Welcome back, Canadians!

Here’s what you need to know!

Most of the major restrictions around crossing the border have been dropped so it finally makes sense to make a quick trip across the border to the New York side of the 1000 Islands. Here’s what to know about crossing and what to know about the U.S.  side that you haven’t seen in two years:

1. Expensive Testing No Longer Needed

The Canadian government has dropped the expensive molecular testing requirement needed to re-enter Canada after short-haul trips (less than 72 hours). That means a trip to Watertown or another town just across the border finally comes with some savings and no expensive test requirement. You still need to be vaccinated though to enter the United States.

2. Hobby Lobby popped up while you were gone

The Salmon Run Mall located right along Interstate 81 and less than 30 minutes from the border now features the popular Hobby Lobby. Need we say more!

3. Tax Exemptions and NO HST

Since it’s been a while, refamiliarize yourself with your tax exemptions. For trips lasting longer than 24 hours, each person can bring back $200 worth of goods tax free. For trips of at least 48 hours – think a weekend visit – each person’s tax-free exemption is a whopping $800!

4. New cafés, restaurants and brews

Watertown’s Public Square includes several new options not seen the last time Canadians could visit. Starch, 320 State St., Watertown, is the city’s newest trendy café housed in a long-ago laundromat. Locally owned and operated, Starch has nailed the retro vibe with antiquated furnishings including artifacts from places such as Boldt Castle, and mixed it with a plethora of baked sweets and lunch options.

Empire Square , 63-65 Public Square ,Watertown, is the newest downtown restaurant. Mashing up a contemporary bistro vibe with Prohibition-styled bourbon bar, Empire is worth a visit. It’s located within steps of the downtown brewpub scene that includes Spokes, Boots Brewing and Garland City Brewing, located a short trip down the Black River.  (FB links for those three too)

5. Ski without the crowds

Dry Hill Ski Area is still up and running…or, more aptly, thriving. The relatively small ski hill was a popular visit for locals to rediscover skiing during Covid and remains an easily accessible option for those who want to avoid the crowds of the big mountains.

6. Pools, hotels and just …getting….out

It’s been far too long since you’ve been to the states. Grab a room at one of the many Watertown hotels or find a place along the St. Lawrence River in Alexandria Bay or Clayton. Bring your swimsuit, grab a beverage from the bar and just breathe…we’re all coming out of this together and we’re so happy to welcome you back.