Massena, founded 1802 and named for one of Napoleon's field marshals, André Masséna, was built on forestry and tourism to Massena Springs, an early health spa. The town industrialized with the construction of the hydroelectric dam and Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1958, with Alcoa using its energy to manufacture aluminum. General Motors operated an aluminum engine-casting plant which was closed in 2008; a paper industry which had left Cornwall-Massena heavily polluted in the 1970s is also now gone.
Ocean-going vessels from as far west as Duluth pass through Massena's two locks on their way to the Atlantic; the Seaway typically opens in late March and operates until mid-December. Recreational boaters may take vessels 20' (9 m) or larger through the locks, but the huge "Seaway max" cargo ships are given priority.
Because of the multiple boundaries (Ontario, Québec, New York State and the Mohawk nation all converge nearby) the area is a customs agent's nightmare and a smuggler's dream.
- 1 Massena International Airport (Richards Field MSS IATA), 90 Aviation Rd, ☏ . Offers three Cape Air flights daily to Albany from $100 (same-day return).
- Trailways, Econo Lodge, 15054 State Hwy. 37, toll-free: . 6AM-10PM. Intercity bus through Potsdam to Watertown/Syracuse.
There is no US Interstate highway in the region; I-81 (Watertown) and I-87 (Plattsburgh) run north to the Thousand Islands and Montréal respectively, but neither reaches Massena. On the Canadian side, Cornwall is part of the busy Windsor-Quebec corridor; Ontario highway 138 leads from the 401 and 417 freeways south to the Cornwall-Massena international bridge.
- From Watertown: NY 37 runs from Watertown through Ogdensburg and Massena to Malone, terminating at US 11 at both endpoints. Another option is to take Interstate 81 north to the Thousand Islands, then head downriver (NY 12 to NY 37 on the US side, or the 401 in Canada).
- From Montréal and Toronto: Exit Ontario 401 (aka Québec Autoroute 20) to Ontario 138 southbound at Cornwall. Once on the US side, follow NY 37 directly upriver to Massena.
- From Ottawa-Gatineau: Take the Trans-Canada Highway 417 to Casselman (midway between Ottawa and Montréal), turn south onto Ontario 138 through Cornwall to Massena.
- Massena Transport, 2134 State Highway 420, ☏ . Local taxi, $4 in-town.
- Eisenhower and Snell Locks, St. Lawrence Seaway, 180 Andrews St., ☏ , fax: . 9AM-9PM, Memorial Day to Labor Day. Massena is home to two of the five St. Lawrence Seaway locks (the others are Montréal, Beauharnois and Iroquois in Canada). The Seaway Visitors' Center at the Eisenhower Lock provides tourists and ship watchers with an observation deck where they can view commercial vessels and cruise ships from around the world as they transit the lock.
- Hawkins Point Visitors Center and Boat Launch, 21 Hawkins Point Rd, ☏ , toll-free: . M-F 9AM-5PM year-round, daily late May to mid-Oct. Visitors center for St. Lawrence River hydroelectric power generating station with hands-on exhibits about energy, from pedal-powered bicycle generators to a Van de Graaff generator. Community room and cinema together seat 100 people; events include free showings of popular movies with free popcorn.
- Massena Museum, 200 East Orvis St., ☏ . M-F 10AM-4PM. Local historical museum, souvenirs.
- Massena Country Club, 829 Route 131. Par 71 course with view of the St. Lawrence River from 14 of the 18 holes, 10,000 square-foot clubhouse, pro shop (+1 315 769-2293), River Road Restaurant (+1 315 764-4061), fully-stocked bar, catering.
- 1 Robert Moses State Park, 19 Robinson Bay Road, ☏ . Located on Barnhart Island, the northernmost point in New York, the park includes a beach, picnic tables, pavilions, a playground, nature and hiking trails through woods and wetlands, fishing, a boat launch and marina, a campground with tent and trailer sites, cabins, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The nature center building is (as of 2015) being rebuilt after a 2010 fire; recreation programs are offered on and off-site year-round.
- Massena Farmer's Market, Town Hall parking lot, 60 Main St., ☏ . Su 8AM-3PM (town hall). July-October. Also 10AM-4PM Thursdays at Triple-A Building Centre (452 CR 56).
- St. Lawrence Centre, 6100 St. Lawrence Centre, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-6PM. 40 stores, Sears, Bon Ton, JC Penney. Skating arena.
- Coach's Corner, 191 Park Ave., ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-10PM. Sports bar and grill.
- Lakeview Motel and Apartments, 788 State Hwy 131, ☏ . Directly across from the Massena Country Club, Wi-Fi, refrigerators, microwaves, lake stocked with rainbow trout, BBQ's.
- Massena International Kampground, 84 County Rte. 42 Ext., ☏ . Campsites, store, RV supplies, showers, dump station, CATV, laundry. Swimming and fishing, playground for kids.
- Hidden Meadow Inn, 1950 Sober Street Norfolk, NY 13667, ☏ . Bed and breakfast inn midway between Potsdam (New York) and Massena.
- McDonald's. Hamburger stand with Wi-Fi at 324 S Main St (+1 315 769-9091) and 6098 Route 37 (+1 315 764-8097).
- Triple-A Building Center, 3 Malby Ave., ☏ . Lumberyard with Kinek.com parcel receiving service.
Mohawk native reserve on the St. Lawrence River between Massena and Malone (New York); this Indian reservation straddles the Ontario-Québec-New York border near Hogansburg NY, extending across Cornwall Island ON and into St Régis, Quebec.
The village of St Regis is legally part of Canada but it is separated from Cornwall by the river. It adjoins Fort Covington, New York, by land; a phone call between the two is a local call. The "Jay Treaty" between the US and Britain allows native people to cross the border unhindered, to bring goods with them, and to live and work in either country without needing a visa. There has been considerable controversy over the interpretation of this treaty, including lawsuits, arrests and demonstrations.