#46 July 2012 Oswego - Sodus Bay - Sackets Harbor, NY - Clayton, NY - Dark Island, NY - Alexandria Bay, NY

Sodus Bay Light

     After a wonderful week of spending time with Doris, Bill’s sister, in her home in Williamson, NY, we took (some) of his family out our last evening there for a Sodus Bay sunset cruise.  Our anchorage for the night was in Sodus Bay in front of Bill’s and Doris’s parents’ lake house (decades ago), anticipating an early departure tomorrow as we cross Lake Ontario to Henderson Harbor.

The Bender-Lochner Clan (partial representation!)
Bill's sister, Doris, the mother and grandmother of these offspring is 3rd from left.

We left Sodus Bay at the crack...cruising north to Henderson Harbor on Lake Ontario.   What a perfect day with a mild southerly breeze.  Had no idea the lake was so seep.  At one point I saw 350 feet but this photo of the plotter shows a mere 331.7 feet.  Bill said he saw 550 feet!
                                    Plotter showing dept of 332 feet on Lake Ontario

Planned to continue north today but we were weathered n so stayed put at Henderson Harbor, NY, and enjoyed the day relaxing and getting things done that we never seem to have time for.  We both worked on organization of the hundreds of photos we’ve taken in the past three months and I unpacked my sewing machine and checked off some long over-sue sewing projects.

Late afternoon we sat topside and enjoyed a cool breeze as we watched the boat traffic.   The weekend boaters that we affectionately call “beer can boaters” have been ripping past us throwing tsunami size wakes.  Bill says they have to boat fast so they can get it in/done before they have to return to work on Monday.  Suppose that sounds reasonable!

It’s been fun seeing so many old but well maintained boats.  Quite a few date back to the ’50’s.  A boat as “new” as 20-30 years old is the exception.  With the extremely short boating season here, boast last a long long time.

Sackets Harbor is another charming, historic community nestled on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario and rich in history and character.  It was settled in 1801 and during the War of 1812, was a major staging base for the American military operations on the Great Lakes. This was the site of one of the most crucial of  ail battles of the War of 1812 and the location of the largest U.S. Naval Station on the Great Lakes during that period. The village's proximity to Canada, only 30 miles across Lake Ontario, promised profitable trade with Canada and Great Britain resulting in Sackets Harbor becoming a major shipping and shipbuilding center.

We cycled to Madison Barracks, a historical site just a bit out of town where the military was housed in the 1800's.  Sackets became the center of military and naval operations for the war of 1812’s northern theatre. It's so sad to see these beautiful and well-constructed buildings going to ruin.  There are 115 landscaped acres on the eastern shoreline of Lake Ontario where the 30 timeless brick and stone buildings stand.   

We walked the small but beautiful area, visited a couple of museums, and came upon a 3 piece combo (tenor guitar, clarinet, upright bass and vocals) playing classic American swing from the '20’s and ’30’s.  They've got to be one of the best chamber-jazz groups you'll ever hear. The venue was the historic battlefield looking out upon Lake Ontario. This has been named Centennial Park in recognition and in honor off all the military personnel who had fought and died in the War of 1812. The town turned out with their chairs and blankets.  We sprawled on the grass listening, watching the while fluffy clouds waltzing across the clear blue sky as gulls squawked overhead. 

On the recommendation of quite a few people, we headed for Tin Pan Galley for dinner, despite the numerous other restaurants that we passed along the way, and the commendations were right on.  We spent 4 hours there leisurely enjoying our meals...and Bill's dessert...and the music of 2 musicians.  One of them played 2 trumpets at once, guitar, banjo, harmonica, and flute (as he sang!).  The other played a very contemporary style guitar and keyboard. 

Interesting contemporary design of this guitar

Our next port was Clayton, an interesting cultural destination, with some of the most unique museums in the 1000 Island.  This is the home of the renown Antique Boat Museum housing an extensive wooden boat collection.  The Thousand Islands Museum is home to special exhibits of world-class muskies and hunting decoys from the past and present.  The Thousand Islands Arts Center showcases a beautiful collection of handmade textiles and offers art exhibitions, workshops, and a pottery studio for all ages.
This quintessential river village became a major shipbuilding and lumbering port in the early 1800'sand   Dozens of charming  buildings from this magnificent era remain today.
The newly refurbished ($3.2 M) Clayton Opera House had a group from Sweden, “Arrival”.  We called 2 days in advance to get tickets to find they were sold out so we were put on a waiting list.  2 hours before the performance we received a phone call saying 2 seats had become available.  We’ve seen the movie, Mama Mia, and last month on Broadway we saw the stage play.  “Arrival” is the only sanctioned tribute band for ABBA allowed to wear true replica costumes of the original ABBA group.

ABBA, a Swedish pop/rock group formed in Stockholm in 1972, is an acronym of the band member’s first names.  They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from ’72-’82.  ABBA has sold over 370 million records worldwide and continue to sell millions each year making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

One of the highlights of this trip for Bill was the Antique Boat Museum where 200 old wooden boats are housed.  He had the time of his life there THEN went for a “speedboat” ride on a Gar Wood reproduction.  He asked if I wanted to go.  “Do I want to go for a boat ride??????  I live on a boat so no thanks!"  I thought he was kidding.  "You’re going for a boat ride???”  He loved it and said the wooden hull cut like a knife through the water and wakes.  At the end of that day we were tourist’d out so ended the day in the waterfront park enjoying music.
My daddy had a Johnson Seahorse just like this so the sight catapulted me back about 65 years!  Bill said his dad also had one.
An interesting door to a very interesting gift shop.  Even Bill enjoyed browsing there.  Their inventory has very unique and unusual items that exhibited lots of imagination on the part of the craftsman.

                    We've noticed in this area that lots of gold leaf is used in signage.
If you're of my vintage, these will bring back memories.  I grew up in Pensacola, FL, so these were used almost year-round there.
A sleek and gorgeous lady who wears her age well!

Singer Castle on Dark Island is one of a kind and proudly perched atop a seven acre island in the middle of the majestic St. Lawrence River.  It is a 26 room 5 story granite construction castle built as a hunting lodge for a president of Singer Manufacturing Company.  We had a guided tour of this grand hoe and its grounds which allowed us to view and imagine the privileged lives of those who requested the Thousand Islands area in the mist of the grandeur of the Golden Age.

Beginning this month, TNT is airing a new reality show "The Great Escape", which was filmed at Singer Castle.  Tune in and see some of what we enjoyed.

We'll be entering Canada in a few days so our Internet will be spasmodic.  Will update the blog as we find available wi-fi.

Bill and Laura
Alexandria Bay, NY


Char said…
Laura - interesting post you wrote! :) A dear biking friend of mine used to live in Sodus Point - so your pictures brought back memories for me... :) Great area up there!


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