Traditional Thousand Islands Shore Dinner

I’m happy to welcome fellow Wild Heart Book’s author, Susan G. Mathis, to my blog! She shares a recipe with us and a bit about her newest historical romance release. Welcome, Susan!

by Susan G. Mathis

Traditionally, the Thousand Islands Shore Dinner was a big fishing party. Several skiffs rallied at one island, dispersed to fish until noon, partook of a shore dinner, and then fished again until late afternoon. Fine folk like George Pullman, Frederick Bourne, and J.P. Morgan—and even President Ulysses S. Grant when he visited the islands in 1872—took time to get away from big-city life and find a quiet fishing vacation in the islands. 

The main boat would often be a small steam yacht. They would leave around 7 a.m., towing up to ten skiffs trailing behind them. The captain would choose an uninhabited island to use for a shore dinner, prepare the meal himself or drop off the meal preparers, and send the fishing guides off to row their guests to different fishing spots. 

Around noon, the fishing guides row the guests back to the steamer for a relaxing shore dinner, and then take the fishermen back out for an afternoon of more fishing. 

Traditional Thousand Islands shore dinners include fresh fish, French toast, and a sandwich with fried pork strips. And, of course, a salad with Thousand Islands Dressing.

Appetizers consisted of fatback and onion sandwiches and a salad with Thousand Islands dressing, of course, and crumbles of fatback. The main meal includes plates of fish and potatoes. And dessert was coffee and French toast. 

Then comes the French toast for dessert, also fried in the same pan as the pork and fish, and topped with lots of local maple syrup. Again, one needn’t count the calories; just enjoy the unique flavors of the shore dinner.

Today, uninhabited islands are few and far between, so shore dinners became a little more complicated. But several companies still serve patrons who want a traditional shore dinner. In fact, the NY State parks were, in part, established to provide a place for shore dinners. Maybe one day you, too, can visit the Thousand Islands and enjoy a traditional shore dinner.   

 Do you think you’d enjoy this meal? Here’s a recipe for Thousand Islands Dressing!

Thousand Island Dressing

2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped
1 tablespoon green pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon scallions, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients together and chill to blend flavors.

About Mary’s Moment:

Mathis’s attention to detail and rich history is classic Mathis, and no one does it better.—Margaret Brownley, N.Y. Times bestselling author

Summer 1912

Thousand Island Park’s switchboard operator ​Mary Flynn is christened the community heroine for her quick action that saves dozens of homes from a terrible fire. Less than a month later, when another disastrous fire rages through the Park, Mary loses her memory as she risks her life in a neighbor’s burning cottage. Will she remember the truth of who she is or be deceived by a treacherous scoundrel?

Widowed fireman George Flannigan is enamored by the brave raven-haired lass and takes every opportunity to connect with Mary. But he has hidden griefs of his own that cause him great heartache. When George can’t stop the destructive Columbian Hotel fire from eradicating more than a hundred businesses and homes, he is distraught. Yet George’s greater concern is Mary. Will she remember their budding relationship or be forever lost to him?      

Readers of Christian historical romance will enjoy this exciting tale set in 1912 Thousand Island Park, NY.


Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty-five times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. She has ten in her fiction line including, The Fabric of Hope, Christmas Charity, Katelyn’s Choice, Devyn’s Dilemma, Peyton’s Promise, Sara’s Surprise, Reagan’s Reward, Colleen’s Confession, Rachel’s Reunion, and Mary’s Moment. Her book awards include two Illumination Book Awards, three American Fiction Awards, two Indie Excellence Book Awards, and four Literary Titan Book Awards. Reagan’s Reward is a Selah Awards finalist. Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world but returns each summer to enjoy the Thousand Islands. Visit for links to buy and more.