Visiting the tranquil Lake of the Isles, New York: the interior lake of Wellesley Island at Dewolf Point State Park
Secluded lake and state park off the I-81
This is the brief story of a surprise.
The vicinity of Jefferson County, New York's Lake of the Isles is one that the traveller might go through, rather than to, because of its close proximity to the Canadian border. This is a pity, because the sense of scenic peace which it affords is quite remarkable.
The outstanding views of the Lake of the Isles from New York's Dewolf Point State Park should by rights make this park more well known than it is.
When I came to the Lake of the Isles at Dewolf Point State Park, this surprise was in store. I wanted to stay longer. While the needs of travel obliged me to move on all too soon, I made a mental note that this strikingly scenic and peaceful area would be a desirable future destination in its own right.
The Lake of the Isles is truly one of the gems of Jefferson County, NY. The lake follows a long and narrow shape, making a deep inroad into Wellesley Island which is wholly in the United States.
The Lake itself in its north-western extremity washes the southern shore of Canada's Hill Island, out of sight of the south-facing Dewolf Point State Park. Its waters count as part of the St Lawrence River, in the Thousand Islands.
The lake thus possesses its unique geographical particularity.
When crossing into the United States from Hill Island, Canada, or when travelling north on the I-81 towards the Canadian border, visitors intending to go to Dewolf Point State Park should take care to follow Country Route 191.
Also worth seeing
Minna Anthony Common Nature Center (distance: 8 kilometres), also on Wellesley Island, has several kilometres of trails, contains a spacious natural history museum, and has a specialism in the study and conservation of butterflies.
Clayton (distance: 22 kilometres) has an Antique Boat Museum and Heirloom Gardens and Grounds. One of the prize exhibits is a 1903 houseboat named La Duchesse , which once belonged to George Boldt, former proprietor of Boldt Castle.
Boldt Castle on Heart Island, accessible via Alexandria Bay (distance: 17 kilometres). The castle's Yacht House, on Wellesley Island, with its boat collection, is also in its own right listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
1000 Islands Skydeck , Hill Island, Canada (distance: 3 kilometres); nearest large town in Canada: Gananoque. This tower facility with an observation deck 130 metres high offers outstanding 360 degree views of the Thousand Islands. Hill Island is situated between the Thousand Islands Bridge and Wellesley Island, New York.
How to get there: Dewolf Point State Park is served from the US, by the Interstate 81, and from Canada by road by the Canadian 401 freeway, and, then by Route 137, which becomes Interstate 81 at the US-Canadian border. By air, the airport at Watertown, NY (distance: 50 kilometres) offers intermittent air services. Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport, at Kingston, Ontario (distance: 53 kilometers) is served by Air Canada, offering scheduled flights to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide flight connections, and by charter airline Brock Air Services. Car rental is available from Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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