This week Debbie and I attended the Newmar Kountry Klub FullTimers Chapter’s Fall Rally at Swan Bay Resort in Alexandria Bay New York.
Alexandria Bay is a small 1.5 square mile village located on the southern bank of the Saint Lawrence River, approximately five miles from the Canadian border.
The rally started on Sunday with check in, where we received our rally bag, rally schedule, and a brief orientation of events planned for the week. We were then served a welcome dinner which was a chili cookoff prepared by the chapter officers. Which I have to say, the officers can cook some great chili. They should get together a write a cookbook.
After dinner there was a very interesting presentation by Judy Keeler, a local author and historian, who told us all about the area from when it was settled in 1817 to today.
On Monday, I attended the Annual Business Meeting. Since this was our first “national” rally I thought it would be a good idea to see how the chapter operates and see how it runs. All of the officers gave their reports and good news, all is well financially with the chapter. The rest of the day I spent working so we didn’t attend the tour of the antique boat museum, which admission was included in our rally fee.
On Tuesday, I took a personal day and we went on the boat tour of the St. Lawrence River and Boldt Castle. (Click photo to enlarge)
The St. Lawrence River flows in a north-easterly direction, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, and is the primary drainage outflow of the Great Lakes. Our 2-hour boat tour took us on a 22 mile trip through the Thousand Islands (which is really 1,864) along American and Canadian waters. There are many nice homes built along the river, and there was a “Millionaires Row” on both the U.S. side and Canadian side. And, some of the commercial ships heading upriver were much larger than the islands they passed. At the end of the cruise we disembarked on Heart Island and enjoyed a self-guided tour of Boldt Caste. (Click photo to enlarge)
Construction of the five-acre island’s 129-room castle began in 1900 with approximately 300 workers by George C. Boldt, a millionaire hotel magnate who owned the Bellevue-Strafford hotel in Philadelphia, and proprietor of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Boldt is also credited for popularizing Thousand Island Dressing at the Waldorf Astoria when he told the maître-d to include it on the menu. Boldt built the enormous castle as a tribute to his love for his wife, who unfortunately passed away suddenly in 1904. Boldt was so distraught on the passing of his wife, he sent a telegram to the workers telling them to immediately stop all work and leave the island. Boldt never visited the island again and it sat empty for 73 years. Then in 1977, the Thousand Island Bridge Authority took possession of the island and began restoring it. After more than 40 years and millions of dollars the restoration work still continues today. (Click photo to enlarge)
It was an awesome day, but then again, any day this old sailor can get back on the water, is an awesome day.
Wednesday was another workday, and afterwards we enjoyed a “Culinary Experience” a farm to table meal presented by a local chef and culinary students. A true taste of the food from NY State. It was delicious. And afterwards the chapter held a silent auction to benefit the local school backpack program which will be presented to them at the farewell dinner on Thursday.
Afterwards we joined some of the other members for drinks at the community fire pit.
Thursday was the last day of the rally, and another work day. Most of the members will be heading out in the morning to Newmar’s International Rally in Syracuse New York. We originally planned on staying until Saturday, but with rain in the forecast, we decided to move on to our next destination in Herkimer, as we begin our winter repositioning.
We did attend the farewell dinner prepared by a few of the members. During the dinner a couple from the local school was present to accept our $4,000 donation to their back pack program.
With 120 members (60 coaches) attending this rally (New Mexico was only 15 coaches), it was the biggest rally we’ve ever attended. We really enjoyed meeting some new friends and look forward to seeing them again on the road; possibly at next year’s rally in Wyoming if we are in the area.
For now, it onward to Florida (with a few stops in between)