Monday, November 21, 2011

Cruising the Thousand Islands

Between our little cruise in the $200,000 replica antique power boat from the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton New York and our “Millionaire’s Tour” on one of the Uncle Sam’s Tour boats based in Alexandria Bay New York, we were able to see quite a few of the Thousand Islands.  As I previously mentioned, these islands are scattered along the St. Lawrence River on the border between the USA and Canada.

I wish that the sun had been out when we were out on the river checking out the ‘Thousand Islands’.  As luck would have it, while the weather was warm, it was mostly hazy, with only sporadic sunshine.  This photo is of just one of the many houses or cottages that dot these islands…not a bad summer time life style!

This is the old US Post Office on Round Island New York.  Mail service was discontinued in 1918 with the demise of the Frontenac Hotel, but the old post office is maintained by island residents as a small museum.  The guide on the tour boat implied that it was still in operation, stating that “It’s staffed by volunteers in season”.

Just to provide historical reference, this is an old photo of the Frontenac Hotel back around the beginning of the 20th century.  This huge summer resort must have totally dominated Round Island and it’s easy to see why the Post Office was designated as the Frontenac Post Office!

Here are two additional homes on one of the larger islands comprising what is termed, ‘The Thousand Islands’.  Actually, there are 1,793 islands in this stretch of the St. Lawrence River.  They are located in both Canadian and US waters…

This is another of the larger island ‘cottages’ as seen from the top deck of the Uncle Sam’s tour boat.  Actually, some of the island homes are occupied year around.  It must be challenging to live here in the winter.  Between the excessive snowfall recorded in the area and ice on the river, travel has to be difficult.  Nearby Alexandria Bay averages 9.5’ of snow each winter!

Here are 2 more classic Thousand Island cottages…with a nice little yacht docked just down from one of the houses.

This photo of another of the islands was interesting because of the little side island on the left…with the bridge over to it…and because it shows an old boathouse or cottage that has just collapsed over time.

I liked the setting for this cottage.  It sits on this nice little wooded island with some nice rocks and its own stone pier. 

The St. Lawrence River is also the St. Lawrence Seaway.  This river ‘highway’ combined with a series of Great Lakes, rivers and locks, allows ocean going ships to move freight to and from the Atlantic Ocean, serving ports as far inland as Green Bay Wisconsin, Chicago Illinois and Duluth Minnesota.  Big ocean going ships as well as Lake Freighters pass close by many of the Thousand Islands.

This is Zavikon Island…another pretty little island with a very nice cottage… Note that it is connected to another little island via a bridge.  As per the tour guide, the island on the left is in Canada and the island on the right is in the USA.  They describe it as the “shortest international bridge in the world”.  As it turns out, this popular tale is incorrect…both islands are in Canadian waters.

The smaller island is sometimes called Little Zavikon Island.  It has a US-Canada Boundary Commission reference monument, from which, along with other reference monuments on the shore and islands, surveying measurements are used to calculate the international boundary line turning points in the waterway. 

Many of the 1,793 islands that dot the St. Lawrence River in this area are little more than rocky outcroppings.  Others, like this one, are too close to the Seaway’s main channel and building a home on them is forbidden. (The thought is that homes too close to the channel might distract the helmsmen on the ships and that could lead to an collision or a shipwreck)

This is probably my favorite little island.  I borrowed this photo from the Internet as ours was taken from just too far away.  This island is appropriately named “Just Room Enough”. 

One more sunshine based photo…also borrowed.  Note the wall/breakwater designed to minimize the impact of the wake from passing boats and ships.

I was curious as to how the number of islands comprising the 1,793 ‘Thousand Islands’ was determined… The count was all over the place until the word ‘island’ was defined to everyone’s satisfaction.  Finally, the criteria was established that defined an island as any bit of land that stayed above water all year around, had an area of more than 1 square foot and it supported at least one living tree.  I wonder…do they reduce the island count when the only tree on a small island dies?
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. I had no idea it is such a beautiful area, I must see it some time. I'm amazed some are so small with homes and I assume the water can't go any higher. I chuckle that you refer to these opulent places as cottages - I'd love to see these folks real homes :-)

  2. Dear Dave, Just beautiful! The island with the house makes you wonder, how did they build it!? Well, I just wanted to wish you and Laurie a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving Holiday. Catherine