Today was a beautiful day! A good day for a boat tour. There are several tour companies here, and I’m sure they’re all good. We chose Uncle Sam Boat Tours upon recommendation by a fellow camper at the campground we are at. It was a good choice.
This was a 2.5 hour tour of the Thousand Islands area of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Our tour began at 10:00 A.M.
The narrated tour was very interesting. Many Americans and Canadians (with more money that we have) have built homes on the islands, some small, but many large and expensive ones. They are all beautiful and well-maintained.
The border between the US and Canada just happens to run between these two small islands, owned by one family. The small arched footbridge here is the World’s Shortest International Footbridge.
The Boldt Castle was the last stop on our tour. Here we had the option of leaving the boat to tour the castle for an additional fee or to say on the tour boat to return to the beginning.
This castle was built by George C. Boldt, the owner of the Waldorf-Astoria and Bellevue-Stratford Hotels. Work began in 1900 but halted abruptly in 1904 when Mrs. Boldt suddenly died. It was not finished after that and fell to the elements until 1978 when the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority took it over and began restoring it. All the money for the restoration comes from admission fees and some other sources, but not your tax dollars.
It is a self-guided tour at your own pace, and you can wander around all you want. A small recorded device with earphones is available for an additional fee (available in English or French).
It’s a long and costly project to complete the castle. Only the main floor and the 2nd floor are finished. The rest is slowly being finished as funds allow. It may take several years. So when we come back here again it could look different. The unfinished upper level floors are secure and open for viewing, some of the rooms are closed off.
This is right on a main shipping route of the St. Lawrence Seaway which connects all the Great Lakes so it is not unusual to see a large vessel pass by. The Federal Yukon made it’s way west as we were there.
We could stay as long as we wanted on that island. When we were finished we took the free Uncle Sam II shuttle that runs every 30 minutes and returns to the dock where we started.
- Uncle Sam 2.5 hour tour: $46
- The Bolt Castle: $18
- Recorded Tour Device: $11
- Bridge Toll: $2.75