Last week my parents were visiting and we took a little road trip to Boldt Castle. I had never heard of it up until a year ago (which is strange since we live so close!) and when I mentioned it last Spring to my dad as something I wanted to do this year he jumped at the idea (I think all things history and love for old monuments kinda runs in the family). The trip there was so pretty!! the Castle is located on an island just off the shore of Alexandria Bay, New York. From our place in Ottawa it's about an hour and a half drive which makes it the perfect day trip. We drove down alongside the st. Lawrence river (on the NY state side) and the views were spectacular! (I took a bunch of video on the drive down and you can see it in the little clip I put together below or here).
There were a bunch of places to stop and over- look the river which looked beautiful; if we didn't have peacefully sleeping babes in the backseat I would have stopped at a couple of them (but I'll take peacefully sleeping over the views at this stage in our life! ha!). we're hoping to plan our first overnight away as a family this Fall - and now after having driven through this part of new york state, I'm tempted to head to the adirondacks! it was such a beautiful drive!
I don't even know where to start because MIke and I spent the entire ride home googling all the extra questions we had and we are now officially kinda experts on the history. So the coles notes version as follows: George Boldt, a hotel magnate and millionaire (he ran the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC) bought "Hart Island" in the St. Lawerence river for his beloved wife Louise around the turn of the century. It's this tragic love story because he wanted it to be his gift to her; a summer home built like a German Castle (they were German) but after he renamed the island to "Heart" Island, and spent 3 years commissioning the building, she died tragically. He was so heartbroken he called off all work the next day leaving it half-completed for about 80 years. They've been working to restore the castle and all the accompanying buildings (of which there are many!) since, and there are little reminders of his love everywhere - hearts in the facade of the outer part of the castle, gardens in the shape of hearts, he even physically changed the shape of the island to a heart!! Maybe one of the most romantic (and grand) gestures I've ever heard of? We spent the better part of the morning and afternoon touring the grounds and the building, we had a picnic, June threw pebbles into the italian fountain & and Flora slept through the length of it. It truly is an amazing spot - I'm not sure there are any other Castles in North America? It felt like we stepped off a boat and had landed in Europe which is pretty spectacular given that we're right in the middle of North america.
it was such a beautiful summer day with my family!! juney has already asked to go back again "one day" and mike and I talked the whole way home about all these fun kinds of trips together as a family as our kids get older. it's a lot of "work" like this when they're little but you still end up so happy you went! Thanks for the fabulous day boldt castle!
love this picture of my dad and June. makes my year to see my parents with my kids xo
a shot of the "power house" ^^^ from the boat on the way to the island. the electricity was generated to power the castle in this building.
no trip complete without a little "boat selfie"! ^^
mike diligently playing his role as pack mule. such a good dad!!
a few shots from inside the castle. The first two floors have been refurbished and restored (they completely fell into disrepair after sitting there untouched for 80 years. We took some pictures from the top two floors which you can visit, but you can see how they would have been left mid-construction. it was pretty neat/a bit heartbreaking because the whole time you're reminded of how his gift fell short of completion when Louise boldt died.
always with the awkward poses.
some of the unfinished rooms with spectcular views of the st. lawrence river.
forgot to mention there was a full on pool in the walk out basement level of the building. the round windows below and right of june are the pool windows VVVVV
this building is 90 feet tall and it's called the "children's playhouse." it has a bowling alley, a children's theatre stage, apartments for guests and a billiards room.
and that building in the distance is the "yacht house" - unfortunately it wasn't open to the public because the river levels have been so high with all the flooding we've had this year... but it looks so grand and spectacular that I imagine it warrants a visit of its own!
we're located on an american island right off the shore of canada. you can actually clear customs right on the island if you take a ferry from the canadian side of the river.
first family road trip of four: success!!