I clearly remember the vacation when I was 6.  My family took a driving tour of the Seaway Trail’s Thousand Island Region.  It was a magical trip of beachcombing, wading, visiting lighthouses and forts… It was my first of many adventures along the Seaway Trail.

Stop at the Discovery Center in the 1817 Union Hotel

Stop at the Discovery Center in the 1817 Union Hotel

The Seaway Trail is a 518 mile expanse of coastline that borders Lake Ontario from the northernmost international bridge in Massena, NY.  The trail runs along Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, heads south through Pennsylvania bordering Lake Erie, and extends on into Ohio.

Some of its unique features and special activities include:

  • Lighthouses – The entire length is dotted with 28 lighthouses, such as the one in Charlotte, which were erected to help prevent ships using the waterways for transportation from wrecking on often-rocky coastlines.
  • Scuba Diving – In spite of the lighthouses, an estimated 1500 ships went down, and many of the wrecks can be found in the fresh water of Lake Ontario, which was  a major shipping thoroughfare.  For example, east of Rochester in Pultneyville, is the wreck of the 135-foot, three-masted Schooner named St. Peter, reputed to be haunted.
  • French and Indian War Sites  – The route includes forts, as well as battle and encampment sites used during the famous war which raged from 1754 to 1763.
  • Birdwatching – The entire length of the trail is on the migratory route for many species of birds from songbirds and waterfowl to raptors and is a “must-travel” for avid birdwatchers.  Even the Bald Eagle has found a home here.  Braddock Bay, Irondequoit Bay and Sodus Point and Chimney Bluffs are all rich in bird life.
  • Outdoor Recreation – Whether you’re walking or biking, swimming, boating or sportfishing in summer, or cross-country skiing, ice fishing, dog sledding or snowmobiling in winter, you’ll be a happy camper!  Speaking of which…
  • Camping – The Seaway Trail offers 40 great state parks in which you can tent or RV while you enjoy the treasures of the  Trail.  And of course, there are many beautiful hotels, inns and B&Bs along the trail for those who prefer less rustic lodging accommodations.

While you’re visiting, don’t forget to stop at the Seaway Trail Discovery Center & Gift Shop,  to enjoy state-of-the-art  hands-on exhibits.  The Discovery Center is located in the historic 1817 Union Hotel at the Corner of Ray & West Main Street in Sackets Harbor.   Open November to April from Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  and May to October  daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  Admission: $4 -Adults, $3 – Military and Seniors, $2 – Children,  Free – Members.

The Finger Lakes region is a great place to start an exploration of the Seaway Trail!

Photo courtesy of Seaway Trail, Inc.