Lighthouses of the Seaway Trail: Trip 2
1000 Islands, New York
August 5-10, 2000
Every year, my whole family gets together in the 1000 Island region of New York State for a week. This year was the first time in quite a few years that I was able to make it. I was looking forward to this trip for awhile since the last trip. The last time we did our Lighthouses of the Seaway Trail was back in 1998. On this trip we only got as far as Sacketts Harbor due to time constraints. Now, living back in New York State, it was easier to allocate the time for this trip. This trip, we travel from Cape Vincent, NY all the way up to Ogdensburg, NY. After we did what we could on the American side, it was off to the Canadian side.
August 5, 2000
Arrive in about 10:00pm. Have a few beers, and relax.
August 6, 2000
Get up and hang out for a little bit. We then decided to see a few lighthouses today. Packed up the truck and drove to Ogdensburg. We were staying in Clayton, NY so it was just a straight shot down Route 12. Route 12 eventually turns into Route 37. Follow Route 37 until you get into Ogdensburg then look for State Street. Make a left onto State Street and follow that to the end. At the end will be Riverside Street. You will make a left onto that. Follow that a short distance to a small park. From this park, you will be able to see the Windmill Point Lighthouse to the northeast, the Prescott Visitors Center Light, and the Prescott Breakwater Light.
After this, it was time to head back towards Clayton. We would pass several lights on the way back. The next light, Crossover Island Lighthouse would be at a scenic overlook (Rest Area) along Route 12. You can also see it from RiverLedge Road that runs next to Route 12. Either spot will get you a decent picture. Be aware that this lighthouse sits on an island and without a boat, there is now way to get a good close up photo without a telephoto lens. Many of the shots that I have were taken with either the 500mm or 1000mm telephoto lenses.
The next lighthouse that would be along the St. Lawrence River would be the Sister's Island Light. This lighthouse is not visible from shore so for us it was on to the next light. The next one was in Alexandria Bay. Coming from Ogdensburg on Route 12, you will make a right onto Chruch Street. Go up Church Street to James Street. You will make a right onto James Street and head to the end. At the end of the street on the left side is a motel. I parked in this lot and walked to the back of the place (waterside). Across the water you will see Boldt Castle and if you look to the north east of that you will see the Sunken Rock Lighthouse. After this, we headed back to Clayton.
August 7, 2000
This day, we headed down to Cape Vincent which is about 20 minutes down Route 12 towards Lake Ontario. Once into Cape Vincent, you will continue to follow Route 12 until it makes a left-hand turn. Once the Route makes this turn, continue straight. You will follow this road all the way to the end. This will take you right to the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse isn't open to the public, but you can go in the fog signal building and the gift shop. After that, head back out the same way you came in. Once you get to the corner of Route 12 and Route 12 E, make a right onto Route 12E. Less than a mile up the road, you will come to the Cape Vincent Breakwater Lighthouse.
After this, head north again on Route 12E to Route 12. Make a right onto Route 12 and then a left onto the Wolfe Island Ferry. The ferry costs $7.00 and its about a 20 minute crossing time. Once on Wolfe Island, you will have to go through Immigration since this island is part of Ontario. There is a lighthouse on Wolfe Island, but I don't think it is visible from the mainland. Books I have say that it is on the southeastern end of the island. I followed the main road (Route 95) up to the intersection of Route 96. This is about a 15 minute drive. Make a left onto Route 96 and follow that for about 5-10 minutes. You will see a sign for the ferry to Simcoe Island. The road takes you to a dock and a little 2-car-max ferry. He was on the other side, so we had to wait a few minutes for him to cross. After that, we pulled right on and he started the ferry going. He then came up to the door and asked for $.75. This is for both ways.
Once on Simcoe Island, just follow the main street until you come to a "T" in the road. At this point, make a left and follow it all the way to the end. This will drop you right off at the Nine Mile Point Lighthouse. Please note that there is a sign at the gate welcoming polite visitors. This lighthouse is privately owned and they are allowing people in. Please respect the owners privacy.
After that, we were going to take the other ferry over to Kingston, Ontario but the line was pretty long and there was about an hour and a half wait. We headed back to the other end of the Wolfe Island to catch the other ferry back to Cape Vincent, NY. You once again have to pay and go through customs. After that, we headed back to our motel for the day.
August 9, 2000
We took a day off from lighthouse sightseeing yesterday and went to Boldt Castle. We decided to check out the Canadian Side of the Seaway and visit some of those lighthouses. We headed across the Thousand Islands International Bridge into Ontario. Once across, we stopped at the visitors center to get a map. Our first stop was about an hour and forty-five minutes down the 401 towards Toronto. We usually find that it is easiest to head to the farthest point and then work your way back. So our farthest point was the Cobourg East Breakwater Light.
After leaving there, it was back on the 401, this time heading east. We got off at the Brighton exit, I believe it was exit 509 and headed south into Brighton. The street changes names a few times, but just keep heading straight into town. Make a right onto Main Street. Once on Main Street, you will begin to see signs for the Provincial Park. To get to the park, make a left onto Ontario Street, then right onto Harbor Street. (This street sign is partially hidden, so watch closely.) This will lead you to the gates of the park. There was an $8.00 (Canadian) charge to get in. Ask for a map at the gate.
Once inside the park, you will need to follow the map to the Presqu'ile Point Lighthouse. I normally would list out the directions here, but I can't find the map that I got at the gate right now. I do remember it being quite a ways from the gate and the roads quite bumpy. Once done here, make your way back to the Main Street (Route 2).
We ended up following Route 2 eastward to get to Prince Edward County. Once in the city of Trenton, look for Route 33. Head south on this to make your way to the coastline in P.E. County. You will be on Route 33 for at least an hour or so. When you see the mileage signs by the roadside, just remember that those are in kilometers, not miles. You need to take Route 33 just about into the City of Picton. Just before you get into Picton, there will be an intersection with Route 10. Make a right onto Route 10 (If you head into the city, past McDonald's, etc, you have gone too far.) Follow Route 10 to Route 18. Take Route 18 all the way to the end. Once there, you will begin seeing signs to Salmon Point. Follow them right to the Salmon Point Campground.
This is where we had some trouble. Every book that I have said there was a small fee to get in to see the lighthouse. So I stopped at the owner's house to pay. She said $5.00. I began to pull out my money and she asked what I did with the pictures. So I told her that I run this website. She then handed my $5.00 back to me and said that she couldn't let me in there. She said she would need at least $100 to let me in to take commercial pictures to sell. I told her that I haven't made any money off the website. In her defense, they do own the lighthouse and rent it out. She said that they had other photographers there that set up tripods and took pictures of the lighthouse all day long. Since it currently had visitors in it, it would make them feel awkward. I told her that I would be in and out in less than 10 minutes. She took the $5.00 and agreed to let me in. I am thankful that she did let me in to view it. The Salmon Point Lighthouse is really a nice lighthouse. I stuck to my word, and we were out of there.
After leaving the campground, head back up Route 18 to the intersection with Route 10. This time, hang a right onto Route 10 (south). Route 10 will eventually turn left, and if you continue straight, you will be on Route 24. Follow Route 24 all the way to the end. Once close to the end, it turns into a dirt road. At the very end, you will see the Point Petre Lightstation. You can't go beyond the fence, but from the gate you can get some good pictures. I stood in the door opening of my truck to get above the fence.
Once done there, head back up Route 24 to the intersection with Route 10. Make a right onto Route 10 and follow that into the small town of Milford. This is where things will get a little tricky. You will be looking for Route 9 or Route 13. We ended up asking for directions. I want to say follow Route 9 and this will take you to the False Duck Island Lighthouse at Mariner's Park. After Mariner's park, head east or south onto Route 13. If you are in the street looking at the lighthouse, you want to head right. This will take you out to the Point. This is a long ride out there. But once you get to the end, you will see the Prince Edward Point Lighthouse. The first glimpse you will see of it will be from across the inlet. If you follow the stone road around, it will drop you off right in front of the old lighthouse. Beware to bring bug spray with you if you are planning of getting out of your car. I got a ton of bites all over me, they itched like mosquito bites, but they weren't. I don't really know what they were. The last lighthouse that I saw was the New False Duck Island Lighthouse . This light sits on Swetman Island which is just off the tip of Prince Edward Point. You will need either a boat or a telephoto lens.
Now we started a long drive back to the 401 to head back to the States. Head back up Route 13 to Route 17. Make a right onto Route 17 and follow that back to Picton. Once in Picton, look for and follow Route 49. Route 49 will take you all the way back to Highway 401. Once on Highway 401, it was a long drive back to the International Bridge. Once through customs, we got stuck in the construction delays of the bridge. We sat in the same spot for close to two hours before it was our turn to cross. All in all it was a good trip.
August 10, 2000
We left the 1000 Islands region to head back home to Buffalo.
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