Affordable waterfront villages near the Canadian border.
Exploring the Thousand Islands
Credit: © Bill Brooks / Alamy

Far upstate, past the western reaches of the Adirondacks, New York meets the frontier of the Canadian border. More than 1,850 islands—ranging from small outcroppings to masses large enough to support communities—define this region, where sleepy towns are being rediscovered after many quiet decades.

Boldt Castle

Take a boat through the glassy inlets of the St. Lawrence River—it flows north, toward Montreal. In summer, alight at Heart Island, one of 1,865 islands here, where Boldt Castle, a full-scale Rhineland palace, was commissioned by the man who built the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

West Winds Motel and Cottages

The rentals are simple and summery, like the town of Clayton itself, with screened porches and a view of the St. Lawrence River.

Thousand Islands Inn

The famous salad dressing was invented here, and only 5,000 bottles are now made of it each year. It’s ladled generously, though, at the historic dining room.