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;
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.