By Andy Adams

I know of no other boating location quite like the town of Gananoque in the Thousand Islands.

The graceful double-ended St. Lawrence rowing skiffs were a swift and effective way to travel through the area in the 1800s carrying cottagers to their islands, visiting millionaires to the fishing grounds and transporting all manner of goods through the beautiful and sheltered island area. Today, you still see St. Lawrence rowing skiffs as well as kayaks, sailboats ranging in size from dinghies to yachts and powerboats of all kinds from trailerable family-runabouts to super yachts and all the way up to Great Lakes freighters that are hundreds of feet long.

It’s a fabulous area for boating and summer recreation and the Thousand Islands still offers clean water for swimming and places to catch fish. There are numerous parks as well as all manner of hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfasts with truly, something to suit every taste and budget.

What I love best is the rich history of the Gananoque area. There’s so much to see and explore in both the greater Thousands Islands area and right into the quaint  Gananoque downtown.

We took the Gananoque Cruise lines sightseeing trip through the area just to get the expert commentary and we highly recommend that. Visiting boaters should make sure they have their charts out and handy. Coming into Gananoque can be a bit tricky in the dark with a keelboat but once there, there are marina facilities, repair yards in many places to dock your boat.

As a visiting boater, you can even tie up at the amazing Boldt Castle on Heart Island. There’s a customs office right at the dock. While you’re there, take the extra shuttle boat over to the Boldt Castle Yachthouse. It’s an American heritage property and is a simply stunning piece of architecture that any boater would appreciate.

This visit, we stayed at the Gananoque Inn and Spa which is right on the water on Stone Street in the oldest part of Gananoque. The buildings were originally the Gananoque Carriage Works founded in the 1870s and were converted into a hotel in June of 1896. It’s a charming and comfortable place to stay with an excellent dining room. The food was delightful and several of the dishes were decorated with edible flowers grown in the hotel’s own gardens. I couldn’t resist having the breaded pickerel!

Whether it’s your final destination or a place you are boating through, plan to spend as much time as you can in Gananoque. It’s a treasure!


Photo 1:  The Gananoque Inn and Spa is right in the heart of historic Gananoque, within easy walking distance of the Gananoque Cruise Lines docks, shopping and many restuarants.

Photo 2:
You can tie up and tour fabulous Boldt Castle and the Boldt Castle Yacht House. This was the “Children’s Play House” in the late 1800s!

The marina is a short walk from the Gananoque Inn and Spa but the hotel has docks as well.
Edible flowers from the Gananoque Inn gardens decorated many dishes in the hotel’s Watermark Restaurant.

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