Coming back from our wonderful stay in Canada, we stopped for a week in Clayton, NY which is in the Thousand Islands area of the Saint Lawrence River, located at the eastern tip of Lake Ontario. This a beautiful area of southern Ontario and northern New York. Actually there are over 1,600 islands in the archipelago.
We drove a short distance down the river to Alexandria Bay, NY (called Alex Bay by the locals)where we caught a ride on a tour boat to see the islands up close.
Oh, and I think this is where the salad dressing of the same name was invented. Why do I say that? Well, in the late 19th century, this beautiful part of our continent was discovered by the wealthy industrialists. Express trains from New York City and Boston terminated here. Big, luxurious hotels were built along with marvelous restaurants and some creative chef put the local name on a new and popular dish that featured that sauce.
Many of those wealthy people, bought the islands and put luxurious summer "cottages" on the islands. Some of those "cottages" were so large, they were called "castles".
Most of the island "cottages" have electricity supplied by cable from the shore. Prior to that the bigger houses had their own diesel powered generators. Most take water directly from the river which is very clean. Waste water is not allowed to be dumped in the river and steep fines and jail time are levied on those who do not comply. Many houses have holding tanks and businesses from shore will sail out and pump out the holding tanks.
To be declared an island in the archipelago, most of the island has to be above water year round. There is a slight tide here and there are many "submerged" islands that are a hazard to boaters and shipping.
This area played an important part during prohibition. Because Canada was "wet" it was relatively easy for bootleggers to race around the islands dodging the feds and using the Canadian islands to stockpile booze for the Americans to come and get when it was safe. When the river froze over in the winter, they just drove over to Canada on the river. There was plenty of money to be made here.
As we made our way west through Ontario and toward this part of the country, we began to notice that some trees were changing their leaf color already. The grass was all burned and brown and fields of corn were stunted. The campground owner told us that they were in a severe draught. Trees were severely stressed and had decided to call it a growing season early.
During the summer, the Thousand Islands area of the Saint Laurence River is busy with boaters of all sizes and tourist boat traffic.
1000 Islands International Bridge
In my next blog post I will show you a "castle" up close and very personal.