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Boldt Castle Hart Island

Reviewing: Historical Site Castle  |  Rating:
lexxia By lexxia on
Badge: Advisor | Level: 20 | Destinations Expertise:
Image for Boldt Castle - Hart Island

I've been to this incredible historical location on several occasions and each time I visit, I find something new to fall in love with.

The history of Boldt Castle is one that fairy tale dreams are made from, literally, but of the sadder versions - no happy ending here unfortunately. Boldt Castle and the island it resides on, Heart Island are accessible only by water. There are tours that take visitors from both Canada (Gananoque/Thousand Islands and Rockport) and the US (Alexandria Bay and Clayton, NY) to this incredible place and most operate from May to October although you can also get to Heart Island by your own boat if you wish. Canadian visitors must show proof of citizenship when they land at the island due to the fact that it is located in US territory. I've used nothing but my driver's license and birth certificate however, but in 2009 this method of identification may no longer be completely suitable and a passport may be required.

George C. Boldt was a Prussian immigrant who managed the Waldorf Astoria at the time. One of his chefs was responsible for creating the Thousand Island's dressing that many of us use on our salads today. Boldt Castle was constructed for George Boldt's wife Louise but unfortunately, she passed away suddenly during its construction and George Boldt never returned to the Island, leaving the 6 story castle only partially built.

The island had originally been purchased by Louise Boldt in 1895 and over the next while the heart shaped island was created by reshaping the island from its original size. The castle was to have 127 rooms and 30 bathrooms and construction began in 1900 after the original structure that stood there was moved to a neighboring island. In 1904 Louise died suddenly and construction completely stopped.

The Thousand Island Bridge Authority took over the land in 1977 and several million dollars were injected into the massive restoration that was initially only meant to restore the island and its structures to what they were when George Boldt abandoned it. However by 2006 the restoration had gone well past the initial attempts and today most of the main floor is completed with furnishings, brick work, stained glass windows and doors and more. The sweeping staircase from the first floor to the 2nd is impressive and while I was there, my friend and I could literally envision Mrs. Boldt descending the staircase. The original house that was on the island in 1895 was moved to another island (Wellesly) where today it is in the stages of being reconstructed to provide a Bed & Breakfast location for visitors, known as Hart House.

The castle has a swimming pool deep inside on the lowest level but this area isn't yet accessible by visitors. There are numerous fountains that surround the castle on the grounds including one which was initially meant to be a swimming pool. The grounds, which are kept pristine, are a popular place for those married to take wedding photos.

Admission to the island and castle is US$6 for adults and US$4 for children, with Canadian dollars being accepted at the current rate of exchange. If you ever wish to revisit history and learn more about Boldt Castle and "one of the saddest love stories known" I encourage you to make the day trip to this enchanting, incredible place.

Update On Nov 04, 2008: Update Nov 4/08: Courtesy of Flicker and cindeeluhu1 who generously provided these images of Boldt castle for anyone to use, I've included them here until I can locate all the ones that we took - which could take awhile as we've moved twice since visiting but this gives you an idea of how gorgeous this place truly is! Included are the front exterior of the castle, one of the many castle gardens and an incredible stained glass in the ceiling of the Great Room. All images are under Fair Use and Public Domain guidelines free of restrictions, available for use by anyone.