What's Happening

The Cottage on Rose Bay

As the featured writer for the Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce Monthly Newsletter, I have the opportunity to spotlight local businesses, people, and non-profits.

The St. Lawrence River is magical. Every person that encounters the river is enchanted by her magnificent beauty.  They find solace and calm, even on the mightiest of days. When away, she calls to them, begging them to return to the river. They oblige, returning year after year, knowing she will be there waiting to bring them peace.

If you are one of the lucky few charmed to live on the River, you want to share her serenity.

About five miles outside of the village, down Route 12E, past Millens and Dodge Bays is a quiet cove nestled within the gentle curve of Beadle Point called Rose Bay.

Cape Vincent residents, Brian and Mary Lynn Leech have lived on the edge of the rapturous River in Rose Bay, enjoying every glorious sunrise and spectacular sunset, for forty years. When the opportunity to purchase the lot next to their home became available four years ago, they snatched it up. 

Renovations to the lot and existing cottage began immediately. Brian, owner of Rose Bay Builders, completed the repairs and remodeling in the evenings and on Sundays. It took a spell. Plus, Brian, a master craftsman, took his time to ensure each tile template, repurposed wood step, and corrugated tin trim was faultless!

Three years later, the pièce de résistance, a gorgeous, fully furnished year-round cottage with central heat, air conditioning and a beautiful gas fireplace. A spacious eat-in kitchen with a range, built-in microwave, dishwasher, and refrigerator. There are two huge flatscreen Smart televisions — one in the living area and one in the bedroom. A large bathroom with a custom-built 4’x6′ tiled shower in the style of an old-timey wood porch. A spacious bedroom with a king-sized bed from which you can enjoy the river from the king-sized window. Plus, a large waterfront Paver Patio with a built-in wood burning fire pit and a shaded Pergola along the waterfront!          

Brian did not do this all on his own, he credits Mary Lynn for much of the design and plans. Upon entering the Cottage, if you are not instantly impressed with the tile work, repurposed wood, and cabinetry; you will be amazed by her exquisite Better Homes and Gardens-like feel of the River decor and theme.

I was fascinated that from bathroom to bedroom to living area to kitchen there was a view of the River — it was inescapable. And it was mesmerizing.

I asked Brian and Mary Lynn why they wanted to have a rental next door to their home. You would think their first response would be something along the lines of supplemental income or retirement fund. Instead, they said that they wanted people to appreciate the River as they do, to fall in love immediately with the swans swimming by and listen to the geese, watch the ships sail pass in the channel and view the magnificent sunsets.

And, they have created the perfect cottage to enjoy her.

Sitting in the Cottage at the kitchen table talking with Brian and Mary Lynn with the River in view, I felt her enchantment. I did not want to leave. There would be pauses in our conversation as we sat watching the River. Not awkward pauses, just a quiet calm.

It is no wonder they do not have to advertise outside of social media and the Chamber of Commerce. Word-of-mouth is all they need to promote their little bit of paradise. They have only been renting the Cottage for a year and already have repeat customers booking a month at a time. 

Plus, unlike some rentals along the River, theirs is year-round making it the perfect weekend getaway for a second honeymoon, winter holiday, or escape from the city. Imagine sitting around the beautiful gas fireplace with your loved one on a romantic getaway in a private, quiet bay on the River for an entire weekend!

The cottage offers every amenity you would possibly need, all you must bring is food and drink. You can swim, boat, and fish right from the shoreline. Off-season is $225 a night and on-season is $275 a night. There are no limitations on your stay – one night, three nights, a month — you choose. During the off-season, if you book two nights, the third night is free!

If the River is begging you to return to her waters, give Brian and Mary Lynn a call and stay at the enchanting Cottage on Rose Bay: 315-783-9642

For more information, visit:

“The Cottage of Rose Bay” was published in the Thousand Islands Sun newspaper, as well as the Chamber newsletter.

What's Happening

Riverfront Properties

As the featured writer for the Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce Monthly Newsletter, I have the opportunity to spotlight local businesses, people, and non-profits.

In our small town, nicknames bestowed during youth tend to carryover to adulthood. To overhear a conversation amongst year-round residents, you’d get a feeling you were listening to fictional characters in a Francis Ford Coppola movie: Big John, Butch, Woody, Little Davey, Buck, Shorty, Beaver, Pookie. Recently, I met with the co-owner of Riverfront Properties. She grew up in the village of Cape, her family well-known pillars of the community, and although she herself is an adult, is still referred to by her childhood nickname.

Jacqualine Johnson Costello, the daughter of the late Joan and Bob Gosier, affectionately referred to as Bopper by friends and family, and her husband, Jim, own Riverfront Properties.

Bopper met Jim when he was still an up-and-coming Funeral Homeowner in Alexandria Bay. Jim is originally from Utica but spent his childhood summering on the River, not far from the Cape, at Sand Bay. As a young adult, he knew no better place, than the beautiful 1000 Islands to open his Funeral Home business. At 23, he bought a small house in Alex Bay. Breaking into the Funeral business is difficult, but Jim was determined. He immersed himself in the community, worked multiple odd jobs, and built upon his small house.

In their late twenties Jim and Bopper met through mutual friends.  In time they were drawn to each other over their love of the River and the Thousand Islands. It was a perfect match. Today, Jim and Bopper have established an esteemed business; and, Costello Funeral Service is the first-place families entrust with their recently deceased loved ones.

A few years back, wanting more participation in the town where she grew up, where her parents still lived, and looking to complement their income with a rental property, she and Jim spied a trailer in a picturesque spot along the river. It was an older trailer with an addition, the interior had a dated 70s motif with a Brady Bunch feel, but Bopper and Jim saw its potential. The price was a bit high for what they were willing to pay so they waited. Patience prevailed. The price came down and they purchased the trailer in 2009.

A little bit of structure remodeling and Bopper’s expertise at décor, the trailer was ready for rental the summer of 2010.

Jim and Bopper and their family enjoyed the refurbished trailer, family visiting from out-of-town stayed there too, helping a new generation form a bond to the River. And, when the trailer was not being used by family, they easily rented it out based on its location, convenience, and features.

In 2012, Bopper and Jim were kayaking on the River when they spotted a vacant cottage along the shore. Jim pointed out the possible potential of the cottage but this time, Bopper was a bit hesitant. She thought maybe Jim, a Waterfowl Hunting Guide, was just considering the locale for hunting purposes.

After convincing Bopper that he didn’t have an alternative motive, and falling in love with the location, they purchased the property. However, unlike the first property, that just needed a little fine tuning, this cottage needed some serious structural repair and updating as well as shorefront cleanup and dock repair. Jim and friends took the year to work on the necessary construction to make the cottage structurally sound . When done, Bopper used her magic to create a charming summer residence.

Jim and Bopper loved the cottage and location so that they use it to this day as their primary summer getaway, only renting it out on the rare occasion that they are not using it.

Both properties included dock access to the River, however the high winds and high waters of Spring 2019 and then again in that following Fall, caused damage to the docks and made them unusable. Plans are in the works to have those docks repaired.

Riverfront Properties, along the St. Lawrence River, are located at 32322 NY State Route 12E and 32783 NY State Route 12E. The properties are on the River that both Bopper and her husband grew up playing in, and so dearly love. They rent out seasonally. The locations and the beauty of the properties sell themselves so well, that Bopper and Jim are booked far in advance and rarely must advertise.

Today, Jim, Bopper, and their children, Robert (19), Elizabeth (17), and River (12) live in Alex Bay. They continue to serve Alex Bay and surrounding communities with the business Jim started in his twenties, Costello Funeral Service. And every chance they get, spend their down time on the magnificent St. Lawrence River.

As Bopper and I both agree, it’s nice to know in a resort area sought for large corporation development, rental properties are still owned and maintained by local folks.

“Riverfront Properties” was published in the Feb 12 edition of the Thousand Islands Sun newspaper, as well as the Chamber newsletter.