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Heading out of Sackets Harbor, we had a long day trek from the St. Lawrence Seaway to Sodus Bay out on Lake Ontario. Although the wind and waves were supposed to be not too bad, we found that motoring at our normal pace of 8-10 mph was challenging and the rolling wave action was a little much!
A heavy fog set in on Lake Ontario and we couldn’t see very far ahead of us. We got close to “Quite Nice” before we actually caught sight of them in the fog to pass by. Fortunately we both had radar and AIS transponders (capable of seeing in the dark and in the fog). As we got further into Lake Ontario, we hit our highest depth since starting the trip in Florida — at a whopping 650 Ft!
So happy to see Sodus Bay — which was a very nice Marina run by Dockmaster Rick and Fisher the dog. They had a nice pool and grilling area that we took advantage of when we weren’t visiting downtown.
Walking around Sodus Point we saw their clock and a veterans memorial complete with a machine gun! The town was quaint — though I’m not sure we understood this house with the Angel in the walkway and Lions guarding. .. The swan came back and brought his family to meet us.
The Sodus Lighthouse and maritime museum was interesting.
Sodus Point was the victim of British attacks in 1813 just after the war of 1812.
I just had to take a picture of these antique “Water Wings” made in Hoboken, New Jersey. According to the printing on them, they don’t hold water, but leak until just the right amount of air is in them to support the swimmer at the right level.
At the maritime museum we learned about the Historic Sodus Point Malt House. The ruins of this building are just in front of the marina where we stayed. This malthouse was originally built in 1882 to make malt from barley. Later this malt house was purchased by the Genesee Brewing Co that produced malt from 1936 – 1986. Today the Genesee Brewing Company still exists just across from Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY.
Driving the car again today up to Alexandria Bay — we actually were on the northern most part of Interstate 81 (which coincidentally we lived close to the southern end of this interstate in Tennessee). More Castle Tours — this time to the Singer Castle — built at the turn of the Century by one of the previous president’s of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, Frederick Borne, as a hunting lodge. The castle is now owned by a group of investors who has restored it as a tourist attraction. We took a boat to Dark Island from Alexandria Bay.
The boat took us through the Thousand Islands again, and we got to see some more small islands with only one house on them…
We entered the castle through the Cellar.
The breakfast room was built on later by one of Fredericks daughters, Marjorie, who lived in the castle after his death.
Several of the rooms had high ceilings — mainly because there were secret hallways behind the walls that connected a series of secret passageways. In the drawing room servants could look our the tilting picture to check on the guests.
The castle was built in 1903, and was modeled after the book “Woodstock” by Sir Walter Scott which had lots of hidden passageways like these.
There were alot of antique Singer sewing machines throughout the castle.
After another long day of touring, we stopped in Alexandria Bay to have some libations before heading back to the boat.
Taking advantage of the rental car in Sackets Harbor, we took a side trip to visit the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY and to take a boat tour on the St. Lawrence River to Bolt Castle in the Thousand Islands.
There were building of antique boats and boats in covered dock slips.
There was a building for speed boats and speed records broken.
After a couple hours looking at antique boats, we headed over to Clayton Bolt Castle tours. The first part of the tour was boating through the Thousand Islands. There are actually 1,864 islands in the Thousand Islands. To be an island you had to meet two criteria: 1) must have at least one tree, 2) must be above water for 365 days per year. Here are some pictures of some of the islands we saw.
Some facts about the Thousand Islands include: The St. Lawrence water is so clear due to zebra mussels, making this a number 1 dive destination. The St. Lawrence waterway freezes solid in the winter and a snow plow is used to make roads to the many houses on islands. Thousand Island Dressing is said to have originated from the Thousand Islands.
George Boldt built the Boldt Castle for his wife, the love of his life, and there are hearts found everywhere.
George truly loved his wife and wanted to give her this castle on Feb 14th, her birthday and their anniversary. However, she became sick and died in January of that year, so George Boldt immediately stopped work on the Castle and never set foot on the island again.
Now there has been millions of dollars spent to get the castle in its current condition for touring.
After Boldt Castle, we went to Rock Island Lighthouse in the Thousand Islands. the lighthouse used to be built on top of the house, but now stands on the waterway.
The black band in the middle of the lighthouse marks the original lighthouse (that was on top of the keepers house) and the bottom of the lighthouse was added later.
There was interesting displays about the large vessels that move through the St. Lawrence Waterway
After a full day of touring, we stopped with our buddy boaters, Yvonne and Peter for dinner and played a game of JENGA.
We rented a car in Watertown for a few days so we could tour around the area and not move the boat. One day we thought we would try out a few area winery’s. Winery touring is a fun thing to do around Sackets Harbor. Our first winery stop was the Yellow Barn winery — they had an interesting gift shop that was also like an antique / second hand store… We bought a couple bottles of wine!
Next we went to White Caps Winery. Along with the great tastings, they had a beautiful bar inside and a relaxing outside area as well. After the tasting, we got a wine slushy and bought a couple bottles of wine!
Finally, we took in the Cape Winery and tasting room. This was located on a family farm and would have been a great venue for weddings, however they don’t do that. .. Mary bought a nautical potholder and we bought a bottle of wine!
Three winery’s is all we could handle in one day, so we headed back to Navy Point Marina and planned to go to the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY and to Boldt Castle the next day.
Forty-one miles to our next destination took us past “9 Mile” nuclear plant. We were traveling with a buddy boat “Quite Nice” Peter and Yvonne.
After arriving at Navy Point Marina, we took a walk around and found they have a very nice grilling area, which we took advantage of a few times.
The view at Sackets Harbor is amazing!
Not only that, but they have a Tiki Bar and Dock Tales every night!! We met some really nice people at this marina, Craig the Dockmaster, Peter and Lisa the marina owners, and several other fun folks including, Donna, Katie, Don, Steve, et al …
Strolling around Sackets Harbor was like a walk back in time. The town has a rich history associated with the War of 1812. Just a short walk from the marina is a battlefield with lots of interesting artifacts and information.
Had to try these Duck Wings at Whiskey Coop — they are larger than chicken wings and a little different taste — but good!
Traditionally this CAN-AM Festival is a very big event, unfortunately due to the continued border closure Canadians were missing. Still lots of live music, food, fun & games… plus Fireworks! There was human foosball on the street, unfortunately we didn’t get pictures of that. It Started raining about 4PM so this also put a damper on the festivities.
We had breakfast downtown at the fancy Tin Can Gallery, recommended by the locals. It was very good.
There was a battle field in Sackets Harbor that we took a stroll around and went into this museum showing interesting information about the war of 1812 and Sackets Harbor battle.
After docking the boat securely, we took a walk to go to Saturday night mass at Christ the Good Shepard Catholic Church. It was a nice service that didn’t require masks right here in New York! They had a new priest visiting from Kenya, South Africa who told his story about becoming a priest. God is Good! All the Time!! On our way to church, we passed by Washington Square park — a well maintained public park that had a walking trail, statue, and beautiful landscaping.
There was a fishing tournament going on at the Oswego Marina while we were there.
The next day was spent touring Fort Ontario, which had quite a history! The Fort was first built in 1755 by the English, destroyed by the French a year later, rebuilt 3 years later, then destroyed by Americans in 1778. English rebuilt it again 4 years later, then it was taken by the United States in 1796. The English then destroyed it in 1814. The US proceeded to rebuild it then 3 times, first of earth and timber, second time of stone and concrete, and then it was enlarged and built of brick in 1903-1905.
We visited the Safe Haven Museum which was where around 1000 Holocaust refugees fled to Oswego, NY and were housed at the barracks which had recently been closed. They were housed there until the end of the German regime of Adolf Hitler.
Most of the Jewish refugees remained in New York after the war and there were several who moved to other cites in the US.
We stayed at Pirates Cove for one week through the July 4th Holiday. This was a great location, with a restaurant and pool that was in the cornfields of Clay New York. We went for a run and a couple of nice long walks around the countryside area. There was some wildlife here from Fish to Snakes (including bluegill – not pictured) and quite a crop of lily pads and grassy growth — that made this a fun and pleasant stay.
We also got to clean and wax the boat during our week stay — doesn’t she look nice!
Patti and Paul, the owners of Pirates Cove were great! Their courtesy car was in the shop for the first half of the week, but Patti took us to the Farmers Market on Saturday, and to two Grocery Stores so we could re-provision — For 3 hours — we also went to lunch with Patti while we were out — it was her first time to go to Five Guys!! With all the great groceries, Mary cooked some great meals on the boat.
Larry got the Dinghy fixed! He replaced the water pump impellor — third time he got it right! The dinghy now runs like a dream! Patty came around in her tiny boat to say high and took this great picture of us on the back of our boat!
Pirates cove was great fun and we were sad to leave, but it was a great day for boating so we were off! It had rained quite a bit while we were in Clay, NY — likely due to hurricane Elsa that came through Florida earlier that week.
Sylvan beach was a stop on the free wall, without power. Luckily it was a cool day, so no need for air-conditioning. We took a short walk around so Larry could get another ‘shot glass’ souvenir for his collection then we settled in for a restful night.
We stopped off at a restaurant – Aqua Vino – in Utica, NY — the boat was parked off the Mohawk river on the high wall at the restaurant — for only $47/night!! We had lunch which was Hot Ringlets (Famous in Utica) and a great salad.
Our waitress, Lindsey, worked for her uncle (the owner of Aqua Vino) — she told us about 2 other places that her uncle owned 1) Babes – a restaurant/bar, and 2) Kookies Creamery — we tried them both and it was a great start to our walk around Utica.
We met Tina at Aqua Vinos, and she told us to go to the Celtic Harp where they would have a great band. Unfortunately the band cancelled due to a big storm the night before.
We did see Tina at Celtic Harp and took a picture with her. We ended the night at Tavolo’s Italian Restaurant on the way back to the boat.
After a long day of boating through the Locks, we finally arrived at Little Falls Canal Harbor in Little Falls, New York. This town has several historic buildings and churches from the early 1800’s.
The local baseball team (Little Falls Diamond Dawgs) was playing a game Tuesday night so we took a 2 mile walk after dinner over to the ballfield to watch them play.
The next day, Harbormaster Mark took us for a windshield tour around Little Falls. We got to see quite a bit that morning before the rains came in. Near the locks, there was the ruins of the original Erie Canal Lock in that area that was initially traveled with horses pulling the boats through the canal waterway as they walked alongside on the edge of the canal.
Mark took us by a historic Bread Oven that was used long ago (by Irish women??)
We got so see some views of the Adirondack Mountains and the Mohawk River valley.
Mark also took us by the Catholic Church, and we were able to go inside even though it was Tuesday. The church had beautiful wooden gables and beautiful wooden pews.
Mark gave us a Little Falls Diamond — these are rock crystals found in the area around Little Falls in the Quartz family of minerals. They are same composition as glass, but much harder.