Kingston 2012 tour report

We had a great week-long tour of the Kingston area hosted by the Furlong and Stapley families. It was a real success thanks to our hosts and other volunteers, including those that helped plan the daily tours and those that helped with the campground events.

Most people arrived on Saturday with others coming in on Sunday. A few came straight from the International tour in Vermont. It was really nice to see some of our members from the Maritimes again. On Sunday, most of us took advantage of the available time to explore Kingston and do some shopping. It was nice to see lots of T's down at the Kingston waterfront. On Sunday evening we enjoyed a wine & cheese tasting followed by a BBQ at the campground.

On Monday morning we set out for NY State via the Thousand Islands Bridge. The T’s were certainly a curiousity dotted throughout the US Customs lines. The other side of the bridge is the start of I-81. That was the first time I drove a T on a US Interstate. Traffic was very sparse since US Customs moderates the flow and we only travelled the first two miles of it so safety wasn’t an issue. It was still an unusual experience to be on a full-fledged Interstate highway in a T. Our first stop was Thousand Island Park on the southern tip of Wellesley Island. It’s an attractive enclave of Victorian summer homes, with lots of pride of ownership evident. The community was originally established by the Methodist church in the 1800’s as a camp with tent sites. Our next stop was Clayton, NY. After some shopping and dining along the waterfront we visited the Antique Boat Museum. Then it was a nice drive along the lakeshore that took us to Cape Vincent and on to Tibbetts Point Lighthouse. That was followed by our return to Canada riding on a small seasonal ferry to Wolfe Island. This is one of the few privately-owned Canada-US border crossings and it is still operated by descendants of the original licensee. Wolfe Island also had the smallest Canada Customs post I’ve ever seen. The ride back to Kingston was on a large ferry operated year-round by MTO. Wolfe Island is home to a small year-round population and a significant seasonal population. Monday’s tour was planned by Tom & Bev Burgis.

On Tuesday our route took us over the Rideau Canal lock that was the site of the Shafia family murders. We saw a small memorial that commemorates the victims. Our first tour stop was to see a restorer of antique motorcycles, his current projects and his collection. The house and shop were also really interesting. They were old stone mill buildings, set on a creek and mill pond, that have been converted and adapted to the current uses with some really nice touches. The Village of Westport provided a nice lunch stop afterward with many shops and restaurants, and a nice picnic spot at the marina. In Newboro many of us visited Kilborn’s Store which had antiques, gourmet foods, shoes, and clothes among other things. Another suggested stop was Forfar Dairy, which has introduced more health conscious choices such as goat milk products and even sheep milk products. Of particular interest to the Model T crowd was their ice cream offerings. The final stops were in Delta: the Old Stone Mill and Bob’s Diner. The mill dates back to the early 1800’s. Today it is filled with educational displays and demonstrations using restored mill equipment. The diner has a large display of antique items, including diner items, gas station items, and toys. Tuesday’s tour was planned by Terry & Sharlene Irish, including some welcome finger foods and an ice cream social back at the campground.

Wednesday’s tour was a 2.5 hour boat tour of the Thousand Islands area leaving from Gananoque. It was an interesting and enjoyable tour with lots of time to mingle and chat. The scenery was great and there were lots of historical sights highlighted. We also circled the Boldt Castle. Afterward we had the afternoon to ourselves before an optional evening outing. A bus was chartered to take us to Old Fort Henry for their impressive Sunset Ceremonies. It was an interesting display and an entertaining evening. Wednesday’s events were organized by the Furlong & Stapley families.

Thursday’s tour was of Prince Edward County, reached by the Glenora Ferry that is operated by MTO and forms part of Highway 33. The route in PEC included lots of shoreline roads passing wineries, a cidery, cheese producers, museums, historic sites, and more – lots of shopping and sightseeing opportunities. Unfortunately our luck with the weather ran out on Thursday and it was a wet day, raining very hard at times to test our will, but all had fun and lots to talk about back at the campground. It was difficult for anyone to come back from that tour route without some purchases. Magda and I also came back with our bag lunches intact as we found a really great restaurant in Picton for lunch – indoors. Thursday’s tour was planned by Ric Clarke.

On Friday we started out with a full breakfast cooked for us at the campground. Once sated, we headed out to see The Tackaberry Collection. This is a truly impressive private collection. You have to see it to comprehend it. While highway tractors dominate the collection there are lots of other significant related and unrelated themes in this collection that spans multiple buildings. It was a privilege to see it. We were also privileged to see the late Joan Tackaberry’s collection which included dolls and Royal memorabilia. We also visited one of the stone quarries of G. Tackaberry & Sons Construction. George Tackaberry was with us at the lip of the quarry to explain the crushing and sorting operations in progress below. On Friday night there was a BBQ and corn roast back at the campground to conclude the week of tours. The Friday tour events were organized by the Furlongs & Stapleys.

It was a fantastic week enjoyed by all in attendance. Thanks again to our hosts and all the volunteers!