Tour Heart Island in the 1000 Islands Region of New York State
One of the most interesting attractions you can visit in the 1000 Islands region in New York is Boldt Castle on Heart Island. Boldt Castle is a huge, 120-room fanciful mansion and complex that was built at the turn of the century by George C. Boldt. Boldt undertook the project in 1900 as a gift for his wife Louise.
The building of the mansion was suspended in 1904 following the death of Louise, and the Castle was neglected for more than 70 years. The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the Castle in 1977, and since then millions of dollars have been used in expansive and elaborate restorations.
Today you can tour several rooms and areas of the eleven building Boldt Castle complex. Visitors enjoy marveling at the mish-mash of architectural styles displayed in the unique structures. Typical of homes in America of the Gilded Age, it seems as if hundreds of years of architectural history were combined in the complex’s creation. You will recognize both medieval and Victorian styles in various parts of this unique complex.
During your visit to Heart Island, you can tour six structures: the Castle, Alster Tower, the Hennery, the Arch, the Power House, and a charming stone Gazebo. You can start off your tour by viewing a 15-minute orientation video that details information on George and Louise Boldt and the history of the 1000 Islands region. Information about some of the incredible restoration efforts that have been undertaken on the Island is also detailed.
One of the most picturesque buildings you will visit on your tour of Heart Island is the Power House and Clock Tower. The Power House features an arched stone bridge and resembles a storybook Medieval-style castle. Inside the Power House, you will see photos demonstrating the lifestyle of those who lived in this area at the turn of the century. There is also an intriguing steam engine display that resembles the one which would have provided power for the Island’s grounds.
Alster Tower is another incredible structure you will tour at Heart Island. It was primarily used as an entertainment area for guests and features the beautiful Shell Room and a basement bowling alley. The plans designed for the upper floors included bedrooms, a billiard room, cafe, grill and kitchen, and more.
You can access Boldt Castle by water taxi, private boat, or on a tour boat, and you take a self-guided tour from mid-May through the middle of October. 5-acre Heart Island includes restrooms, concessions stands, picnic areas, and a gift shop for visitors’ convenience.