Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fine Dining in the Thousand Islands

Continuing with our late summer vacation…

After a meal a night earlier that can best be described as unsatisfying…fuel only…Laurie and I went into search mode for somewhere else to eat.  That objective fit nicely into our penchant for exploration.
So, we decided to explore Wellesley Island, one of the largest islands in the 1,793 islands that comprise the ‘Thousand Islands’.  To get there, you have to get on I-81 and take the toll bridge that leads over the St. Lawrence River to Canada.  There is an exit to Wellesley Island after you cross the main span of this multi-span bridge.

After exiting the bridge on the island, we turned south, (right), to take a look at the shorter end of the island.  That’s when we discovered the Thousand Islands Park Historical District.  This amazing area is comprised of 294 buildings, many of them homes such as pictured above.

This area was originally founded as a Methodist Retreat or Camp back in 1875.  It quickly changed over from camping in tents to the construction of these ‘cottages’.  For many years, before the bridge was completed, there were no ferry boats allowed to operate to or from the island on Sunday…

This is the commercial ‘heart’ of the historic district.  There is an ice cream parlor, a small grocery store and, down toward the end of this building, you can see the fire department.  This whole historic district is an amazing collection of late 19th century and early 20th century resort architecture.  It is a beautiful community of preserved gingerbread ‘cottages’, actually relics of a Victorian-era ‘camp meeting’ religious retreat.

This is the Wellesley Island Hotel.  This grand old hotel was built in 1903 and it continues to offer modest, (simple), lodging and fine food.   Patrons can dine inside the hotel or on the porch.  Entrees are served with a family style salad and a vegetable.  The Backdoor Bakery is located at the back of the hotel.  Their offerings include cookies, cupcakes, pies, bread, pizzas, etc.   

But No!  This isn’t where we ate… It was still a little early for dinner and we decided to explore the rest of the island before eating.  We would definitely try this restaurant if we return to this area of the country.  The Wellesley Island Hotel & Restaurant is located as 42809 St. Lawrence Avenue in Thousand Islands Park.  Phone: 315-482-3698.  Website:

This is the front of the building housing Joey’s Thousand Island Club Restaurant.  The Thousand Island Club was started by George C. Boldt, (Waldorf-Astoria, Stratford Hotel & the Boldt Castle), back in the late 1800’s.  It was completed in 1918 by his son-in-law, The Canadian Steamship Lines, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority and Edward John Noble, the inventor of Lifesavers.  For many years, it was known as a palatial playground for the very wealthy.

The club, with its efficiency villas, suite lodging, 36 holes of golf and 100 slip marina, is located right across the St. Lawrence River from Alexandria Bay New York.  Joey’s Thousand Island Club Restaurant is a fairly new addition to this upscale facility.

When we entered the restaurant, they were still working on setting up for dinner.  However, we noted that the bar was open and we decided that we’d just work off the Bar Menu.  We’d neglected the fact that it was Labor Day weekend, the end of the boating season, and we’d bypassed the empty hostess station.  We’d grabbed a table in the bar…eventually upsetting the hostess as we didn’t have reservations.  She conceded that we could stay and from there on, the waitress was very pleasant and competent. 

This was the view from our window seat in the bar… Not too bad!  The boating crowd kept building…everyone obviously knowing everyone else.  Joey himself eventually made the round at the bar, shaking hands and making nice to his regular summer crowd.

Laurie ordered a small Garden Salad, ($2.95) and the Tuna Sashimi with pickled ginger, grated daikon radish, wasabi and soy sauce. ($13.95) The salad was great…lots of fresh ingredients…and the Sashimi was top drawer, i.e. excellent!

For my entrée, I had the Balsamic Romaine Salad with a seasoned, grilled salmon filet. ($16.95) It was very, very good.  This was a nice change from the dinner we had the previous night over in Alexandria Bay.

We were both full…content even.  However, when we learned that they offered Tiramisu for dessert, we gave in and shared one… ($6.95) It was excellent!  As you will note, we’d already taken a bite from it when we remembered to take a picture.

We would definitely recommend Joey’s Thousand Island Club to our fellow travelers!  Joey DeCuffa has been operating a very well known Syracuse restaurant, Joey’s of Syracuse, since 1982. 
Joey’s Thousand Island Club Restaurant is located on Club Road in Alexandria New York.  Phone: 315-482-9999.  Website:
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. It sounds like another great meal, Dave. The view was spectacular. I hope you and Laurie have a wonderful holiday. Blessings...Mary

  2. Looks like you stumbled into a dandy and sweet talked getting to stay.