After a disappointing member/guest performance, our friend Scott decided there would not be as much golf in his retirement plan, so he bought his dream boat – a 48 foot, 3 bedroom cruiser in the Thousand Islands Yacht Club marina, right next to the Thousand Islands Country Club. Now he can play there or anywhere in the water world that floats his boat. We were thrilled to join him on his maiden weekend voyage on the St. Lawrence River but first, we hit the links of Old Course where the United States and Canada’s flags wave high welcoming all golfers to a glorious morning round. After the first hole it is a forest with fairways carved subtly through it. Even subtler are the cart paths, non-existent really, except for beginning and end gravel by the tees and greens, which are not really fast but true, like memory foam mattresses. The number 3 green sits beside the Hart house, which was relocated by skidding it over the iced river from Heart Island to serve as a lovely B&B. Number 11 yields a fantastic view from the elevated tee down to the River past the green and Canada on the other side. The next two holes have a surprise for long drivers unfamiliar with the course – hidden ponds just before the greens. Breathe in the fresh air throughout the links course that serves as a Mark Twain contradiction. Seth Raynor’s design in the early 1900s surely enhanced the walk for tycoons such as Rockefeller, Boldt, and Pullman, now for you and us.
George Boldt of Waldorf Astoria fame is the main character of history in Thousand Islands. He was from Germany and built the Boldt Castle for his wife Louise. She died during construction, so he halted the project and never saw the completion. Within a nautical mile from the Thousand Island Yacht Club marina, we sailed by, as the castle dock was busy with tour boats of all sizes disembarking island explorers all in awe of the new restoration details that have continued for nearly 40 years. If visiting, Uncle Sam’s Two Nation boat tour departing from Alexandria Bay is guided with humor and history of islands’ ownership along the way. Speedboats, jet-skis and even ocean freight-liners share the channels of the river making it a unique water excursion. Cute cottages or mansions dot the many islands on the beautiful waterways that lead to the great lakes or Quebec, PEI and beyond. Forests frame it all, with brilliant fall foliage.
Lodging is available in comfortable suites at the Thousand Island Country Club with a view of the course and the glimmering marina. Hacker’s Pub and Grill above the clubhouse and the Thousand Island Club on the water serve great food. Check the hours. The season is short in Thousand Islands but the memories last forever. For more fun in the area, consider shops and music venues in Alexandria Bay, tastings on the winery trail, visit the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton or play a second round on the Lake Course.