The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, owners of historic Boldt Castle and Yacht House, present these two premier 1000 Islands attractions with their fascinating stories, historic structures, scenic views, beautiful gardens and grounds featuring Heart Island’s Italian Gardens and Statuary providing a classic and romantic addition to our exterior attraction with its themed four-season marble statues and water fountain this garden has become a favorite for our visitors. For years the Boldt Facilities have struggled to maintain operations at full capacity during power outages an issue finally remedied with the installation of a new 150 KW generator providing the Boldt Facilities with uninterrupted power while affording our visitors with a consistent, safe, secure and pleasant Boldt Castle experience. Introduced in 2018, our audio guide is now available to our visitors by downloading an app to their smart phones. This audio guide provides over an hour of audio, taking visitors through the fascinating life and times of George Boldt and the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s role in rehabilitating these historic structures.
2019 Boldt Facilities Rehabilitation Projects:
With the opening of the first restored room in the Alster tower, visitors for the first time in 2018 saw the immense detail and finishing George Boldt incorporated into his beloved Alster tower. Visitors can now enjoy the restored channel side porch open off the Venetian room. With the completion of the main body of the room, craftsman restored and re-build the original “S” shaped door separating the Venetian Room from the Shell room. With its curved doors and windows all closing and interlocking together it is truly a unique set of doors. It has been installed and finished and will be open for use and viewing in the 2019 season.
Rehabilitation of the Alster Tower has moved to the original Café. All millwork, original tiles and its ice box have been removed for restoration. The original floor and framing were removed completely after years of rot and water damage. The new floor has been reframed and masonry repairs are being made to further reinforce and strengthen the structure. Over the winter months 7 new white oak windows have been built to replace the current ones. A new entrance door and frame has been built by the craftsman reusing all the original locking hardware and band iron.
Work will continue in on the Café in the spring of 2019, the subfloor will be installed, and work will begin on the gutter system for the ceiling. This old stone structure, despite all the work it has received on its exterior including repoint, epoxying, grouting and water sealing, still absorbs water and leaks into the interior. Boldt facilities craftsman developed a gutter system, which has proven to work quite well in the Venetian room. The new system sheds all water that enters through the ceiling to the exterior walls and in to the basement, reducing the amount of water damage and necessary repairs that needs to be made. Original hand painted tile will be reproduced, and interior framing will be done. At that point the new window and doors will be installed.
Boldt Castle Craftsmen have continued their work on the channel side fountain over the winter months. Twelve concrete caps stones have been poured along with two column caps. They have been water sealed and crated for transportation to Heart island in the summer months. Work on a one of a kind four-foot-tall by three-foot-wide center feature for the fountain has begun and will be ready for installation in the spring. Craftsman will continue working on the stone veneer in the spring, meticulously hand cutting every stone using the same methods that the men who originally built Boldt Castle used. The fountain is scheduled for completion in the 2020 season, but visitors can still view the progress on a daily basis.
After the flooding of the 2017, the powerhouse was closed for nearly half the 2018 season for restoration. The interior of the building had as much as 16” of water inside at its highest mark. Once the water receded it the interior walls had to gutted from 8’ and down. With new water-resistant backing materials and tile, the Power House is once again open. Complimenting the new tile all windows, walls and ceilings were refinished and painted. The hanging signage was reproduced and installed. We look forward to opening the doors Power House doors for the 2019 season.
The former gift store on the dock has been renamed the Castle Café, it offers temperature controlled indoor seating for our visitors to enjoy a meal from our concession stand. There is a short informational video playing featuring the Yacht house and its attractions and new in 2019 there is a 17” cedar skiff on hanging from the ceiling that is on loan from the Antique Boat Museum.
The Boldt Castle dining room will be receiving a piece from the original Boldt collection of dining room furniture. The buffet that matches the dining room table has been acquired and is being restored to its original beauty. The engravings and details on the dining room table are the same as on the buffet.
Boldt Yacht House:
Located directly across the water from Boldt Castle on Wellesley Island is the magnificent Boldt Yacht House. First opened to the public in 1996 by the Authority, the Boldt Yacht House is the last and largest remaining Yacht House on the St. Lawrence River. The Boldt Yacht House contains many antique boats, some of which were originally owned by George C. Boldt. 2009 witnessed the arrival of the steam yacht Kestrel, built in 1892 and donated to the Boldt Yacht House by Mr. John Luhrs of Luhrs Marine. The Kestrel is 63’ long with a 12 ½’ beam and typifies the steam yachts of George Boldt’s era. The first floor living quarters of the Boldt Yacht House are also open for viewing providing visitors with an exceptional experience as they tour this very special river landmark. The Boldt Yacht House contains antique boats, many displays, signs and pictures of boating and yachting on the St. Lawrence River. The Boldt Facilities work closely with the Antique Boat Museum, Clayton, NY to exhibit and showcase a collection of antique boats representing a grand era of boating on the St. Lawrence River.
The Yacht House received a significant lighting upgrade to enhance the displays and match what would have been installed originally. Black hat lights have been installed with vintage Led bulbs to create the original warm glow of the 1900’s period lighting. Led flood lighting has been installed to illuminate the tall vaulted ceilings.
In addition, the Boldt Facilities is slated to receive a new wastewater treatment plant. Installation is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2019. This extensive development is projected to be completed in 2020.
During the Authority’s 42 years of ownership of the former Boldt properties on Heart Island and the Boldt Yacht House on Wellesley Island, millions of dollars have been invested in rehabilitation and improvement efforts. At the same time the Boldt Facilities have hosted over 1,100 weddings and have counted over 7 million visitors to these historic properties providing the 1000 Islands International Tourism Industry with a substantial asset and demonstrating the Authority’s long-term commitment to improve and preserve these landmark properties for present and future generations to enjoy.
On June 15th Boldt Castle is pleased to host for the first time, Family Discovery Day. The fun-filled day will give parents and children the opportunity to explore a wide variety of fun, educational topics including music, geology, art, animals, reading and horticulture. Guests include The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, The Sci-Tech Center, Westy’s Birds of Prey, a pianist, a harpist, face painting, a free photobooth, our popular plant a flower garden and Geologist Terry Side. NYS operation safe child will be on hand to issue photo ID’s to children. As well, authors Mona Forney and Janet Watkins of the Izzy’s Closet series will be doing readings and book signings of their latest book, which features a visit to Boldt Castle. Izzy’s Closet is a nonprofit organization that provides basic school supplies, clothing and books for children. One of the ways they fund their programs is through the sale of children’s books written about Izzy, the Groton Library Cat, and her adventures.
On Saturday September 8th Boldt Castle will host “A Fairytale Adventure”. Featuring princesses, pirates and other characters of lore. Guests are encouraged to take part by dressing as their favorite fairytale character and join with other costumed characters to partake in many interactive activities for children.
Boldt Castle and the Boldt Yacht House will open for the 2019 season on Saturday May 11th and remain open daily until Sunday October 20th.
Please call 315-482-9724 or log onto www.boldtcastle.com for more information about Boldt Castle, admission rates, weddings, events and links to scenic cruise operators offering stops at the Castle. For general 1000 Islands tourism information, including lodging, call 800-847-5263 or log onto www.visit1000islands.com.