For the Romantic: Boldt Castle in New York

Boldt Castle, New York© 2009 Courtesy of the Thousand Islands Bridge AuthorityThe Thousand Islands architectural oddity knows as Alster Tower is one of the structures comprising the Boldt Castle complex.

Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, New York

Situated on a five-acre island in the Thousand Island region, Boldt Castle is the most extravagant of the Gilded Age estates and the setting of a heartbreaking love story.

Designed in the style of a Rhineland castle, this 127-room turn-of-the-century stone mansion was built by hotel magnate George Boldt. Boldt conceived the castle as a testimonial to his beloved wife, Louise. Tragically, Louise died when the castle was only 80 percent complete. Devastated, Boldt halted all construction and never returned to the island again. For 75 years the castle fell into ruin.

Today, however, Boldt Castle is finally being restored according to Boldt’s original vision. Visitors can take a self-guiding tour of the castle buildings and grounds and learn about the Boldt family’s lifestyle, the restoration of Heart Island, and the history of the Thousand Island region.

Open daily mid-May–mid-Oct. Admission charged. Fee for transportation to Heart Island by water taxi or tour boat.

(800) 847-5263; (315) 482-9724

Did you know?
The island on which Boldt Castle sits was originally named Hart Island, after a former owner. Ever the romantic, Henry Boldt changed the spelling to Heart Island and altered the shape of the island to more closely resemble a heart. Drawn by the aura of romance that still permeates Boldt Castle, over 700 couples have exchanged wedding vows on the grounds of Heart Island.

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