BIG AND BOLDT
Alexandria Bay, NY
Growing up, my family spent every Memorial Day weekend with family friends in the Thousand Islands. The Thousand Islands are a group of islands on the St. Lawrence River between the US and Canada. This past Labor Day weekend, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take Billy and revisit my childhood. One of the highlights at the Thousand Islands is Boldt Castle, located on Heart Island.
During the late 19th and early 20th century, the Thousand Islands was a popular summer getaway for the wealthy. One of these vacationers was self-made millionaire and hotelier, George Boldt.
George Boldt started building Boldt Castle as a gift for his wife. Unfortunately, she passed away before the completion of the castle and construction was stopped immediately.
After falling into disrepair for decades, the castle is now under a long-term restoration project by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority .
Heart Island was originally known as Hart Island, but Boldt made the name interchangeable with Heart Island and reshaped the island into a heart. Many heart and hart motifs were built into the castle.
The first floor has been restored to what the Boldts had intended for the castle.
The Clover Club of Philadelphia was an important part in launching Boldt’s career and also where he met his wife. They named their daughter Clover and clover motifs can also be found in the castle.
Goods were transported from the water to the castle through underground passage ways.
The Power House would have been used to power and illuminate the estate. Currently, it contains a steam engine that would have been used at the turn of the century and photos of people from the same period.
Ready to move in.
Boldt also built a Yacht House across the water on Wellesley Island for his fleet of boats.
Boldt had all kinds of boats from canoes to yachts. One of his racing crafts was the P.D.Q. (Pretty Damn Quick).
The Castle is accessible by boat only from both the US and Canada. We took Uncle Sam Boat Tours ($8.50 roundtrip). They also offer a variety of tours around the Thousand Islands.
Boldt Castle: Hours are seasonal – see castle website for details. Admission: Castle + Yacht House = $11.00; Child (6-12 yrs) = $7.00; Infants (5 and under) = $0 // Castle only = $8.50; Child = $6.00; Infant = $0 // Yacht House only = $5.00; Child = $3.00; Infant = $0