Cruising the Gorgeous North
Hi everyone, how are you doing? Hope you are enjoying the last days of summer! (and the rainy season for those in Thailand :))
Today I am going to take you on a ride and see more beautiful places.
I felt like I need a break and some fresh air after another wave of job hunting roller-coaster. Free-spirited and independent as I am, I drove my little car up north on I-81N to another famous New York State destination called theThousand Islands region. It is about one and a half hour from Syracuse on the interstate. The I-81 took me directly right into the heart of the area.
I was hesitating whether to take the trail off 81 from Watertown and started from Sackets Harbor and worked my way up through Chaumont, Cape Vincent, Clayton, and ended at Alexandria Bay by following the NYS Route 3, a part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, a 518 mile scenic driving route that follows the shores of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River in New York and Pennsylvania (www.seawaytrail.com).
Since I started so late, I decided to go directly to Alexandria Bay because it seems to be the major destination in the area. I am glad I mad that decision because Alexandria Bay has a lot to cover. I am going to have three blog posts for each of the three towns as each of them deserve its own space (also because there are so many pictures for each town). I ended up cover the three major towns – Alexandria Bay, Clayton, and Cape Vincent.
My roadmap for the trip. Map picture from Google map
Alexandria Bay at a Glance
I started driving at almost 11 am. The sun was shining after many stormy days. The interstate was also not very busy. Had some drizzle along the way but it turned out to be beautiful for almost he whole trip.
I got to Alexandria Bay without having done any research, I was kind of pulled in by the amount of people who were waiting to get on the boat. Then I came to realize that it is almost mandatory to get on the boat to see the Thousand Islands.
I bought a one-hour boat tour ticket (Millionaires’ Row) for 14 bucks, which also entitled me to free parking. You can also park on the street but you also have to pay meter. So hat was quite convenient. There are actually many tour combinations with different prices, I wish I has more time so I could do a longer tour :(. I got on the boat with the operator called Uncle Sams Tour, a very cliche name. The boat took off at 1 pm, great! Perfect timing. If you go there, I recommend to check the boat schedule ahead of time especially if you do a day trip so you don’t waste necessary time.
I had about half an hour before boarding the boat so I ran a quick scan through downtown (the tourist part at least) and the town’s dock. It was a Thursday so there were not too many people, I was happy about it.
Enjoying the view while a beautiful Canadian sailboat was about to come in.
Boarding the Duchess
The Duchess left 1 pm sharp. I barely stopped clicking the shutter for the whole one hour tour, seeing those beautiful island and houses was just magical.
The Lively Riley, he did a good job guiding and telling jokes like “Oh you know now we are on the wet side in America, but once you cross over to Canada then it becomes dry – Why? Because they have Canada Dry.”
Chilling on the boat.
One of the Many Islands in the area. In fact Riley was saying that there are only about 800 something islands, not really a thousand. He also added people do not wanna change the name of the region as people are already familiar with the name of the salad dressing LOL.
The Millionaires’ Row
Followings are some pictures of the beautiful houses on the Millionaires’ Row. Riley was explaining the origin of each house but I was not really paying so much attention about that. This is like touring celebrities’ houses in Hollywood.
For those who are looking for a summer home, there is one property on sale at the moment – priced at only $950,000 – 50% down from a couple years ago. Call now! That’s a deal 🙂
The Famous Boldt Castle: The Taj Mahal of Alexandria Bay
This European-inspired castle was built by George C. Boldt, the millionaire who built the world famous Waldorf Astoria in New York City in the beginning of the 1900. On this beautiful island called Hart (later was changed to Heart), he meant to have this as a beautiful vacation home for his wife, Louis and family. Before the construction was completed, his wife died so Boldt asked for the construction to be stopped. He was very broken hearted by her death that he never actually returned to the island after that. Later, the castle was acquired by the Thousand Island Bridge Authority who thought it would be great as as attraction to future generations.(http://www.boldtcastle.com/visitorinfo/index.php/about/)
Poor Boldt! Just like they say, men’s greatest sadness is caused by the departure of the one he loves.
To get into Boldt Castle, the fee to go in is an extra charge (8 bucks more). You can tour the inside and the ground. I was not very interested so I did not go in. I am not a very big fan of older interiors. If you opt to go in, you can spend as much time as you want at the castle and hop back on the boat that runs by the same company anytime. That’s pretty convenient.
Downtown Alexandria Bay
I was not really sure if the part that I saw is actually downtown. They actually called it business sector. It is where tourists flock as it is full of restaurants, souvenir stores, and Uncle Sam Boat Tours’ piers. It is smaller than I thought it would be but it is a typical small town in America – very cute. I took another half an hour right after the boat tour to walk around and see what is interesting.
The inside of ‘Lil River Fudge Company. Love the vintage vibe. They sell all kinds of sweet stuff – fudge, gummy bears, soft serve, sundae and the list goes on. I can literally feel the fat in my throat right now… It’s one of those things that you always feel bad and nauseous after eating but you still want some more.
By the time I realized, it was already 3 pm. Hope you enjoy this photo diary. I hated to leave that beautiful place, but life is a journey. Next station…Clayton! Stay tuned! (Update: Clayton post is out: Click)
Uncle Sam Boat Tours, Alexandria Bay