Our next to last night was the pièce de résistance of our trip. All of us agree this was THE coolest and most fun day and night of the trip. My friend and I decided to splurge and surprise our ‘little princesses’ with a night on Dark Island in Singer Castle. Yes, that’s right. There is a Royal Suite in the castle, which comfortably sleeps six, and it can be all yours for a handsome sum.
[PRO TIP: Stop for lunch if you have time in the small water town of Alexandria Bay (Alex Bay for short). Visit Nav’s Popcorn and stop for a slice or killer Greek salad at Josie’s Pizza, 19 Church Street.]
We drove right from Kingston, Ontario, to the boarder crossing into the US and straight to Schermerhorn Marina to catch our per-arranged ferry to the island. We’d visited one castle already – there are only two in the Thousand Islands. But spending the night! Jeepers! How cool!
Frederick Bourne, Singer Sewing Machine President, purchased Dark Island in 1902 with idea of building a hunting lodge. The castle and many of the island’s other buildings were completed in 1905 and have been occupied ever since.
I could go on and on about how super cool it was to spend the night in the castle, which is now privately owned. BUT, the thing that made it so great which was a complete SURPRISE was that after checking in to our awesome renovated penthouse castle suite and our private tour, followed by (albeit and unremarkable) dinner in the actual dining room at the actual table, you could go ANYWHERE you wanted on the entire five acre island or the castle, including ALL secret passageways! What? Anywhere? Yep. That’s right. Anywhere.
Sit on the dock and watch the boats go by.
Stroll in the garden.
Explore hidden passageways and stairwells.
Drink that wine you brought.
Relax in your Royal Suite, with windows on three side and a killer view of the sunset at night and the sunrise in the morning. Positively aristocratic!
The private tour was also pretty incredible. Our guide was super knowledgeable and personable and seemed to know exactly what to show kids to keep them intrigued. Check out this antique Victrola over 100 years old that still plays records!
The castle has many hidden doors and secret passageways and we saw them all! Some were designed so the the staff could wait on the Bourne family and their guests at just the right moment, or transport goods without being seen. But, others, like this moving picture and frame, well….I’ll let you be the judge? Spying perhaps?
You can bring food, snacks, booze, swimsuits, fishing rods – all of it! The island and it’s castle are all yours. There are NO other people on the island save the caretaker, who is the only person living there year round, and unless you need something you probably won’t see him either.
We had a blast, and although pricey, it’s worth it!
[PRO TIP: Be aware that the continental breakfast you are served the next morning is absolutely NOT fit for a king. It’s totally unremarkable, the only thing worth objecting to. Bring your own food to supplement if necessary.]
Final Stop….Clayton, USA.