ALEXANDRIA BAY, N.Y. — Britain’s Daily Telegraph picked Boldt Castle for its Valentine’s Day list of 17 of the world’s most romantic buildings.
“Well where else would a loved-up couple build a summer mansion but on Heart Island? In this case hotel magnate George C. Boldt’s wife, Louise, tragically died and the house lay empty for decades,” the newspaper recounted.
As anyone who has taken a boat tour of the Thousand Islands can tell you, the castle was built by the proprietor of New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Boldtcastle.com recounts how the work stopped on 120-room castle when Louise died suddenly in 1904. Boldt never returned to the island and the castle lay abandoned for seven decades until the Thousand Island Bridge Authority acquired the property and began updates.
Nowadays the castle attracts about 200,000 visitors a year, says Shane Sanford, director of Boldt Facilities for the authority. It hosts between 60 and 65 weddings a year.
The castle is closed for the season but will reopen May 12, Sanford says. Visitors this year will see a newly restored room in Alster Tower, the riverside outbuilding sometimes — inaccurately, according to Sanford — called the children’s playhouse.
The castle in the Thousand Islands had some famous company on the list of 17 of the world’s most romantic buildings including the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. “The ethereal, white marble tomb built by Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz, in the [17th century] was meant to have a matching black tomb for him,” the paper reported.
Another famous building on the list is Neuschwanstein Castle, in Germany. The Telegraph noted that while this was not built for love, it had become the model for other castles, including the ones at the center of Disneyland and Disney World.
Buildings in Venice, chateaus in France, and memorials to British royalty also made the list, as did Spain’s Alhambra.
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