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Boldt Castle’s tourist season off to a slow start; bad weather leads to a 20% drop in visitation in May

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ALEXANDRIA BAY — The cold and wet start of the tourist season has deterred a number of visitors from Boldt Castle, a popular Thousand Islands attraction on the St. Lawrence River, but operators remain optimistic.

Compared with last year, admission to the Boldt attractions in May — the castle on Heart Island and the yacht house across the river on Wellesley Island — dropped by 20 percent, or 2,653 visitors.

Traffic over the Thousand Islands Bridge, however, remains virtually unchanged.

The Thousand Island Bridge Authority reported a slight 2.4 percent increase in passenger traffic — or 4,050 more crossings over the U.S.-Canadian bridge — for the month.

Shane K. Sanford, director of the Boldt facilities, said the cold and rainy weekends this past month had discouraged many tourists from taking a boat ride to the castle.

“Poor weather would cut our attendance by half any given day,” he said.

For the first 16 days of June, attendance at the castle was down 2.6 percent compared with the same period in 2012.

Operators are hoping for better weather in the next couple of months, which is typically when business at the castle really starts picking up.

“We’re hoping to make up for the early losses this season in July and August,” Mr. Sanford said.

Newly revealed to the public this year is the beautifully renovated butler’s pantry, which is adjacent to the castle’s dining room and kitchen. Alster Tower on the edge of the island is still being rehabilitated and remains closed to visitors.

The castle was opened to tourists May 11 and will operate daily through Oct. 20. The yacht house is open until Sept. 29.

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