Upstate New York and Canada

posted in: New York and Canada - 2015 | 0
Motorcycle Trip to Upstate New York and Canada
August 22
Tomorrow we set off for our annual motorcycle trip.  We live in Long Island, NY and we are setting course for upstate NY and Canada.  We will start off on Sunday morning (early 6 am) for Lake George.  We plan to stay there Sunday night, then continue on for the Thousand Islands on Monday.  We will probably stay ther Monday and Tuesday, then heat to Ottawa, Canada on Wednesday.  From there we will go to Montreal, Canada before we make our way back home.  We’ll stop in Saratoga, NY then make one more stop before we get back to Long Island.  We’re planning a full week of riding and sight seeing.  I’ll post pictures every day of the gorgeous scenery and, of course, the fabulous food.  
When I tell people who have never been on a motorcycle that we do this every year, the first question they ask me is “where do you put all your stuff?”  Packing is challenging, but we have travel space saver bags that you roll to get the air out so we can condense our clothes. 
Here you can see the saddlebag on the side (it’s covering the wheel) and the luggage on the back.
This is the space bag that we use.  I can get quite a few clothes in this.  When you squeeze out the air, it flattens way down.


Here is the luggage all ready to go with 3 large space bags in it.  There is also another bag that sits on top of this one with more space.
So, after I explain about the luggage, the next question is “What do you do if it rains?”.  Well, we have rain suits.  We only ride in the rain if we have no other option. Otherwise, we just stop, have a cup of coffee and wait until the rain stops.  With this kind of a trip, there is no place that we have to be at any given time.  We have an idea of where we want to go, but if it doesn’t work out, we change our plans over breakfast and set the GPS for another destination.  It’s great, no stress, no pressure. 
This is a picture of my 1st helmet.  I always buy a black helmet so I can paint it myself.  For this one, I used stencils and painted the flowers all around and on top.
This is the side.  This is a really unique design.  I always get compliments when I wear this one.
This is my 2nd helmet.  I did all the painting freehand on this one.  I really love it.  The other one has the flowers in an exact pattern and they are perfect.  This one has the same spirit of riding the bike.  It’s spontaneous, creative and fun.  However, both of them wreak havoc on my hair.  Helmet hair, there’s nothing worse. 
August 23
The ride to Lake George was beautiful.  We took the Taconic Parkway until Albany, then we switched to more scenic routes the rest of the time.  On a motorcycle, you are aware of your surroundings so much more than when you travel by car.  There are no distractions.  Upstate NY is much different than downstate NY.  As you’re riding, the scenery changes from mountains to farms to cows then streams within a few miles.  it’s amazing.  As you make your way to each small town, you find antique shops, beautiful churches and very friendly people.  The difference between towns up here is that some don’t have a town at all, it’s just a name change and others have an actual town.  We’ve found out the hard way not to put off getting gas until the next town because there may not be a station for miles.  There is a Quality in in Lake George that we found really nice. &nbnbsp;There is an outdoor pool with a hot tub. Yay!!!  We wanted to eat on the lake for dinner and found a great place  The Boathouse.  Our first night out on Lake George, with great friends and a good meal.  Here are some pics.



August 24
We arrived at the Thousand Islands today.  This landscape through the Adirondacks was a little different than the drive to Lake George.  This was mostly tree lined roads, dense woods with enormous pine trees.  It was also much more rural.  There are dense woods for miles at a time, so when you finally do reach a town, make sure to stop and fuel up.  As we got closer, we started to see lakes and fields and fields of corn.  This is my first time here and I was amazed at the beauty of this part of New York State.  We stopped for the night in a town called Alexandria Bay.  The view from my room is amazing and this hotel is beautiful.  The name is the Riveredge Resort.  Today we will explore this area and head across the border to Canada.  The Thousand Islands borders the US on one side and Canada on the other.  Her is a little fact about the Thousand Islands.  There are actually more than 1800 islands. An island is any plot of land (any size) that contains at least one tree and stays above water 365 days per year.  So, as you can imagine, some of the islands are very small.  I will see for myself today and take lots of pictures.  These pictures are from the balcony of my room.  Gorgeous.



August 25
Today we continued along the coast of New York in the Thousand Islands. What a beautiful ride along the St. Lawrence River.  You wold be amazed at all the islands.  I will attach a map so you can get an idea of what it looks like.  Some of the islands have a tree and nothing more, others do have homes that people live in every day.  There are two that have castles on them.  The Boldt Castle and the Singer Castle.  The Boldt Castle has an interesting story that goes with it.  George C. Boldt, a millionaire fell in love with a woman by the name of Louise.  He was so in love with her that he wanted to build her a castle on Heart Island.  Unfortunately, she died while the castle was being built and he never returned to finish it.  The Thousand Island Bridge Authority took it over in 1977 and finished the construction.  They opened it up to tours after that.  When you cross the border, don’t forget your passport.  Once we crossed over into Canada, we headed for Ottawa and stayed on the outskirts of the city.

Thousand Islands3

Thousand Islands2

Thousand Islands1

Thousand Islands Mailboxes

Thousand Islands Lighthouse

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Thousand Islands 5

Canada Border

Thousand Islands1



August 26 & 27
Today we’ll stay all day in Ottawa.  Some riding, but mostly sightseeing.  We all could use a day off the bike.  We are staying in Downtown Ottawa at the Westin Hotel and it is beautiful.  there are three things that everyone should eat in Ottawa, a Beaver Tail, Poutine and Obama Cookies.  I had the Beaver Tail today and it was great.  It is a piece of freshly made dough (they make it when you order) in the shape of a rectangle with your choice of toppings on it.  I had half chocolate and bananas and the other half apple pie.  Delish!!!!  To wash it down, we stopped at Planet Coffee which is a must do int he city and had a Cafe Latte.  Also great.  The Poutine is french fries with cheese curds and gravy.  I have heard that it’s really good, we will see tonight.  We went to the Byward Market which is a big outdoor market with booths with fruits, vegetables, jewelry, clothing and food.  I love walking around to see what everyone is selling.  Some of the jewelry is really beautiful and creative and you can find lots of hand made things.  At the recommendation of the hotel staff, we had lunch at The Black Tomato.  This is a must do in Ottawa.  The food was unique and really good.  The staff was very attentive and the outdoor courtyard was great.  Here are some pics of the food.

Carrot and Orange Soup



Carrot and Orange soup garnished with flowers.  This soup was room temperature and delicious.

Prosciutto Glengarry



Prosciutto Glengarry Celtic Blue Cheese Rolls.  All I can say is WOW.  The curst is flakey and light. The blue cheese was mild and the prosciutto was perfect.

Brie with Shallots and Garlic



Baked Brie with roasted garlic and caramelized shallots in a honey sauce. Every component of this dish was great on it’s own, but when you put it together it was amazing.




Poutine.  We finally had the Poutine. It was very good.  This one was with french fries, cheese curds and gravy.  As I travel around Canada, I see that the cheese varies from place to place, but the curds are the original.








This is  a picture of Parlament.  At night, there is a light show on the building.  It gives the history of Canada.  It is definitely worth watching.  


August 27 & 28
Today we drove to Montreal.  It didn’t take long to get there from Ottawa, so we had plenty of time in the city.  We started at the Visitor Information Center. It’s a great place to start wherever you are visiting.  At the counter, we were greeted by a very friendly clerk who booked our hotel room and gave us maps of the city so we could get around. We decided to take a tour around Montreal so we wouldn’t miss anything.  The architecture and art work is amazing in this city.  Old stone buildings with beautiful columns and unbelievable detail on the buildings.  There are murals on many buildings throughout the city that are fabulous.  These sculptures are outside of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. 




There is an entire underground network in Montreal.  When it gets to hot or cold outside, everyone heads to the underground.  There are 20 miles of walkway.  Int he underground network, you will find 2,000 restaurants and shops, hotels, museums, theater and university.  
About the food…..when you look up ‘what to eat in Montreal’ you will find Montreal Meat Sandwich and a Montreal Bagel.  I went to the mont famous place for the sandwich, Schwartz’s.  This reminded me of Katz Deli or Carnegie Deli in New York with the long line of people waiting to get in.  


Schwars line


The Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich reminds you of a Pastrami sandwich, but the meat is different.  It is brisket, not cured like pastrami.  They smoke this meat with spices, but it doesn’t have the strong flavor that pastrami has.  It is really good and you should definitely have one if you come to Montreal. 

Montreal Meat

As far as bagels go, when I asked in the hotel where to get these bagels, they told me they are the best bagels in the world.  Being from New York, I had my doubts.  We have the best bagels in the world.  Anyone who comes to NY goes home with a dozen bagels.  Montreal bagels are a little different.  They are boiled in honey-sweetened water, then baked in a wood fire oven.  They are larger, sweeter and more dense than a NY bagel.  The other difference is there a toppings on both sides.  The bagel pictured is the each side of the same bagel.  Just looking at it, you can see that it cooks differently than a NY bagel.  These were really good bagels.  Put this on you ‘Must Do’ list if you go to Montreal. 

Montreal Bagel Store




Here are some pictures of the gorgeous architecture throughout the city.



The city of Montreal is divided by Canadians and French Canadians.  There is one block that runs down the middle of the city that separates both of them.  You can clearly see who is who with the flags that are flying outside homes and businesses.  Red and white for Canadians and Blue and white for French Canadians.  The French Canadians speak french and the others speak english.  We went on both sides and didn’t have any problem with the language. Everyone seemed to speak both languages.  The only thing that I will recommend is to familiarize yourself with french street signs before you get there. 



There are quite a few apartments in Montreal.  Although it is hard to see, this is a picture of a large garden that the residents of this building lease the plot to grow vegetables.  

Montreal Vegetable Garden


For our last night in the city, we decided to take a cab down to the Little Italy section.  It is just like Little Italy in most cities.  We had dinner in a great restaurant called Hostaria.  The food and staff were fantastic.  This was not your typical spaghetti and meatballs Italian, each dish was spectacular.  Take a look. Sorry about some of the half eaten desserts, no one could wait for the picture. 




August 29 & 30
Starting our way back do to Long Island.  We planned to stop in Saratoga, NY, but because American Pharaoh was running at the racetrack, we changed our route.  We went through Vermont, Massachusetts then to the Bridgeport ferry in Connecticut.  We stopped overnight in Northampton, Mass.  We had stayed there on a foliage viewing trip and found a Quality Inn that was comfortable and close to the town.  A short cab ride will get you to town with all the restaurants and bars.  We arrived back home in the afternoon of the 30th.  What a great trip.   I can’t wait to start planning the next one.  


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