Road Trip: Singer Castle on Dark Island

by Kimberly Hickok

Last fall my friend Ellen invited us to go to Alexandria Bay, NY with her. Her family has a summer place near A’Bay (that’s what the locals call it) and she’s been spending her summers there since she was a kid. We had a blast visiting with her family and their friends. One of the highlights of that trip was a tour of Singer Castle. After the tour Ellen was determined to stay there so  . . . fast forward to this fall . . . we ended up staying there for a night. So we all got to be a ‘queen for a night’.

The castle was built in 1905 and you can only get there by boat. The day we went it was dreary – dark, rainy and stormy. We chartered a boat that (thankfully) easily handled the rough water with a huge area down below to store our luggage.

The gang - me, Ellen, Karen, Kelly and Kathy

The gang – me, Ellen, Karen, Kelly and Kathy

Alexandria Bay - rough water

We had a smooth ride over fairly rough water. Dark Island is one of NY’s Thousand Islands.

Alexandria Bay Freighter

The Thousand Islands are between Canada and the US. There is a lot of freighter traffic on the river. The freighters are HUGE!

The castle appeared through the fog and the rain. As nice as it would have been to arrive on a sunny day, seeing the castle this way really made us feel like we were traveling to a far away magical place.

Getting close.

Getting close.

Nearly there.

Nearly there.

Sooooo close.

Sooooo close.

And, bam, there it is - THE CASTLE!

And, bam, there it is – THE CASTLE!

Singer Castle staff unloaded our bags and took them to our suite. The last tour of the day was about to leave and we would have the castle all to ourselves. When you stay overnight, you get to have an extensive tour that includes a lot more information and access that you don’t get during the day tour. The stay also includes dinner and a continental-style breakfast.

Here we are in the suite. Our tour guide, who is also the grounds keeper, let us get settled in before the tour.

Here we are in the suite. Our tour guide, who is also the grounds keeper, let us get settled in before the tour.

We got to learn all about the castle’s history starting with its first owner and builder of the castle, Fredrick Bourne, who worked for the Singer Sewing Machine Co. (thus Singer Castle). The castle is full of secret passageways for the servants who were to remain ‘invisible’. The level of detail throughout the castle is just amazing – whether you’re looking at a fireplace mantle or a staircase railing.

Singer Castle - railing detail Singer Castle - detail marble fireplace Singer Castle - detail mantle Singer Castle - detail door

We even did a little clowning around.

Singer Castle - knight 2

The amount of labor and materials needed to build the castle is just mind boggling – especially when you consider that everything had to be transported there by boat.

Karen and I took a bunch of pictures you can see them here in my Flickr album.

The caretaker stays there year round. The castle is not open in the winter so if you are planning on touring the castle or want to be queen or king for a day, contact them directly by clicking here.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More