Things to do

Boldt Castle©Ian Coristine/1000IslandsPhotoArt.com
Spectacular photos of the entire Thousand Island region by world famed artist,
writer and published photographer Ian Coristine www.1000islandsphotoart.com

History

Within boating or driving distance of your summer rental in the Thousand Islands, you can visit Fort Henry in Kingston Ontario, where the Rideau Canal has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Once the British fort that protected Britain’s ships in the war of 1812, it is now Canada’s West Point. cruise shipThis area is rich in history and exciting activities such as a weekly military parade with long rifles and marches to fife and drum. (See Ft. Henry Tattoo below)

On the US side of the border, Sackets Harbor N.Y. Battlefield—site of one of the most crucial battles in the War of 1812, provides a day’s outing as well. It's annual French Festival is a weekend filled with activities, re-enactments and, you guessed it..food.You can take a boat tour from either Rockport or Alexandria Bay and visit 2 local castles. Or, picnic on the dozens of Provincial or State park islands that dot the region and can only be reached by boat.

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Boldt Castle

There are six impressive stone structures to explore on Heart Island. The Castle, the Power House, the Alster Tower, the Hennery, the Arch, and a stone Gazebo. Boldt castleExhibits in the various structures and a 15 minute video presentation offer a look into the lifestyle of George and Louise Boldt, along with a history of the 1000 Islands Region and the restoration efforts on Heart Island. Inside the Castle, the first floor has been restored to reflect George and Louise Boldt’s intended finished interior complete with furnishings. Beautiful custom made doors and decorative windows now enhance the entrances. The Castle rises six stories from the foundation level of the indoor pool to the highest towered room. www.boldtcastle.com

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Singer Castle on Dark Island

Scene of an episode of the TV hit series "The Great Escape", tours are available daily as are exceptional overnite stays. Tons of granite quarried from nearby Oak Island was brought over both ice and water Singer Castlein 1902-1904 to construct Singer Castle (and Boldt Castle at the same time ). Mr. Frederick Gilbert Bourne, who resided at the Dakota Apartments in New York City, was a self-made millionaire. He had a 1,000-acre summer estate in Oakdale, Long Island yet he wanted to surprise his wife, Emma, and their children with an island 'hunting' retreat. So he purchased Dark Island and designed and built the castle originally known as "The Towers” for a cost of US $500,000.

Italian stonecutters were engaged to shape the granite for the 4-story, 28 room castle, and tower. Also included were an elaborate boathouse (one of three) which housed a workshop, powerhouse and one of Bourne's steam-powered vessels. Then there are the tunnels, turrets and other curious architectural details including a 2-story ice house (essential for fine entertaining at the turn of the century), dungeons and underground passageways. Over 2,000 loads of topsoil were brought from Canada to cover the eight acres of rock. www.singercastle.com

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Antique boat museum

Vacation CanadaThe 4.5 acre campus is located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in the picturesque riverside village of Clayton, NY. The galleries are overflowing with unique and beautifully-preserved examples of great North American watercraft. From May to October each year, the museum comes alive with boat shows, regattas, children’s' activities, guided tours, boat-building classes and a wealth of other programs and events. www.abm.org

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Ft. Henry Tattoo

Ft HenryBe sure to attend one of Fort Henry's (Kingston) most celebrated events - the spectacular Sunset Ceremonies! Gather in the parade area as the Fort Regiment performs split-second bayonet drills and field maneuvers, recreating the exciting battle tactics of over a century ago. The Ceremonies are more than a visual display of movement and color - sound is also very much part of the experience! Listen to period military music of fife and drum and prepare yourself for thundering battlemount gun salutes, complete with a fireworks finale. www.forthenry.com

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Poker runs

Poker runs are unique events where many ‘over the top’, high speed, unbelievably powerful boats navigate a specific course and pick up a single playing card at five scheduled checkpoints.Thousand islands boat hire At the end of the course the boat with the best hand wins. Poker Runs are events for the entire family to watch these high speed, colorful machines launch themselves on the River. At each of the five checkpoints, host communities provide unique and entertaining activities, sometimes linked with waterfront festivals. Over 50,000 fans come to watch Kingston and Brockville play host to the 1000 Islands Poker Run which is the largest international run in the world. It is held during one of the first weekends in August.

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Pirate days

Bill Johnston was a renegade after the Patriots War, who blew up the British steamer, Sir Robert Peel then hid in and among the 1000 Islands, hunted by both U.S. and Canadian authorities. The annual Bill Johnston’s Pirates Days event celebrates his exploits. You will be amazed by the Piratessound and spectacle of pirate ships attacking the village of Alexandria Bay from the St. Lawrence River, as the brave villagers try to stave them off. The air is filled with smoke and the sound of musket fire and cannon, and eventually the villagers succumb as the pirates invade the town. After the Mayor turns over the key of Alex Bay to the invading marauders, everyone becomes (and many dress as) a pirate. Ahoy Matey....Arrrgh! is the local cry.


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Golf

Care to Play golf on a course that can only be reached by boat from your vacation home rental in the Thousand Islands? Or you may choose to play the Smuggler's Glen Golf Club near Ivy Lea (Ontario), the site of the inaugural Great Waterway Classic Canadian Men's Professional Golf Tour event. This is the first ever professional golf tournament held in Eastern Ontario and the 1000 Islands.

golfThis challenging golf course has received many accolades in its brief history: Nominated as the Best New Course of 2006 by Golf Digest, Score Golf and the Golf Association of Ontario; Best Public Course in the Ottawa-Gatineau, Eastern Ontario Region by Flagstick Magazine: 2008 & 2009 Reader's Choice Awards; listed as one of Ontario's Best Value Courses in 2008 by Golf Ontario; and rated in 2011 as a Top 50 course by the Golf Ontario (GO) magazine - "Peoples' Choice" (24th) and "Top 50 You Can Play" (34th). Smuggler's Glen receives high rankings every year in the Flagstick Magazine Readers' Polls for its course design, customer service and challenging layout.

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Scuba diving

The 1,000 Island Region is a gateway of exploration and commerce from the Atlantic to Lake Superior for the St. Lawrence Seaway System and at 2400 miles long, it is the longest inland waterway at in the world. For over 400 years the mighty St. Lawrence River has claimed hundreds of schooners, barges, paddle wheelers and freight carriers.  Scuba diving in CanadaEarth, wind, fire, snow and ice have all claimed their fair share of these wooden and steel vessels.
The St. Lawrence now has some of the best freshwater wreck diving in the world.

 A recent invasion of zebra mussels and quagga mussels, carried in the bilge water of freighters from the Baltic Sea and around the world, has been filtering the water to historic levels of clarity. Light now penetrates easily all the way down to sport diving limits and beyond on most days, giving scuba enthusiasts unparalleled clear diving experiences. Dive shops and instructors can be found on both sides of the river and many types of tours are offered.


When is the best time to dive the St. Lawrence?  Most scuba diving is done during the summer months. However the diving is truly excellent during off peak months of May, June, September, October and November, meaning less boat traffic, clearer water, and a majestic level of peace and tranquility.

flag canadaLillie Parsons
The "Parsons" is one of Ontario's most famous wrecks. A 2 masted "fore & aft" centerboard schooner being used to transport coal, was sailing from Black Rock, NY with 500 tons of coal when on August 5, 1877 a sudden squall shifted her cargo and pushed her against the island causing her to take on water, capsize and sink.


flag canadaWolfe Islander II
This former ferry boat was sunk intentionally in 1985. The Wolfe is the only "artificial reef" in Kingston. It is at a perfect depth for recreational divers (max depth of 70 ft with superstructure in the 40ft). There is much to see on this wreck including the pilothouse, engine room and various items on the deck, some of which were placed there for divers' entertainment.


flag usaThe Keystorm
The Keystorm is the region's premier wreck. This 256' x 43', 2300 ton steamer was built in Wellsand, England.  The Keystorm is lying on her starboard side providing a nice opportunity to view the 40 foot gash on the port bow that the inexperienced first mate so artfully carved into her using Outer Scow Shoal on October 13, 1912.  While you are there, check out the anchor pockets. She is still hung on the shoal providing the experienced diver with an opportunity to swim through under the wreck at around 90 feet.

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Fall foliage (Leaf peepers)

Maybe it's the apple cider and pumpkins, kids back in school or the first sweater of the season, but as soon as the crisp autumn air hits us, we turn into leaf peepers. Close your eyes and think of a country road with farms and apple orchards. There are U Pick orchards on both sides of the St. Lawrence River to pick your choice of juicy reds or greens and picnic under laden branches.  In the 1,000 Islands on the River, fall colors dot this island kingdom and your world turns ablaze, reflected in the still green waters.

Honey Bee Fall Colors
The blueberry bushes on Honey Bee turn to a scarlet bed under yellow oaks against a blue, blue sky. Duck hunters are getting their gear ready, bass boats dot the reeds, fall is here. You can't go wrong behind the helm of your boat with a whole day of leaf peeping ahead of you. Bring your camera and get set to enjoy this wonderland of color.  You should come during peak fall foliage season while the leaves are at their best, beginning roughly mid-September.

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Romance and honeymoon

Romantic CanadaCould there be a more romantic place for a summer wedding than in the 1,000 Islands or a more romantic honeymoon than being on your own private island? Romance is contagious in the Thousand Islands and being in love is easy here. Perhaps it is something in the pine scented air or in the hushed sound of the running river. Here you can observe nature all around you, dash off to shore fronted restaurants for a candle lit meal, or simply stay tucked away from the rest of the world in your exclusive, luxurious, Adirondack styled log cabin. Ahhh....now THAT is a honeymoon to be remembered. 


Wedding CanadaNumbered among the most romantic places on earth, the 1,000 Islands Region has inspired many a love story.Perhaps the most famous of all is that of George and Louise Boldt. The construction of Boldt Castle was started on Heart Island as a dedication to a man's undying love for his wife and the Thousands Islands area has become world renowned for romance ever since. Each year countless couples and wedding planners consider this an ideal place to exchange wedding vows. On Honey Bee Island, your 'dream come true' honeymoon awaits you.

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Want more?

You have two countries on your doorstep from your waterfront rental in the Thousand Islands! Go Island hopping, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, cycling, horseback riding, hunting, roller blading or play tennis. Of course, you can do nothing at all...on the dock lounging in the Adirondack chairs watching the river go by. The island is wonderfully unspoiled with a variety of beautiful flora and fauna as it lies within the boundaries of the UNESCO Thousand Islands-Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve.

Stroll through the Thousand Islands Park village on Wellesley Island with its colorful gingerbread houses that take you back to the turn of the century, or dine on the front porch of its grand old hotel. Enjoy the night life, visit wonderful art galleries, the restored opera house and Clayton's antiques shops. Watch the islanders come by boat to get their supplies at the various towns’ docks, enjoy restaurants on the water or play at the Casino.

Don't miss Canada day, July 1 in nearby Kingston. See the July 4th Independence day celebrations in Alexandria Bay with a spectacular fireworks display from Boldt Castle on Heart Island. Many watch from pleasure or tour boats around the island.

fireworks

There are tremendous opportunities from Honey Bee Island to view wildlife, waterfowl and birds as they abound in the surrounding area. You will often see deer, mink or muskrat swimming from island to island as well as beaver and playful otter when you're out in your boat or relaxing on the dock. Birders will enjoy tiny hummingbirds, Canadian Geese, a vast array of songbirds, ducks with their rafts of ducklings, majestic Bald Eagles and our own island Osprey nest.

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