A supplement to Sandy Estabrook's Guide to Wilson, NY
In recent times, some lakeside homes had to be moved inward because erosion.
Sunset Island forms the northern border of Wilson Harbor. Without it there would be no harbor as we know it. This enchanting island retreat is primarily accessible by boat. A less than five minute trip at that. The cottages line the harbor and lake side with a path running through the middle of the island. At the eastern wider end of the island is a large common area for games, picnics or whatever. There is a unmanned mini store / library where items are paid for on the honor system by
dropping payment in a can. It's called the "Fire House" because it also houses the fire alarm, fire fighting equipment and defibulator. Finally there is one very large round building the islanders call the "Colony Hall", it's commonly used for homeowners meetings and parties.
Technically, Sunset Island is not an island but actually two, collectively called one and connected by low-lying narrow spit of land between the smaller western island and its larger sister to the east. This spit has on occasion been washed away by lake storms isolating East Sunset Island. The western smaller island is connected to the mainland and assessable through Tuscarora state park only by path, hence boat access is the primary means of transport. (Aerial view)
There are approximately 80 cottages on the island (10 of those being on the smaller Island). We'll define them as cottages as there are few that are "winterized" even though city water, electricity and sewer are provided throughout the year. But for the couple that are winterized, getting there in winter is no problem as you can walk across the frozen harbor.
Many of the structures one sees from the mainland side are actually add on boat houses and waterside recreation areas. The actual cottages are above. As a peculiar irony, the houses on the lake side often had no deeded dock space on the Harbor side.
But over the years "arrangements" were made and now many have "grandfathered" deeded docks. Its not uncommon to hear of an owner owning two cottages, one just for its dock. Even with a dock, where does one park their boat on the mainland side? That requires you renting a slip at one of the mainland side marinas which can be pricey.
In the late 1800's - early 1900's "when Wilson was considered a resort", there was even a couple hotels on the island which have long since succumb to fire, storms and time". Their story can be found here.
In summery this writer finds the island a secret secluded piece of paradise in this part of the world accessible only by a fortunate few. We are lucky to have friends who spend their summers there and got to see the island from the inside looking out which prompted this web page. Rental cottages are few but can had. The boat and dock to access them is another story.
Throughout this sites home page WilsonOnTheLake.com, there are numerous pictures of Sunset Island from Wilson looking in. It's time we take you on a brief visit. All pictures are click to enlarge and taken by Tom Estabrook.