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Boldt Castle to reopen Saturday for 2012 season

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ALEXANDRIA BAY — Opening Saturday for its 2012 season, Boldt Castle will present a short movie created by a California producer to complement its new theater.

Shane K. Sanford, director of the Boldt facilities, said the theater on the castle’s second floor boasts a surround-sound system paired with a high-definition screen that will be showing a 15-minute cut of a longer film about the “life and times of millionaire proprietor George C. Boldt,” who halted construction of the 122-room structure upon the death of his wife, Louise, in 1904.

The castle operator hired Jack Serino — producer and director of several films, including “The Connecticut Kid” — to make a 40-minute movie that weaves old footage with new high-definition aerials of the St. Lawrence River to give people a glimpse of the gilded age in the Thousand Islands and the beauty of the newly renovated Heart Island attraction.

Mr. Sanford said the longer version will be on sale online on the castle’s website and at the Heart Island gift store.

Abandoned and left to deteriorate for 73 years, the once ill-fated castle now enjoys a second life under the ownership of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority.

Since 1977, the authority has poured millions of dollars into finishing what Mr. Boldt started in 1900 and has welcomed roughly 6 million visitors over the past 34 years.

The castle’s old movie theater on the first floor next to the kitchen has been demolished and will be renovated back into the butler’s pantry.

If all goes as planned, the pantry will be open to the public next year and the kitchen renovations will be completed for the castle’s 2014 season.

Unfortunately, the rehabilitation of the historic Alster Tower, which sits on the edge of the island, still has a long way to go and it will remain closed until 2013.

Mr. Sanford said the castle operator hopes to reopen the tower to the public in 2014 and start renovating the interior of the brick-and-mortar structure.

So far, 62 weddings have been booked for this year, adding to more than 1,000 such celebrations held on the scenic castle grounds since the 1970s.

Boldt Castle will operate daily through Oct. 14. The Boldt Yacht House, situated across the river on Wellesley Island, will be open to visitors through Sept. 30.

The fourth annual Boldt Castle Wine Festival & Farmers Market is scheduled for Sept. 15.

On the Net: Boldt Castle: www.boldtcastle.com

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