A Night Spent In History: Singer Castle hosts guests for a night they won’t forget

SYDNEY SCHAEFER/NNY LIVING
Singer Castle as seen from the back courtyard.

BY: OLIVIA BELANGER
If you’ve ever wanted to live like royalty, a visit to historic Singer Castle should be added to your bucket list.
 

    The castle, which is the only originally-completed castle on the St. Lawrence River, was built in 1903 on Dark Island at the behest of Frederick G. Bourne, fifth president of Singer Sewing Machine Co, as a hunting retreat for his family. After Mr. Bourne’s death in 1919, the castle was left to his youngest child, Marjorie Thayer. 

    Mrs. Thayer and her family used the castle as a summer home until her death in 1962. The Thayer family donated the castle to LaSalle Military Academy, which put it up for sale, and it was bought by Rev. Harold Martin in 1965 for only $35,000. The castle was turned into a church, which it remained until 2002.     

Three German investors, who own Vladi Private Islands, purchased the island and castle in 2002, turning it into the tourism attraction it is today. 

    A group of up to six guests are able to stay in the castle at one time, typically for just one night. The double occupancy price for Sunday through Friday nights is $775 and $850 for Saturday nights, with another $75 per additional person. The price includes the overnight stay, as well as breakfast and dinner, provided by Foster’s Inn. 

    “When you come here and stay overnight, it’s just you,” said Chris Henry, director of operations and president of Dark Island Tours Inc. “You are renting the whole castle.” 

    The castle also offers guided public or private tours by appointment, without staying overnight, and is a beautiful venue for weddings or other special events. 

    The property’s picturesque rose garden can be a couple’s perfect ceremony area. At $350 per hour for the venue, the royal suite is offered to the bride and groom at a discounted rate. 

    During an overnight stay, guests are able to roam the property as they please following their 45-minute guided tour. 

    “I’ve had guests that say they stayed up all night just exploring,” said Scott Garris, tour guide. 

    And who could blame them? With over 28 rooms, servant hideaways and the six-acre island all to yourself, it’s hard to stop exploring. 

    After a short boat ride to the island, guests are taken up a long, stone walkway leading to the castle, brought to the royal suite and given a chance to get settled before they begin a 45-minute tour of the extensive property, and its secret hideaways. 

    The royal suite, located on the third floor, is an entire wing of the castle that sleeps up to six people. As you walk down the corridor, the first bedroom is discovered, which overlooks the American-side of the river channel and one of three boathouses. The bedroom features a queen-sized canopy bed, an antique full-sized bed and small sitting area. 

    At the next door, you will find a luxury tile bathroom, equipped with period-style fixtures and a large shower. Tucked in next to the bathroom is a butler’s pantry, complete with microwave, coffee service and a refrigerator. 

    At the end of the corridor lies the master bedroom, furnished with a California king-sized canopy bed, queen-sized pull-out couch, sitting area, period-style writer’s desk and a dresser and armoire set. 

    As guests exit the royal suite down to the second floor, known as the entertainment floor, they’ll find the formal dining room, with a 12-person table and black marble fireplace. 

    The dining room leads to one of the castle’s additions from 1913, which is a closed off portion of the terrace. The room is now used to serve the guests’ breakfast, with large gothic-style windows framing the views of the river. Small dinner parties and wedding receptions are often held in this room as well. 

    On the other end of the dining room is Mr. Bourne’s “drawing room,” where the men withdrew after a meal or a long day on the river. The room features decor of elk, caribou, deer and moose mounted on the four walls, wood paneling and a large fireplace. 

    The piazza can also be found through the drawing room, which Mrs. Thayer closed off to become the women’s area, with white wicker furniture and board games. 

    Down to the first floor lies the walnut-paneled library with 2,700 books collectively owned by Mr. Bourne and Mrs. Thayer. The library leads to the castle’s great hall, a massive medieval entranceway with knights of armor standing guard. The hall also holds a 627-bottle wine cellar, which is filled by bottles left behind from overnight guests. 

    For your chance to be the king or queen of the castle, or to book a tour, contact the staff at 1-877-327-5475 or info@singercastle.com.