As warmer weather winds down, hit the Thousand Islands Seaway Wine Trail. The state’s newest emerging wine region is producing unique, flavorful wines from new varieties of cold-hardy grapes like La Crescent and Frontenac. Fall harvest festivals are on the rise too, just follow the music.
Near Collins Landing between Clayton and Alexandria Bay, the Thousand Islands Winery offers free wine tastings and tours every day. Clayton’s family-owned Coyote Moon Vineyards is fast building a name for its La Crescent and Marquette, and would love to show you their wine-making area.
To wash down the vino, sample some of this region’s favorite local foods like River Rat Cheese, New York cheddars aged up to 40 years for just the right degree of bite. Stop by Gold Cup Farms in Clayton for a farm-fresh sample, and don’t forget to take home some Croghan Bologna to go along with your cheddar; in its trademark red casing it’s another regional product and the best bologna you’ll find anywhere in the state.
Autumn means apples and no fall visit to the Thousand Islands should pass by the Burrville Cider Mill where fresh-pressed cider and warm cider donuts lure travelers with their spicy scent. Open through Thanksgiving, the mill, nestled near a 30-foot waterfall, is one of the oldest buildings in the region.
In Watertown, don’t forget to score some old country pasta at Morgia’s, where homestyle hot pepper linguine and black pepper fettucini come matched with signature sauces. Pretzel lovers statewide know Martin’s Pretzels, but might not know they’re handmade right here in Theresa. If you can’t make it to a greenmarket booth, you can order them online in two varieties, salted and unsalted. Decisions, decisions.
Leave your calorie counter home for the B Italiano Festival at Watertown’s Fairgrounds Arena, September 13-14. Linguine and clams, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parm and stuffed shells are all calorie-free for this weekend of Italian pastries, fried dough and hearty wines, because you’ll work off every bite with bocce tournaments, live music and non-stop dancing.
Save room for more treats on September 21 when Boldt Castle hosts its fall Wine Festival and Farmers Market. Food and drink are the main events at this fifth annual event. The vendor lineup includes wineries like Coyote Moon, Knapp, Fox Run, Otter Creek and Tug Hill, while farms like Home Again, Gold Cup, Cross Island and Spring Hill Maple Farm serve up the munchies. The kids will love a visit to Boldt Castle. Where else can you see a thousand-pound pumpkin than at Oswego’s Great Pumpkin Festival? October 5th marks this year’s competition at Washington Square Park where pumpkin growers from across the state compete for top honors. Meanwhile you get to enjoy live music and crafts, pumpkin carving, scarecrow building and a great big farmers’ market, rides and games for kids and, best of all, free admission.
Boldt Castle Wine Festival and Farmers Market
Bravo Italiano Festival
Burrville Cider Mill
Coyote Moon Vineyards
Oswego’s Great Pumpkin Festival
River Rat Cheese
Thousand Islands Seaway Wine Trail