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Great Winter Getaway Ideas: Thousand Islands-Seaway

Published: Jan 23, 2014

Thousands of islands, glistening in white! 

It doesn't get more magical than this. Discover a shimmering wonderland that weaves pristine wooded trails with coastline and island views in 28 state parks. From frosted fairy-tale castles to cozy cabins, snowmobiles to sportfishing, quaint waterside villages to winter-hardy wineries, there are thousands of reasons to visit this winter!

This scenic route begins in Massena, on the beautiful St. Lawrence River, and runs south to Fulton near Great Lake Ontario.

A. Massena

Visitors reach Robert Moses State Park through a tunnel under the Eisenhower Lock. The park has a variety of trails, wooded cabins, and some of the best fishing in the Northeast. The year-round nature center hosts holiday events and programs. Cross-country ski and snowmobile trails wind through fields, forests and wetlands, with overlooks showcasing spectacular views.  

You'll get a charge out of the interactive exhibits at the NY Power Authority's Hawkins Point Visitors Center on the St. Lawrence River. Views from the observation deck are spectacular!   

B. Ogdensburg

On the banks of the St. Lawrence, The Gran-View on the River is a family-run inn with fine dining and entertainment. Watch oceangoing vessels and breathtaking sunsets from your table in the landmark restaurant-or guestroom balcony if you stay the night.  

Stop at the Frederic Remington Art Museum to see the paintings, drawings and bronzes of the foremost artist of America's Old West. The elegant historic home still contains the artist's easel, paintbrushes, sculpting stand, letters and other artifacts.

C. Alexandria Bay

At the Thousand Islands Winery, located on a farm that was established in 1836, you can sample the Alexandria Bay Rosé and other fine award-winning wines.  

Grass Point State Park, jutting into the St. Lawrence channel, is known for some of the nation's best fishing.

On the St. Lawrence River, Keewaydin State Park is known for some of the area's best fishing, including winter ice-fishing, as well as cross-country skiing. There's a sheltered marina and great views of ocean-going vessels. 

D. Wellesley Island

Wellesley Island State Park has miles of shoreline cross-country ski trails and pristine snowshoe paths, plus a wonderful nature center open year-round. Heated cabins offer all the comforts of home.  

One of Wellesley's main attractions, the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center has a museum and varied wildlife habitats. Programs for all ages include watching for bald eagles from late November to early January, and again in late March. 

E. Watertown

Historic Thompson Park is an historic Olmsted-designed gem with big hills for sledding, ice-skating, and cross-country ski trails amid picturesque winter scenery.

Within the park, the Zoo at Thompson Park specializes in species native to New York. You can cross-country ski to visit the wolverines, black bears, eagles, mountain lions, lynx, grey wolves, and other critters who live at this 32-acre zoo.

Don't let the name fool you!  On the edge of the Tug Hill Plateau, Dry Hill Ski Area boasts plenty of snow and varied trails for skiing and boarding as well as a big tubing park designed for fun. This small family-friendly ski mountain just outside Watertown has great learn-to-ski and snowboard programs, a cozy restaurant, and a full-service ski shop.

In the Snowbelt, east of Lake Ontario, lake-effect snow blankets the Tug Hill Plateau with an annual average of 250 inches. At its edge, Winona State Forest features 30 miles of nature trails ideal for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and even dog-sledding.     

Everyone's Irish during the three-day North Country Goes Green festival, held every St. Patrick's Day weekend. There's Irish folk music, food and step-dancers. Put on some green and join the fun, from the big parade to the beard contest!

Don't worry when the snow melts! In springtime experience the thrills of world-class whitewater rafting in the famous Black River Canyon with outfitters like B.O.B Rafting

F. Lowville

The eight wineries of the Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail create distinctive wines with unique grapes known as cold hardy varietals. All offer tours and events throughout the winter. The trail winds through 78 miles of scenic countryside from Lowville at the southeast end to Ogdensburg up north.  

The award-winning Tug Hill Vineyards serves a light menu with live music on Thursday evenings and brunch every Sunday with stunning views of the 40-acre estate. Stop in the boutique offering gourmet foods and wine. 

G. Pulaski

Guests can arrive at Sandy Pond Steak House by car, boat, seaplane or snowmobile. This wilderness gem on the eastern tip of Lake Ontario has cozy family dining inside and weekly ice-fishing derbies outside!  On February 1, the Sandy Pond Ice Fishing Team Perch Derby, benefitting Deaf Bass Anglers, features prizes and gift certificates. Preregistration required.  

On Pulaski's Salmon River, known as the Salmon Capital of the Northeast, fishing events run from winter ice-fishing derbies to spring fly-fishing contests. Sandy Pond is a prime ice-fishing location.

H. Oswego

Featuring specialties from local restaurants, great brews, live music and raffles, the annual Chicken Wing Competition and Microbrew Fest, on February 1, is great fun for a great cause. It's held at the Lake Ontario Event & Conference Center.

I. Fulton

The CNY Arts Center presents fine and performing arts in a variety of events, play productions and programs. Their annual Snow Day, January 18, is a children's snow-themed carnival of art projects, food and winter fun! 

Join the party at the annual Great Eastern Whiteout, February 7 to 9. With vintage snowmobiles, races, raffles, a swap meet and food, it's the largest antique snowmobile show in the East!   

For more ideas and information, see Thousand Islands-Seaway's Regional Tourism Website

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