communities in the area, including Clayton and Alexandria Bay. My favourite Thousand Island Park Historic District with its pavillion on the water.

1000-Islands-Park-Pav-Blog

After touring the Newport Mansions we in June , we decided earlier in the day that we would not be taking the ferry to Bodlt Castle – a major attraction in the area. We both agreed we were completely mansioned out. I suggested we check out the adjacent boat museum though. However, when we got there, we saw that the castle was only a few minutes away by ferry and admission was cheap, so the next thing we knew, we were on the damn boat.

heart-island-blog

Boldt Castle has a sad history. It was never lived in, or even finished. Construction began in 1900 by George Boldt, an east coast hotelier, as a summer home for his wife. She died suddenly in 1904 and construction came to a halt. It sat empty for over 70 years, when it was turned over to the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. The organization has been restoring the property since the late 1970s.

Boldt-Castle-2-blog

While the exterior and gardens are impressive, the inside is not so much. Since it was never completed, it lacks the detail and ostentatiousness that the once inhabited homes of the gilded age usually have. Boldt Castle’s interior only displays a modern, budget conscience interpretation of the era.

boldt-Powerhouse-blog

When it was time to head home, we couldn’t bear the thought our going the way we came, which was across Toronto. Spending an afternoon sitting in the GTA gridlock with the cottagers didn’t appeal to us at all. Instead, we took the long way around on the American side of Lake Ontario, stopping in Syracuse, where we visited the Erie Canal Museum because I’m a huge history nerd. If you find yourself in the area, and are into that sort of thing, it’s definitely worth checking out.

We returned home to find out our neighbourhood had been hit pretty hard by the storm we’d been driving away from. There’d even been some speculation that something tornado-like had touched down in our area. Our property had minimal damage though – some fallen tree branches, over turned potted plants and according to our cat sitter, a pair of traumatized kitties. They quickly recovered, our neighbourhood was cleaned up, and all’s well that ends well.

A Little Paint…A Big Difference

Posted by danielle on April 13th, 2014

I’ve just started preparing our dining room sideboard for painting and refinishing. While I was out in the garage working on it, I noticed some other furniture I’d been meaning to paint. Since I was in the zone, I thought I’d tackle those projects too.

Starting with this:

Stool

Once upon a time, I’d picked up this unfinished stool at Michaels, although I can’t, for the life of me, remember what I’d planned to do with it. It’s been in the garage for ages, collecting dust and spider webs.

After I evicted the eight legged occupants and gave it a light sanding, I painted it a colour called Tawny Port (Behr). Then, I used Martha Stewart’s metallic craft paint in bronze to achieve the dipped effect. Finally, I covered the seat with crocheted jute twine.

Seat

I’m really happy with the way this turned out – it looks great in the corner of our newly painted dining room.

The Best Cheesecake You’ll Never Bake

Posted by danielle on April 7th, 2014

key lime cheesecake

Following an afternoon of bowling, we had some friends over on Saturday for some pizza. As a responsible host, I wanted to make something to serve our guests for dessert. Earlier in the week, I’d had some pretty ambitious plans to bake something epic, however, by Friday night I’d lost my motivation. With time running out, I made something from my repertoire of minimal effort recipes.

This one is adapted from a recipe I found on Pinterest, and if you subtract the time it needs to let the crust cool down, the preparation time is less than 10 minutes.

Crust

1 ½ Cups Almond Meal
½ Cup Sugar
¼ Cup Butter

Mix ingredients together, and press evenly into spring form pan.

Bake for 8 minutes at 350°F.
.
Let crust cool completely before pouring on the following mixture.

Filling

2 cups of whipped cream*
1 brick of softened cream cheese
1 can of condensed milk
¼ cup Key Lime Juice

I also added a few drops of green food colouring to make it appear more limey.

In a large bowl blend until smooth, then pour on top of cooled crust.

Refrigerate before serving.

*Just to be clear, that is whipped cream and not whipping cream. Obviously it will begin as whipping cream, but it’s the finished product that goes in this recipe.

** You can also use regular lime juice. I’ve found that here in Canada, key limes can be hard to find.