Welcome to the enchanting world of the 1000 Islands, New York! Nestled amidst the breathtaking beauty of this region lies a remarkable gem called Boldt Castle. If you’re in search of a unique and captivating venue for your special event, look no further. In this venue review, we’ll delve into the history, amenities, planning process, guest experiences, and more, all highlighting why Boldt Castle should be at the top of your list.
Let’s step back in time and discover the captivating story behind Boldt Castle. This architectural marvel was the brainchild of George C. Boldt, a prominent hotelier and visionary of the late 19th century. He wanted to build a castle for his wife, the love of his life, Louise. Construction of the castle began in 1900. George’s vision was heavily inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle. It cost an estimated $2.5 million in 1900 for the construction of Boldt Castle, which is roughly $65 million in 2020 adjusted dollars.
The construction workers who built the castle first built the Boldt Castle Yachthouse on Wellesley Island, which can can also be toured. They then stayed at the Yachthouse while working on the Castle itself. Over 300 workers built Boldt Castle, including stonemasons, carpenters, and artists. They created the six story, 120 room structure, complete with tunnels, towers, a coal-fueled power house, gardens, a drawbridge (at the Yachthouse), in ground pool, and bowling alley.
In 1904, Louise died suddenly. George immediately halted the construction via telegram as he could not bring himself to finish the castle without Louise. For 73 years the castle and grounds sat abandoned. Subject to rain, harsh winters, and vandalization by visitors for decades. In 1977, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property and decided that through the use of all net revenues from the castle operation, it would be preserved as a historical landmark. It is listed on the National Registry of Historical Landmarks.
While the Castle is 6 stories, only two of the floors have been fully renovated thus far. The remaining floors are currently in the process of being remodeled. But you can still explore a couple of the unfinished floors, to see how the castle was left and the effects of abandonment.
Situated within the stunning 1000 Islands region on the border of New York and Ontario, Canada, Boldt Castle offers a picturesque backdrop like no other. This archipelago of islands boasts natural beauty in abundance, with emerald-green waters, lush landscapes, and charming waterfronts. Getting to Boldt Castle is pretty simple, with shuttle access points at Clayton, NY and Alexandria Bay, NY. Alexandria Bay is the most popular option (via Uncle Sam Boat Tours), as they offer a bit more with regards to shuttle schedule and is a shorter boat ride versus coming from Clayton, NY. The shuttle arrives in Alex Bay every half hour, and departs the island on X:15, and X:45. With the last shuttle at 6:30pm. Shuttle tickets are $10 per person and are all day tickets. Meaning you can come over anytime, and leave anytime.
Prepare to be awe-struck by the grandeur and beauty of Boldt Castle’s grounds. The exterior of the castle exudes elegance and historical significance, with meticulous attention to detail evident in every stone and archway. As you explore the castle’s interior, you’ll discover an array of enchanting spaces. Couples who choose Boldt Castle as their wedding venue have the option of using their Bridal and Groom suites for getting ready.
Accessibility features also ensure that everyone can partake in the magic, regardless of mobility limitations. Boldt Castle staff will be available to shuttle anyone who needs around the island, as there are a few hills that can be difficult for those with mobility restrictions.
Planning your event at Boldt Castle is a seamless and stress-free process. Once you’ve decided that Boldt Castle is your venue, get in touch with their event staff. They will help you schedule a time on your chosen date. Weddings at Boldt Castle are given 90 minutes of uninterrupted time in either the Dove Cote (as seen in the gallery above), or in the event of inclement weather, in one of the covered alcoves over looking the Italian Gardens. Please note that Boldt Castle does not provide a day-of wedding coordinator, so you will have to either hire a coordinator, or run your ceremony yourselves. I help a lot of my couples with their ceremony process, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask me should you need!
You will also need your own officiant, as Boldt Castle does not offer an in-house officiant/celebrant. There are a number of officiants I can recommend, myself included! I’m also ordained and offer celebrant services to all my couples!
It is also worth noting that Boldt Castle has certain policies and regulations in place, such as capacity restrictions and guidelines regarding music and photography, which contribute to a smooth and enjoyable experience for all. Drone photography is not permitted on the grounds, and indoor photography is only permitted when it does not interrupt the flow of other guests.
Once your 90 minute booking is over, you are welcome to remain on the grounds and take portraits, or tour the castle, but you are not allowed to host a reception. Meaning, you will have to find an alternate location for your reception. There are a number of places in Alexandria Bay, Clayton, and Watertown that can easily fit the bill.
The guest experience at Boldt Castle goes beyond the event itself. Engaging tours and guided experiences provide historical insights, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the captivating tales that surround this magnificent place. Exploring the castle’s rooms and exhibits reveals a treasure trove of artifacts and architectural wonders. Beyond the castle, the 1000 Islands region offers an array of activities for your guests to enjoy. From boat tours that showcase the beauty of the islands to thrilling water sports and serene nature trails, there’s something for everyone, ensuring an unforgettable visit.
Boldt Castle is a venue like no other, offering an enchanting setting, rich history, and a host of amenities for your special event. The captivating castle grounds, impeccable planning services, and unforgettable guest experiences make it a destination worth considering. When searching for a venue that combines elegance, charm, and natural beauty, Boldt Castle should undoubtedly be on your radar. Prepare for a truly remarkable experience that will leave lasting memories for both you and your guests.