Some places are magical, however; some places bring out the magicians in you. ‘Thousand Islands’ is such a place! Thousand Islands were also called “Garden of the Great Spirit”, so true.
As the name states thousand islands, it has around 1864 islands. It took three years for the United States Government and Canadian Government to reach this figure. The question of course arises, why the name thousand islands than? Uh! Maybe it will take both the governments a lot of effort to change the signs, road maps, addresses, atlas, etc. With a place like this, we are happy with the name Thousand Islands, who care about the fact.
Thousand Islands float in the Saint Lawrence River sharing a border with US-Canada. The river emerges from Lake Ontario and stretches for about 50 miles (80 km). Islands are shared by two countries USA (New York) and Canada (Ontario).
The best way to visit and tour the islands is through “Uncle Sam’s boat”. Uncle Sam is a cruising company; they provide tours to most of these wonderful islands. There are multiple packages available for the cruise. The tickets can be booked online https://usboattours.com/1000islands/. For prices related to the tour, please visit the website.
The packages include 2 Nation Tour, 1 Hour Tour, Luncheon/Dinner Cruise, Twilight Cruise, etc. My favorite is well, all of them. However; if you want to keep your visit brief, 1 hour Tour is the answer. From this cruise, you can view islands in the United States. However; if you can manage to give yourself extra hours on the cruise always go for 2 Nation Tour. This tour lasts for approximately two and a half hours. This cruise will take you to Canada! You can enjoy the islands in both countries, professional guides will tell you the history of the city and islands, you will be looking to magnificent homes of rich and famous, funny facts about the islands and much more. At the end of the 2 Nation Tour, there is the option to disembark at Heart Island. You can enjoy a self-guided tour of Boldt Castle. After the self-guided tour of Boldt Castle, the Uncle Sam’s boat shuttle will return you to Alexandria Bay.
Museums of the war of 1812, between the United States and British Empire, are on both the Canadian and American side of the river. You can always go for private boating, fishing and hunting, adventure sports, golfing, get behind the wheel to go-karts, drive-in movie at night etc while visiting or staying on the islands.
Stroll through the village downtown of Alexandria Bay. There are multiple options available for drinks and food.
Windows on the Bay: Located in Riveredge resort, it provides you with a casual dining atmosphere and magnificent Boldt Castle in the backdrop. It has both outdoor and indoor dining. From breakfast, lunch and dinner, their menu has a vast option of food. The restaurant is famous for its fine wine and seafood.
Gal’s Place: This place has one of the yummiest collections of shakes, sundaes. You will always find a line here and has the best ice cream flavors.
There are multiple options available for lodging. You can prefer to stay in the city, riverside or on the island itself!
Bonnie Castle Resort & Marina will give you breathtaking views of the river, islands. You can enjoy meals from fine dining to grabbing your lunch and enjoying it on a dock. Bonnie Castle also hosts weeding, if you wanted to be a part, grab your perfect dress! You can always visit http://bonniecastle.com/ for more details.
Riveredge Resort is my favorite. With around 120 rooms, you can take a view of the islands and river from every balcony in the resort. The resort has an outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, parking for yachts. You can also rent a yacht. The resort has got a perfect view of the Boldt Castel. Multiple categories of rooms are available like Standard water view rooms, Castle view rooms, Loft suite water views, Jacuzzi suites. For more information on booking, please visit https://riveredge.com/.
Every island has an astonishing history and fun facts about themselves. I wish I can write about all of them! Here are a few facts and fun about some of them:
Castle Rest, it was the first castle in thousand islands. It was built in 1888 and later destroyed in the twentieth century.
Singer Castle, also known as Dark Island is famous for its towers. It once had 30 rooms, several bedrooms, bathrooms, library, kitchen, boathouse and a network of secret passages. This island has a very good location for sport fishing. The architecture of the castle is American. The island/castle was owned by Frederick Bourne till his death in 1919 and later by his daughter. The island was sold in 1965 to a charitable organization of religious character, the Harold Martin Evangelistic Association. Later in 2001, it was sold again as Dark Island Tours, Inc., to a German businessman Farhad and two American business partners. It has always been a private residence until opened to the public for tours.
Boldt Castle or Heart Island is the Taj Mahal of Thousand Islands. It is the major tourist attraction and is open between May and October for tours. The Castle was built by American millionaire, George Boldt. George wished to build a huge mansion, one of the largest private homes for his wife. However; in 1904 the construction was left undone due to his wife untimely death. The castle remains unfinished for 73 years. Later, construction was completed and is now open to public. The castle has its own powerhouse and clock house, which is open to the public. To tour the castle there is an application fee that can be bought on the castle ticket counter or online. Boldt Castle remains frozen from October to May. I t is an official U.S. port of entry.
The Smallest Island
Hub Island also, known as ‘just room enough island’ is just 3,300 sq ft. The island is owned by Sizeland family. The island has a house, tree, shrubs and a small beach.
Murray Island, also known as Hemlock Island. The name was given because of the variety of trees. It also has Murray Hill Park. The Island has a hotel and a community house, post office sit on the site of the hotel. An annual “Fish Fry” is hosted here every summer in July.
Sugar Island is an island of wildernesses. Maple trees were tapped in the island for syrup and hence the name. From over 75 years, The American Canoe Association holds its annual meet, every summer.
The Smallest International Bridge
Zavikon Island has the shortest international bridge. Zavikon Island is located in the Canadian territory and Little Zavikon Island in America. It has flags of the USA and Canada on both sides of the island.
Thousand Island Salad dressing
The one thing one can always grab while visiting is Thousand Island salad dressing. The dressing was made by fishing guide’s wife originally and now can be found in most of the stores.
Thousand Islands have connected America and Canada before they were nations. It is also called “Venice of America”. The stories of tragedies, romance, historic facts, private islands by rich and famous all the things will lust you to visit this place.