The Beauty Around Us

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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.

_LG23212 4x6Corvettes 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.

_LG23216 4x6Sten Baltic Chemical/Oil Products Tanker
The tanker sails under the flag of Norway.
The Sunken Rock Lighthouse is visible in this photograph as well.

_LG23220 4x6This goose family was enjoying the lovely evening too.

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

LJG23222 4x6View on River Walk

_LG23225 4x6
Scenic View Park

20160622_234729632_iOSScenic View Park Covered Pavilion

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

_LG23233 4x6Scenic View Park
(view from Casino Island)

_LG23234 4x6River Hospital
(view from Casino Island)

_LG23235 4x6Casino Island

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

LJG23238 4x6Boldt Castle on Heart Island
(view from Casino Island)

LJG23241 4x6Casino 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.

_LG23244 4x6Dock 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!

_LG23243 4x6There 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 .

_LG22754 4x6Heart Island

_LG22920 4x6Boldt 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.

_LG22922 4x6Boldt 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.

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

_LG22910 4x6the Heart Island Gazebo

_LG22914 4x6
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.

_LG22915 4x6The Entry Arch

_LG22917 4x6The Entry Arch
Alster Tower in the background

_LG22933 4x6The Power House and Clock Tower

_LG22935 4x6
The Power House originally housed two generators
that supplied electricity to Heart Island.

_LG22939 4x6Italian Garden
The four marble statues represent the four seasons.

_LG22937 4x6
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.

_LG22943 4x6We rode this shuttle boat back to Alexandria Bay from Heart Island.

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

_LG22946 4x6One last look at Heart Island from the shuttle boat

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

_LG22952 4x6Coleman’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.

_LG22961_LG22962_LG22963-HDR 4x6Tibbetts 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.

_LG22753 4x6
James Street entrance to River Walk

_LG22756 4x6River Walk

_LG22754 4x6View of Boldt Castle on Heart Island from River Walk

_LG22706 4x6View of Casino Island from River Walk
Casino Island is accessible by a footbridge from Scenic View Park.

_LG22711 4x6Scenic View Park
Looking down on Casino Island (see gazebo?)

_LG22708 4x6
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

_LG22712 4x6We should have eaten breakfast here, rather than at our hotel!

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

_LG22703 4x6Mama (or Papa) Goose and Several Goslings

_LG22746 4x6Female Mallard Duck and Ducklings

_LG22721 4x6Black Squirrel with Nut

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

_LG22729 4x6Mink

_LG22732 4x6Mink

_LG22723 4x6We 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.

_LG22750 4x6James 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.

_LG22861 4x6the 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.  Please enjoy the slideshow that I put together highlighting what we saw during our boat cruise.

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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.

20160621_212630925_iOS 4x6
Generously-sized deck with table and chairs

20160621_212802614_iOS 4x6This 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.

_LG22659 4x6James Street

_LG22662 4x6Boldt Castle on Heart Island

_LG22667 4x6A cargo ship passed between us, as we looked upon Boldt Castle.
The Arklow Willow currently sails under the Canadian flag.

_LG22673 4x6Boldt Castle on Heart Island,
as seen from the Scenic View Park

_LG22692 4x6This is Casino Island.

_LG22688 4x6I 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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