About 10 miles northeast of Clayton  is Alexandria Bay, a busy tourist village that could be called the Lake George  of the North. Here you’ll find all sorts of 1950s-era attractions, including miniature golf courses, junior speedways, kitschy souvenir shops, and mom-and-pop motels.
But for all its summertime hustle and bustle, Alexandria Bay has a permanent population of just 1,355 and a laid-back, down-home charm. The village centers on a snug waterfront, where a few narrow streets are crowded with tiny shops and restaurants. Teenagers strut their stuff in front of an amusement arcade, while twentysomethings exchange glances outside a boisterous bar. A white-haired woman wearing a pink apron, saddle shoes, and green socks sits on her stoop, watching the foot traffic go by.
Like Clayton, Alexandria Bay was a popular tourist resort and steamboat stop throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. Millionaires built second homes on the islands across from the village, while hotels went up along the shore.
Evidence of those days can be found at the Cornwall Brothers’ Store (foot of Market St., 315/482-4586, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat. May–Oct.). Originally owned by the town’s founder, Azariah Walton, the building is now part museum, part re-created general store. Up front choose from a nice selection of penny candy, vintage postcards, handicrafts, and books; in back are historic photographs and artifacts.
From both ends of the village extend weathered piers at which excursion boats dock. Alexandria Bay is the main port for touring the Thousand Islands . For more information on the area, stop into the Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce (7 Market St., 315/482-9531 or 800/541-2110, www.alexbay.org , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, with extended hours in July–Aug.).