We have been enjoying our stay in Alexandria Bay very much. Once again, we landed at a great little motel recommended by Trip Advisor reviewers, and it has served as a comfortable home base for our Thousand Islands visit.

The Rock Ledge Motel is well-managed by Cindy and Jim, our warm and friendly proprietors. If you are ever in the area, stay here. It’s ranked #1 in Alexandria Bay, and its great reviews are well-deserved.



Today, we used the second half of our combination ticket with Uncle Sam Boat Tours to see Singer Castle. Our one-hour boat ride each way to and from the castle was narrated, and we had a guided tour of the castle.


Our view of Boldt Castle as we pulled out from the dock for our cruise to Singer Castle

Built by Ernest Flag in 1902-1905, Singer Castle is now owned by a European castle enthusiast group that restores castles and opens them for tours. This particular castle also has one room of accomodations available if you are willing to fork over $725 per night (which includes breakfast and dinner). As the only guests, you would be treated as a king and/or queen.



The most interesting thing about this castle were the many secret passageways running throughout. I also happened to like one of the rooms with large windows on three sides. If you gazed out the windows to the east during an early breakfast, you could watch the sun rising over the United States. Return at the end of the day for dinner, and watch the sun setting over Canada.





Although we enjoyed the castle and tour, it wasn’t nearly as impressive as Boldt Castle. It also wasn’t as well-maintained. The difference? Singer Castle is privately owned and for-profit. We’re guessing they’re going to get what they can out of tourists and possibly sell it before sinking any more money into renovations. Just a guess…

Boldt Castle, on the other hand, is continually being meticulously renovated by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, and it’s quite evident they are not sparing any expense in the materials and methods used for construction. It is well-funded and will always be well-preserved.


After our tour, we returned to Clayton for a leisurely walk around town.  Here, we came upon an Amish man selling beautiful baskets and baked goods.  After buying some cookies (six thick and hefty cookies for $2), I was able to shoot his photo inconspicuously from the shop across the street.





It’s called “Thousand Islands”, but there are nearly 2,000 islands along the St. Lawrence River that divides Canada and the United States.

Ever wonder where Thousand Island Dressing got its name? Wonder no more; it was created here, in Upstate New York.

This is just one of the reasons why we’re here: . Make sure to scroll down the page to see the aerial shot of the castle. When I first heard about Boldt Castle from two different people in our Sun City Peachtree community, I looked it up in Google and landed on this photo that literally made me jump out of my chair and run to get Bruce. I just had to show him how gorgeous it was here. Watching a video of aerial footage of the islands had me drooling to see this place.

Before driving to Alexandria Bay where we would be staying for our three-night visit to Thousand Islands, we drove around Cornell University. What a gorgeous campus! The neighborhoods around the campus are beautiful, too, full of lovely large homes on spacious properties.

The drive to the islands was also pretty, especially along State Route 13 and Lake Ontario. We took the longer route to enjoy the views, and we enjoyed the drive even though the skies were cloudy.


By late afternoon, the clouds blew out, and it is a gorgeous clear evening. We are looking forward to what’s predicted to be a lovely day tomorrow!


Meanwhile, we poked around the little town of Alexandria Bay and shot a couple of photos across to Heart Island where Boldt Castle is located. This photo is of just the power house and clock tower for the castle. More on the castle tomorrow…



This is the Boldt Yacht House on Wellesley Island.  It is located very close to Boldt Castle on Heart Island.


These Alexandria Bay Townhomes have boat garages rather than car garages.  Just open the garage door, and motor your boat right on in!


The drive along State Route 13 from Elmira to Ithaca was breathtakingly beautiful. Atlanta may be the “City of Trees”, and there are plenty of them along the roads in Griffin, but not quite the abundance of trees like here.

Yesterday was all about the local wineries, and today it was WATERFALLS. They’re everywhere!

Our first stop was at Robert Treman State Park where we had a short hike in to see Enfield Falls. Here, swimming is allowed as long as a lifeguard is on duty. It is still too early in year, because the water is c-c-c-c-COLD! Trust me on that; I tested it by dipping a hand in the water, and that’s as far as I would get, even if swimming had been allowed today!


If I hadn’t seen it with my very own eyes, I NEVER would have believed a state park waterfall (or ANY waterfall for that matter) would have a– get this– DIVING BOARD! Yes, you read that right.

During the off months, the board is removed from the frame, and it is replaced with a “NO DIVING” sign. See below, if you don’t believe me.


There was also a roped off swimming area, and I could just see grabbing my cap and goggles (in the summer months) for some laps back and forth.

Our next stop at Robert Treman State Park was the hike in to see Lucifer Falls. Seeing only six other cars (and no tour buses!) in the parking lot was a delightful sight after the throngs of tourists we encountered on Memorial Day at Watkins Glen. We hiked the Gorge Trail to the falls enjoying the peacefulness of being the only ones during much of our hike.


This was the most interesting of the falls, because of the ups and downs, and twists and turns. It was just stunning!




For perspective and scale, that tiny person in the upper right corner is Bruce!



After a short drive, we arrived at Taughannock Falls and first took in the view at the Falls Overlook. At 215 feet, Taughannock is the tallest free-falling waterfall in the northeastern United States. It was quite a perspective from the top looking down at the tiny specks of people below. Soon, we would be those tiny specks looking back up to the overlook.


Although the hike in wasn’t as interesting, because it was fairly flat, it was still gorgeous. The thick tree canopy provided a nice, cool shade from the sun, and the path followed along the river.


Crossing the river on a small bridge, we could view the full length of the falls and see just how high we had been on the overlook. WOW!



Our final hike of the day was a very short one at Ithaca Falls, located in the city of Ithaca. When I say “in the city” I mean IN the city. It was in a residential neighborhood, and there were houses just across the street.

What we enjoyed most about these falls was the ability to get right up to the waterfall, just 25 or 30 feet away. Fabulous!



Although there were other waterfalls in the city (including some on Cornell University’s campus), it was late in the day, and we were getting hungry for dinner.

Just a short walk from our hotel was the #3 ranked restaurant on Trip Advisor in all of Ithaca, a city that is a foodie haven for excellent ethnic cuisine.

Saigon Kitchen was fabulous, and at $12 for my “Saigon Kitchen Curry”, it was reasonably priced. It was the happening place, too, because the restaurant was packed with people pouring in and out. For a Wednesday night, they were sure doing a great business!

Tomorrow, we hit the road and head for Alexandria Bay at Thousand Islands.



Admission to the Corning Museum of Glass includes a return visit the following day, so Bruce took advantage of it this morning while I went next door to the YMCA and got in a good swim. What a perfect way to start the day– swimming and beautiful art glass!

The day continued exploring another “finger” of Finger Lakes: Keuka Lake. Although the skies were cloudy and a bit washed out for photography, the area was absolutely gorgeous anyway. The trees were so bright green, and the area quite lush.

120 of New York’s 380 wineries are in the Finger Lakes region, and today we focused on three on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail: Bully Hill Vineyards, Dr. Konstantin Frank (est. in 1962, a very good year!), and Heron Hill Winery(just for a look around the tasting room).



We had some time to kill at Bully Hill Vineyards before our tour, so we tasted some wine and had a look around. Kelsey made us feel right at home, and we immediately realized this was NOT a winery for wine snobs. They are all about humor there, and their motto is, “Wine with Laughter.” One look at their labels (created by the artist owner), and it was evident they don’t take themselves too seriously. After all, their symbol is a goat, and Billy is the star on a few of their labels. We immediately thought of my best friend, Laura, when we saw it. “Bring in the goat!” (Only Laura would understand…)





As we learned on our tour, the winery has an interesting history, and we found it all quite humorous. Our one-hour tour was very entertaining and interesting, and I was surprised to hear that Bully Hill Vineyards was the largest privately owned winery in New York.



We left with a bottle of Foch, a dry Tuscan-style red wine from a rare varietal I had never heard of before. The wine is only available at the winery, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it with one of Bruce’s great pasta dishes.

Our next stop was Dr. Konstantin Frank, New York’s most award winning winery since 1962, my birth year. Originally from Ukraine, Dr. Frank was the “Father of Vinifera” in the Eastern United States.

Although they are best known for their dry riesling (which earned a score of 93 from Wine & Spirits in 2008 and a number one ranking in Wine Enthusiast in 2009) and Gewurztraminer (which earned 90 points from Wine Spectator in 2007), I most enjoyed their Brut. I also liked and purchased a bottle of their Rkatsiteli, a varietal from the Ukraine that dates back to 3000 B.C. When Dr. Frank first came to New York, he (illegally!) brought in clippings from the Ukraine to start his vineyard.


By the time we arrived at our third and final winery of the afternoon, Heron Hill, neither of us were up for tasting more wine (believe it or not!), so we just had a quick look around before heading to the little town of Hammondsport for a brief walk around the town square. It was quite charming, and just a lovely place to end our day in the Fabulous Finger Lakes.



The View from Heron Hill Winery (ab0ve).


Hammondsport, on Keuka Lake, is a charming little town!



After crossing the border back into the States this morning, we made our way down Highway 14 along Seneca Lake, one of New York’s beautiful Finger Lakes. Geneva was a particularly charming town, and many of the gorgeous homes had incredible views of the lake below.

It seemed like there were wineries everywhere, because this is one of New York’s premier wine regions. What a beautiful area to winery hop! We’re saving that for Tuesday, though, when we tour the wineries around Hammondsport.

Today, we opted to make our way instead to the south end of Seneca Lake to Watkins Glen State Park. On the way, we stopped for lunch at FLX Wienery (yes, you read that right) a place recommended by Karyn, our tour guide from yesterday’s wine tour at Konzelmann Winery.


What a trip. As it turns out, the owner and Executive Chef of this wiener and burger joint is an award-winning chef who is featured in the current (dated May 31, 2015) issue of Wine Spectator.

Click on the picture below, and check out the menu. There were some, uhhh, interesting creations to say the least. We chose “Wiener Art: The Kraut.” I call it “Heart Attack on a Plate,” but it tasted great! (For dinner, I’m having a Wegman’s Grocery salad, though…)




After waddling out of FLX Wienery, we continued south to Watkins Glenn State Park with the idea of walking off a fry or two during our hike up the falls. The sign informed us there would be 800 stairs to the top, so do you think each stair was worth one calorie?

Along with everybody and their brother (and sister… and mother…) here for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, we made our way up to the top, enjoying the gorgeous falls along the way. Avoiding selfie sticks (Bruce calls them “Narcissist sticks” was a challenge at times, but we were bound to have this problem anywhere we traveled during the holiday weekend. Still, the falls were breathtaking, and it was well worth fighting the crowds.








Tomorrow, we’re off to the Corning Glass Museum for my first visit and Bruce’s second visit. They have expanded a great deal since Bruce was there 20 years ago, so this will be a great day for both of us!