Lake Ontario Loop

Lake Ontario Loop

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Clayton, NY

We had a pleasant ride up the Thousand Islands Parkway as the morning mist lifted off the ponds and river.  To get to the United States we had to cross 2 very long high arched bridges on very narrow walkways.  It was so narrow we had to walk our bikes but found that we didn’t have room for us and our pannier laden bikes.  We wondered what would happen if we met anyone coming from the opposite direction.  We probably walked over a mile and it probably took an hour to do so.  If we had to do it over, we would have crossed at Wolf Island.  The Wolf Island route was recommended to us many times by cyclists we met along the way.  In hindsight, we should have asked about our chosen route.

After arriving in New York, we immediately turned on our cell phones and called home.   It was nice to regain access to technology that we have become so dependent upon.

Next we headed east to the town of Alexandria Bay where we took a 2 hour boat tour through the Thousand Islands.  The tour took us past “Millionaire’s Row” of magnificent homes built during the gilded age.  Many of the boat houses were more grandiose than even the fanciest houses back home.  After this tour we stopped off at the Boldt Castle.  This castle was built by George C. Boldt who became wealthy as the proprietor of many famous hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.  He purchased 6 islands and chose Hart (later renamed Heart) Island to build a castle for his wife, Louise.  Louise died before it was completed so George stopped work and refused to return to the island.  From 1904 to 1977 the Castle deteriorated from lack of maintenance and vandalism.  In 1977 the Thousand Island Bridge Authority took over the property and started its restoration.  The finished sections are truly magnificent.  The island also has a child’s play house (castle) that is so large it could provide housing and recreation for a school house full of children.

Afterwards we began our westward journey toward Buffalo.  East of Clayton, we stopped at a small batch distiller and sampled some of its bourbon. Neither of us drinks hard liquor and since were on bicycles, we tasted sparingly. In Clayton we stopped at the Antique Boat Museum.  Most (if not all) were wooden boats.  One of the buildings contained just speed boats that were massive and powered by very large engines.  We preferred the craftsmanship of the pleasure boats and the boat restoration facility.  Our motel for the night was just a few miles from there and has a peaceful riverfront setting.

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