Frederick Gilbert Bourne, the 5th president of the Singer Sewing Machine Co. built the 5 story, 28 room mansion designed by Ernest Flagg. The castle containes secret passatgeways, an underground tunnel, a turret dragon, towers inspired by "The Towers" from "woodstock" by Sir Walter Scott.
Singer Castle was a private residence for 100 years, the castle was opened to the public in 2003. The hour tour took us through the Great Hall, Library, Dining Room, Breakfast Room, Terrce, Drawing Room, Bedrooms, Turret Master Bathroom, Guest Rooms, and 4th floor dormitory. Views from the rooms & secret passageways were impressive. Original furniture, drapes, floor coverings were pointed out by our guide. We walked through t he Castle Greens, Squash Courts, Ice House, Pergola, & Rose Garden.
The Royal Suite is in the Bournes' guest wing. For a few thousand dollars 6 guests can enjoy staying in the castle. A caretaker uses the updated kitchen and parts of the castle. Weddings and events continue to be held here.
Geoge C. Boldt, millionaire proprietor of the Waldorm Astorial Hotel, built a full sized Rhineland Castle on Heart Island in 1900. The family shared 4 summers on Wellsley Island while 300 workers, stonemasons, carpenters & artists built the six story, 120 room castle with tunnels, a power house, Italian gardens, a drawbridge, indoor pool, and dovecote. In 1904, Boldt telegrammed the island & stopped construction because his wife Louise died of dysentery. Boldt could not image his dream castle without Louise; he never returned to the castle & the project was never completed.
Our guide told us that the island was vacant & vandalized for 73 years. In 1977, th4e Thousand Islands Bridge Authority assumed ownership. Millions of dollars have been invested to rehabilitate Heart Island, Boldt Castle, the power house, the Alster Tower, the Hennery, the Arch, a stone gazegbo, and the Boldt Yacht House on Wellsley Island.
The first floor has been completed and furnitue replicating the era is present. The tiled pool in the basement has not been completed. We walked up the grand staircase to the second floor which has been vandalized and is in need of repair. From the third floor we walked onto balcomies & had incredible views.
If you drive up to the thousand islands area and you do not have a boat then a good way to see the islands, the river and the waterfront is from the deck of a tour boat.
Uncle Sams has been providing tours for at least 40 years. They give you a great selection of tour choices depending on what you want to see, how much time you have and how much you want to spend. They range from a 10 minute shuttle to Heart Island to a one hour loop around 20 islands to a 3 hour dinner-is-served tour of both the American and Canadian channel islands.
Prices range from $7 per person for the shuttle (both ways) to the $40 per person dinner tour.
Kids' tickets are two-thirds the price of adults.
see the website below for times, dates and latest pricing schedule or call the phone number listed below.
There is convenient parking near the docking area. Part of the parking lot is paved and part is gravel.
Kids will get a captain's license after they have a chance to handle the big steering wheel on the captain's deck.
Private tours and group tours can also be reserved. Phone for reservations and information.
Alexandria Bay is one of those great towns where you can just walk around seeing things and taking pictures. Nobody stares; people smile and wave; they hurry out of the frame if they see you taking a scenery shot.
So put on your walking shoes and grab your camera and spend a couple hours just schmoozing...... have fun!
There are many boats that charter tours of the Thousand Islands. The most popular one leaving from Alexandria bay is given by the Uncle Sam Boat Tours. They offer afternoon and evening tours. I suggest the dinner tour, approximately $35. The dinner is served buffet style and it's really nothing spectacular, but the sunset over the islands is wonderful, as well as the houses and mansions lit up along the shore under the stars. You also get a 360 degree view of heart island and the Boldt Castle.
This is an absolute must-do!
This is an unfinished building - almost a castle! - built by George Bolt, a multi-millionaire (he actually owned the Waldorf Astoria). It was for his wife who died before it was finished and Boldt left it in the condition it was in when she died.
It's modelled after a 16th century European Castle. It is 6 stories high with 120 rooms, 365 windows, an indoor swimming pool, a tunnel that was designed to bring in goods from the docks, etc.
There are also several smaller structures on the island (some of which are as big -- if not bigger -- than regular houses). The Power House houses the generators for the island. Alster Tower was to be the playhouse for the children. This was actually completed and lived in for several years when the Castle proper was being worked on -- so the family got to live on the island if not in the actual castle.
Plan on taking a couple hours out on the island. You can take a tour if you want, but I found it better to just wander around on my own.
Find out the history of the islands. A lot of the islands have some very interesting tales.
My favourite island is the Zavikon Island. There are two islands, one on either side of the international border between the USA and Canada. The two islands are connected by a bridge 32' in length, which has the stature of being the shortest international bridge in the world.
Go on a boat ride tour. The ride takes you along a number of the tiny islands and beautiful scenery.