https://lesliet.typepad.com > Thousand Islands, August 2003

01 Evening view from Alex Bay

01 Evening view from Alex Bay

This is the view that greeted us when we drove into Alexandria Bay, New York, on Monday evening. We knew Alex Bay was on the bank of the St. Lawrence River, but we had no idea that we were near the Thousand Islands or that we would see castles on the islands. We were entranced.


02 Evening View from Alex Bay

02 Evening View from Alex Bay


03 Evening View with Ship

03 Evening View with Ship

As we walked through the riverfront park, this monster tanker came steaming past us, along the Saint Lawrence Seaway shipping channel. Usually only a few ships come by each day, so we were lucky to be there at just the right time.


04 Evening view with Ship

04 Evening view with Ship


05 Boldt Castle and Playhouse

05 Boldt Castle and Playhouse

We stayed over at Alex Bay and went for a boat cruise in the morning. (Unfortunately, the weather had turned cloudy, so these pictures aren't the best.) This is a closer view of Boldt Castle, along with the "Playhouse" - the stone tower on the left. At the end of the boat cruise, we were taken to the island and allowed to roam about the castle.


06 Mansion

06 Mansion

Although Boldt Castle was one of the largest, many of the islands had houses or mansions of various sizes. Many of these were built as summer homes around the turn of the last century.


07 Island with Cave

07 Island with Cave

This cave was said to be a haunt of smugglers.


08 Island with Cave

08 Island with Cave


09 Small Islands with Birds

09 Small Islands with Birds

The islands come in all shapes and sizes, although islands are only included in the official count if they are at least 1 square foot in area, stay above water in all seasons, and support at least 1 tree.


10 Small Islands

10 Small Islands


11 Island House

11 Island House


12 Island House

12 Island House


13 Island House

13 Island House


14 Osprey Nest

14 Osprey Nest


15 Island House

15 Island House


16 Boldt Castle Playhouse

16 Boldt Castle Playhouse

The Boldts lived in this whimsical building while the main castle was being constructed.


17 Boldt Castle

17 Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle was constructed by George C. Boldt, who was a Prussian immigrant who made his fortune in the hotel industry, managing luxurious hotels like the New York Waldorf-Astoria. (He invented many modern hotel concepts, and his chef originated the Thousand Islands salad dressing.) He was building the castle for his wife, but when she died suddenly, he halted all work on the castle and never returned to the island. The 120-room castle was derelict from 1904 to 1977, when it was acquired by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority and opened to tourists.


18 Boldt Caste Power House

18 Boldt Caste Power House

Coal-fired electric generators were going to be installed in this building at the tip of the island.


19 Tom Thumb Island

19 Tom Thumb Island

This is the smallest island that meets the official designation (at least 1 square foot and supporting at least 1 tree).


20 Island House

20 Island House


21 Inlet

21 Inlet


22 International Bridge

22 International Bridge

These two islands are both owned by the same person, but the left one (with the house) is in Canada and the right one (with the tennis court) is in the U.S. Thus the international bridge.


23 International Bridge

23 International Bridge


24 Boldt Castle Entry Arch

24 Boldt Castle Entry Arch

At this point, we are on Heart Island, touring the Boldt Castle grounds. This magnificent arch was planned to be the entry point for boats, which would glide under the arch into a lily pond in front of the castle. Note the group of stags on the top.


25 Playhouse and Entry Arch

25 Playhouse and Entry Arch


26 View from Playhouse Porch

26 View from Playhouse Porch

This was a lovely shady spot, with a great view of the river.


27 Boldt Castle Power Plant

27 Boldt Castle Power Plant

Here's another view of the power plant, with its lovely arched bridge and clock tower.


28 Dovecote

28 Dovecote

The dovecote stands in the back garden.


29 Boldt Castle Porch

29 Boldt Castle Porch

Another great summer spot with sweeping views.


30 Porch with fireplace

30 Porch with fireplace

Cookout, anyone?


31 Boldt Castle Interior

31 Boldt Castle Interior

Although most of the castle was unfinished, they did fix up a couple of rooms in period style to show you what it would have looked like. This is the Reception Room. Check out the ceiling.


32 Boldt Castle Dining Room

32 Boldt Castle Dining Room

The dining room broke the castle paradigm by having huge windows with an expansive view toward the Canadian side of the river.


33 Boldt Castle Exterior

33 Boldt Castle Exterior

The castle had lots of porches, verandas, and balconies where you could view the river and catch the summer breezes.


34 View from Boldt Castle

34 View from Boldt Castle


35 Alexandria Bay

35 Alexandria Bay

A view of the tour boat steaming back into Alexandria Bay, taken from Boldt Castle.


36 Boldt Castle from Alex Bay

36 Boldt Castle from Alex Bay

This is looking back to the castle after we disembarked from the tour boat.


37 View from the Bridge

37 View from the Bridge

Taken on the fly as we crossed the 5-span Thousand Islands Bridge into Canada. There's a viewing tower you can stop at, but since the weather was marginal and we didn't want to be too late getting to Toronto, we didn't stop.