The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Alexandria Bay NY’

1000 Islands Vacation Day 4: Alexandria Bay Evening Visit

On Day 4 (Wednesday, June 22) of our 1000 Island Vacation we visited four New York State Parks: Keewaydin State Park, Kring Point State Park, Jacques Cartier State Park and Grasse Point State Park.  We also visited the Chippewa Bay area and, later in the evening, downtown Alexandria Bay.  In my first Day 4 blog post I wrote about our Keewaydin State Park visit.  My second Day 4 blog post was about our visit to Kring Point State Park.  In my third Day 4 blog post I wrote about our visit to Jacques Cartier State Park.  My fourth Day 4 blog post was about our Grass Point State Park visit.  Today’s blog post is about our visit to downtown Alexandria Bay on the last evening of our 1000 Islands vacation.

After spending the morning and afternoon visiting state parks north and south of Alexandria Bay, we decided to go to downtown Alexandria Bay in the evening for the last time, this visit. Rather than walk from our hotel, as we have done in past visits, we drove the car and parked downtown. After 6:00 pm it is free to park downtown. We stopped for ice cream and then walked down James Street to the docks. We passed by several Corvettes, parked on the street.

Corvettes parked on James Street
Note the license plate?  “Priceee”!

An Internet search revealed the reason for the Corvettes being in town. “Dinner at the Admirals Inn Alexandria Bay NY, with the Northern New York Corvette Club.  Arrive there at 6:30pm. Dinner at 7pm.”

From James Street docks we walked River Walk to Scenic View Park and Casino Island. It was a beautiful night for a walk.

Sten Baltic Chemical/Oil Products Tanker
The tanker sails under the flag of Norway.
The Sunken Rock Lighthouse is visible in this photograph as well.

This goose family was enjoying the lovely evening too.

The western sky was putting on a show on our way to Scenic View Park.

View on River Walk

Scenic View Park

Scenic View Park Covered Pavilion

While the western sky was putting on a show, the setting sun was beautifying the eastern sky.

Scenic View Park
(view from Casino Island)

River Hospital
(view from Casino Island)

Casino Island

I turned around from this view to look toward the western sky once again.

Boldt Castle on Heart Island
(view from Casino Island)

Casino Island Footbridge

Returning to our car we walked on the docks behind Dock of the Bay restaurant, where we had eaten at an earlier day.

Dock of the Bay restaurant
We weren’t aware of outdoor seating on the river, when we ate there.
Next time we visit Alexandria Bay, we will sit outside and enjoy the river view!

There are two houseboats docked here.
The houseboats are available for rental.


We returned to our hotel, Capt’s Inn & Suites, before 9:00 pm, in for the night.

As a way to save money, while on vacation, we ate a breakfast that we brought from home. Our breakfast consisted of hard-boiled eggs (two for Bob, one for me), toast and butter for Bob, cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese for me, and an orange for me that I shared with Bob when it interested him.  In addition, we ate only one meal out. For lunch or dinner we ate a picnic lunch. Our picnic lunches consisted of tuna or chicken salad spread on crackers, fruit cup and sugar-free chocolate wafer cookies.

The next morning we ate our brought-from-home breakfast, got showered and dressed, and packed. We checked out of our hotel and were homeward bound at 7:30 am.

We drove through Letchworth State Park in New York.  Our Empire Passport provided free admission to the park.  We ate a picnic lunch between the Upper and Middle Falls.

We returned home at 2:50 pm. I can honestly say that our 1000 Islands Vacation was one of the best vacations we have ever had! The scenery was outstanding. The people were friendly, locals as well as tourists. We had opportunity for downtime, which made the vacation a relaxing one. We would like to make a return visit to see the Canadian side of the 1000 Islands this year, if possible.



1000 Islands Vacation – Day 2 Continued

As I wrote in my previous blog post, we enjoyed a boat cruise on the St. Lawrence River during our second day of vacation.  At the end of the boat cruise we were given the option to disembark at Heart Island, at an additional admission fee of $9.00 each, which we did.  Heart Island is home to Boldt Castle.  We could spend as much time as desired on the island and take any Uncle Sam boat back to Alexandria Bay.  We spent approximately 2 hours on the island during which time we watched a short video about George Boldt, the early death of his wife and the restoration of the castle and enjoyed a self-guided tour of the castle, its outbuildings and the island grounds .

Heart Island

Boldt Castle

George C. Boldt came to America in 1864 from Prussia, the son of poor parents.  He became the most successful hotel magnate in America managing and profit sharing the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, as well as the Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Boldt began construction on Boldt Castle in 1900, as a tribute to his beloved wife Louise. Mrs. Boldt passed away suddenly, in January 1904, just months before the completion of the castle. Mr. Boldt was inconsolable and immediately stopped all construction on Heart Island, leaving the property vacant for over seventy years. In 1977 the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property and decided that through the use of all net revenues from the castle operation it would be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.  Since 1977, several million dollars have been applied to rehabilitating, restoring and improving the Heart Island structures.

Boldt Castle rises six stories from the foundation level of the indoor pool
to the highest towered room.  The castle contains 120 rooms.

We toured the ground floor, second floor, third floor, fourth floor and the foundation of the castle.

After our interior tour of Boldt Castle, we spent our remaining time admiring the outbuildings and the island grounds.

the Heart Island Gazebo

Alster Tower

The design of Alster Tower looks like a defense tower.  The Alster Tower, often referred to as the Playhouse, however, was intended for the entertainment of guests. The Alster Tower plans included a room for dancing, a bowling alley, a billiard room, library, bedrooms, cafe, grill and kitchen.

The interior of Alster Tower is currently under renovation.

The Entry Arch

The Entry Arch
Alster Tower in the background

The Power House and Clock Tower

The Power House originally housed two generators
that supplied electricity to Heart Island.

Italian Garden
The four marble statues represent the four seasons.

the Dove-Cote Tower

The Dove-Cote Tower once housed an elevated water tank, which supplied water to the island structures. It was topped with a dove house, where fancy fowl were collected.

When we were ready to leave Heart Island, we did not have a long wait for a shuttle boat.  Shuttle boat returns were every half hour at 10 minutes after and 20 minutes to the hour.

We rode this shuttle boat back to Alexandria Bay from Heart Island.

The return trip was quick, only a 10-minute ride.

One last look at Heart Island from the shuttle boat

We ate lunch at Coleman’s Dock of the Bay.

Coleman’s Dock of the Bay

Bob ordered a Philly Cheese steak sandwich, and I ordered a pulled pork sandwich. Accompanying our sandwiches were house chips. We added a basket of onion rings with a Creole dip to our order. Lunch was good, especially the onion rings.

We returned to our hotel, Capt.’s Inn & Suites, around 4:00 pm.

In the early evening we took a drive to Tibbetts Point Lighthouse.  The lighthouse, which is located in Cape Vincent, NY, was less than a 30-mile drive (along NY State Route 12) from our hotel.

Tibbetts Point Lighthouse
This lighthouse marks the point where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River.

We made it back to our hotel from Tibbetts Point Lighthouse only a short time before a storm hit. Thunder, lightning and rain was intense. At 8:15 pm the electricity went out at our hotel. The electricity was still out, when we went to bed 2 hours later. Sometime during the night our electricity was restored.

1000 Islands Vacation – Day 2

Day 2 of our 5-day vacation in the New York 1000 Islands region was on Monday, June 20.  In the event you haven’t read the account of our first day of vacation, you may do so by clicking here.

We ate breakfast at our hotel, Capt.’s Inn & Suites, while sitting on our deck. Breakfast included hard boiled eggs, toast with butter / bagel with cream cheese, and an orange. We brought with us food from home for breakfast, as a way to save money. Capt.’s Inn & Suites does not provide a free breakfast, continental or otherwise. There is coffee and hot water for tea, though, available in the lobby throughout the day, beginning at 7:00 am.

We left for a walk in downtown Alexandria Bay around 7:00 am. My favorite walk is the River Walk.  The River Walk is a pedestrian walkway that connects Alexandria Bay’s downtown area, the waterfront and Scenic View Park.   Along the trail, interpretative kiosks and historical elements highlight the historical background of Alexandria Bay. The trail offers pedestrians a beautiful view of the St. Lawrence River and Boldt Castle.  We strolled along the River Walk several times during our 4-night stay in Alexandria Bay.

James Street entrance to River Walk

River Walk

View of Boldt Castle on Heart Island from River Walk

View of Casino Island from River Walk
Casino Island is accessible by a footbridge from Scenic View Park.

Scenic View Park
Looking down on Casino Island (see gazebo?)

Scenic View Park
Monument to PFC Jack D Sweet,
who was was killed in action
while serving with D Company, 2nd Battalion 22nd Infantry
during Operation Iraqi Freedom on February 8, 2008

We should have eaten breakfast here, rather than at our hotel!

We saw some wildlife, too, while on the River Walk.

Mama (or Papa) Goose and Several Goslings

Female Mallard Duck and Ducklings

Black Squirrel with Nut

We saw a mink for the first time, while in Alexandria Bay!



We watched this mink for quite some time.
Our patience paid off.
The mink captured its breakfast!

Returning to downtown Alexandria Bay from our morning stroll on River Walk, we stopped at Chez Paris Diner for coffee and tea to go. We drank our hot beverages, while sitting on a park bench on James Street.

James Street
Looking toward the Lower James Street Dock

At 10:00 am we boarded the Alexandria Belle for Uncle Sam’s 2 Nation boat cruise on the St. Lawrence River.

the Alexandria Belle

According to its website, Uncle Sam’s most popular cruise is the 2 Nation Tour.  This is a description of the 2 ¼ hour boat tour, as provided by the Uncle Sam Boat Tours website.

“This international tour will take you on a 22 mile round-trip through American and Canadian waters – what is considered the ‘heart’ of the 1000 Islands. This trip will give you the best overall view of this truly unique geographical area shared by two nations.

Professional tour guides will provide a lively narrative as you cruise through the narrow channels, over historic sunken wrecks, by magnificent summer homes of the rich and famous and provide you with local historical facts and folk lore as well as information about the area’s geology, environment and native wildlife.

As you cruise on the emerald green waters of the mighty St. Lawrence River you will see international ships from all over the world either heading upriver to ports ringing the Great Lakes or heading downriver to the ocean and ports in distant lands. You will also see many pleasure boats from kayaks cruising along the shoreline to high performance powerboats criss-crossing the main shipping channel. Your tour guide will even point out the exact location of the international boundary line between the U.S. and Canada so be ready to look!

At the end of the cruise there is the option to disembark at Heart Island to enjoy a self-guided tour of Boldt Castle at an additional admission fee.”

We sat on the top deck for the entire cruise.  As mentioned, there was an option to disembark at Heart Island at the end of the 2 Nation boat cruise.  We did so, and I will share details and photographs of our visit to Heart Island in a separate blog post.


1000 Islands Vacation – Day 1

Our 5-day vacation in the New York 1000 Islands region began on Sunday, June 19.  We departed our home in Warren, PA shortly after 7:00 am.

We made two stops en route Alexandria Bay, NY.  The first stop was a fuel stop at the Mobil / 7-11 in Phelps NY (Rt. 14) at 10:25 am.  The second stop was for lunch at the Grist Mill Restaurant, located off Interstate 81 in Parish, NY. I ordered a taco salad; Bob ordered a taco wrap. Both of our lunch choices were good. Service was friendly and quick too. Price was fair. We were on our way again by 12:30 pm.

We arrived at our hotel, Capt.’s Inn & Suites in Alexandria Bay, at approximately 2:00 pm. We checked in and unpacked.  Our room was located on the ground floor, room 108. This would be our home away from home for the next four nights.

Our hotel room appeared to have been renovated recently.

Our hotel room was furnished with two king beds, a night stand between the two beds, a desk and chair, an arm chair, a three-drawer dresser, a flat-screen TV, and a mini refrigerator.  The bathroom was generously sized and was located behind the closed door in the top photograph.


Our hotel room also included a large deck with a patio table and chairs.

Generously-sized deck with table and chairs

This was the view from our hotel room deck.

We went for a walk a couple hours after checking into our hotel.  Capt.’s Inn & Suites is located within easy walking distance to downtown Alexandria Bay.  Our walk took us across Route 12 and down Church Street toward the St. Lawrence River. We turned right onto James Street and followed it to the dock. We retraced our steps to River Walk, which we followed to Casino Island and Scenic View Park. The park and island provided scenic views of the river, as well as of Boldt Castle on Heart Island.

James Street

Boldt Castle on Heart Island

A cargo ship passed between us, as we looked upon Boldt Castle.
The Arklow Willow currently sails under the Canadian flag.

Boldt Castle on Heart Island,
as seen from the Scenic View Park

This is Casino Island.

I practiced taking bird-in-flight photographs, while on Casino Island.

Boy was it hot and humid the afternoon of June 19th! I saw a temperature reading of 88 degrees, during our walk.

We returned to our hotel room around 5:00 pm.  We ate a picnic dinner at the hotel, while sitting in the shade at a picnic table near our hotel room.


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