Fri., July 20th – The highlight of our first day in 1000 Islands was to board the Uncle Sam Boat Tour for a cruise along this stunning waterway dotted with island after island….some large enough for stately homes of the rich and famous, others so tiny you see only a rock and a tiny little tree. In all, they claim to have counted 1,864 islands in this 50 mile span! None can compare to the island that houses the magnificent Boldt Castle where we spent a few hours exploring the many buildings and beautifully landscaped grounds. I must admit, I didn’t know who in the world George Boldt was until today. In brief, he was a penniless European immigrant who became one of the wealthiest of his day as a hotelier, thanks to his good friend John Astor of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Well, Boldt came to this area and bought an island he carved into the shape of a heart and in 1900 began construction of a multi-million dollar Rhineland like castle that was to be a Valentine gift for his beloved wife, Louise. Sadly, she died unexpectedly at age 42 before it was completed. Heartbroken, George stopped all construction. It remained an empty shell until it was acquired by the Alexandria Bay Bridge Authority in 1977. Since that time, they have been completing the job Boldt never finished. It’s still a work in progress, but so worth the time to visit. We couldn’t have picked a more gorgeous day to take in all this breathtaking St. Lawrence Seaway beauty!
Interesting Fact: One of the islands has a small walking bridge to another tiny island adjacent to the estate home. Under this bridge is the border between the USA and Canada. As the story goes, when the owner has had enough of his wife, he can take his dog across the bridge and leave the country for awhile. True story. You have to see the picture!