The Canadian border stretches invisibly through the St. Lawrence River just off the northern shores of Wellesley Island State Park in New York, our next stop where we had three full days to explore. Our approach to the park was from the south, via Interstate 81, crossing from mainland New York over the U.S. portion of the St. Lawrence and then quickly exiting onto the state park roads.
Rain was predicted for our first day so we took advantage of the dry morning to check out the camping area. There are six different camping loops throughout the park and 431 sites. We leisurely wandered up, down and all around, surprised to see that nearly all were empty. It took us nearly two hours.
The Minna Anthony Common Nature Center sits on a finger of the island and is the hub for multiple color-coded day hikes. We chose the coastal River Trail (green) which wrapped all the way around the point and eventually connected to the East Trail, eventually leading us back to the nature center and the end of a five-mile hike.
The Thousand Island Park community on Wellesley Island was founded in 1875 as a Methodist campground. As the infrastructure developed, the area quickly grew into a summer resort. By the end of the 18th century nearly 600 cottages had been built. In 1982 Thousand Island Park was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. I‘m a sucker for big old Victorian houses, so we rode our bikes the five short miles to check out the neighborhood.
Today there are about 40% fewer cottages than there were at the peak, but those that remain surely have stories to tell. Many have been beautifully restored while others await some TLC. Many appeared still closed up, awaiting the short summer season.
The link takes you through the fascinating history of Thousand Island Park.