On The Road Again. First Stop. Alexandria Bay New York.

On The Road Again. First Stop. Alexandria Bay New York.

Alexandria Bay New York sunset (3 of 9)-2
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I write this blog while  enjoying a spectacular view of the St. Lawrence River from my hotel room in Alexandria  Bay in the Thousand Islands region of upstate New York, I had just spent the afternoon exploring this quaint little tourist town and nearby Wellesley State Park.  There was so much to see here, but sadly I am only here one day. I am on my way to the Hudson Bay. 

My birthday is Thursday. I have been traveling on my birthday for a couple of years now. In the past , my birthday was spent at home with  a large and loving family.  But with the loss of my parents, my beloved sister Linda and her husband Charlie , and all of my aunts and uncles, ( I have wonderful brothers,  nieces, nephews and  great-nieces and nephews, who I love dearly)  and now being alone (I’ve made some bad decisions in relationships) I have been traveling on my birthday  to reflect on another trip around the sun.

And this year I decided to drive through some remote areas of Canada to the Hudson Bay . I love being on the road.   So I packed up my Jeep and left my home in Hazle Township in Northeastern Pennsylvania early today.  I  took a carefree 4 1/2 hour drive to Alexandria Bay in New York. It was a pleasant drive, I love the scenery, cities and small towns along the way.  And the freedom to stop when and where I want. It’s like the old song by Lobo , one of my favorites, Me and You and a Dog named Boo without the You and without the  Boo. 

Well, my birthday is over and I am now working on this post from my room in  Cochrane in Canada three days after I wrote the last paragraph.  I have spent the past two days exploring Alexandria Bay in New York and Mattawa and Cochrane in Canada.  The towns were small but I loved them. I did a lot of driving too, and it was an exhausting  two days. More on that later, now back to Alexandria Bay. On Tuesday I arrived at the North County visitor center around 11:30 a.m.

I wasted no time beginning   my exploration.

After a nice chat about the region  with the women at the visitor center I was walking up the I 81 bridge,

to take in  the spectacular view of the St Lawrence River.

It was windy,  and the large trucks rolled by  seeming way to close for comfort, but the views of the deep blue waters of the wide river,   the green islands and surrounding countryside made the walk worth the effort. I reflected on  when I first learned  about the famous St Lawrence Seaway from the nuns  in my geography class  in elementary school a long time ago.  ( George Eats Oats Goats Rats and Played Hooky Yesterday.. GEOGRAHY… learned that mnemonic device too.) 

It was a great view and I even got to watch a family of swans swimming in the river fall below. It was a great way to begin my road trip . 

I left the visitor center and drove to downtown Alexandria Bay  where I was staying at Capt. Thomson’s resort. The room wasn’t ready so I decided to walk through the usually busy tourist town and have breakfast. I was here in August,  about ten years ago,  and the place was packed.  There were no vacancies in the hotels, the restaurants were  full and the streets were crowded. Not this time the streets were empty 

I was told it was because he tourist season won’t begin until school is out and the children are home for the summer.

I didn’t mind, except, that many of the restaurants were closed.  I walked through the quiet streets,  past the closed restaurants and

past the closed shops. The shops had some cool shirts, these very appropriate for me. 

Alexandria Bay was once he summer hunting and fishing grounds of  the Native Americas.  Early  American settlers replaced them and the area became a refilling station for steams ships traveling  the St Lawrence River. It wasn’t until after the Civil War when prominent and wealthy business men built large summer homes here that it became a popular resort town. The first  was George Pullman and many others followed including George Boldt who built his famous mansion on Heart Island. I  strolled the now quiet streets reflecting on the many folks who visited before me ,and those who lived here and,

attended the two churches I saw on my walk.  

I walked to the North/Star restaurant where I was able to get an early afternoon breakfast. It was good and filling.  

After breakfast I found and  explored a nearby cemetery,

and wondered who Mr. Crawford was. I love visiting cemeteries on my travel and reflecting on the lives of the graves I see, both the large and humble ones. Mr. Crawford had the largest.  So many questions race though my head about the lives  they lived. Their memories of their childhood, their travels, careers, their families. And now just dust in the wind. Yep, cemeteries always make me think about my mortality.

 But while I am alive I am going to continue to explore as much of this beautiful planet we call Earth as I can. It’s natural beauty, it’s people, wildlife, flora and it’s history. I walked back to my hotel.  observing the homes and gardens along the way.  I was glad to find my my room was ready when I returned .  Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more phots of my walk through Alexandria Bay. New York Alexandria Bay May 30 2023. 

I quickly settled into my room and was soon off the the nature center  in Wellesley State Park. It was now mid afternoon and unseasonably hot. Temperatures where in the mid 80’s. I wanted to walk along the St Lawrence River but I should have studied the maps at the nature center before I began my three mile hike. I walked on the first trail I came to thinking it would take me  to the river. It didn’t.

It was still a nice hike.  I took the North Field  trail first took me through some fields and   once been  orchards and farm land. There wasn’t a lot of wildlife or bird activity since it was mid afternoon. I did encounter this house wren singing in the afternoon heat. 

The path took me to the more mature woods of the Middle Trail,

 Here I saw many plants I was familiar with  including bracken  ferns,

marginal wood ferns and 

mandrake or May flowers. The mandrake flowers were still blooming up here. They finished blooming two weeks ago back home in Pennsylvania. 

There weren’t many birds active in the afternoon heat, even in the shade of the tall trees. However, I knew the songs of the ones I heard, the ovenbird and the red-eyed vireo . I was only able to get a photos of the  red-eyed vireo. 

I followed the trail over a ridge, 

with some large rock formations. I now realized I wasn’t heading to he river. 

I followed the trail and came to a small lake and wetlands.  

As usual when there is water there is life, and I saw a great blue heron on the water and one flew overhead and landed in a treetop. 

I also saw a beaver swimming in small lake or pond,

and a family of Canada geese. 

In the trees near the lake I saw a few yellow warblers,  

a cedar waxwing enjoying some insects and 

an American redstart that was difficult to photo since they never sit still. 

Just past the lake the  Middle Trail  ends on   a bay on  the St. Lawrence River. The South Trail follows the bay but I was out 1  1/2 miles so I decided to  walk the Middle Trail back to the nature center. 

It was a nice walk as it was now late afternoon and a little cooler. The trail took me past a butterfly exhibit and

the Nature Center building which was  now closed. 

Here I saw a beautiful indigo bunting,  the last bird I would see on my hike. Here is a link to a gallery with some more of the birds I saw on my hike. Alexandria Bay  New York afternoon hike birds May 30 2023. 

I walked around the nature center, and down to a dock along the St. Lawrence River.

It led to the trail I wanted to follow. 

As I returned to my Jeep I found, a short distance from  where I parked, 

a detailed trail map. I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry to start my hike. It was still an enjoyable one. 

It was late afternoon when I left the nature center.  Before heading back to my hotel I took the advice of the women at the visitor center and visited the small village of Thousand Island Park and  it’s gingerbread  looking houses. 

I only drove through this quaint historic village but it would be a great place to stay next time I am in this region. Here is a link to a gallery wit  some more photos from my afternoon hike and visit to Wellesley Island. . Alexandria Bay  New York afternoon hike May 30 2023. 

I drove  back to the hotel  and now had to find a place to eat diner. Many of the restaurants were closed and I didn’t like the menu at the few that were open. I finally decided on Dockers of the Bay where I had a nice wholesome meal of  baked salmon, boiled potatoes and corn on the cob. It was wholesome and filling.

I walked back to my hotel through the deserted town and sat on my patio and enjoyed the glow on the St Lawrence River from  late evening sunshine.

I started to write this blog but I didn’t work on it too long. Instead I watched the beautiful sunset over the river. 

It was a great start to another adventure. It was great to be back on the road again.  Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the sunset. Alexandria Bay New York sunset May 30 2023. 

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And venture belongs to the adventurous.”
— Navjot Singh Sidhu


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