Autumn splendour, endless waterfront views, award-winning wine and even a castle, the Thousand Islands region has everything you need for a romantic fall getaway.

Nestled between Ontario and New York State lies a sprawling archipelago of islands in the St. Lawrence River -- 1864 of them, to be exact.

When you're vacationing in the Thousand Islands, you're on "river time" where things move at a leisurely pace and relaxing in a beautiful setting is the way to spend the day. Cool temperatures and fiery colours reflected on the water set the stage for a perfect romantic getaway.

Located midway between Toronto and Montreal on the Canadian side, the region spans several communities and two countries -- each with its own unique flavour and attractions. It's easily accessible by car from Ontario's Highway 401 and New York State's Route 81, and getting there is often as scenic as the destination itself.

Not sure where to start? Here's a sample of the many sites and activities you'll find:

Day 1: Kingston

This charming city is the perfect place to begin your getaway. Canada's first capital city is home to many unique historical sites, such as the Kingston Mills Lockstation. This part of the Rideau Canal waterway is a great site for a romantic lunchtime picnic and some local leaf-peeping. Take a quick peak inside the Blockhouse for a look back in time to see how early lockmasters lived.

When you're done, take Highway 15 to Highway 2 to visit Fort Henry. Originally built during the War of 1812, and rebuilt in 1832-37, this site was designed to guard the intersection of three main waterways: the Rideau Canal, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Today the fort is a national historic site open for tours and special events, such as the Wednesday night Sunset Ceremonies and this fall's Fort Fright haunted tour. The hill affords a few of the nearby islands and their Martello Tower fortifications.

If you have time before dinner, head to neighbouring Royal Military College (RMC) for a stroll down their waterfront pathway. Along the way you can catch a view of the downtown Kingston waterfront and stop in at the RMC museum in another one of the Martello Towers.

For dinner, try one of the downtown restaurants. Many have outdoor patios for warm evenings. Those with a sweet tooth will want to venture close to the waterfront where two delectable homemade ice cream shops can be found on Ontario Street. Take your creamy treat across the street to Confederation Park and enjoy the view of City Hall on one side and the waterfront on the other. It's the perfect place to start your evening stroll along part of 8 km long the Waterfront Pathway. The route includes some of the city's waterfront parks and historic sites, such as Murney Tower, City Park and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.

Cocktails or coffee at one of the city's many outdoor patios is the perfect cap to the evening.

For more information on visiting Kingston, see Tourism Kingston.

Next: Day 2 - Gananoque and area

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by:
Elizabeth Rogers