Situated on a windswept spit of land at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River is Cape Vincent, “home of the gamey black bass” (“gamey” as in “feisty”). Cape Vincent doesn’t really have much to offer in the way of visitor attractions but it’s a pretty village to drive through, with historic homes along Broadway.
The area’s first settlers were French, a fact celebrated every July on French Heritage Day. On Real Street once stood the “Cup and Saucer House,” built in 1818 by Napoleon’s chief of police, Count Real, in the hopes that the emperor could be rescued from the island of St. Helena. The building burned to the ground in 1867.
In the heart of the village, the Cape Vincent Historical Museum (174 James St., 315/654-3094 or 315/654-3640, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and noon–4 p.m. Sun. July–Aug., free admission) showcases historical artifacts and a delightful collection of tiny figures created out of scrap metal by local farmer Richard Merchant. Not far from the museum is the NYS DEC Research Station and Aquarium (541 Broadway, 315/654-2147, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily May–Oct., free admission), housing several hundred local fish.
Worth driving out to is the 1854 Tibbetts Point Lighthouse (33439 County Rte. 6, 315/654-3450), several miles west of the village on the very tip of the cape. The lighthouse is not open for touring—it’s now a youth hostel—but the drive along the shore road (Route 6) is outstanding.
Cape Vincent is the only community left in New York State  with a ferry to Canada crossing the St. Lawrence River. The ferry (315/783-0638, $10 for car and driver) operates hourly May–October; crossing time is 10 minutes.
Two blocks from the water, Aubrey’s Inn (126 St. James, 315/654-3754) packs them in for cheap, massively portioned food with a smile.
For historic lodging, the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse (33439 County Rte. 6, 315/654-3450, $14/night for HI-AYH members, $17/night for nonmembers) is a Hosteling International–American Youth Hostel offering 31 dormitory-style beds in single-sex rooms; family rooms also are available.
The boxy, brick Roxy’s Motel (Broadway and Market St., 315/654-2456, $50 d) has operated continuously since 1894. Downstairs, an old-fashioned restaurant and bar sport mounted fish and aging photographs of anglers with their catch; upstairs are 10 simple but adequate guest rooms.