When you think of the Thousand Islands, a boat cruise on the St. Lawrence might come to mind and while Boldt Castle and the mansions are spectacular to see, there’s a place on Wellesley Island that visitors to the area shouldn’t forget about.
That place is Thousand Island Park, also known as TI Park to the locals. It is one of the most extraordinary places in the Thousand Islands and maybe in all of America. It’s old fashioned in the best of ways. Families have been summering there for nearly 150 years and the charming cottages are a reminder of the park’s rich history.
Winn Price is part of that history. He’s fifth-generation here.
“What is it about this place that makes it so special, some of it’s obvious. It’s a beautiful place, but a lot of it is the feel. It’s going back in time to a way people don’t live anymore. It’s families eating dinner, playing games on the green, or in the yard. A lot of the things you just don’t see,” Price said.
Thousand Islands Park is truly a place where time stands still, where children roam freely and so do the family dogs.
What began as a religious community turned into a thriving resort on the river at the turn of the century, with 600 cottages, large hotels, a yacht club, and a golf course. Fire destroyed a lot of the history at TI Park. There were two hotels on a square that burned to the ground. One of them took almost 100 cottages with it.
The Iron cottage, with metal siding, was spared. The Iron House saved the house next door. And it, too, is still standing today. And it’s called “The House Next Door.”
Everywhere you look, there are reminders of the past. The library went up in 1903, the same year they built the Wellesley Hotel. The much-loved Guzzle Ice Cream Shop, which burned down in 2014, has been rebuilt.
It’s a short season at TI Park. They actually shut the water off on Columbus Day. But if you plan ahead, you can rent one of these Victorian beauties for your summer vacation next year. A lot of their owners put them on Air B&B.