Friday, August 18, 2017

1000 Islands Anniversary Trip

The last time Matt and I went on a childless vacation together was in early 2008. It was a vacation that we both remembered with gratitude and a feeling of indulgence and abundance, but the busy nature of building a family has kept us from attempting another over this past decade.

I was hoping we'd do something a little extra-special for our 10 year anniversary this year, so I was really excited to hear that Matt had something up his sleeve! He gave me a few hints about where we might be traveling, and after guessing it correctly he told me we were going to the 1,000 Islands.

I'd been there twice before, but he never had, and he wanted to visit somewhere on the water that would sort of mimic our 2008 trip together (which was to Charleston.) The one piece of the vacation he kept to himself was where we were staying.

I knew enough about the area to guess that it was one of a few nice hotels on the water, so I didn't press for more and just decided it would be cool to find out when we arrived.

So that Friday, my mom picked up Galli, and I loaded up the van and dropped the kids at my in-laws to stay for the weekend. After getting them settled and giving kisses goodbye, we hit the road towards Alexandria Bay.

On the way up, we listened to 2004 and 2007 Pandora stations (the year we started dating, and the year we got married.) It was so funny, remembering some of the songs, and being transported back to those amazing (for us) years. We talked and sang along a lot, but I took some time to read, too. The four hour drive went by quickly, and before I knew it, we were pulling up to our destination.

I was shocked (and elated!) to find that we were staying in a Bed & Breakfast. I have always wanted to try one - it never crossed my mind that Matt might mix the two experiences together (the childless trip and the B&B.) The place we stayed was called Captain Visger House, and it was an old, restored Victorian home of a 19th century river captain. I was immediately in love with the porch, the colors, the gardens, and the style of the place!

Checking in was wildly informal. The owner (Sam) just came to greet us, we told her what room we were in, and she just walked us there. She was sweet and animated as she told us all about the place and gave us some tips for our stay (we liked her instantly.) Our room was gorgeous and cozy, and it was hard not to just stay put and spend the whole evening in that beautiful house!

We instead decided to walk the main streets of the area, and chose a restaurant with street-side dining for dinner. It wasn't fancy food, but it was SO yummy - especially the wine slushy, which apparently, is a 1000 islands "thing". More than anything, it was nice to be outside with perfect weather and people watching. Or should I say, pirate watching. We had no idea until we pulled into the area, but it just happened to be Pirate Week. It's a rowdy experience! After dinner, we stopped in a bunch of shops and grabbed some souvenirs and truffles to have for dessert before walking back to our room.

The B&B had a library in it, which of course...made me wildly happy. Matt found a copy of Lord of the Rings that he chose to read during our stay, and I found a hilarious one full of ridiculous definitions. We read through them while eating our truffles, and laughed so hard we couldn't breathe. I'm not going to share them here but let's just say, we will never think of the words "bagpipe" and "acorn" quite the same way!

The next morning was our first true B&B experience. We walked out to the dining room to a self serve coffee bar, and after spending some time on the porch, we came in to an amazing breakfast. The first course was yogurt with warm pears and blueberries, with an insane berry scone with some kind of glaze on it (lemon, maybe?) This went against my gluten free ways, but I made an exception this weekend. Had to! As if that weren't enough (and really, it could have been!) the second course was a cheese omelet with tomatoes, sweet potatoes, dressed arugula, sausage, and toast. SO. GOOD.

After breakfast, we took a really fast trip to the drug store. (I forgot a razor and Matt for got a comb.) Then we took showers and got ready for our day of exploring. We walked down to one of the piers and took a boat shuttle over to see the Boldt Castle. Matt will say that this was the highlight of the trip for we rode over to Heart Island, a big airplane (I'm not going to pretend to know what it was) flew over us, and we were both able to get great videos of it. I couldn't wait to show it to Jake when we got home! (He's our airplane enthusiast.)

The castle was gorgeous, as usual! If you don't know the story of the Boldt Castle, read up a little - it's heartbreakingly beautiful! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves....

When we'd seen nearly everything, we shuttled back to shore, and wandered around for a bit. We toured an art gallery that was set up in a (super cute) old home. Then we walked a block over to have lunch on the patio of a ship-themed restaurant. We shared fried pickles, and I had a Caribbean burger (without the bun) that was sooo good!

We were stuffed and tired after lunch, so we went back to our room to relax and ended up reading for hoooours! It was SO NICE! We both covet that quiet, uninterrupted time to read, so that was a serious treat for both of us.

Around 6, I decided to curl my hair and get ready for dinner. We went for a quick walk along a pier to scout a spot to watch the sunset that evening before walking back to the B&B for dinner. Only breakfast is included in our stay, but we'd heard such good things (and our breakfast was SO good) that we had to try them for dinner, too.

We sat on the patio and each had a glass of wine and split some homemade guac. I got a beet salad and Matt got a vegan soup, and both were AMAZING. Everything Sam makes is local, in season, organic, farm-to-table style, and that is our favorite! It was SO good! We split two of her desserts, too - chocolate ice cream that was made with a biscotti stout, and a berry and whiskey bread pudding. Seriously good.

With dinner behind us, we walked back to the pier and found that we were the only two around. This is one of the ways that the pirate weekend worked in our favor - while everyone was partying and swashbuckling around, we were left alone for the most part. It was so nice! Such a good break.

After the sunset, we walked back to the b&b and decided to sit on the porch with what was left of the daylight. As we sat there, a Buffalo hat caught my eye in the crowd of people walking by, and I looked up only to feel like I knew the person wearing it. I said to Matt, "hey, isn't that your cousin?" and when he looked he realized that it was! What the heck are the chances of us both being there at the same time, and him walking by us right when we were sitting on the porch?? Too funny!

When it was too dark to see our books, we went back in and read some more. (We love books, ya'll.)

The next morning, we were greeted with lots of coffee and another amazing breakfast. This was my last round with gluten, but I ate it without shame! It was a stuffed baked french toast made with berries and bacon, and it was tooo diiie fooor. SO amazing.

We cleaned up our room and got ready to go before "checking out"...which was really just giving Sam her key back and saying goodbye...too funny. We had plans to check out a nature preserve for a hike on our way out. It was only a couple minute drive away, and after donning sneakers, we picked one of the paths to travel down. The deeper we made it into the woods, the more we were being attacked by bugs. It never really occurred to us to be prepared with bug spray, and they were kind of aggressive! They were sticking in our hair and everything! So that didn't last long. I did get a few pictures of the bluest skies you ever did see, and a souvenir acorn (haha, if you guys only knew!), but we didn't make it very far at all before we hit the road for home.

This trip was sooo goood! SO GOOD! It was everything. The B&B, the reminiscing, the time to ourselves, the quiet, the meals together, the good food, the romance of the castle's story, the indulgence, the beauty. It was perfect, and exactly what we needed!

If you ever visit Alexandria Bay, I hiiighly recommend Captain Visger House, but if you can only swing a meal, visit The Kitchen for sure! And tell Sam the family from Buffalo with 3 boys says hi! ;)

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