Make Some History This Weekend in Sackets Harbor

Make some history this weekend.

Chase Guttman

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For a day trip, a long weekend or more, Sackets Harbor, N.Y., is a great headquarters for a trip full of history, nature and outdoor adventures. The War of 1812 battle fought here was part of the struggle for control of Lake Ontario and today there are ample opportunities to get out on the water. You can even take a short drive and launch your own incursion into Canada! Battlefields and historic sites are more than monuments—they are places to enjoy the outdoors and indoors, spend time with friends and family, and immerse yourself in history. Start with an itinerary below.

Historic Happenings

Hiram Peabody Flagg

From War of 1812 battle sites to the barracks where a young Ulysses Grant spent two tours as a junior Army officer, this day plan is built for those who want to jump right into history.     

  • Print or download your tour map.
  • Start your day with coffee and some baked teats from Chrissy Beanz Bakery
  • Get a feel for the town by exploring the village’s Bicentennial Trail on foot. These footpaths connect directly into Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, creating a six-mile flat walk. In the park you’ll find a costumed interpreters, a restored 1850s Navy shipyard and a visitor center housing one of the best book selections related to the War of 1812 available anywhere. 
  • The Seaway Trail Discovery Center offers an introduction to the 518-mile scenic drive that stretches across the welcoming communities of the Great Lakes shores of New York and Pennsylvania.
  • If you venture a bit further, you’ll find the Army’s former Madison Barracks Administration Building, now operating as the Marina Inn and Suites and Madison Barracks Marina. Some of these historic buildings date back to the War of 1812.
  • Other museums in the area include:
  • If you head out of town, there are quirky historical sites to explore, like Robert G. Wehle State Park. The area was long a rifle range and artillery training ground for recruits from regional military installations. But in the latter half of the 20th century, it was owned by the Wehle family, owners of the Gennesee Brewing Company, who used it to raise Hereford cattle, breed English pointers and pursue an artistic calling in sculpture. In fact, visitors can see how many dog statues than can find during their visit.
  • On the way back, stop for lunch at the Cherry Tree Inn or dinner at the Waterside Bar and Grill.

Family Fun

Enhance your historical experience with fun and family-friendly activities all weekend long!

  • Print or download your tour map
  • Kick off the day with breakfast at Nu Pier Restaurant, where you can choose from five varieties of pancakes.
  • Parents and kids alike will love a trip to Wescott Beach State Park on nearby Henderson Bay, which boasts a long sandy beach, playground and plenty of walking trails. 
  • If you’d rather sit down for a meal, grab a gourmet pie at Goodfellas Pizzeria. Enjoy great outdoor seating in good weather.
  • Keep the kids active and engaged with a visit to:
  • Outdoorsy families can rent kayaks and stand-up paddle boards to explore the Black River at B.O.B. Rafting.
  • The whole family can unleash some creative energy at Main Street Crafts and Drafts, where there are menus for food drinks and artistic projects to sample.
  • Stop off for ice cream at Strader’s Saturdays, Sundaes and More where you’ll have to choose between delicious flavors of hard scoop and soft serve.
  • If you’re hungry for dinner with a view, check out the Sackets Boathouse Restaurant and Bar. From a reasonably priced kids’ menu to craft cocktails and beer, there’s something for the whole family.

Retail Therapy

From antiques to boutiques, we’ve pulled together a plan for historical fun and lasting memories.

  • Print or download your tour map.
  • Start your day with great coffee drinks and breakfast at The Sandwich Bar.
  • A stroll down through downtown will give you plenty of options for retail goodness, including:
    • Bev & Co., a ladies’ boutique specializing in Made in the USA products.
    • Handmaiden’s Garden, which features Sackets Soapworks and Tea Thyme shopping areas.
    • Calla Lillies Gifts carries locally produced favorites from Sackets Harbor Coffee Roasters and Farmhouse Maple syrup.
  • Grab a light bite with lunch at the Upper Deck Bar and Grill
  • If you’re open to traveling a little farther afield in search of gourmet bites to bring home, consider the Cheese Store in Watertown or Di Silvestro & Sons Cheese Shop in Adams.
  • Wrap up your day with a visit to the Sackets Harbor Brewing Company, one of New York’s first microbreweries, for dinner in the brewpub. Be sure to try the signature 1812 Ale!

Romatic Getaway

Chris Murray

Sackets Harbor is teeming with beautiful vistas and charming character, perfect for connecting with your better half. Or take your relationship to the next level with a real outdoor adventure 

  • Print or download your tour map.
  • Grab some breakfast and stop in at the Sackets Harbor Arts Center. To browse the gallery and gift shop, or see if there is an appealing arts class.
  • Consider getting out on the water with a charter journey from Sail Ontario. A sunset cruise on the lake is a breathtaking experience.
  • The site may have begun its life as a horse farm in the early 1800s, but today the Yellow Barn Winery is serving up red, white and blush wines in a peaceful setting.
  • Enjoy a romantic dinner at the delicious Tin Pan Galley. Be sure to save room for dessert — mocha macadamia mousse torte!
  • If you’re visiting for a summer weekend, bring a blanket out to the Memorial Grove at Sackets Harbor Battlefield for at the Sackets Harbor Historical Society’s free Summer Concerts on the Waterfront, held each Sunday afternoon.
  • Spend an entire day with your hearts racing by booking a day-long rafting expedition with Whitewater Challengers, based out of nearby Dexter. Grab a bite at  Diane’s Coffee Shop or Willie’s Bulldog Tavern before hand, then spend about four hours on the rapids before wrapping up with a complimentary an on-site barbecue.
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Before you go

We’ve got some tips and advice for prepping for a visit to Sackets Harbor and surrounding areas, including hours, weather, accommodations, and directions – everything you need to make your visit a comfortable and memorable one!