After we left Belden Hill, we headed northwest to the small town of Clayton NY. We originally had planned to stay a week in the town of Clayton, but our truck issues made us shorten our stay. We are sure glad we made it though because the 1000 Islands area of New York is absolutely gorgeous! Our campground sits right on the St. Lawrence River and was just outside the small town of Clayton.
The day after we arrived, we hopped on Bill and rode west to the town of Cape Vincent where we bought a ticket on a ferry and headed across the river to Wolfe Island which is in Canada. After a brief chat with a female Canadian customs officer, we rode across the island and got in line to board a ferry to the town of Kingston, Ontario. The ferry to Kingston was free, part of the public transportation system in Canada. When the ferry from Kingston arrived and the ramp opened, at least 100 bicyclists disembarked! I guess they were riding around Wolfe Island. Motorcycles board last and we were wondering if there would be room for us. The ferry to Kingston was packed with cars, bicycles, pedestrians along with us and two other motorcycles.
Once we reached Kingston, we rode around town a little while before deciding to park near the water. We walked around quite a bit and then decided to have lunch at a local restaurant called Morrison’s. It was a local dive that served breakfast all day. We then walked around some more before heading back to Bill. We then rode East along the river until we came to the Thousand Islands International Bridge leading back to the USA. We made it back through US Customs without issue and made it back into New York. We then went to the nearby town of Alexandria Bay to check it out because we wanted to take a boat ride later in the week that departs from Alexandria Bay. We found the pier, bought our tickets and then walked around.
Alexandria Bay is a bit more tourist-y than nearby Clayton, with lots of souvenir shops, local eateries and bars. There was an antique car and motorcycle show going on while we were there, so we checked it out. We left there and headed back to Clayton where we ended up eating a late lunch/early supper at a little restaurant called Bella’s. The food and atmosphere were great – we sat on the back porch that overlooked the river. After we got back to Mo, I decided to do some laundry at the campground. I also managed to get stung by a yellow jacket on the back of my leg – that was extremely unpleasant and it hurt for days.
The next day we rode back into Alexandria Bay and took our boat cruise – it was called the “Two Nation Tour”. The cruise was over two hours long and it took us up and down the St. Lawrence River. We learned a lot about the river’s history. We saw many beautiful houses all along the river and near the end of cruise, the boat stopped at Heart Island which is home to the Boldt Castle.
The Boldt Castle was built by a Russian immigrant who later “made it big” in the hotel industry – Waldorf Astoria and other New York hotels were his. Fun fact, 1000 Islands salad dressing got its name from a dressing served on salads in the area and later at the Waldorf Astoria. Another fun fact – there are over 1800 islands in the 1000 Islands area. Anyway, back to the Boldt Castle - it sat empty for over 70 years until it came into the possession of the historical preservation folks in the area and they are slowly restoring it to its original grandeur. The restoration is still underway on several of the out buildings and in the basement of the castle. The work that has been done thus far is wonderful and the castle is a must see if in the area. We really enjoyed our visit.
The next day, we got up early and rode Bill back into Clayton, stopping for breakfast at the Koffee Kove restaurant – a recommendation from the owner of the campground. Breakfast was great, and we got a laugh from our waitress, Cindy. When she brought me my iced tea, she asked if I was “for” straw or “against” straws. I said “for”, and she gave me my straw and said “God Bless America”.
After breakfast, we visited the Antique Boat Museum and it was fabulous. There were all kinds of wooden boats – from canoes to island shuttles to race boat. The museum was very nicely laid out, and they even had boats that you could rent to take out in the bay. After touring the museum, we rode Bill back to the town of Cape Vincent and visited the Tibbetts Point lighthouse which is located where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario. Cute little lighthouse. We had a fun day.
On our last day at Merry Knoll, we drove BAT to the town of Watertown as we needed to get some groceries and a few supplies for an upcoming rally we will be attending. While we were there, we took had lunch at a Chinese restaurant and it was pretty good. We chilled out that afternoon, and headed back into Clayton for one final meal at Koffee Kove – and Cindy was our waitress again. She remembered me, and gave me a straw without asking. Gotta love small towns.
We enjoyed our time in the 1000 Islands area and are glad we were able to visit, even though our stay was shortened by several days.