Frightening Phragmites!

We have been amazed by the masses of phragmites growing along the roadsides. We started noticing it just east of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada and it has continued throughout Canada and then New York. The growth is so dense, nothing could ever get through it. I have not seen this dense growth of phragmites in Les Cheneaux area (at least in Cedarville Bay) and hope I never do!



We took the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge from Niagra Falls, Canada to New York. As it turns out, that is the fourth-busiest commercial land crossing between Canada and the United States and is typically the worst choice for crossing the border in the Niagara area! Our wait was about one hour. I asked the customs agent if it was abnormally busy and he told me that waits of 4+ hours are not unusual in July and August. Consider yourself warned and plan your route accordingly!

We also took US 90 east to Syracuse before heading north toward the 1000 Island area. We were unaware that US 90 was a toll road and our charge would be $24.35 by the time we got off. No problem, but we were surprised at the amount.

We settled in Alexandria Bay, New York for both Friday and Saturday nights. This is in the heart of the 1000 Island region of the St. Lawrence Seaway and very picturesque. Carl took advantage of our time there by visiting the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY. This museum in addition to indoor displays has lots of area for dockage on the St. Lawrence River. Clayton is also home to the first and longest running antique boat show.

We also took a cruise through the islands… reminiscent of our Les Cheneaux Islands. By the way, in order to be considered an island, the land has to stay above water 365 days-a-year and support a living tree.

The 1000 Island region (there are actually 1,864 islands)  is also home to two castles both of which are located on islands. The Boldt Castle, located on Heart Island (the name was officially changed by George Boldt from Hart to Heart, and was made to have the shape of a heart)  was built as a summer dream home and Valentine’s Day gift for his wife. The castle was built in the 1900s, the six-story castle was left unfinished after Louise Boldt suddenly passed away just months before moving in. George Boldt was the manager/owner of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.  He is also credited with popularizing Thousand Island dressing at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The dressing is said to have been a recipe developed by a fishing guide’s wife from the St Lawrence River area and it was so well liked that George had his maître d’put it on the menu of the hotel. The hotel is also credited with introducing the Waldorf Salad.


The other castle is the Singer Castle on Dark Island. It was built by Frederick Bourne who was the 5th president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The Castle, also know as The Towers, was built at the same time as the Boldt Castle.

Interestingly, the cruise company allowed dogs on their cruise so Copper joined us. There were a couple hundred of people on the three decks of the ship. We sat outside on the top deck. Copper thought it was all fine until the whistle blew……not being a fan of loud noises she was shaking for the remainder of the 2 1/2 hour trip. She was not a problem to others but we could tell she was uncomfortable.

Here she is saying….”Carl, SAVE ME!”


Well, that’s it from the 1,864 Islands. Moving to Vermont tomorrow.