The beauty of this region is just extraordinary
There is a slice of pure paradise in New York State, and it is called the Thousand Islands. It is a maritime wonderland with castles and boating experiences. Get ready to feel as if you have stepped into Europe when you visit the castles and take your camera out to take an Instagram-worthy photo of the sunset (This region has one of the best sunsets you will ever see. There is nothing like an upstate New York sunset.) You will no doubt turn into an aquaphile after taking a boat tour on the St. Lawrence River.
When you think about exploring upstate New York, the stunning Catskills and Adirondacks may come to mind. But it is also worth checking out the Thousand Islands, a happy, delightful corner of the state.
The area is on the St. Lawrence River and is home to 1,864 islands. There are not any actual hotels on these islands- As a traveler, you will stay in one of the villages on the mainland and can take a boat tour on the river. Many of these islands are privately owned-residents take a boat to the village of Alexandria Bay so that they can go grocery shopping! If you get a waterfront room, you may just see the wealthy’s private yachts!
The area borders both the U.S. and Canada, so you can easily cross over to Canada (You may want to think about spending a weekend in the Thousand Islands and then crossing the border for a two hour drive to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city!) Two-thirds of the island are Canadian, and one-third are American.
The St. Lawrence River is one of the cleanest freshwaters on Earth. You can drink right out of it! Water is replenished every 72 hours. Sturgeon-some over six feet-are found in the river.
Yes, Thousand Islands dressing was invented here! A fisherman forgot dressing for a visiting actress, so he mixed ketchup, mayonnaise, and relish.
The wealthy came here during the Gilded Age-the most famous one of all was Waldorf-Astoria Hotel owner George C. Boldt, who built the historic Boldt Castle for his wife. Louise passed away before the castle’s completion, and this tragedy is known as the “Saddest Love Story Ever Told.”
Sights to Explore
- Boldt Castle– You will feel as if you are in Europe when you step foot on gorgeous Heart Island. Immigrant and millionaire George C. Boldt built the castle to proclaim his infinite love for his wife Louise, but unfortunately she passed away before completion. The castle was rescued by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, and now you can see the castle, the Power House, the Alster Tower, and the Yacht House.
- Singer Castle– Live out a medieval dream on Dark Island! Frederick Bourne, CEO of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, owned this stunning castle. See the medieval entrance-complete with a knight as a standing guard!-, the Clock Tower, and the Drawing Room.
- Antique Boat Museum– No visit to the Thousand Islands is complete without a visit to Clayton’s Antique Boat Museum, the best freshwater boat museum in North America. Be sure to take the 30-minute tour of George Boldt’s houseboat La Duchesse, and check out the free rowing and sailing opportunities.
- Uncle Sam’s Boat Tours– How can you visit the Thousand Islands without taking a relaxing river cruise? Uncle Sam’s Boat Tours has got you covered with sightseeing, lunch, and dinner cruises. The two hour (Time goes by very fast and you won’t feel like it’s been two hours!) Two Nation Tour is strongly recommended- you will see all the beautiful highlights like Millionaire’s Row and the Canadian Palisades.
- Frederic Remington Art Museum– Located in Ogdensburg, this museum pays tribute to the acclaimed artist Frederic Remington. His work illustrates cowboys, soldiers, and indigenous people. You will get to see his sculptures, letters, and photographs.