Teresa Farrell 2017-04-05 01:00:45
Visit Southwick Beach State Park: Southwick Beach is one of the most popular parks along the east shore of Lake Ontario to enjoy during the summer months. Southwick Beach lies adjacent to the Lakeview Wildlife Management Area and offers visitors the opportunity to explore the nature and walking trails that wind through both the park and the neighboring property and to observe the wildlife and the natural sand dunes, a feature unique to this area of the Lake Ontario shoreline. Southwick is a former 1920s destination, which at that time included amusement rides and a dance hall. Today, a snack bar and picnic area have replaced those. Southwick’s most popular sites are those located along the beach and are open only to tent camping and generally require reservations made well in advance due to their popularity with campers. For more information please visit www.parks.ny.gov/southwick. Cruise the St. Lawrence River on Uncle Sam Boat Tours: The opportunity to explore the Great Lakes Seaway Trail from the water is one that shouldn’t be missed. Uncle Sam Boat Tours depart from the Thousand Islands’ Alexandria Bay. Dinner and lunch cruises offer delicious dining options aboard the triple-decker paddlewheel-style Alexandria Belle. A variety of tours trace routes along the river, ranging from historic Millionaire’s Row to the Two Nation Tour, which sails through both Canadian and American sections of the islands. Uncle Sam also offers shuttle service to two of the regions iconic island castles. Boldt Castle, visible from Alexandria Bay, was originally built on Heart Island by George Boldt for his wife Louise. The castle was never lived in and remained abandoned for decades before being purchased and restored by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. Today it is open to the public and accessible via an Uncle Sam shuttle. Nine miles down the river lies Dark Island, home of Singer Castle, the former hunting lodge of the Bourne family and the only island castle open for touring that was actually inhabited. Shuttles from Uncle Sam are also available to Singer Castle. Please visit www.usboattours.com for more information and for an up to date schedule. Uncle Sam Boat Tours. Explore the Erie Canal with Mid Lakes Navigation Co. at their Erie- Macedon location. Canal boat rentals are available for week-long charters as well as canoe, kayak, and paddleboat rentals. Macedon is also a departure location for overnight canal cruises along the Erie Canal. Take a cruise aboard the Emita II that also departs from the landing in Macedon. For more information call 315-986-3011 or www.midlakesnav.com. Visit the National Museum of Play at the Strong: Whether you’re travelling with kids or are just a kid at heart, don’t miss a visit to the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester. The museum combines the hands-on activities of a children’s museum with the cultural and historic content of a museum, centered on play. From dolls to toys, board games, books and electronic games, the museum is home to more than 400,000 artifacts. The Strong is also home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton- Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play. The museum is comprised of over 100,000 feet of exhibit space, and encompasses exhibits that are interesting, unique, and—more importantly—fun. One of the museum’s most popular exhibits is the Wegman’s Super Kids Market, where visitors emulate the experience of shopping from pushing carts and selecting play food to staffing the bakery and the cash registers—which are designed to process transactions and print receipts. For more information please visit www.museumofplay.org. Experience Niagara Falls aboard the Maid of the Mist: Towering, thundering, majestic: there are many words to describe the splendor of Niagara Falls. The best way to describe it is to see this natural wonder of the world for yourself. Visitors can board the Maid of the Mist boat to tour the bottom of the falls. The original Maid, a steamboat, took her maiden voyage in 1846; prior to that, guides would actually use row boats to ferry passengers below the falls. Today, visitors don ponchos and get a chance to experience the spray and churning waters below the falls. Visit www.maidofthemist.com to book your tour today. Sip your way through Lake Erie Wine Country: The Great Lakes Seaway Trail winds through some of the most amazing wine country anywhere. Western New York and eastern Pennsylvania boast the largest and oldest Concord grape belt in the world. Situated in the heart of Lake Erie Wine Country over thirty wineries and vineyards stretch these areas and encompass over 30,000 acres of vineyards. Although Concord grapes are a dominant variety here, the region’s growing conditions makes it ideal for growing other varieties including Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The area is also home to Welch’s, and grape juice and jelly are made with the concord grapes that grow here. For more information please go to www.lakeeriewinecountry.org. Step back in time during the St. Lawrence County Civil War Weekend: Yanks and Johnny Rebels will be at it again this year at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association’s annual Civil War Reenactment Weekend at Robert Moses State Park, Massena. The sights and sounds of the Civil War will fill the air at the annual Civil War Reenactment during the last weekend in July. Union and Confederate reenactors will stage mock battles, perform military drills, demonstrate cooking, spinning, cannon firing, and medical practices. There will also be a frying pan toss, a basket auction, Civil War trivia contests, historical displays, and period music. Military and civilian reenactors from New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Ontario and Quebec, Canada are expected to attend. The St. Lawrence County Historical Association presents the weekend, which is hosted by the 2nd Michigan, Co E and Alexander’s Battery reenactment units. For more information please visit www.slcha.org/cwrt/encampment.php. Go Camping: A State Parks vacation is an affordable way to enjoy the recreational opportunities that the Thousand Islands area has to offer. This park’s regions stretch from the eastern shores of Lake Ontario along the length of the St. Lawrence River to Lake Champlain on the east and as far south as Lowville’s Whetstone Gulf. With thirty State Parks, six boat launches and a designated historic site, the area has plenty to explore so you can start discovering this summer. Nature centers, recreational fields, picnic areas, beaches, and marinas are just some of the amenities you’ll enjoy at the parks along the Seaway Trail. Please visit www.parks.ny.gov for more information. Visit a lighthouse: Today travelers can view thirty lighthouses along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail – 28 historic lighthouses and two modern replicas. Enjoy the rich history, varied architecture, and panoramic vistas from these unique structures as you travel along the Trail. While some of these are now privately owned, many are open to the public and offer the opportunity to climb the light tower and experience the spectacular views or even book an overnight stay. America’s history was shaped by the role these lights played as beacons. Some are still at work guiding ships traveling Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River. The lighthouses are an important part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail region’s maritime heritage and serve as prized local landmarks. Please visit www.seawaytrail.com for more information. St. Lawrence County Civil War Weekend. Oak Orchard lighthouse.(John Farrell). Visit Alexander Corners Veterans & Pearl Harbor Memorial: This veterans’ memorial was started in 1996 with the placement of an M60A3 Main Battle Tank followed in 2002 with a Cobra Helicopter, which honored members of Chapter 7, Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn. The memorial is located on the former farm of Oliver Bates whose limestone home, built circa 1820, is on the State and National Register. The local corners is named Alexander Corners after the family of Jonathan S. Alexander who settled in the area in the early 1800s. For further information please visit www.hendersonny.com. Trail-wide organizations and partners John P. Hall Ballston Spa, NY Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance 309 Lake St., Penn Yan, NY 14870 315-536-7488 or 800-548-4386 www.fingerlakes.org NYS Environmental Facilities Corp 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207 800-882-9721 www.efc.ny.gov NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Albany, NY 12238 518-474-0456 www.nysparks.com NYS Parks Marine Services Bureau Albany, NY 12207 518-474-0445 www.WearItNewYork.com Reenactors portraying French soldiers firing a cannon at Old Fort Niagara. Photo courtesy John Farrell.
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