Rupert Holmes, on Creating a Victorian-Flavored Escape in Upstate NY
If you’ve spent time in New York State in the past couple of decades, you’ve probably wondered where the rest of the state really is. It’s big, it’s big and it’s big. It’s a big place, and if you really want to be anywhere, you take a boat to Canada. Well, this is sort of like that except that you still have to deal with the bureaucracy, which is like the red tape at the border of Canada. The first year I did this, I was at the airport in Albany waiting to go over to Canada, and the guy running the desk at the desk for Americans was reading me the riot act. He said I needed to either pay what the Canadian border was charging or go to one of the many other US consulates. I said, “Look, I’m not going to pay $400 to go through immigration at some random point in time.” And he said, “Well, I just can’t let you through.” He had to call another guy and have that guy come down here, and then he had to call the captain of the boat bringing the Americans over to Canada, and have him turn around and bring them back to the US and then have them have to go to Canada.
So a couple of days later, I was waiting for a flight out of New York State, and I saw a boat pull into the tiny town of Northport, New York. It was just the family of four going up to Canada on the weekend. We watched them drive past the customs office on the way up. The immigration guy was still standing there talking to the captain from Canada. The captain of the boat was coming straight back to the port. So what he did was he turned around and came back down through the customs office