Though the destinations known as 1000 Islands isn’t exactly on the way from New York to Niagara Falls — getting there requires a three-hour detour between Cooperstown and Rochester — groups that spend time to make the trek there will be rewarded with a spectacularly scenic waterfront destination.
“We border Canada, and 1000 Islands is a shared destination that promotes both sides of the border,” said Tillie Youngs, sales manager for the 1000 Islands Tourism Council. “There are 1,864 islands between the two nations.”
The area was originally settled as a fishing and fur trapping outpost, though people from throughout the region soon discovered its natural beauty and began building extraordinary castles and distinctive lighthouses on its shores. Today, visitors can take boat tours that showcase the beauty of the islands and their architecture.
“The latest lighthouse available for tours is the Rock Island Lighthouse,” Youngs said. “It’s accessible only by boat. A narrated cruise takes you there and talks about our maritime history. Then you can visit the lighthouse keepers’ home and take the stairs up to the light.”
Groups should also plan to spend some time at Boldt Castle, the most popular of the castles in the area. Built between 1900 and 1904 at the cost of several million dollars, the castle was the creation of a German immigrant who became general manager of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.