A Thousand Islands and 864 More
The Thousand Islands Region is a group of islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway located between the northern border of New York state and the southern border of Ontario. Due to the shorelines of exposed granite, dense forest, and cerulean blue water in addition to the novelty of the many islands, the region gained popularity in the mid-19th century when many wealthy businessmen purchased islands, building extravagant estates. Many of these stately homes still dot the shorelines and blanket the islands today, enhancing the charm of the area.
The best way to see these islands is – of course – by boat so we boarded a two and a half hour cruise that took us upriver, cruising back and forth across the Canadian border, past many of the area’s highlights. There was a decidedly casual atmosphere on our cruise, heightened by low occupancy, and we spent the couple hours commenting on the informative narrative, deciding which island we would buy, and kicking back. At the beginning of the cruise it was announced that they had beer from the local St. Lawrence Brewing Company for sale which seemed like a perfect way to enjoy the ride so we took them up on the offer – Tom enjoying a Barnstormer Pilsner while I sipped a Skinny Dipper IPA.
The tour was excellent and as I said, highly informative. We learned about the history of the region, major shipwrecks, the stories of the most famous islands and estates, and the nuances of island living such as electricity service, drinking water supply, sewage disposal, and dealing with the brutally cold winters. The most interesting facts however were that despite it’s name, the region actually has 1,864 islands, and to that point, that there are technical requirements for being defined as an island: three feet of diameter, consistent position above the river level, one tree, and one other living thing.