Almost 25 percent of all the land in the County is dedicated to farming. Cows, sheep, goats, and even alpacas graze over rolling landscapes. Many of the local farmers are happy to show off their farms or give visitors a tour. For more information contact Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, http://stlawrence.cce.cornell.edu/
The largest county by land in New York State, St. Lawrence County has something for everyone year-round. You can spend the morning hiking, canoeing, kayaking or fishing in wild areas and finish the day with a performance by world-class artists in one of our many beautiful communities. Maybe you would rather go fishing on the St. Lawrence River, noted #1 by Bass Magazine, and watch ocean-going ships pass through the locks on the Seaway. Perhaps you like history and want to visit some of our many museums. Whatever your interest, it’s likely that you will find it here, where the rivers flow north and the land slopes up from the St. Lawrence River to the Adirondack Mountains.
The County can be divided into four zones: the St. Lawrence River and immediate vicinity, the Valley, the Adirondack Foothills and the Adirondack Region. In addition to the St. Lawrence River with its many water-based attractions, the shore front’s main attractions include five State Parks (Cedar Island, Jacques Cartier, St. Lawrence, Coles Creek, Robert Moses) strung along the Seaway Trail, The Frederic Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg, Singer Castle on Dark Island, Eisenhower Lock, the New York Power Authority’s Hawkins Point Visitor Center and the Nicandri Nature Center in Massena. Several municipal parks and boat launches complement these attractions along what is known as the United States’ “Fourth Coast”.
The valley’s chief character is agriculture, with dairy farming the dominant feature on the rolling landscape, as well as a large Amish population and local farmers markets. Black Lake is a renowned fishing spot for warm species, with Bella Brooke Winery overlooking the lake. Interspersed among agriculture lands are numerous State Wildlife Management and Forest areas. Most of the County’s 12 villages are to be found throughout the Valley portion.
Of these, Canton, the County Seat, is home to SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence University. Ten miles away, Potsdam claims SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson University. These four institutions support a variety of high-quality theatrical and musical performances. The Crane School of Music is particularly noted for hosting international talent. Some recent additions to the museum list are the popular St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum in Madrid, the Nicandri Nature Center in Massena, and the North Country Children’s Museum in Potsdam.
Moving up into the foothills, agriculture gives way to forest, with brilliant colors for fall leaf peepers. Notable attractions in this zone include Wolf Lake State Forest, The Stone Valley Cooperative Recreation Area, Higley Flow State Park and Parishville All-Terrain Vehicle Network. The rivers are cooler here with more waterfalls and fish species. A number of easily accessible waterfalls can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities. An interactive trails site helps navigate trailheads and what to expect along the trail; www.STLCtrails.com. These trails are enjoyable year-round, with peak viewing in winter with skis or snowshoes, spring for birding, or in the fall when the leaves are most vibrant.
Approximately 40% of the County is located inside the Adirondack Park’s “Blue Line”. State-owned lands within the Park are designated “forever wild”, but there is also private land, some of which permits public access via easements with the state. Camp at the State Park and hike the Cranberry 50 around the Lake, visit the trails at the SUNY ESF Ranger School, experience a 360-degree view of the Adirondack Foothills from the Mt. Arab Fire Tower, and paddle remote waters.
Singer Castle on Dark Island (Chippewa Bay, NY)
Named after the Singer Sewing machine family, this castle on the St. Lawrence River is the only one to be completed, fully furnished and resided in during the early 1900’s, and still houses its original furnishings. Visitors may find transportation to Dark Island for their guided tour via the Schermerhorn Harbor Shuttle (www.schermerhornharbor.com)
Or book at tour or overnight stay at www.singercastle.com, 1-877-327-5475 (1136 County Route 6, Chippewa Bay, NY 13623)
Chippewa Bay Maritime Museum (Chippewa Bay, NY)
Located in beautiful downtown Chippewa Bay, this museum features photographs, objects, and art that will share the stories behind Chippewa Bay. Learn about the village, its people, its boats, and its relationship with the river.
www.chipbaymm.com, (413) 281-6272 (4 Church Street, Chippewa Bay, NY 13623)
Morristown Gateway Museum (Morristown, NY)
This historical museum is dedicated to sharing the history of Morristown and its industries which include fishing, Dr. Morse’s Indian Root Pills, and more. With several fascinating exhibits and features, the museum is a unique addition to the county. Additionally, enjoy a walking trail on River Road, Morristown Red Barn Preserve.
(315) 375-4910 (309 Main St,
Morristown, NY 13664)
Hawkins Point Visitors’ Center (Massena, NY)
The Center includes dozens of interactive exhibits on hydroelectric power production. A film on the construction and operation of the dam can be seen in the on-site theatre. There are special events and seasonal programs for all ages as well. Admission to the Center is free and the facility is open year-round; check seasonal hours at www.nypa.gov., (315) 764-0226, Ext. 7166302 (21 Hawkins Point Rd, Massena, NY 13662)
Robert Moses State Park (Massena, NY)
Located partly on the mainland and partly on Barnhart Island, visitors reach the park through a tunnel under the Eisenhower Lock. The park features a swimming beach, wooded campsites and cabins, biking and walking trails, a marina and boat launch, superb fishing spots, and picnic areas.
(315) 769-8663 (32 Beach Marina Rd, Massena, NY 13662)
The Frederic Remington Art Museum (Ogdensburg, NY)
This museum houses one of the largest and most important collections of paintings and bronze sculptures by famed American artist, Frederic Remington. Born and buried in Canton, Remington first made his name as a popular magazine illustrator in the late 1800s. His first sculpture, The Broncho Buster, was completed in 1895; an original is in the Oval Office at the White House. The Museum is open year-round. www.fredericremington.org, (315) 393-2425. (303 Washington St, Ogdensburg, NY 13669)
Waddington Marketplace & Studios at Clark House is a local gem on Waddington’s Main Street where you can find unique, handmade and repurposed items created by local artisans. Just a few doors down, you will find The Gallery AT Lake St. Lawrence Arts. www.WaddingtonMarketPlace.com, an artists’ space includes a gallery, a featured artist exhibit area, and a room in the back where classes and meetings can be held.
County attractions and events are largely open to and designed for families. Here are a few not to miss…
Kid’s Place at the Frederic Remington Art Museum
Next to the Museum is the Eva Caten Remington Education Center, or Kid’s Place (Kid was Remington’s nickname for his wife Eva.) The galleries at Kid’s Place feature interactive exhibits designed to capture children’s imaginations, stimulate their creativity and expand their appreciation of art.
303 Washington St, Ogdensburg, NY
Fobare’s Fruits (Rensselaer Falls, NY)
There is a wide range of attractions including a corn maze, apple and pumpkin picking, a western themed playground and the Apple Barn market. The market offers a variety of delicious products from apple cider and jams to pancake and muffin mixes, as well as a full line of maple products. Open June through October.
180 Johnson Road, Rensselaer Falls, NY
Nicandri Nature Center (Robert Moses State Park, Massena, NY)
Located in Robert Moses State Park, the Nature Center provides a perfect place for learning and exploring, from hiking trails and nature exhibits to an aquarium and observatory. Open all year long, the Nature Center and its nature experts can open visitor’s eyes to the beauty and diversity of nature. No matter your age, admission is always free.
North Country Children’s Museum (Potsdam, NY)
Designed for children of all ages to both play and learn, the NC Children’s Museum is a great place for visitors and their families to discover new ways to have fun. There are several STEAM exhibits, events, and programs to explore and get involved in including hands-on exhibits and Playspace, which is an area especially made for children four and under.
10 Raymond Street, Potsdam, NY
Libraries (County Wide)
Nearly every community has a library in the heart of their main corridor, and they typically offer programming for kids of all ages, from story time to art programs!
You can find a directory of the libraries at the North Country Library System website: https://ncls.org
Hawkins Point Visitors’ Center (Massena, NY)
The family-friendly visitors center includes dozens of interactive exhibits on hydroelectric power production. A film on the construction and operation of the dam can be seen in the on-site theatre. There are special events and seasonal programs for all ages as well. Admission to the Center is free and the facility is open year-round; check seasonal hours at www.nypa.gov
21 Hawkins Point Road, Massena, NY
Farmer’s markets can be found in the villages around the County from spring through late fall; You’ll find the freshest fruits and vegetables, and locally raised meat and poultry.
For a current Farmer’s markets schedule, a list of local farms and where to find what products, and even local restaurants feature locally sourced foods, contact local Chambers of Commerce or GardenShare, a non-profit organization that produces an annual comprehensive local food guide: www.gardenshare.org/; (315) 261-8054.
New York is the second largest producer of maple syrup nationwide. At the end of March, local maple operations open up their sugar shacks and receive visitors for Maple Weekends, part of a statewide celebration.
Fore more information see local food guide:
The St. Lawrence Wine Trail extends across the region, allowing visitors to explore the area and a wide range of local beverages. High Peaks Winery (Winthrop), Bregg Winery (Norfolk) and Bella Brooke Winery (Black Lake) are features for local tasting as well as other craft beverages, such as Kaneb Orchards (Massena) award winning hard cider and In-Law Brewing Company in (Louisville).
Whether you’re in the mood for a world-class art museum, a history lesson, live theater, or outdoor music, St. Lawrence County has it all, all year long.
VISUAL AND FINE ARTS
The Frederic Remington Art Museum houses one of the largest and most important collections of paintings and bronze sculptures by famed American artist, Frederic Remington. Born and buried in Canton, Remington first made his name as a popular magazine illustrator in the late 1800s. His first sculpture, The Broncho Buster, was completed in 1895; an original is in the Oval Office at the White House. The Museum is open year-round. Check for special exhibits, events and hours at www.fredericremington.org or (315) 393-2425.
The St. Lawrence County Arts Council promotes the work of regional artists and arts organizations. The Creative Spirit Community Arts Center at 6 Raymond Street, Potsdam, highlights local artists in solo exhibits and community art shows. Check their website, www. slcartscouncil.org, for exhibit schedules, classes, and special events – including their cross-county North Country Arts Festival each Fall.
The Art Museum at SUNY Potsdam includes a collection of nearly 2,000 examples of early and post-war American and European art, contemporary art, and ethnographic art, including Japanese and Italian works unique to the museum. Learn more at the museum’s website, www.potsdam.edu/museum; or call (315) 267-3290.
The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University boasts a small, rotating exhibit of the collection of nearly 7,000 art objects and artifacts, with particular strengths in 20th century American and European works on paper, including photographs, prints, portfolios, drawings, and artists’ books. Find out more at www.stlawu.edu/gallery; (315) 229-5174
Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, in Canton, is dedicated to promoting the folk traditions and local culture of everyday life – present and past—in the North Country. The organization operates a great gift shop featuring uniquely North Country items, and hosts a number of programs, events and exhibitions throughout the year. Visit www.tauny.org to learn more. (315) 386-4289
Barn Quilt Trails include over 200 public art painted quilts scattered throughout the landscape in the County. They pay homage to family and the community’s history, culture, and agricultural character. The most established areas to view Barn Quilt Trails are in the communities of Hammond and Colton. For more information and driving maps of the barn quilt trails, please visit the https://hammondbarnquilttrail.wordpress.com/ and https://www.townofcolton.com/photos--locations-in-town.html websites.
Iva Smith Memorial Gallery of Fine Art, located in Hammond, NY is home to the artwork of Paul Saphier as well as a couple of new artists each summer. The gallery also has musical concerts, line dancing, fine art workshops, and is able to host weddings. More information about the gallery can be found at https://www.ivasmithgallery.com/
Celine G. Philibert Cultural Centre and Museum is located in Massena, NY and offers an incredible perspective on history. The museum is filled with details about local history and is home to artifacts dating back to the early 1800’s. Additionally, the museum features art exhibitions and musical entertainment. Find out more on the museums Facebook page ‘Celine G. Philibert Cultural Centre and Museum.’
For more than 50 years, Ogdensburg Command Performance has been bringing touring companies of major dramas and musicals, plus special children’s shows and activities, to the North Country. Performances are held at the Ogdensburg Free Academy Auditorium. Visit www.ilovetheatre.org for a schedule and more information.
Community Performance Series is a college-community partnership presenting professional artists and arts education opportunities in the North Country. CPS, based at SUNY Potsdam, provides a variety of performances and programs for all ages throughout the year. Visit www.cpspotsdam.org for information.
Grasse River Players is a Canton-based community theater group that stages productions during the year in Canton. Check their Facebook page for information.
The Edwards Opera House is a restored 19th century theater providing entertainment during the summer. Visit www.edwardsoperahouse.org to learn more.
The internationally renowned Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam has been educating and grooming music and voice professionals for more than 100 years. The school’s students, faculty and guest artists present over 300 public performances each year; the Crane Christmas concert is a must-attend event. For a schedule, visit www.potsdam.edu /Crane.
Fans of opera, note: The Crane Opera Ensemble offers two fully-staged productions each year; visit www.craneoperaensemble.com to find out more.
The Orchestra of Northern New York is the only professional symphony orchestra based in the North Country, and consists of more than 60 professional musicians from Montreal, Ottawa, New York City, Northern New York and New England. Find performance schedules at www.onny.org.
Pickens Hall and Opera House in Heuvelton is a beautifully restored 19th century building, housing a General Store featuring Amish made products, historic displays and the Opera House with year-round performances. www.PickensHall.com
Outdoor music can be found throughout the summer in St. Lawrence County. The Norwood Village Green Concert Series has been hosting for more than 40 years; for the current schedule visit www.nvgcs.org. Several communities host summer concert series allowing you to enjoy live entertainment multiple times a month across the townships. For the latest information, check out the calendar of events at www.VisitSTLC.com or call the Chamber at (877) 228-7810.
FOR HISTORY BUFFS
Whether you’re interested in historic battles, Prohibition-era rum-running or period architecture, St. Lawrence County has much to offer fans of history.
A good place to start is at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association, www.slcha.org, (315) 386-8133, headquartered at the Silas Wright Museum in Canton. The Association maintains archives for genealogy research, as well as exhibits on North Country life at the turn of the 20th century. It also has extensive records on the region’s role in the Civil War and War of 1812.
Also investigate Traditional Arts of Upstate New York (TAUNY’s) Register of Very Special Places, www.tauny.org, featuring many of the area’s historic landmarks.
Ogdensburg’s Fort de La Présentation Association sponsors talks, events and, most notably, Le Siège du Fort de La Présentation, a land and water battle re-enactment and colonial trade fair that commemorates Ogdensburg’s French colonial roots and its role in the French and Indian War. U.S. and Canadian re-enactors descend upon Ogdensburg each summer for the event, usually the third weekend in July. Visit www.fort1749.org for more information.
If you want to know about farming over the decades, and a variety of antiques, don’t miss the St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum in Madrid, dedicated to the preservation of antique engines, tractors and other farm equipment. They host open houses on second and fourth Saturdays in June to October, plus hold an annual Antique Engine and Spring Planting Exhibition in June, and Old Fashioned Harvest Days celebration around Labor Day weekend. Visit www.slpowermuseum.com.