Golf, Fish­ing and 1000 Is­land Dress­ing

Golf Vacations - - CONTENTS - by Chuck “The Trav­el­ing Guy Miller

For over one hun­dred years, thou­sands upon thou­sands of golfers, fish­er­men, boaters and va­ca­tion­ers have en­joyed the at­mos­phere in and around the small vil­lage of Clay­ton, New York lo­cated on the St. Lawrence River in the 1000 Is­lands re­gion of north­west New York State. In the early 1900’s, dur­ing the sum­mer months as many as fif­teen trains a day ar­rived in Clay­ton bring­ing va­ca­tion­ers ea­ger to en­joy fish­ing, boat­ing, swim­ming, golf and re­lax­ing va­ca­tions in Clay­ton’s friendly vil­lage.

The par 71 Old Course can be played from three sets of tees rang­ing from 5250 to 6603 yards. The Lake Course, some­what shorter at 5000 yards, is a par 70 track with a course rat­ing of 113. Although not fancy, both cour­ses are well-main­tained, fun to play, and open to both res­i­dents and vis­it­ing golfers.

In ad­di­tion to 1000 Is­lands Coun­try Club’s Old and Lake Cour­ses, the third eigh­teen-hole course in the area is the fam­ily owned and op­er­ated par 71 C-Way Golf Club, lo­cated a mere five min­utes from Clay­ton’s his­toric dis­trict. It can be played from the Red tees at 5077 yards, the Gold tees at 5384 yards, the White tees at 5492 yards and from the tips at 5808 yards. Although C-Way has mostly flat wide fair­ways, it is still a chal­leng­ing lay­out for both men and women be­cause of a num­ber of blind fair­way shots, sev­eral dog legs and nu­mer­ous el­e­vated tees and greens. Also in the area are the Clay­ton Coun­try Club, the LA Golf Club, the Welles­ley Is­land Golf Course, and the Smug­glers Inn Golf Course, all of which are nine-hole cour­ses.

Ac­com­mo­da­tions in and around Clay­ton range from camp sites at lo­cal state parks, fam­ily owned mo­tels, cot­tages, and bed and break­fast inns, to the up­scale AAA 4-Diamond 1000 Is­land Har­bor Ho­tel. Opened in 2014, the ho­tel which has de­light­ful views of the har­bor and the St. Lawrence River, is a mem­ber of the Hart Ho­tel chain. It of­fers 105 deluxe gue­strooms and suites and the out­stand­ing Se­away Restau­rant and Bar where break­fast, lunch and din­ner are served both in­doors in the com­fort­able and well laid out restau­rant or on the spa­cious pa­tio which looks out at the Clay­ton har­bor.

Other ameni­ties at the ho­tel in­clude an in-house concierge, a fit­ness cen­ter, an in­door heated swim­ming pool, a Jacuzzi, a busi­ness cen­ter, sev­eral con­fer­ence rooms and high speed In­ter­net ser­vice through­out the ho­tel.

The 1000 Is­land Har­bor Ho­tel, con­ve­niently lo­cated within a day’s drive of the north­east sec­tion of the U.S., of­fers ex­cel­lent pro­mo­tional pack­ages: a sum­mer Get­away Pack­age, a Romance Pack­age, a Wine & Dine Pack­age, a Bed & Break­fast Pack­age; a Hook Line and Sinker Pack­age, and for all the fam­ily, a Fam­ily Fun & Fit­ness Clay­ton Re­treat Pack­age.

When not playing golf, boat­ing or fish­ing for tro­phy fish in the St. Lawrence River, there is plenty to see and do in

pic­turesque Clay­ton. The An­tique Boat Mu­seum, one of the vil­lage’s three mu­se­ums, is a must for boat en­thu­si­asts. Its six build­ings con­tain over 300 wa­ter­craft, hun­dreds of in­board and out­board mo­tors, over 3000 ar­ti­facts, some of which date back to the 1800’s, and the 106 foot his­toric house­boat of Ge­orge Boldt of Wal­dorf As­to­ria Ho­tel fame. Clay­ton also has two art gal­leries, nu­mer­ous quaint shops, and the Clay­ton Opera House which has staged con­certs, plays and per­form­ing art events for over a cen­tury and is a mem­ber of the Na­tion­ally Reg­is­tered His­toric Places.

For those who en­joy vis­it­ing winer­ies and wine tast­ing, the area hosts eight winer­ies on the Thou­sand Is­lands Se­away Wine Trail. The Coy­ote Moon Win­ery, one of the wine trail’s eight winer­ies, has an ex­cel­lent tast­ing room lo­cated on River­side Drive, Clay­ton’s his­toric main street. For those who pre­fer sip­ping vodka, gin, whiskey, bour­bon, or Moon­shine, the St. Lawrence Spir­its dis­tillery also has a tast­ing lo­ca­tion on River­side Drive.

When vis­it­ing Clay­ton, cheese lovers de­light in the op­por­tu­nity to taste and pur­chase wide va­ri­eties of cheese as well as pur­chase bot­tles of the “Orig­i­nal” 1000 Is­land Dress­ing at the River Rat Cheese store. Although there are three dif­fer­ent ver­sions of how 1000 Is­land Dress­ing came about, the most widely ac­cepted ver­sion is that it was cre­ated by Mrs. Sophia Lalonde for her fish­er­man hus­band who served it to ho­tel mag­nate Ge­orge Boldt on Boldt’s yacht. The story goes that Boldt liked the dress­ing so much he named it af­ter the re­gion and in­tro­duced it to his chef at the Wal­dorf As­to­ria…and as they say…the rest is his­tory.

For any­one in­ter­ested in ar­chi­tec­ture, a free city walk­ing tour map is avail­able at the Cham­ber of Com­merce. It des­ig­nates and de­scribes Clay­ton’s three block his­toric dis­trict which houses thirty-one build­ings all built be­tween 1854 and the 1920’s.

A def­i­nite must when vis­it­ing Clay­ton is a cruise on the St. Lawrence River. The Clay­ton Is­land Tour Com­pany of­fers mul­ti­ple cruises in­clud­ing the highly pop­u­lar

3 3/4 hour Two-Na­tion Tour. While cruis­ing on the river, you see both tiny homes and large man­sions built on amaz­ingly small and large is­lands in the river. When your cruise boat crosses into Cana­dian wa­ters, you mo­tor un­der the 1000 Is­land In­ter­na­tional Bridge on which cars travel high above the St. Lawrence River into Canada.

One of the high­lights of the cruise tour is the forty-five minute stop for a self-guided tour of Boldt cas­tle, the six story, 120-room ele­gant sum­mer home Boldt had built in the style of a Euro­pean cas­tle. Be­gun in 1900 on a pri­vate is­land he pur­chased for $20,000, his the cas­tle was con­structed by more than 300 skilled work­men at a cost of $2,500,000. To­day the cas­tle is val­ued at over $60,000,000.

For shop­pers, Clay­ton has nu­mer­ous quaint shops with lo­cal and unique items. (My wife par­tic­u­larly en­joyed shop­ping at Hilda’s Next Gen­er­a­tion Ladies Shoppe on River­side Drive while I sam­pled vodka and gin at St. Lawrence Spir­its tast­ing room a few doors away).

For those who en­joy leisurely din­ing, in ad­di­tion to the ex­cel­lent Se­away Grill in the 1000 Is­land Har­bor Ho­tel, Clay­ton has a num­ber of other restau­rants in and about town.

For ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion about golf, fish­ing, boat­ing and the mul­ti­tude of ac­tiv­i­ties avail­able in pic­turesque and friendly Clay­ton, New York, or to re­quest a Clay­ton Vis­i­tor’s Guide, go to www.1000is­lands-clay­

Aerial view of Clay­ton

Au­thor’s wife, Myrna, on the el­e­vated tee box on sig­na­ture hole at 1000 Is­lands CC

1000 Is­lands Coun­try Club

Small is­land home

C-Way Golf Club

1000 Is­lands Coun­try Club

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