Home » Final stop on the Empire State Road Trip, 1000 Islands, NY

Final stop on the Empire State Road Trip, 1000 Islands, NY

A few weeks ago I was invited on the Empire State Road trip. It travels through Chautauqua, NY to Watkins Glenn, NY and finishes off in the 1000 islands area. A perfect collection of places, easily within driving distance, to visit and experience. If you missed the first stop, Chautauqua County, NY check it out here. Our experiences on the second stop, Watkins Glenn, NY can be found here

Today, I will be sharing our experiences at the final stop on the trip, 1000 islands, NY.

 The drive from Watkins Glen to Clayton, NY was pretty smooth and had lots of green countryside to view. A few rain showers on the way but it opened right up for us with sun once we arrived in Clayton, NY. We checked into the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel then started to explore the boardwalk. My son and I enjoyed watching large boats bringing their cargo by.

I received a free stay to help facilitate my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

On our first day we decided to explore the area a bit. First up was the Antique Boat Museum. Did you know you can explore the Museum’s repository of collected works, archived facts and the history of each artifact displayed in the Museum?? This Museum has a lot to offer over their 4.5 acre campus! From racing boats to my personal favorite, a tour of the historic houseboat from the Gilded Age, 

La Duchesse

If you asked my son what his favorite part was he would tell you the interactive concept they have throughout their establishment! He was allowed to touch, go in some of the boats and explore while learning all about them. As a parent this concept is extremely appreciated because many Museums frown upon “touching” of any kind.

Next we explored downtown Clayton, NY. The murals by Kelly Curry are serious show stoppers. Imagine walking around and just being drawn in by artwork set on sides of buildings! Not only are they HUGE but her attention to details really adds to the towns aesthetic.

Next we hopped on the Uncle Sam’s Boat tours for a ride to the Boldt Castle. If you know anything about my family we LOVE “Castles”. We have an unspoken list of places to cross off as we travel and this destination was one of them! The boat tours are easy to find and about a 20 minute drive from the 1000 Island Harbor Hotel. Just park, grab your tickets and hop on every half hour or so.

I don’t want to give to much of the story behind the Boldt Castle away because I think it adds to your experience while visiting! The Boldt Castle was built by George Boldt who had intended it as a gift for his wife, Louise. Because she died before he could give it to her for Valentine’s Day the property became abandoned. 

The restoration of the Castle is indescribable. The tragic love story that started this build is felt throughout the still decaying areas that are untouched. The beauty they are breathing back into this place is AMAZING!! I’m so happy we put this on our itinerary it was definitely a highlight of the trip 💕! If you are in the area carve out a couple hours to visit the Castle, you won’t regret it.

We packed a lot of exploring while in the 1000 island area. It was a part of New York I have never been. On our last night we decided to settle down and just relax.

We enjoyed conversation over outdoor fire pits with locals while waiting for our dinner. If you happen to stay at any of the Harbor Hotels mentioned on this road trip, take advantage of the outdoor spaces!! They truly are a luxury that makes your stay unique.

We were blessed with a fisherman’s Feast cooked much the same way as President Grant would have done! The skillet used is only available to Fishermen through family tradition. Each new generation passes the feast knowledge and equipment down. Only guides can do this so it really is a unique one of a kind meal. All the food was prepared in the same oil including the dessert. The meal was delicious but my favorite part was the Canadian French toast. I have never tasted such mouthwatering goodness coated with fresh local maple syrup. If you are a patron of the Harbor Hotel in the 1000 island you can enjoy this feast as well just check their listing for a schedule. It is another experience I would highly recommend while visiting the area.

On our way out of town we stopped at this fantastic play area! It was the perfect way to end our Empire State Road trip. If you are looking for a fun Summer vacation this is perfect. You can throw in so many stops along your way but this particular trip took us 7 days and 6 nights to complete.

Have you ever been to the 1000 islands area??