Yacht Club Trip To The 1000 Islands

Every year the Queen’s Harbour Yacht Club Commodore plans a trip. This year our Commodore organized a trip to the 1000 Islands, on the St Lawrence River, between Canada and New York State.

16 yacht club members signed up. Most would arrive on Sunday October 16th, with a few arriving later based on plans to add on to the trip before and/or afterwards.

The Commodore did a great job planning out our itineary. We would be staying a wonderful hotel, just three years old, in Clayton, right on the river and a stone’s throw from the places we would be visiting. The 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton is a AAA Four Diamond hotel and it certainly lived up to that. The food was very good, and the evenings by the outdoor fire pits even better! We also had two wonderful tour guides in Beth and Debbie from Clayton Island Tours.

1000 Islands Harbor Hotel

We got there on Saturday, a day before everyone else. We flew into Syracuse, picked up our rental and drove the 80 miles to Clayton and had a meal and drinks in the bar.

On Sunday we walked through the small town to find somewhere for breakfast. We walked past some interesting contraptions and then saw a sign saying that we had just missed the Pumpkin Chunkin’ competition the day before. This is where teams design and build slings that throw pumpkins into the St Lawrence River, with the winner being the team who chunked it the furthest!

Pumpkin Chunkin!

We also went down to Alexandria Bay and boarded one of Uncle Tom’s boats across to Boldt Castle. This was the last day of the season for the castle, so we had timed it just right. The history of the castle is interesting, though sad. He was building it as a gift for his wife, who died before it was finished. He immediately sent a telegram to the workers telling them to cease. He never went back to the island. The building then lay at the mercy of the elements and vandals for 78 years. They have now refurbished the lower two floors and some of the third floor. The rest of the castle is still in significant ruin. We also had the opportunity to go across to The Yacht House where Boldt kept his boats.

Boldt Castle
Boldt Castle Yacht House
Boldt Castle
Boldt Castle Refurbishment


Many of the group arrived later on Sunday and we had a very sociable dinner at the hotel.

On Monday our formal program began. We had a walking tour of Clayton, followed by cocktails and dinner at the Wooden Boat Brewery!

On Tuesday we had a full day planned. We visited a number of wineries – Coyote Moon, Northern Flow, Thousand Islands, and Dark Island Spirits. In the middle of that we visited Wooden Boat Sales, which has over 100 wooden boats on site for sale, and hundreds more on their web site. We also visited a wooden boat restoration business and the St Lawrence Pottery.

Wooden boats galore

And all during the day we enjoyed the beautiful fall colors!

Fall foliage

Most of the group went on to dinner at Bonnie Castle, however we retreated to the hotel for light appetizers! Just too much food and wine!

Wednesday gave us a wonderful present – clear blue skies and temperatures in the 70s. Unusual for this time of the year in upstate New York. This was just as well as we had an all-day boat trip planned on the St Lawrence Seaway!

We all hopped aboard our boat and took off on a “Two Nation” tour of the 1000 Islands. Our guide gave us as detailed history of the region, told us the names of the islands, and narrated the life of those who lived on the islands and on both shores of the river. We weaved between Canadian and US waters as we went upriver on the St Lawrence. The colors were magnificent!

The St Lawrence River
Fall colors
Fall colors
Fall colors

We also had the opportunity to visit Singer Castle, which was opened just for our group.

Singer Castle

Returning to Clayton we freshened up and then headed off to the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton where we were able to relive the history of water speed records and see the boats that raced in the early days of the 20th century. Afterwards we were treated to a traditional “Shore Dinner”  at the museum.

Racing woodie

Thursday was a free day, and the weather broke with torrential rain and chilly temperatures. We drove down to Cape Vincent and had a look at the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse as well as a drive through the small town.

Tibbetts Point Lighthouse

Friday we headed back to the warmth of Florida! We had an awesome time, but as always, it was good to be home!

See the full trip video here:

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