As I wrote in my previous blog post, we enjoyed a boat cruise on the St. Lawrence River during our second day of vacation. At the end of the boat cruise we were given the option to disembark at Heart Island, at an additional admission fee of $9.00 each, which we did. Heart Island is home to Boldt Castle. We could spend as much time as desired on the island and take any Uncle Sam boat back to Alexandria Bay. We spent approximately 2 hours on the island during which time we watched a short video about George Boldt, the early death of his wife and the restoration of the castle and enjoyed a self-guided tour of the castle, its outbuildings and the island grounds .
George C. Boldt came to America in 1864 from Prussia, the son of poor parents. He became the most successful hotel magnate in America managing and profit sharing the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, as well as the Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Boldt began construction on Boldt Castle in 1900, as a tribute to his beloved wife Louise. Mrs. Boldt passed away suddenly, in January 1904, just months before the completion of the castle. Mr. Boldt was inconsolable and immediately stopped all construction on Heart Island, leaving the property vacant for over seventy years. In 1977 the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property and decided that through the use of all net revenues from the castle operation it would be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. Since 1977, several million dollars have been applied to rehabilitating, restoring and improving the Heart Island structures.
Boldt Castle rises six stories from the foundation level of the indoor pool
to the highest towered room. The castle contains 120 rooms.
We toured the ground floor, second floor, third floor, fourth floor and the foundation of the castle.
After our interior tour of Boldt Castle, we spent our remaining time admiring the outbuildings and the island grounds.
the Heart Island Gazebo
The design of Alster Tower looks like a defense tower. The Alster Tower, often referred to as the Playhouse, however, was intended for the entertainment of guests. The Alster Tower plans included a room for dancing, a bowling alley, a billiard room, library, bedrooms, cafe, grill and kitchen.
The interior of Alster Tower is currently under renovation.
The Entry Arch
The Entry Arch
Alster Tower in the background
The Power House and Clock Tower
The Power House originally housed two generators
that supplied electricity to Heart Island.
The four marble statues represent the four seasons.
the Dove-Cote Tower
The Dove-Cote Tower once housed an elevated water tank, which supplied water to the island structures. It was topped with a dove house, where fancy fowl were collected.
When we were ready to leave Heart Island, we did not have a long wait for a shuttle boat. Shuttle boat returns were every half hour at 10 minutes after and 20 minutes to the hour.
We rode this shuttle boat back to Alexandria Bay from Heart Island.
The return trip was quick, only a 10-minute ride.
One last look at Heart Island from the shuttle boat
We ate lunch at Coleman’s Dock of the Bay.
Bob ordered a Philly Cheese steak sandwich, and I ordered a pulled pork sandwich. Accompanying our sandwiches were house chips. We added a basket of onion rings with a Creole dip to our order. Lunch was good, especially the onion rings.
We returned to our hotel, Capt.’s Inn & Suites, around 4:00 pm.
In the early evening we took a drive to Tibbetts Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse, which is located in Cape Vincent, NY, was less than a 30-mile drive (along NY State Route 12) from our hotel.
Tibbetts Point Lighthouse
This lighthouse marks the point where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River.
We made it back to our hotel from Tibbetts Point Lighthouse only a short time before a storm hit. Thunder, lightning and rain was intense. At 8:15 pm the electricity went out at our hotel. The electricity was still out, when we went to bed 2 hours later. Sometime during the night our electricity was restored.