Helping women with chronic illnesses

Chronic Camping Continued: The Castle

Boldt Castle on Heart Island: Alexandria Bay, NY

It isn’t very often that I travel; it is challenging to do so because of the various chronic medical conditions I have. So, the camping trip we took in July took some joint effort with my husband (regarding both planning and implementation), significant support from him in the form of performing some of the physical tasks needed to make this trip happen and a leap of faith on my part. As I mentioned in the previous post, it is going to take me some time to recover from traveling. In this post, I am going to take a break from talking about the details of how I prepared for the trip (and such) to just share a few photos.

The grounds

I had been to the 1000 Islands once previous to this trip. I was a child at the time and I had seen Boldt Castle prior to its restoration. While the figure quoted online for restoration that has been completed on the castle is $29 million, we learned from talking to the staff at the castle that a more up-to-date figure for the ongoing restoration is $40 million. Having seen the castle as a child at a time when it was run-down and full of graffiti, I was amazed when I saw the website for Boldt Castle prior to our trip. As the trip was approaching, I was looking forward to seeing the castle in person since it looked so different than what I remembered. I was not disappointed by what we saw on our trip. It was absolutely gorgeous inside and out.

The porch

The difference between what the castle looked like when I saw it as a child and what it looks like now was a night and day contrast. It really was impressive to see what they have been able to to the interior and to the grounds. I knew going in that there would be many stairs and that touring the castle would be challenging for me. (By the way, there is an elevator). I have to say, though, that any fatigue and pain I experienced while touring the castle was well worth it. It is just a beautiful building. Heck, someone at the castle even had the good sense to have Enya playing the the background. In my opinion, that music set the perfect, soothing tone for people to take in this interesting building.

It was a very hot day when we toured the castle. I overcame some anxiety stemming from the last time I was on a boat and we set off to take the short (5-10 minute), fume-free boat ride to the heart-shaped island where the castle is located. The cool, comfortable interior of the castle was refreshing after being in the hot sun. I will finish up this post with some photos from the castle…

This reminded me of the ballroom in The Sound of Music.


Striking difference in appearance from graffiti-filled walls…

Very different than it looked when I was there 30+ years ago.

Beautiful details…

The white lace umbrella made me think of Somewhere In Time.

There was stained glass…

… in the ceiling.

Click here for a virtual tour of the castle. Everyone at the castle was very friendly and informative. If you’re ever looking for a place to visit, I highly recommend the castle and surrounding region. With the many tourists visiting the castle, there was not a single time that day where I smelled any fragrances on anyone. We were amazingly fortunate to visit such a busy place without me having and multiple chemical sensitivity reactions. (Other illnesses were talking to me but I tried to temporarily ignore their voices… knowing that I would pay a price later and accepting that likelihood). I was just very thankful that I didn’t react to any toxic fragrances in that crowded castle. (Crowds can be dangerous for me and it was bustling with tourists).

Check out the website for a winter photograph of the castle surrounded by snowy trees. It’s very pretty!

Having seen the final Harry Potter movie, which was awesome, right before the trip somehow seemed to make walking through the castle even more fun.

There were definitely very challenging moments of the trip but I am grateful that my chronic illnesses didn’t stop me from trying something new. The trip was far from perfect but I’m thankful to have made it through the entire five days, as scheduled. Doing so was a major milestone for me… especially with the oppressive heat. When I get the energy, I will be writing more about our camping adventure.

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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Reading: Chronic Camping Continued: The Castle


1 EndochickNo Gravatar { 08.06.11 at 9:48 am }

Jeanne –

The castle looks like something from a story book. My daughter would love to see it. If I ever venture to NY, that will have to be on my list of stops. Glad you had a successful trip. I know with your illnesses this was a hard thing to do.

2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 08.06.11 at 7:46 pm }


It really is beautiful there. Plus, it’s on a heart-shaped island and there are hearts everywhere. It’s so cool. I would definitely recommend it. It’s almost into Canada. Our campground was so close to Canada that we could look to the other shore where they were flying the Canadian flag. The first day we were there, we went canoeing and quickly reached Canadian waters. We didn’t know exactly where it switched until later. That night we realized that in our relatively short canoe ride, we had been in Canadian waters for a little bit.

The trip was successful in that we completed it without any major alterations to our scheduled plans and without me having any multiple chemical sensitivity reactions. It wasn’t perfect by any means and there certainly were times when tempers flared between my husband and me. (I don’t think the heat helped any!) I knew, going in, that a trip like this would have such moments, though.

It was definitely hard and there were times during the trip where I wondered if we were causing ourselves more stress by going on the trip than if we’d stayed home. (I think we all like to look at vacations as a time to relax. So, when vacations get invaded by stress it can cause one to question whether the hard work and expense of traveling is worth it). In retrospect, I am glad we made this trip.


3 KatrinaNo Gravatar { 08.08.11 at 10:40 am }

This is so beautiful, like something between Hogwarts (especially the staircase) and the Titanic (especially the oval stained glass)–now I want to visit, too! Even if we never get there, I’ll be glad to have visited through your blog and the links. Thank you!

4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 08.09.11 at 11:54 pm }


I can see why you’d like to visit there. I know you are a big Harry Potter fan. Given my set of illnesses, that castle is probably the closest thing into which I’ll ever step (as far as buildings that remind me of Harry Potter). I just heard from my dentist that the castle at the Harry Potter resort in Florida has a smell in it that he said I would probably not handle well at all. He said it smelled kind of musty and that he thinks they must pump that smell in for “ambiance” to make the castle seem “authentic”. He knows, from treating me as a dental patient, that there are many fragrances that I react to. So, he was warning me about that. He also said that many people were ignoring the signs for no smoking sections at the park. He knows I can’t handle smoke exposure. So, sadly, that theme park sounds like it would be problematic for the average MCS patient. It was really quite fun to walk through Boldt Castle when the last Harry Potter movie was still fresh in our minds. If you ever get there, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did. If not, I’m glad you were to able to enjoy the “virtual tour” here. Thank you!


5 alohamorakatNo Gravatar { 08.27.11 at 9:21 am }


Did you take all those pictures? Wow! Boldt Castle really is amazing! It looks like a great place to go for a vacation! 😉


6 JeanneNo Gravatar { 08.27.11 at 9:26 am }


Yes, I took them with my smartphone. I don’t miss lugging a heavy camera around in my purse. Boldt Castle is amazing. It is a great vacation spot!


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