Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quiet, Slow Paced & Relaxing: Four Days in St. Lawrence County In New York

If you describe your desired getaway plans as quiet, slow paced, and relaxing, four days in St. Lawrence County might be just what you seek. In the spring, this part of New York’s North Country region bursts with the color of purple lilac, sprouting fields of green, and the ever blue flow of the St. Lawrence River.

Day 1: Visit Ogdensburg’s most famous attraction.

The Frederic Remington Art Museum houses one of the largest collections of paintings and bronze sculptures by Remington. Born in nearby Canton, New York, Frederic Remington made his name as an illustrator by providing a look into the exciting, vanishing Western Frontier. During the later part of the 1800s, magazines such as Harper’s Weekly and Monthly, Century, Collier’s Outing, Boys Life and Cosmopolitan all featured his drawings and accompanying writings. He completed his first sculpture – the Bronco Buster – in 1895. Remington worked clay models which were cast in bronze at art foundries. This complicated process is explained in a special exhibit. In his lifetime, he completed a total of 22 sculptures. Many castings of these works are exhibited along with his oil paintings, family possessions, personal art collection, and studio contents.

The Frederic Remington Art Museum

303 Washington Street

Ogdensburg, NY 13669


Day 2: If it’s a Tuesday or Friday, go to Canton.

Canton Farmer’s Market sells fresh fruits and vegetables. You’ll find raspberry pies, old fashioned homemade donuts, and other baked goods too. Wine from some of New York’s wineries is for sale. Artists might be there too offering mat framed photographs or crafts. You can even buy in season flowers and plants in Market occupying the town square.

Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) shop on Canton’s Main Street is like a farmers market only inside. TAUNY features items handmade using traditional methods – Mohawk Sweetgrass baskets, quilts, maple products, wood turned bowls, variety of local books, and hand dipped candles.

Blackbird Café nearby specializes in Panini sandwiches each served with a side of orzo or two-bean salad. This inviting restaurant also serves salads, soups, desserts, special brewed coffees, and teas. Its menu claims the food to be “local, organic, and fairly-traded products.”

Blackbird Café

107 Main Street

Canton, NY


Day 3: Get in touch with nature in Canton and the nearby area

There’s a scenic trail along the Grasse River which flows through Canton. This short, easy trail gives you a quick nature walk without leaving town. For a longer leisurely stroll, head to Indian Creek Nature Center on the outskirts of town off Route 68 North. Trails vary from mowed grass roadways around a pond to boardwalks across wetlands. The music of frogs, chirp of chipmunks, and the splash of beavers break the silence. Check your New York Bird book to identify the assorted species flying around. And, see if you can find some stumps of birch trees gnawed by the beavers to fine points.

Day 4: Let the power of the great St. Lawrence River impress you.

The region near Massena, New York is known as the unofficial “Fourth Coast of the United States” for all its miles of waterfront. A drive along this coastal area will lead you to two coastal marvels – a dam and a lock.

New York Power Authority’s St. Lawrence FDR Power Project at the Frank S. McCullough, JR. Hawkins Point Visitors Center offers interactive exhibits on how electricity is produced, properties of electricity, energy conservation, and a panoramic view of the Robert Moses-Robert Saunders Power Dam.

Visitors cannot go into the Power dam but the Visitors Center’s theater features a short film about it. The film traces the history of the dam from April 1931 when NY Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Power Authority Act creating the state utility that joined Ontario Hydro in developing the hydropower potential of the St. Lawrence River. The narration offers information about the joint agreements between US & Canada to construct a dam spanning the border between two nations. The footage shows the building of the dam - the groundbreaking, beginning the production of electricity and dedication. This international power project was formally dedicated on June 27, 1959 in ceremonies led by Queen Elizabeth II and Vice President Richard M. Nixon. On that date, the Queen unveiled the International Friendship Monument on the border between the US and Canada at the center of the 3,300-foot Power Dam. The monument commemorates the friendship between the two nations, their commitment to freedom and peace and the great cooperative undertaking that made the project reality. You can see this Monument from the Visitors Center.

New York Power Authority’s St. Lawrence FDR Power Project Visitor’s Center

21 Hawkins Point Road

Massena, NY 13662


From a perch above The St. Lawrence Seaway’s Eisenhower Lock and Visitors’ Center, you can watch ships as long as 740-feet float into the 800-foot lock chamber. These massive ships can be raised or lowered 40 feet in about 10 minutes.

St. Lawrence Seaway’s Eisenhower Lock

Massena, NY

Open Memorial Day through Labor Day


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