Friday, August 20, 2010

Sackets Harbor Trip

Our Trip July 21,22,23, 2010

We left Grimsby about 10:15am.It took us 45 minutes to cross into the states at the Queenston Lewiston bridge.It was easy to find highway 104 which we followed most of the way until we got on highway 3 near Fulton and followed it right to our cabin at The Willows by the Lake near Sackets Harbor arriving at 6:00pm.Leaving Lewiston we headed north to the 104 passing north of Lockport.The 104 was also called Ridge Road.It seemed to be slightly elevated to the surrounding area.There were lots of trees on both sides of the road so we didn’t see any big large fields on our drive. There is a Seaway Trail on the southern shore of Lake Erie,Niagara River,Lake Ontario and The St.Lawrence River going on for 454 miles.Our 104 highway going east through New York State was south of it but when we drove along the St. Lawrence River we covered parts of the Trail.

It rained pretty heavily on the way and the windshield wipers were on full.We found a Tim Hortons for lunch but thought it wasn’t going to stop raining.Then we made a dash for it.Here are some of the small places we went through on the 104 highway. Wrights Corners Ridgewood Johnson Creek Waterport Murray Clarkson Webster (north of Rochester) Ontario Sadies N Rose Red Creek Westbury Hannibal .Then we came to Fulton on highway 3. This seemed quite large it has a population of 11447.There were all the regular eating places and shopping centres like we find at home.

Highway 3 took us right to our pretty little cabin at The Willows on the Lake ,a 12.5 acre site at the eastern end of Lake Ontario,3 miles from Sackets Harbor, near Henderson Bay. We settled in, then left for supper at The Boat House in Sackets Harbor.When we got back to our cabin we found a thunder storm had gone through with high winds knocking down tree branches and one tree by the bay.The hydro was out also.The owners gave us a flashlight.We had left the window on the porch up and my bed blankets were wet so I just used my sleeping bag.It was a hot night.

The next morning I got a picture of about 50 Canada Geese on the lawn by the water.The owner came and ran after them shooing them off the property .We went for a lovely breakfast at Tin Pan Galley in Sackets Harbor.We were able to sit outside under the large trees on the bricked patio.There were lots of flowers and hostas and sunlight streaking through the leaves. Then we walked to Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site,a lovely large park now with a stone wall around the cliff’s edge.We walked through taking pictures and when we got back to the entrance it was time to get a tour through the Commandant’s House in The Navy Yard. This house was not built until the 1840’s. We started the tour with a movie in the ice house by the water.Then we walked through the Carriage House where there was a hands on display.Pamela lay down in a hammock similar to those used by sailors in the 1812 era.We next went to The Commandant’s House as it was in the 1850’s when Commandant Tattnall and family from southern Georgia lived there. The house had 3 stories with a balcony both front and back.There was a piano even though no one in the family could play one.The family liked to eat oysters since he was from the south but it took 4 days to get the oysters from the south to Sackets Harbor,thus they weren’t fresh,they spiced them up but the family was always feeling sickly.They had a pump in the kitchen in the basement, the water coming from the harbor,the pipe was low enough that they could even pump water in the winter.There was an outhouse which collected rainwater and flushed the toilets,the waste water going by underground pipe over the cliff into the harbor.Sometimes the drifting current brought this water back into the bay where the water was being pumped into the house.

When the Civil War began Commandant Tattnall went back to the south.The north called him a traitor and sold off all the household belongings. We got to lift the heavy dress his wife wore summer and winter.

Next it was time for lunch at Karens .Then we went to Sacket’s Mansion built in 1801 which is now a museum.Here we saw a film and picked up information and a map of how to get to Bolt’s Castle at Alexander Bay.We took the scenic route through this part of Jefferson County,passing through Dexter on Black River Bay,going through Chaumont on highway 12E.Chaumont is on Chaumont Bay.We went through Three Mile Bay to Cape Vincent which was a significant area during the war of 1812.It is on the St. Lawrence River across from Kingston Ontario.We drove along the river to Clayton.There is a boat museum here but we didn’t see it. In the 1890’s there were 16 express trains going to and from the village of Clayton a day.We drove through Clayton to Alexandria Bay arriving around 2:00pm . Here is where the Thousand Island House was built in 1871-72 and where Charles Boldt his wife Louise,and their son and daughter stayed in the summer of 1893 and 1894.Then we took the ferry to Boldt’s Castle.It is on Heart Island a five acre island where George Boldt built the castle for his wife Louise .It has 127 rooms .George Boldt was a millionaire proprietor of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The castle was begun in 1900.300 workers ,stonemasons,carpenters and artists were employed.In 1904 tragedy struck.Boldt telegrammed the island and commanded the workers “to stop all construction immediately “ Louise had died suddenly.A broken hearted Boldt could not imagine his dream castle without his beloved.Boldt never returned to the island.For 73 years the castle remained vacant,left to the mercy of the wind ,rain,ice,snow and vandals.The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority assumed authority in 1977 determined to preserve Boldt’s legacy for the public .Millions of dollars have been spent in bringing the buildings back to life. Some 220000 tourists view the buildings each year.We just walked through The Castle but there are 5 other structures on the island.They are:-The Power House,The Alster Tower,The Hennery,The Arch and a stone gazebo.

After leaving the castle we came back on highway 12 till it met 81,then took the two laned 81 highway south skirting Waterdown on the Black River,then taking Arsenal Street west back into Sackets Harbor.We picked up a pizza at a little hut ate our supper there and took the rest back to our cabin for breakfast (there proved to be enough for lunch too).

It was another lovely night with a good sunset.We met and chatted with a couple in the gazebo before going to bed.They were from Pennsylvania,he had been a computer programmer.Next morning it was raining when we went back to the Tin Pan Galley for breakfast after which we went to The Seaway Trail Discovery Centre.This is an old limestone building built as a hotel on the Sackets Harbor waterfront after the war of 1812. A lifelike animated Ulysses S. Grant greets you in the former tavern room.Grant played checkers here as a young Army Officer stationed at nearby Madison Barracks.The mission of the Discovery Centre is to inspire you to travel parts of the 454 mile costal region of Lake Erie,Niagara Falls,Lake Intario and the St.Lawrence River.

It was about 12:30 when we left Sackets Harbor and headed for home.Just out of Sackets Harbor was a sign pointing to Smithville.We had to go and see this place since we live in Smithville.It was a small place in the country ,not many streets and not many houses,but there was a historic Baptist Chuch there.We headed east till we hit highway 81,then followed the road south to Syracuse,caught the Interstate 90 to Buffalo.It only took 15 minutes to get across the bridge.We stopped at Wendys for supper then were home in half an hour.I got two books as my souvenirs of this trip,one called Boldt Castle Heart Island—Alexendria Bay,New York and The Thousand Islands, and the other—The Erie Canal—The Ditch That Opened a Nation..

This canal is fascinating to me.It runs roughly parallel to Interstate 90.It took seven years of labour by a predominantly immigrant workforce.It was a 4 foot deep 40 foot wide ditch connecting Lake Erie on the west with the Hudson River in Albany.It was a 363 mile trek across the wilderness of New York State.In its day it was far and away the longest canal in the world.It was completed in 1825.There were 83 locks to raise and lower the boats and barges 682 feet from one end to the other.TheErie Canal did more than simply serve as the nations first super highway. Canal towns with names like Rome,Lockport,Tonawanda and Buffalo were doors leading to the American West.The Erie Canal made New York City the premier port in United States.It opened the regions that are now Ohio,Indiana,Illinois and Michigan for trade.It opened the Great Lakes and it cleared land across New York State for the railroads.The canal gave merchants a way to cross the Appalachian Mountains and transport goods without braving the muddy inefficient roads across the state in 1825. It took 7 weeks to travel across New York State by horse and buggy.On the Erie Canal that same trip took just 7 days and the mules did virtually all the work.

Today 73.5 per cent of New York State residents live within two miles of The New York State Canal Ssytem---which in addition to the expanded Erie Barge Canal includes—Cayaga-Seneca Canal—The Oswego Canal—and the Champlain Canal.The Erie Barge Canal remains fully navigable today and has become a world-class tourism and recreation destination.The old song about the mule named Sal and the low bridge –everybody down is still sung .

THE ERIE CANAL                                                                                  

I’ve got a mule,her name is Sal

Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

She’s a good ol’ worker an’ a good ol’ pal

Fifteen mile on the Erie Canal

We’ve haul’d some barges in our day

Filled with lumber coal and hay

And we know every inch of the way

From Albany to Buffalo

Low bridge everybody down!

Low Bridge,for we’re comin to town!

And you’ll always know your neighbor

You’ll always know your pal

If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal

We better get along on our way ol’ gal

Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

‘Cause you bet your life I’d never part with Sal

Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

Git up there mule, here come a lock

We’ll make Rome ‘bout six oclock

One more trip an’back we’ll go

Right back home to Buffalo

Chorus—Low bridge,everybody down---

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