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Back in Northern New York after an extended hiatus. Northern New York, as I understand it, is beyond Upstate. We’re way up here near Canada and it tends to snow for 6 months of the year. Its a little um, far, from things. But we like it. One of the best things about living where we do now is that we’re very near to the Thousand Islands region of the Saint Lawrence River. Growing up next to Lake Michigan, the Saint Lawrence River always seemed like a mystical, far off place, that connected our freshwater sea to the ocean. Were it not for the Niagara Falls forming a natural blockade, the hungry sharks our parents teased us about could actually swim up that river, make their way through the Great Lakes, and eat us. It wasn’t a place I ever thought I would go out of my way to see, but here I am, living next to it and feeling fortunate to do so.
The Saint Lawrence itself is impressive. Unlike most rivers I’ve encountered, its water is clear and blue and inviting. The Thousand Islands (actually 1,864 islands) make for excellent exploring. If you want to see islands, the best way is obviously, by boat. I am, again (see Italy), not big on tours. I promise you this. But, the Uncle Sam Boat Tours are a great way to get out on the water to see what there is to see and learn a few things along the way. You can even stop and explore a castle. Everyone loves a boat and a castle. Its a nice way to spend an afternoon, anyway. That is, if you’re bringing the kids.
If the children are staying home, let me suggest the Coyote Moon Vineyards booze…I mean, sunset wine… cruise. This departs from the little town of Clayton, NY on summer weekend evenings. You arrive early to do a little tasting, select your wine of choice, are provided a bottle of your selection and sent out to sea. They uncork your bottles, turn up the tunes and tour around the islands as the sun sets. If it sounds a little pirate-ish, it is. But its also gorgeous and refreshing and just downright fun.
If you have a fear of water, or get sea sick, or are one of the very few people who do not like boats, another way to experience the beauty of the region is on foot. We have enjoyed exploring the numerous state parks nearby. One of our favorite hikes is the Narrows trail in Wellesley Island State Park. Its fairly flat, until you get to the actual narrows and at that point you have the choice to continue the loop, or enjoy the views and then make the easy return. We’ve always made the return, simply because when we’ve hiked it, I was either 36 weeks pregnant and not feeling up to a rock scramble, or it was winter time and we had a baby in the carrier. The trail itself follows along the water and in to the woods.
Warning: we saw a snake. My level of snake-loathing is up there at Indiana Jones level, so I feel its only fair to mention this for anyone else who may need to keep their paranoid eyes peeled.