Thursday, June 23, 2016

1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel, Travel and Tourism

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you prefer rest and relaxation, family fun or a thrilling adventure, you don’t always have to travel far to find it. There are many amazing vacation destinations in your own backyard, with some of the best views nature has to offer.

1,000 Islands in North America (made up of over 1,800 islands) is a popular destination for those seeking a blissful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This beautiful archipelago along the mighty St Lawrence River straddles the border of America and Canada, offering rustic wilderness and luxury accommodations. The air is fresh, the locals are friendly and there are lush forests, magnificent wildlife and elaborate mansions on private islands.

I’ve been to 1,000 Islands Canada and the town of Gananoque so this time I crossed the border to experience the area from another perspective.

Clayton is a charming little town surrounded by the St. Lawrence and nestled along the edge of upstate New York, just minutes from Ontario.

If you seek comfort, great dining and breathtaking views, the place to stay is 1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel. This large, fairly new property seems to be the American version of an upscale Caribbean resort with expansive patio space, colorful floral accents, a trendy outdoor bar and comfortable lounge chairs overlooking deep blue water.

As you enter the immaculate lobby, you are greeted by friendly staff who work tirelessly to ensure you are pampered and pleased. The hotel is a great source for tourist information pertaining to scenic attractions, restaurants and local landmarks (should you need help planning your trip).

The first thing I noticed was how clean and well kept the hotel is. The decor is modern and sophisticated with large bright hallways, tasteful artwork and modern furniture. My king size room featured a sizable bathroom, flat screen TV, mini fridge, plush pillow- top mattress (designed specifically for the hotel) and a comfortable sitting area with a gorgeous view.

The designers opted for sleek wood floors instead of traditional carpeting and there is a well lit vanity for makeup application. (Balcony suites  for families are also available).

The town has a decent selection of restaurants and bars but the Seaway Grill at the hotel offers elegant dining and delicious meals. The Chef prepared a diverse array of delectable dishes including soup, fresh salads, seafood, steak and chicken plus they host a variety of fun events where guests can sample international and exotic cuisine.

Marinated kale, romaine, avocado, asiago cheese, glazed almonds, crutons and Caesar dressing

Grilled chicken breast on a bed of pasta, tossed with red and yellow peppers in a tequila lime-cream sauce

Other amenities include high-speed wifi, room service, a business center, complimentary tea and coffee, fitness facility, indoor heated pool, nightly turn down service, transient boat docks plus wedding, banquet and meeting services. (The King room starts at $194.00 per night but rates vary by season and category). For more details visit the hotel’s website at:

Despite being located in a small town, The Harbor Hotel strives to entice and entertain with a variety of fun events including food tasting, live music, murder mystery nights and parties.

Winter on the water is also a magical time. The river freezes over and roaring fire pits keep guests warm and toasty. During the Fire and Ice Extravaganza the deck is transformed into a winter wonderland with intricate ice sculptures and dazzling lights.

One of the most popular things to do in the area is spending time on the St. Lawrence (one of the cleanest rivers in the world). I took Uncle Sam's Boat Tour - a company that has been providing river boat cruises for over 85 years! Our journey begins at Alexandria Bay with historic narrative.

While on board, guests have the option of sitting in the temperature controlled cabin with large viewing windows or outside on the top deck. Along the way we passed Thousand Islands Bridge (connecting Ontario and New York) and saw large water birds soaring overhead. We marveled at private mansion on islands owned by celebrities and learned about the intriguing love story behind the majestic Boldt Castle.

Although this is not a luxury tour (the boats could use a little sprucing up and cleaning) I had a great time and there was also a snack bar stocked with treats and drinks. Tickets are $23.00/adults and $11.50 for kids, you can visit the website by clicking HERE.

At the end of the tour we stopped at Bodlt Castle on Heart Island. No expense was spared in constructing this impressive stone masterpiece. It features 6 floors, 120 rooms, not so secret tunnels, an indoor pool, Italian garden and of course mesmerizing views. (Entrance to the castle is $12/adults and $7.00 for children), Visit the website HERE.

The grand staircase

If you love wine there are a variety of fabulous vineyards in the area. I’ve been wine tasting in, Niagara, Pelee Island and most recently Tuscany but I love discovering new brands, unique parings and interesting flavors.

 Coyote Moon Vineyards in Clayton is family owned. They still use hand harvesting methods and self painted labels to create their delicious, award-winning wines. 

After touring the facility and sampling a selection of wines paired with the family’s homemade salsas and sauces, I can see why they`ve become one of New York’s most awarded vineyards. I purchased a bottle of Fire Boat White and fresh tomato sauce. If you are in the area, I highly recommend stopping by Coyote Moon, the drinks are fabulous and the prices are great. You can check the website by clicking HERE.

Clayton is also known for their irresistible wine slushies which are refreshing on hot summer days!

Although my family owns 100 acres in Ontario cottage country, we don’t visit as often as we'd like and building a property is not an easy task. If you don’t have a cottage but would like to experience the peace and tranquility of a small town living this is a fabulous place to do visit. We the evening strolling in the village and dining at riverfront restaurants.

For shopping malls, movie theaters and popular restaurant chains, head to Watertown. 

Clayton is also known for their Antique Boat Museum, fishing, water activities, the Opera House, boutiques, golfing and parks. Even though the town is only a short road trip from Toronto, it feels like another world - remote and untouched by rush hour traffic or sun blocking skyscrapers. The locals are welcoming, the architecture is charming and it is a fabulous place to unwind. 

1 comment:

  1. Bodlt castle looks so beautiful. I would love to see it one day in the flesh. So stunning. xoxo


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