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Tour Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle is an icon of the Thousand Islands. Sitting on Heart Island on the St. Lawrence River, the architecture and beauty of the castle draws thousands of visitors in daily. Today you can tour Boldt Castle through a self-guided tour, visiting the castle, the grounds, and several other structures on the island. Pair up your visit to Boldt Castle with a Thousand Islands boat ride tour and see the islands, homes, and lighthouses along the St. Lawrence River.

About the Castle

The Boldt family purchased the island, previously known as Hart Island, and lived for a few years on a already standing home on the island. George decided to build a more extravagant home that resembled the castles in the Rhine River of Germany. Boldt Castle was to be constructed by George C. Boldt as a gift to his wife, Louise.

The design features many hearts in the design and George Boldt even blasted the island to make it resemble the shape of a heart, renaming the island from Hart Island to Heart Island.

Construction on the castle began in 1900 and continued for a couple years before an unexpected tragedy hit the family. Louise passed away, and George halted construction on the castle, leaving it only partially completed.

For 73 years the castle sat vacant on Heart Island. In the 1970’s the island was purchased by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority and beginning in 1977, restoration work for the castle and Yacht house began.

Heart Island is a 5 acre island that contains the Castle and other structures, a public restroom, gift shop, concession stand, and several picnic areas.

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How to Get There

The castle can be reached by boat only. There are options for private boats to dock on the island, but most reach the island through a tour. Tours leave from both the New York and Canadian sides, but since the island is on US grounds visitors from Canada must provide passports for entry to the island.

Uncle Sam Boat Tours is a great option for tours of the Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle and is the option that we chose for our visit.

****TIP: Always be sure to check before purchasing your tickets for a tour to make sure that there is a stop at Heart Island*****

Hours

Boldt Castle is open daily from 10:30am to 6:30pm.

The Yacht House is open daily from 10:30am to 5:30pm.

Cost

  • Admission to Boldt Castle: $10 for adults, $7 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under is free
  • Yacht House Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under are free.
  • Combination packages are $13 for adults, $7.50 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under are free.
Flowers, Boldt Castle, Thousand Islands
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Some flowers on the grounds.

Tour Options

Uncle Sam Boat Tours

Uncle Sam Boat Tours offers many options for viewing the Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle.

For the cheapest option and if you don’t mind missing out on seeing the St. Lawrence River and islands, take the Boldt Island Shuttle. This shuttle will take you directly to Heart Island where you will be able to tour the castle. The shuttle is $9.50 for adults and $7 for ages 5-12. Separate admission to the castle is required.

For an in-depth tour of the Thousand Islands take the American Narrows tour (previously called the Two Nations Tour). This tour will take you through the heart of the Thousand Islands, by many of the islands and summer homes, and by (and to) Heart Island. During the tour you will be provided with the history and interesting facts about the area. The tour lasts about two hours and ends at Heart Island, where you will be able to enjoy your self-guided tour. This tour is $24.50 for adults and $12.25 for ages 5-12. Admission to Boldt Castle is separate.

There are also tour options for a luncheon cruise, Millionaire’s Row One Hour Tour, and the Singer Castle Tour.

Uncle Sam Boat Tours, Boldt Castle , Thousand Islands.
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Uncle Sam Boat Tours.

Clayton Island Tours

Clayton Island Tours offers multiple tour options. The Boldt Castle tour will take you through the Thousand Islands and St. Lawrence River, passing sites such as Rock Island, Devil’s Oven, and Millionaire’s Row. There is an option to hop off and take a self guided tour at Boldt Castle. The tour is $25 for adults, $14 for ages 5 to 12, and 4 and under are free. Boldt Castle admission is separate.

The Rock Island Lighthouse Tour will give you the opportunity to take a glass bottom boat ride through the St. Lawrence River to Rock Island, where you will be able to get off and wander the island. You will pass several famous sites, such as the shipwreck of the Schooner Elk, Eel Bay, and Isle of Pines. The tour is $27 for adults, $18 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under are free. Rock Island admission is included in the price.

Other tour options include a sunset cruise along the St. Lawrence River and an Islands, Lighthouses, and Castle tour.

Tour Boldt Castle

Exploring the castle is done as a self guided tour, giving you the freedom to explore the castle, grounds, and other buildings located on the island.

The first stop on the self guided tour is the Castle itself. Enter the castle from the front and you will be greeted with views of the grand staircase. Throughout the castle you will find plenty of signs describing the history of the rooms and images of what the rooms once looked like before restoration. On the second floor you will also find a short, fifteen minute film that will give you the history of the castle.

The first and second floors of the castle have been renovated and contain rooms that you can walk through. The rooms are beautifully decorated and contain furniture from the time period. On the first floor you will find the grand staircase, reception room, dining room, ballroom, billiard room, library, and the kitchen. On the second floor you will find many bedrooms and the gift shop.

bedroom, tour boldt castle, thousand islands.
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The third and forth floors are unrenovated and appear as they did in the 1970’s when the castle was purchased by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. On the forth floor you will find a balcony that you can step out onto, giving you great views of the island, the roofs of the castle, and the St. Lawrence River.

uncompleted room, tour Boldt castle, thousand islands
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One of the uncompleted rooms on the upper floors. It very much appealed to the urbex in me.

You can also visit the basement, which has a pool, storage areas, and boiler room.

Boldt Castle, pool, basement
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The Pool in the Basement.

Be sure to check out the Italian Gardens that you will find between the Castle and the Powerhouse. The views are stunning with colorful flowers and beautiful fountains.

gardens, tour boldt castle, thousand islands
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The Italian Gardens.

Next you will come upon the Hennery. The Hennery once contained a water tank that supplied the island with fresh water. At the top sits a Dove house.

the hennery. tour boldt castle., thousand islands
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The Hennery

Next visit the Boldt Castle Powerhouse. The powerhouse was once home to two generators that supplied power to the entire island. The interior of the powerhouse contains a museum on the history of the powerhouse.

tour boldt castle, powerhouse, thousand islands
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The Powerhouse.

Next visit the Alster Tower, which is commonly called the playhouse. This tower is where guests on the island would be entertained. The tower contained a bowling alley in the basement, a billiard room, a library, cafe, grill, and kitchen.

Alster Tower. Boldt Castle. Thousand Islands.
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The Alster Tower.

The Arch was the official entrance of the island/castle. The arch was modeled after Roman monuments. At the top of the arch sits sculptures of deer.

Arch, Boldt Castle, Thousand Islands
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The Arch.

If you choose, you can also take a short ferry ride to the Boldt Castle Yacht House. The Yacht House contains several antique boats for you to view. You can also visit the apartment inside the building.

Yacht House. Boldt Castle. Thousand Islands.
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The Yacht House.

TIP: Be sure to download the Boldt Castle app to help you with on your journey! The app will give you information about the history of the island and castle, images, and maps of the grounds.

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Pin It For Later!
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Pin It For Later!
Sitting on the St. Lawrence River in Alexandria Bay, New York is the majestic Boldt Castle. The castle is full of history, beautiful architecture, and stunning views. Tour Boldt Castle today to see all it has to offer.
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9 Comments »

  1. We are planning a trip to the Thousand Islands this fall. On previous visits I remember boat trips that gave us a view of Boldt Castle from the outside. But this year we would not be able to tour the grounds from Canada. Go great to get a look at the inside and around the grounds. I do love that Italian Gardens. I will download the app so I can pinpoint things as we sail by.

  2. This was such an interesting read. The whole bit about how the family bought it, blasted it and created their home. No doubt that the castle is lovely, but I found the surrounding buildings like the Powerhouse so fascinating.The whole stone structure is what adds character to it. I think this is a lovely destination to visit.

  3. I am glad that they decided to restore the castle and the place. I think it would be a great experience to visit this place as it has a colorful history that is full of love. It may not have a happy ending but the intention is beautiful. Love the heart-shaped details. Would love to visit someday. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience.

  4. The castle looks fascinating. Like the ones you see in movies. As someone who cruised on the Rhine and been fascinated by the endless castles there, I can relate to this family’s wish to build one like those. Too sad she died before seeing it completed.
    Glad that the authorities chose to renovate it. Thanks for the tip about choosing cruises that have a stop-over at Heart island. I really wouldn’t want to miss it when I’m there.

  5. I haven’t heard about Boldt Castle before, but I add it to my list! The place looks fabulous; architecture is unique! The Powerhouse looks like from fairytale! Italian Gardens are so romantic. It was built in 1900 as an impressive stone structure. I hope to take a boat trip one day to visit this place.

  6. What a beautiful place! I have never heard of this castle before. I’m happy they have kept the history alive and fixed the place up. I would definitely love to visit here when ever we get to explore the east coast more. Also the tower looks very interesting. Thank you for telling us about this place which I would have probably never found otherwise.

  7. I’ve had so many New York friends visit Boldt Castle this summer, and I can see why, it is stunning. I knew about the castle, but didn’t know a thing about the history or why it was there. It’s really interesting how it was formed to shape a heart and renamed appropriately. It’s really sad that the owner’s wife died, and so they never really go to see the full potential of their home. I like that the app is offered for the tour!

  8. Your first photo of castle looked like if I am visiting Scotland or Germany. But after reading your post, I got to know there are beautiful ancient style of castles in US too. I would now surely plan for Thousand Islands and your tips are very helpful on how to reach. I would also love to take Sunset cruise here.

  9. I really found the history behind Boldt Castle interesting. I mean blasting an area to resemble the shape of hearts wow! Quite something. The interiors look very lavish too, a pool in the basement is a great idea, was it open for a swim? The Alster Tower and the Powerhouse look rather cute, with the cobblestone look. Italian Gardens must have lend you some gorgeous views. The idea of an app is so forward looking and useful.

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