The Thousand Islands, located along the St. Lawrence River between New York State and Canada, is a breathtaking experience you don't want to miss.

View from Clayton, NY at sunset in June

I know you've heard of the dressing but this place is SO much more than that. I have been going to this area since I was a child. It is my happy place. My family has never invited someone who didn't want to come back again and again. In the summer, the weather is perfect, usually hanging around the mid 70's, occasionally hitting the 80's and 90's. Locals, summertime regulars and tourists alike spend the days out on the water and the night grilling and hanging by a fire. There are two small towns that have regular events during the summer months, everything from cookouts at the Thousand Islands Winery to Pirate Days in the town of Alexandria Bay.

Boats tied up for a day of sun

Some of my favorite summer products

The area has had a bit of growth over the past decade with an influx of wineries and distilleries but also some locally owned shops, restaurants and yoga studios make morning walks around town the perfect way to start a Saturday morning. A few high end resorts have also opened in the area as well, my favorite being the Thousand Islands Harbor Hotel, which is perfect for cocktail hour by the fire pits out by the water.

Some of the newest additions to Clayton, NY that I enjoyed on my last visit were the Johnston House, newly redone with a large outdoor patio, amazing food and live entertainment on the weekends. We sat with drinks and listened to a piano player late into the evening on a warm night before heading to The Clipper for a nightcap.

The Menu at Di Prinzio's Kitchen in Clayton, NY

Enjoying some Riesling by the river

Earlier that night we enjoyed some Italian by the water at Di Prinzio's while listening to some live acoustic music. Prior to the opening of Di Prinzio's, my go-to pizza spot in Clayton was Wood Boat Brewery (the pulled pork pizza is amazing) the winner is still to be determined.

Margarita Pizza with bacon at Di Prinzio's Kitchen

My favorite shop, The Masor Jar, in Clayton, NY


I may be a little biased about this town. My family owns a lake house in Clayton and going there is a time we can all unwind and just have fun. Our biggest concern is running out of wine or the rain coming in while we're still out on the water. But I promise you, if you find the time to go, it will be one your favorite little spots. I'm actually a little concerned about telling too many people about it because that small town charm is too precious to lose.

Steamed clams in broth made my father and me

One of my parent's black labs, "Asti"