Friday, September 23, 2016

Perfect Weather Friends Are the Best!

Saturday, September 16 - Monday, September 19, 2016
Clayton, New York - 1000 Islands

Unlike those commonly referenced "fair weather friends", our perfect weather friends invited us to a beautiful location and provided the weather to enjoy it!

We haven't seen them since January, but when we meet John and Pam at her mom's house it's like no time has passed. 

It's Saturday in the quaint town of Clayton, NY, and there's a classic car show to attend. Filling all of the four-block downtown, lots of folks have brought their shiny offerings for sharing and judging. With the St Lawrence River just yards away, it is a lovely setting. And yes, the weather is wonderful. 

Too bad I forget my camera at the motorhome :-(

Good looking classics. And an old car.
Lots of muscle cars
This Hearst could have easily won both Most Original and Best Presentation

Bill checking out the Belair he'd take home
The Dodge Challenger was my favorite in high school. 
Discerning judges discussing their choices
Attracting the largest crowds is this Centurion X1-9. Kubota Tractor D850 3 cylinder, 17 hp. Ran the 2014-2016 Toyota Green Grand Prix and gets 214-250 mpg!! 
Pam grew up here, and she and John have spent many summers visiting family, so our walk around town offers those wonderful insights that can only come from true locals.

An alley of old signs
with people they know.
A small cruise ship passes by
Our walk takes us to the Wooden Boat Brewery where we enjoy tasty pizza and a glass of stout, and I fail to take any pics. We sit outside because, you know, perfect weather.

After returning to Mom's house we all climb in their Jeep for an expanded tour that includes Wellesley Island, and then the Tibbets Point Lighthouse.

The island is like traveling back in time to summer "cottages" that stand two stories high with expansive front porches and stately architecture. With the season over, there is very little activity here, although sailboats and other small watercraft still play on the water. The views from the Hwy 81 bridge are amazing. The cell phone camera doesn't capture how lovely it is here, so I just leave it in my pocket.

Having never visited it themselves, the Tibbets Lighthouse in Cape Vincent is a new adventure for all of us. Sitting where Lake Ontario meets the St Lawrence River, the 58' tower was built in 1827 and features the only working original Fresnel lens on Lake Ontario. 

The wind is up, and the clouds have started building, but the temperature is still great for exploring the grounds and the buildings that are open. In addition to the lighthouse and visitors' center are two keepers cottages and a working hostel. 

After several years of fighting for funding, the fog-signal building was built in 1897. We're able to visit this building that includes audio information, displays and signs. Although the building sits at the edge of the lake, a reservoir was excavated in the rocky bank near the signal house and connected to the lake by an inlet channel to provide water for the steam-powered signal. The fog-horn last blew in 1981, when the Coast Guard vacated the station.

Tibbets Point Lighthouse
Steam tanks
One of several warning signs
We spend some time looking at artifacts and artwork in the VC, talking with the docent, before returning to Clayton. 

Sunday we tuck into our football and laundry routine. Happy with the outcome of the games (Steelers are ranked #1 in the power standings this week!), it's a good day :-)

Although beautiful to see some of them from shore, to truly appreciate the 1000 Islands, you have to see them from the water.

Mid-day on Monday we do that.

Uncle Sam Boat Tours departs from Alexander Bay with several options. We choose the 2 Nations Tour - a 2.5 hour ride that takes us into Canadian waters and back to Boldt Castle.

Having perfect weather scheduled to last our entire visit, we sit in the open-air top deck for our tour. Every seat is full as others take advantage of the blue skies and light breeze.

Our tour boat is the same size as the one in front here - these big ships are incredible.
We don't see ships like this on the Colorado :-)
I took over a hundred photos of the islands. So many beautiful homes and rugged shorelines. Some of the stories were fun and unique, too many of them were about how much places cost. 

Just right
Hundreds of these massive homes - most are very lovely.
Bridge to Canada
This side of the bridge is full of whirlpools that never freeze, even when the rest of the lake is solid.
Well built docks make for smooth delivery of everything from passengers to propane.
What part of "don't stand in front of the boat, please take photos from the back" isn't clear?
International Border - see it?
A great opportunity to see a tall-sails ship
River's name-sake, Saint Lawrence
If it remains above water 365 days a year, and can sustain a tree, then it's an island. We know people who know this stuff!

My favorite property has a nice house in Canada
and an adjoining yard in the US. 
"I own a whole island!"
The tour drops folks off at Heart Island to tour parts of the famous Boldt Castle which is still being completed and renovated at the same time. The island's history is a sad tale of love and death and a whole lot of money. Read it.

Boldt Castle on Heart Island
The Children's Castle
The boat house
Although it has been a few years since the river froze hard enough to cross it safely, it is impossible to wrap my brain around it freezing at all.

We opt out of the castle tour and return to Alexander Bay.  John and Pam meet us there for a late lunch, but the little town is pretty much closed for the season. Instead, we return to Clayton and enjoy a delicious meal on Bella's patio. 

The Internet has decided this post is long enough, making downloading nearly impossible. So I'll wrap up our stay in the next post.


  1. It was so nice of you and Bill to reroute yourselves to come and visit. We had a great time sharing this little area with the three of you:) Loved spoiling Tessa:) Looking forward to seeing you all real soon:)

    1. It was definitely a treat for us - especially Miss Tessa who loves time with Gramma Pamma :-))) Such a beautiful place!

  2. What an amazing tour for sure. The photos are fabulous. It's not hard to take lots of pictures when you have beautiful places to capture.

    1. Thanks Jeri. I probably could have taken twice as many, but just enjoying the views was lovely.

  3. Color me green, perfect weather for days in a row and really knowledgeable guides to take you around a great area you've never been to. Hope the boat captain explained how so many people can own so many expensive homes in the Thousand Islands. That's what I want to know. I always thought that's what I most wanted. An island of my own.

    1. I can't imagine a nomad like you on an island - although the peace would be wonderful. The big homes were mostly corporate properties and multi-generational.

  4. Such a treat to meet up with Pam and John and tour around. I could handle an island if it was close to shore.

    1. Part of me would love the adventure and privacy - although the tour boats passing my all day would sort of ruin that - but I think I'd get bored after a few weeks.

  5. How fun meeting up with John and Pam! Perfect weather, indeed, after what you put up with all summer I'll bet it was heaven!

    1. Yes! Cooler temps and no humidity has been wonderful. Definitely loving Fall in the Northeast!

  6. John and Pam are the best weather friends and best tour guides. It is a treat just to be around them.

  7. Beautiful pictures Jodee! It's so awesome to see so much history. The houses are gorgeous.

    1. Thanks Laura :-) I continue to be overwhelmed by all of it, and so blessed to have this opportunity to see so much.

  8. What an awesome treat to spend time with John and Pam...especially at her mom's. It's such a beautiful area.

    1. We had a great time with them in a very special place!