Sometimes referred to as the “Williamsburg of the North,” Sackets Harbor, New York is a quaint little town full of history. For instance, there is the Sackets Harbor Battlefield from the War of 1812. It is also home to the New York State Seaway Trail & Discovery Center. The two are housed in the Union Hotel, constructed in 1816-17, offering three floors of interactive exhibits relating to the Seaway Trail.
The Seaway Trail is a signed 454-mile motor route that parallels all of New York State’s fresh water coast, from Lake Erie, along the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River. It meets up with the Pennsylvania Seaway Trail at the Lake Erie Border and travels almost all the way to Ohio. The route rambles through ten counties with scores of villages and small towns offering countryside beauty and history.
And, of course, dozens of lighthouses!
Peggy Morgia, Director of Visitor Services: “The most interesting thing to note here is that most people that are coming from other areas of the country are absolutely astounded at the amount of lighthouses that we have along such a short stretch, never conceptualizing THAT many lights being attributed to just such a small segment of the Great Lakes and [St Lawrence] Seaway system. Most of the lighthouses ended up falling into disrepair and many where purchased by individuals who took it upon themselves to restore and maintain. Some were taken on by local historical or lighthouse societies... after they were decommissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard. The New York State Department of Parks, Historic Preservation and Recreation, which owns this building, have two of the lighthouses, Thirty Mile Point and Rock Island.”
The Discovery Center has nine large rooms of exhibits with interactive displays for kids, highlighting the War of 1812 and local maritime history, INCLUDING lighthouses. There are hand-painted murals, detailed displays of the lighthouses along the Seaway Trail and a video showing all of the Trail’s lighthouses on a HDTV screen. The center also has a gift shop that is sure to please the palette of the lighthouse lover.
The Seaway Trail also offers a lighthouse tour package that would be enticing to the lighthouse enthusiast.
The Seaway Trail’s Discovery Center in Sackets Harbor is located a few minutes from Interstate 81, just southwest of Watertown, New York. For more information, 1-800-SEAWAY-T, www.SeawayTrail.com, info@SeawayTrail.com. (The NYS Seaway Trail is a nonprofit organization.) AND for more information on lighthouses along the Seaway Trail and anywhere else, go to www.LighthouseDepot.com and check out the Lighthouse Explorer Database!
This story appeared in the
June 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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