Monday, September 25, 2006

It was a rainy
o'ercast day, but we went to
the island castle

We sailed on the Morrisania, a restored, antique 1000 island tour boat, for the 1 1/2 hr. ride from Morristown, NY to Dark Island and Singer castle.

Although it was a dull, rainy day the river was calm and our spirits were lifted by the company of good friends and aquaintances.

We arrived dockside at Dark Island, exited our boat, and since we had pre-paid our tickets, met our guide, and climbed the wide bridal path which curved uphill from the dock to the main entrance.

From the entrance hall I could see two of my favorite rooms.

The Wine cellar.

And if you haven't guessed already;

The library.

To the left of the wine cellar is this staircase to the second floor.

The castle is honeycombed with secret passages, but of course now they are all blocked off by plexiglass partitions. One could access the second story by entering the secret passage in the wine cellar. I think the secret passages allowed the wait staff and servants to move between floors and rooms unobserved. However they may also have been used as listening posts from which to overhear businessmen's discussions.

This castle has been occupied since it was built and finished in 1905 at a cost of $500,000. It retains much of the original furnishings:

Ernest Flagg designed this castle after reading Sir Walter Scott's Woodstock. This is a fictional story about a castle located in Woodstock Park (Oxford, England).
Both castles have labyrinths, turrets, dungeons and secret passageways.

Frederick G. Bourne (1851-1919), one of the wealthiest men in America, commissioned Flagg to design a "hunting lodge."

The drawing room
The wood paneled drawing room (36 by 36 feet) is also known as the trophy room. It has a 20 ft. ceiling and a large pink-marble fireplace.

The drawing room also features (top photo of these two) three cozy alcoves with Pullman window seats along the exterior wall, with river views and enclosed draperies for privacy.


The twenty foot-foot square sunroom (also called the wicker room).

The perfect place to sit and enjoy the cross breezes on a hot summer day.

One of five guest bathrooms.

antique chess set


When first completed, the castle was called the Towers.


Bourne annexed abit of Canadian land by purchasing nearby Corn Island, lying a half mile away toward the north in Canadian waters. On this island a large portion of the castle's provisions were grown. There was also an other wine cellar, much larger than the one at the castle, located here on Corn Island, which came in mighty handy during prohibition.


The five story granite clock tower has winding stairs that rise to the self-regulating electric clockworks. The tower was built at the same time as the castle, but the fifth floor and clock were added later. One can enter the clock tower through a door and spiral staircase leading from the castle's kitchen area.


Sailing: two themes.


Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

Thanks for the pictorial trip, Rel. Loved, loved, loved the library! I also love white wicker, probably for its relaxed, comfortable tropical look.

Looks like you all had a great time. Can I come on the next trip? lol

Take care, Rel


9:39 PM  
Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Thanks for the lovely tour of the's my first visit to a castle through your pictures & descriptions.
I also wanted to thank you for the birthday wishes.

10:39 PM  
Blogger PEA said...

One of my passions is castles...that's why it's my dream to one day be able to go to England, Scotland and Ireland to see all the castles they have there!! We have one castle in Toronto called Casa Loma...I also went to visit one while I was in Vancouver, called Craigdarroch Castle. I love the furniture and all the secret passageways, etc. I always stand there and wonder what the people looked like that lived there, what their lives were like...thank you so much for showing all these pictures, I just love them!! Hugs!

12:22 AM  
Blogger Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Thank you for showing your pictures of the castle. I want that library! And to think someone still lives there. Wow. I think it would be a bit too spooky for me though LOL
Glad you had such a nice trip even with the weather. I enjoyed your Sunday scribblings too :)


5:57 AM  
Blogger Rowan said...

I didn't realise it was such a long boat ride to the island, the castle is very interesting. I love the library and the drawing room - there's something about window seats that really attracts me. I could live with the guest bathroom too! Sounds as though you had a good time in spite of a not so good day. Pity you couldn't explore some of the secret passages though.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Alison said...

That's quite a "lodge"!

Thanks for sharing!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Grish said...

Oh wonderful pictures! I love seeing pictures of this kind of stuff. I love castles and such...

2:35 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

thanks for the tour...I love places like this, brought Hubby in to see the chess set...he dearly loves chess and different kinds of chess sets.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Gemma said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog...I came here to visit you and got a lovely tour of the castle. Really enjoyed it.

5:28 PM  
Blogger jellyhead said...

What a cool castle! Sounds like you had fun despite the grey skies.
Thanks for the virtual tour!

6:33 PM  
Blogger Catch said...

wow , those were beautiful pictures Rel...I bet the tour was really interesting...thank you for sharing such great pictures!

1:10 AM  
Blogger Eleanor said...

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us, rel. I love old, interesting buildings of any kind,and you'd have a mighty hard time pulling me out of this one when it came time to leave. I had a hard enough time tearing myself away from the website when I checked it out. ;)

And of course the good company more than made up for the grey skies. Nothing surprising about that!

Have a great one. :D

9:59 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

Good morning Rel. What a nice compliment you left on my blog - thank you kind sir! It definitely improves a girl's day to read something like that.

2:29 AM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Thanks for sharing this glimpse into your visit! Stunning photos of some beautiful furniture and beautiful natural wonders as well.

9:40 AM  

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