Monday, January 24, 2011

Boldt Castle & the 1000 Islands

If Husband and I ever win the lottery, this is the first thing I'd buy:

Comfort Island in the 1000 Islands; currently for sale at the bargain price of $1,495,000
Or maybe this:

I love this place. Carlton Villa at the head of Carlton Island (have no clue who that man is in the picture). This place, as you can see, has been left to rot for years. But with work (lots and lots) it could look almost as good as it used to.

There is always an island for sale in the 1000 Islands. Most people who know me know that I love it there. It is quite possibly my favorite place on earth.

I don't consider myself "well traveled". But I can't imagine ever going somewhere as unique as the Islands. It's like being at the beach and being in the mountains at the same time. Only better. Yes, it has tourists - like the beach. And it has a woodsie feel and homes that I'm sure feel as warm and inviting as they look - like the mountains. I've taken the boat tours there more times than I can count and I see something every time that I didn't notice the time before. The 1000 Islands make every where else that I go seem generic.

For years I self-toured Boldt Castle just about every summer. The main attraction for the tiny town of Alexandria Bay. And I went every year and took the same pictures. Like so many other structures throughout the scenery of the Islands, it is a beautiful, ornamental home with a story attached to it. It's everywhere. George Boldt, a man who came to this country and worked his way from nothing, bought Heart Island (was Hart Island when he bought it but he changed it). He made plans to construct a castle on the island with several other buildings scattered on the island as a gift to his wife Louise to be presented to her on her birthday in 1905 - February 14th. A year before the completion of the castle he got word that his wife had died and he ordered all construction to be stopped and he never went out to the island again. The island and buildings were abandoned for years. I remember going as a kid and being able to look straight up through the roof of the place. It always just felt sad.

Boldt Castle on Heart Island
Taken from the balcony of our hotel during our trip for a friend's wedding in 2009

Taken by Husand during our 2007 trip

Again taken during our 2007 should depress me how much thinner I am here!

The Alster Tower but most call it the "Playhouse". The Boldt family used this as their residence during contruction of the castle.
The Boldt Yacht house.

The dome inside the castle.

View from the second floor looking down to the main entrance

Mom & Dad during our 2003 trip

Me & Nate (before he was Husband) during our 2003 trip
I think it may have been our 2003 trip when I bought a copy of Bold Castle: In Search of the Lost Story by Paul Malo (who died in 2008). I know you can't believe everything you read, but I honestly believe this man loved the 1000 Islands and was in search of the truth. He stated in his book that Louise Boldt took her own life at her townhome in New York City. He also stated that the castle isn't being restored according to the original plans - which the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority (the current owners) does have.

During our 2007 trip, after having read that book, the island was sad for other reasons. It still retained the "love story sadness" but when you look at after reading what should be done differently it becomes a new kind of sad. The structure was never finished and yet several rooms and the elevator now give off the impression that they looked that way in 1904. There is a study or library that has furniture in it that looks like it arrived from the Pottery Barn yesterday. The fountain pictured above was not in the original plans, it was made because they found that shell on the grounds. So, even though they are keeping it from ruins it doesn't have the appeal that it used to when it was just a crumbling monument of love.

However, on a brighter note, our most recent trip to the islands in 2009 was for my friend Jen's wedding. She and her hubby were married on the island and it definitely didn't feel sad that day. They've been happily married for a little over a year now and are expecting their first baby in July :)

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how I missed this blog entry- But I love it!!! Love the pictures and can't wait to go back and visit this summer.


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