By Senator Patty Ritchie
This month, as part of “Senator Ritchie’s Community Spotlight,” I am highlighting Boldt Castle, a true gem of the Thousand Islands that just took home the top prize for New York State’s best warm-weather travel destination.
Boldt Castle on Heart Island in Alexandria Bay was the finalist in an “I LOVE NY” March Madness bracket competition for favorite Empire State attraction.
It was up against Letchworth State Park in Castile for the title, and after 50,000 votes, beat out 32 other locations.
Millionaire hotel magnate George Boldt who also managed the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City built the castle.
He started construction on it in 1900 as a summer home for his wife, Louise.
In 1904, construction stopped when Louise passed away and George was too heartbroken to continue the project.
It remained empty for seven decades before work began on it again and continues to this day.
In addition to the castle, there are five other structures open to the public on Heart Island.
They include the Power House, the Alster Tower, the Hennery, the Arch and the stone Gazebo.
Across the St. Lawrence River is the Boldt Castle Yacht House on Wellesley Island, which is accessible via a free shuttle boat from Heart Island.
Owned and operated by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, Boldt Castle and its Yacht House open to the public beginning on May 6.
Both can be reached by water taxi and public and private boats.
The attractions are handicapped accessible.
If you haven’t been to Boldt Castle before, make a special trip to the Thousand Islands to see its stunning structures and interiors, which are legendary and reminiscent of Europe’s magnificent castles.
For those who have experienced the wonder of Boldt Castle already, take another look at New York’s top warm-weather destination, which improves – and becomes even more beautiful – year after year.