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Thousand Islands Guide Book

Chapel Hill, NC
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Thousand Islands Guide Book

Hi There!

Can anyone recommend a guide book to the Thousand Islands region of Canada? I can't find anything at all on Amazon or through a Google search. Surely something exists? I did request a brochure from the 1000islands.com site, but those tend to be chock full of ads.

We're planning 5 days in Canada in August, leaving from Port Huron, MI and driving to the Thousand Islands region for two days of camping, followed by two nights in Ottawa, and then heading back to Port Huron. I am trying to decide if those first two days are enough/too little or if we should just focus our time in Ottawa.

Your help is appreciated!

Thanks.

SE Ontario
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1. Re: Thousand Islands Guide Book

Here is the website for local Kingston bookstore: http://novelideabooks.ca/

They have a listing of Kingston and area books on the site, and could likely assist with possible guidebooks. They've been in business for over 20 years so know their stuff!

Athens, Ontario
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2. Re: Thousand Islands Guide Book

Hello Jauausa,

There are plenty of things to do in Ottawa that would pack 4 days of touring, but I think that the 1000 Islands region is worth a stop. I've stayed at Ivy Lea and Charleston Lake campgrounds before and they are both very nice. Ivy Lea gives you good access to the paths along the Parkway, views from the SkyDeck, or tours of the islands by cruise ship, but the bridge to the US is close by and can disturb your sleep depending on where you get a camp site. Charleston Lake is about 20 minutes north of Highway 401 in the same area. It is more secluded and has great hiking trails. Boths sites are within 30 minutes drive from Kingston.

So I guess my answer is that two days is enough time for the 1000 islands and it is a very nice place to stop.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Athens, Ontario
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3. Re: Thousand Islands Guide Book

Hello again Jahausa,

I forgot to mention that there are other campgrounds worth looking into along the Parkway. They are Brown's Bay and Mallorytown Landing. I'm sure there are others, but I can't think of them right now.

Also, my suggestion would be to just camp the one night. You could drive in and set up your camp site on the first day. You could go for a swim or have a fire and just relax after your drive. On day 2 take a cruise and maybe go up in the SkyDeck. Then drive to Ottawa after dinner so that you can get an early start there and spend two full days. I would go to the info centre across from Parliment Hill in downtown Ottawa to get brochures for all of the top attractions in the city.

Again, let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to help you out.

Chapel Hill, NC
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4. Re: Thousand Islands Guide Book

Thanks so much.

How nice to have a link to a local bookseller! I will contact them and see what they say.

And great to get confirmation on a couple of the campsites I had seen - Charleston Lake had caught my eye.

How exciting - thanks again.

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Thousand Islands Guide Book

Hi Jahausa,

Welcome to the KINGSTON (and the 1000 Islands) TRAVEL FORUM.

I have been gathering together info.. and drafting a long response for you... so long infact, that I have decided I will post it in "blocks"

--- --- ---

BLOCK # 1 - THE VISION

First off will need a bit more info about you and also your “vision” for this part of your vacation…

How many of you in your party… kids? What do you all like to do, not do. What has attracted you to these two destinations? And lastly the camping part… what kind of equipment will you be using, will you need hook-ups, how many nights in total will you be camping… just the proposed 2 in the 1000 Islands, or in Ottawa as well?

The more info you give me and what it is you would like to achieve the more I can help make suitable suggestions.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 21 April 2010, 20:04
Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Thousand Islands Guide Book

Hi Jahausa,

BLOCK # 2 - GUIDE BOOK

As for the Guide Book… I assume you mean something like a Fodor's Guide... vs publications from the Tourism Offices (which I believe in your post are calling a brochure).

Sadly, there is no Guide Books that I am aware of (unless one is printed locally and not widely distributed).

I think the reason there isn’t a full-blown Guide Book by a huge publisher like Fodor’s comes down to a couple of things (this also will help you to better understand the region).

1- Canada is a HUGE Country... we are the 2nd Largest Country in the world only behind Russia (USA is # 4 behind China). Our landmass is equivalent to about the size of all of Europe... and yet we have an extremely small population (Europe 731 Million - USA 307 Million - Canada 34 Million)... so although we have this HUGE Country… and lots to “see” there really is a whole lot of space between places (2 to 8 hours typically between our cities). Consequently, Guide Books that concentrate on the concept of “Destination Cities” (like Fodor’s) prints only a few Guides for the whole country… choosing to group things together (ie Montreal & Quebec City – Nova Scotia & Altantic Canada), and a few others... then everything else is dumped into a general book on Canada... so although we have 10 Provinces and 3 Territories that corrsponds to at least that number of distinct geographic regions Fodor's only prints 4 Regional Guides and then the one General Canada one.

Sadly this doesn't work all that well because Canada is really more about the "scenery" between our cities... than we are about the cities (don't get me wrong the cities here are great... but he geography in between them is what makes us special).

2- The 1000 Islands are a “seasonal” destination… and the season is relatively short… May thru October… but mostly July & August (water weather). And a lot of people are transient… be they the Tourists, Boaters or even Cottagers. In the wintertime the area is pretty empty (people shut up their cottages etc because they can't get to their islands easily in the winter season) so except for the few small towns it is virtually deserted… and even then a lot of local folks here make their money in the summertime, and head south for their own winter breaks in the Carolinas and Florida… they are the snowbirds.

3- And lastly, The 1000 Islands is an “International Destination” and a “geographic region” that borders two countries… and of course water based rather than land. Which quite frankly I think means that some publishers just haven’t decided what to do with this region… sort of like “The Alps” in Europe… Fodor’s doesn’t have a Guide for them either… you’ll find them referenced in all the various Countries in which they are contained.

Just like the Alps, where you are more likely to find a book about Hiking or Mountain Climbing… when it comes to the 1000 Islands you will most likely find a Guide Book dedicated to Boating or Sailing the River… and navigating the Channel.

What you will find though is a lot of great coffee table picture books in the local bookstores… and they do make a nice keepsake.

So unless you indeed have luck with finding something local… then the solution if you really are determined to get a Guide Book is to buy one that covers NY State and Ontario (BTW, Fodor’s doesn’t make one for the Province of Ontario… it is covered off in the main one entitled Canada).

I personally wouldn’t bother. The 1000 Islands Region although almost 200 Kms (120 Miles) long along the river is mostly open countryside… and some very small towns… and a very sparse population. Other than the City of Kingston to the west (pop 117,207) and Cornwall to the east (pop 45,965) the 200 Kms inbetween only holds 3 Towns (GananoqueBrockvillePrescott) and 5 Villages on the Canadian side… with a total population of about 35,000 residents.

The other side of the River in Upstate NY is quite similar with it’s biggest centres being Clayton – Alexandria Bay – Morristown – Ogdensburg – Massena… with a total population along its shoreline of about 31,000 residents.

There are some good on-line resources, and a few magazine / brochure type publications... but to be honest although they do have good info.. they are pretty ad based (as you guessed) and there isn't really ONE really good Tourism Publication... again with the issue of bridging two countries.

But the good news... I spend a lot of time in Kingston & the 1000 Islands… so I can probably help you out quite a bit… and there are several posters from Kingston (which technically isn't in the 1000 Islands, but rather at the Mouth of Lake Ontario... but Kingston is certainly one of the primary spots that Travellers visit when they are in the region... biggest city).

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 21 April 2010, 20:39
Chapel Hill, NC
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7. Re: Thousand Islands Guide Book

Ooooh, now I am excited!

OK, I usually try not to bore people with too many details, but since you asked...and these plans are still flexible...

Leave Monday early AM from Port Huron, MI (8 am or so). Drive to Kingston area. Camp two nights. Goals here are: at least one awesome, not too strenuous, 3-8 mile hike, the boat cruise, the Boldt Castle tour, maybe Fort Henry (have a bit of fort fatigue, plus just saw the Citadel in Halifax and the fort in Quebec City in 2008). Not sure if we should just stay in a hotel in Kingston, a B&B in Kingston or Ganaloque, or camp. But was hoping to camp, if there was a great place in which to do so.

Alternate thought is leaving from Michigan on Sunday, seeing a play in Stratford, and spending the night from there.

From Kingston/Thousand Islands region, Wednesday morning, was going to drive to Carp for the bunker tour, and then on to Ottawa for two nights. Figure we'll have some of Wednesday to acquaint with the city, all of Thursday, and then won't have to leave to go back to Michigan until late afternoon (I don't mind getting back to Port Huron at 2am or so, I drive a lot), so we'll have a good chunk of Friday in Ottawa, too.

That's about all I have sketched out so far. No kids, just us two, 31 year old couple, reasonably fit, looking for sights, scenery, good food and good company. We travel quite a bit.

I really appreciate any help you all provide. It did catch me off guard the dearth of travel guides to the Thousand Islands area of Ontario, making me wonder if it's worth stopping there, and thus the original question about spending all the time in Ottawa.

Oh, and by the way, we have been to Montreal, in 2008 (loved it).

Thanks again!

Chapel Hill, NC
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8. Re: Thousand Islands Guide Book

Oh - and we have all the camping stuff we'd ever need (or be able to figure out how to hook up) - a nice tent, a canopy, cooking stuff, etc, and we go camping at least once a year. We don't "rough it" by any means - a bathroom must be within walking distance with running water and showers (although I don't need hot water). We don't need an electrical hookup or anything else, just a nice campground with a fire pit, a place to park our car, and some flat ground to pitch the tent.

We've been camping in a couple provincial parks and never had an issue - loved them.

Ottawa, Canada
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9. Re: Thousand Islands Guide Book

Hi Jahausua,

Just writing to say I saw your two posts above... wanted to you to know I will reply after I get the rest of the Blocks up.

Currently working on the Cites, Towns, Villages and Links one... this one will be the "meat" of the sandwich.

Will finish up with a 4th Block on Camping Options... and a 5th on Miscellaneous / Final Comments.

As some of my writings that I am drafting are covering off some of the Questions and ideas you are putting forward... I think we are on the right track... in order not to spend a ton of time with back & forth, I'll answer your concerns (for anything I haven't considered in my writing) after I post the last Block.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

PS... As a rough Draft I'd say 1 or 2 Nights in the Kingston-1000 Islands Area and the remainder in Ottawa... I'm still thinking thru a sort of workable Intinerary in my head for you (haven't done one before for a camper... although myself I have camped in this corridor often). Changes the logistics a wee bit, but certainly do-able (and enjoyable).

Chapel Hill, NC
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10. Re: Thousand Islands Guide Book

Thanks :)

No camper - just a car. We'll get a hotel in Ottawa, preferably within walking distance of just about everything, at least $150/night budget (mid-week trip).

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