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Thousand Islands Archipelago: Castles, Camping, Boating and More

by Francesca Fiore on 21/09/09 at 2:03 am

If you are visiting the New York State area, a must-see day trip is an excursion to one or more of the islands of the Thousand Islands.

The Thousand Islands are a group of islands in the Saint Lawrence River that stretches 50 miles from Kingston, Ontario in Canada to New York State.  There are 1,793 islands in all, ranging from small rock outcroppings to ones holding vast estates.  If you visit the Thousand Islands, here are some highlights.

Heart Island 

This is perhaps the most famous of all Thousand Islands attractions.  George Boldt, who owned the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, began building this estate in the very early 1900s, but abandoned the project after his wife’s death, leaving the existing buildings to crumble.  In the 1970s the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the island and set to work on restoration.  Now the Castle, Alster Tower and the island’s Power House are open to the public.  The Boldt Castle Yacht House on nearby Wellesley Island is accessible by a shuttle boat from Heart Island.

Boldt Castle

Image via Wikimedia

Alster Tower

Image via Wikimedia

Power House

Image via Wikimedia

Just Room Enough Island

Image via Wikimedia

An appropriate name for an island with just enough room for a cozy home.  One of the most amazing things you’ll see touring the islands are many small islands with structures or houses like this.

Deer Island

Image via Wikimedia

The mysterious and secret order, The Skull and Bones, owns this 40 acre island, which each society member visits. Some of the more famous visitors have been Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush, along with 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee Senator John Kerry.

Dark Island

The Thousand Islands has more than one castle!  Another great one is the Singer Castle on Dark Island.  It was built by the affluent Bourne family and visited by other wealthy industrials and capitalists such as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Vincent Astor.  Other highlights of the castle include secret passageways, ownership by more than one religious group over the years and a history of smuggling during Prohibition.  It is open to the public and has guided tours.

Singer Castle

Image via www.singercastle.com

Grindstone Island

This island has arguably the best beach in all of the Thousand Islands, Potter’s Beach.  While you’re boating it is the perfect place to stop for a picnic and sunbath.

Eel Bay

With crystal clear water, this shallow bay is a great fishing destination, located just southwest of Wellesley Island.

Lake of the Isles

Wellesley Island and Canadian Hill Island cut this section of the St. Lawrence river waterway off, making it accessible by only two passages.  Shielded from the wind, it is a great place to stop for a swim while you are out boating.

Image via Wikimedia

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