Photo © Ian Coristine/
 You are here:  Back Issues      Archive


Picnicking is as much a part of 1000 Islands tradition as taking boat rides and fishing. Picnicking during the 1880s was an elaborate affair featuring white tablecloths and full place settings judging from the photos left behind by my great grandparents. Fishing guides of that period rowed customers prodigious distances to fish then went ashore at some scenic spot to sample the catch in a special kind of picnic called a “shore dinner.”

A picnic is to the islands as a matinee is to city dwelling. I have enjoyed picnics around the river as a teenager, a young adult, a parent, and a grandparent. I have visited dozens of picturesque settings each with a slightly different ambiance. Some spots make a swim inviting and accessible while others may feature a cool shaded glen with lush grass and ferns.

Few regions are more suitable for picnicking than the 1000 Islands region where official and unofficial sites abound. The many provincial parks in Canadian waters provide docks, tables, and trash receptacles for a small landing fee.

New York provides similar official venues. Unofficial sites are more rustic and often entail the challenge of how to access a seemly spot where no dock exists. A tree that has fallen into the water may offer a place to tie up and a way to scramble to shore. I’ve found convenient rock ledges with adequate water depth to tie up in the same manner as a dock. One of our favored spots off Grindstone Island has access by way of the rushes and a rock perfectly suited for tying the bow line. An anchor securing the stern in deeper water with the bow secured near the shore is sometimes a workable option.

Some of our favored spots are now posted for the obvious reason that some visitors don’t respect the property owner. We have found trash and other debris scattered haphazardly in what would otherwise be a pristine setting. We made it a rule to remove our trash and mission to remove the trash others left behind. We never intended to be caretakers for any specific picnic spot, but we wanted to set an example that has not always been followed.

A few of our favored locations have been purchased by folks who, like us, appreciated the beauty of that setting thus motivating them to build a house there. How lucky we all are to have 1800 islands with many that remain unoccupied. Choice locations for an outing are plentiful. Helping keep your chosen spot neat and tidy makes a better setting for everyone.

Some days we picked out a destination in advance. Other days we traveled to an area we wanted to explore and looked for a spontaneous site. Whatever your preference, I highly recommend going on picnics each and every summer. 

By Tad Clark

Tad Clark, a fourth-generation, summer resident, has been a tennis coach for over 35 years. His growing interest in freelance writing includes commentaries for the “TI Sun”, the history of Comfort Island: and several articles for “TI Life” – including the importance of Boat Shoes!   When not in the Thousand Islands Tad and his wife live in Asheville, NC.

Editor’s Note:  Looking for a picnic spot?  Check out the Thousand Islands Land Trust Preserves; New York State Parks (Region 10 Thousand Islands). and Canada’s Ontario Provincial Parks and Thousand Islands National Park.

And getting there is half the fun:  1000 Islands KayakingRiver Runners Kayaking

And want  to go on another excursion – see our Excursion section!  And then write and tell us what you find.

What is your favourite picnic spot?  Please let us know in the Comment section!

Posted in: Places, Sports
Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


Averell Manes
Comment by: Averell Manes
Left at: 12:24 PM Monday, August 17, 2015

I enjoyed reading your article on picnicing! It reminded me of my own picnics, which is always nice. Great piece!