Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sackets Harbour and Seaway Trail

We had time to do some other sightseeing in the area as well. Not too far away was Sackets Harbor, on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Now a small, tourist town, this area once had 5 forts, 3 inland and 2 on the water. This was a very important fort during the War of 1812. Not only did it supply ships and supplies to other forts along Lake Ontario, this fort was never taken by the British.

Fort Thompkins is now the site of a Sacets Harbor State Historic Battlefield Park with restoration of some of the original buildings. Prior to the War of 1812, Sackets Harbor was known as a smugglers cove, but became one of the navy's largest naval stations during the war.

Across the bay at Fort Volunteer, some of the buildings are not only standing, but are in use. This army base was in use through WWII before being abandoned. Many of the old buildings, including the barracks, have been remodeled and Madison Barracks area is now a prominent residential area in Sackets Harbor.

The water observation tower was built in 1892.

In the other direction from Watertown is the start of the St. Lawrence Seaway in Cape Vincent.

Tibbits Lighthouse is still in operation, run by the Coast Guard. The lightkeepers house is now an International Hostel.

In town is a Fishery Station and Aquarium, run by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This building was originally built in the early 1800s and is still in use today.

We stopped in Clayton for lunch on the St. Lawrence River.

The old opera house in Clayton. Built in 1903, is has been restored and is again in operation during the summer months.

Thousand Island Dressing came from where else? the Thousand Islands. The story goes Mrs. Sophia LaLonde created the dressing to serve to her husband's fishing parties. A prominent NYC stage actress, May Irwin and her husband were impressed with the dressing and asked for the recipe. Mrs. LaLonde gave it to Mrs. Irwin who later gave it to her friend Mr. George Boldt (Boldt Castle), owner of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and the Belleview Stratford in Philadelphia. Mr. Boldt had it added to his hotel's menu and is credited for introducing Thousand Island dressing to the world.

But Mrs. LaLonde also gave her recipe to her friend Mrs. Bertrand, who family owned the Herald Hotel, now the Thousand Island Inn, who added it to her restaurants menu. Mrs. Bertrand is credited with first serving Thousand Island Dressing to the public. Today the original recipe is still being made at the Thousand Island Inn. Only 5000 bottles are made each year for sale to the public. The original recipe is a closely guarded secret. And yes, I did buy a bottle of the Original Thousand Island Dressing.

And on our way back home we stopped at Coyote Moon Vineyards for some wine tasting. Mmm good.


Donna Huffer said...

Did you go to Henderson Harbor. I was raised there at the West View Lodge & the marina across the street. You didn't mention but I hope you took the boat tour & stopped at Boldt Castle. It's awesome.

carla said...

In 2007 we visited our son and his family in Watertown when he was assigned to Fort Drum. During our stay we drove over to Sackets Harbor and walked around. It's a fascinating area. Unfortunately, our photos are on a crashed hard drive. When talking about the Army buildings today, I did a google search and found your blog.

So glad you posted them!