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 2016 was a new Boldt Castle Audio Guide which was available in a small mp3 device, beginning with the 2018 season this audio guide will be available to our visitors by down loading an app to their smart phones. This audio guide provides over an hour of audio taking visitors through time to hear and learn about the fascinating life and times of George Boldt and the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority’s role in rehabilitating these historic structures.
2018 Boldt Facilities Rehabilitation Projects:
For the first time since the Boldt family lived on Heart Island, an interior room of the Alster Tower will be restored! The TIBA has been focusing efforts here for some time and this season will see these efforts rewarded. The Alster Tower’s Venetian as it was known, will feature restored ornamental millwork, windows and doors. Restoration to the original fireplace mantel has been crafted for the room and glazed ceramic tile and hardwood flooring have been installed. Last season ornate plaster was added, including two wall medallions and moldings around the ceiling. Much of this work has been completed by the Boldt Facilities own craftsmen. Upon completion this room will reflect a turn-of-the-century gentleman’s refuge with interpreted furnishings as when the Boldt’s made use of the structure in 1898 and decorated with a medieval theme. All ongoing restoration work can be viewed by guests while construction is taking place and is chronicled with a video presentation for visitors to enjoy.
Boldt Castle’s craftsmen will continue the restoration of a large fountain that once added to the beauty of Heart Island’s grounds. Modern guests knew the location as a flower bed, however research indicated the fountain had been there during Boldt’s ownership, perhaps before. Excavation at the site revealed that 1900’s era plumbing would have supported the feature fountain. The attractive fountain is slated for completion beginning with the 2019 season however, visitors will be able to view the daily progress on this new project. Finally, over 12,000 flowers and plants will be transported to Heart Island to fill its numerous flower gardens and plants of many varieties to adorn the beautifully landscape grounds.
Inside the Main Castle, a new display featuring Mr. Boldt’s personal desk from the Waldorf-Astoria was added to the Library last season. This item was donated by descendants of George and Louise. This unique two sided or partner desk is accompanied by images of Mr. Boldt seated in his office at the hotel that he and Louise made famous. This addition to the Authorities’ collection of Boldt artifacts adds even more to the history and beauty of Boldt Castle. Previously completed interior projects include the Boldt Castle Kitchen, Maid’s Dining Room, Servant’s Dining Room, the Butler’s Pantry, Boldt Castle Theater, Library, Ballroom, Billiards Room, Reception Room, Dining Room, Grand Staircase, Stained Glass Dome, Elevator, Boldt Family Bedroom Suites, marble flooring, ornate plaster treatments and period furnishings. The Authority has and continues to accomplish never realized finishes to historic Boldt Castle and the Boldt Yacht House.
Boldt Castle has also formed a partnership with the Jefferson County Historical Society for the 2018 season. The Historical Society will be loaning out an assortment of items, most notably will be displays of period clothing which will be placed throughout the Castle. While these items are not from the Boldt family, we hope they will help guests better understand what daily life would have been like for those who would have lived and worked in Boldt Castle if it had been completed.
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.
During the Authority’s 41 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.
Returning for a fourth time is the annual “Family Fun Day” event, which will be held on Saturday June 16th. Visiting Heart Island this year will again be several well-known costumed PBS Kids cartoon characters such as Cat in the Hat, Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog and more. While this event has been very successful every season, this year WPBS has worked to add even more unique entertainment! Making a first time appearance will be the new PBS Kids character “Nature Cat”. For the first-time musical performances will be added to the schedule courtesy of “Stagenotes”. As always children will be able to interact with their favorite characters and have an opportunity to take part in various activities such as face painting, planting a flower garden or making a birdhouse. 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 2018 season on Saturday May 12th and remain open daily until Sunday October 21st.
Please call 315-482-2501 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.