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“How the other half lived”

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Singer Castle on Dark Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 2 August 2014

My grandson and I took the Uncle Sam boat tour out of Alex Bay to Singer Castle. The young man doing the River tour on the ride up and back was a little corny but informative; we sat on the upper deck, where he stood, so it was easy to hear him.

On Dark Island we were in a group of about 12, and we found our tour guide, Casey, to be very knowledgable, even though it's his first summer doing Singer tours. He spoke well and had lots of good information to share. We really liked the guided tour as opposed to just wandering at Boldt Castle - we felt we learned a lot more that way.

The boat stopped at Boldt Castle on the way back to Alex Bay; we didn't really have enough time to spend at Boldt Castle before hurrying home for dinner with the family, so if I were doing this again, I would do the morning Singer tour and then spend more time exploring Boldt Castle.

If I had to choose one or the other to do again, I'd say Singer, hands down. Loved the informative tour.

  • Stayed: August 2014
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1  Thank JudyFromUpstateNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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48 - 54 of 73 reviews

Reviewed 5 July 2014

We did a tour of Singer Castle on Dark Island and very much enjoyed it. We took the boat from Schermerhorn Landing. The $32 price includes the 20 min boat ride to the island and back, as well as a guided tour of the castle. Our tour guide (Logan) was excellent. Tour guides are students working there for the Summer so some are probably better than others. The castle is very nice. Well designed with lots of secret passages and all the conveniences money could buy a hundred years ago. You can rent the castles two rooms for the nice for $725 (we didn't). The tour itself takes a little less than an hour but that's enough.

  • Stayed: July 2014
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3  Thank Mike L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2014

The trip over was nice although the price was more than what was shown on the site for Schermerhorn tours. When we bought the tickets and questioned the price difference we were told that Singer castle had raised their prices. The actual boat trip was perfect. The girl that was giving the tour was not a good choice for this job. She had a very soft voice and it was impossible to understand her while touring the castle. The actual building was very interesting and fun to see how some with 'means' live. What we did glean from the tour was very interesting.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Elaine M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2013

After having visited Singer Castle in 2012 we had to go back to stay the night! As other reviewers have stated, the day time tour is quite rushed and you feel like there is so much you don't see- and it's true. Unlike at Boldt Castle, where you are free to roam the grounds for hours, at Singer you are guided quickly through the main parts and only allowed to peek into the very cool secret passage ways. When staying the night you and your guests are the only ones on the island after 5 p.m. besides the caretaker and/or tour guide. You are treated to a truly extended tour! We were fortunate to have a local historian, Judy, as our guide and she shared her knowledge and obvious love of the place for 3 full hours! (With time to refresh cocktails figured in!) After the tour we enjoyed dinner in a room of our choice and then had the place to ourselves for the night. Of course, the secret passage ways were more fully explored and the grounds are lovely, even at night. The Royal Suite, which is the wing where you sleep, is beautiful and comfortable with amazing views of the mighty St. Lawrence River.The tearoom was flooded with sunlight for our continental breakfast the following morning and we sadly hung our crowns up and departed at 11 a.m. This is one of the most amazing trips I have ever taken! It's dreamy staying in any castle, which is common in Europe. However, to have the entire castle and 7 acre island to yourselves is quite unique!

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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7  Thank fjmreills
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2013

On a recent visit to the 1000 island region we visited Singer Castle. You will find two castles in this area - Boldt Castle and Singer Castle. I really enjoy castles and love the history surrounding them. It's hard to compare these two as they both offer different perspectives. This is what I believe makes Singer Castle special: This castle has a guided tour providing lots of history. It was owned by Fredrick Bourne, President of Singer Sewing Machine. He used this "castle" as a hunting lodge and it attracted many New York elite. Bourne had special passage ways that servants could check to see how guest were doing during dining times rather than walking in the room. The grounds are beautiful! I enjoyed my visit and would recommend a visit. You can rent a room(s) at the castle that would be fun. Personally, I would want to make sure air conditioning is available in summer months. I could see with a bit of restoration/decor this could be an even better attraction/tour.

Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
1  Thank luvdsny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2013

We did not stay here overnight, but my husband and I took the Uncle Sam boat tour. We had only 45 minutes on the island. The tour was guided, but we were very rushed. We didn't have time to really enjoy the house and the architecture. It is a gorgeous place, but not worth the extra money, since you really don't get to spend enough time there. Our guide was pretty knowledgeable and polite. The amount of people in our group was so big that we really did not hear everything or ask too many questions.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank ladyofgrammar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2012

If you are a visitor to the Thousand Islands area you definitely have to see Singer and Boldt Castles. I recommend going to Singer first because while it is big and impressive it simply prepares you for the majestic Boldt castle and all of its outlying buildings. I truly appreciate the medieval style of the first floor of Singer Castle, though that's not the typical style of the gilded age homes. The first and second floor areas are very rich in detail and color. In most of the rooms you can find a secret passsageway or some sort of spying device (such as tip-out portraits or heating vents). The views from the rooms and terraces cannot be beat. I like that the home is furnished with some original pieces, but if they keep the shades open and continue to allow people to take pictures the furnishing are going to continue to deteriorate. I really enjoyed my visit to the house, but it was way too quick! I spent $70 for 2 adults and one kid (through Schermerhorn Marina, and Uncle Sam's is the same price). I had expected to roam the grounds or have the opportunity to shop in the gift shop after the tour, but that was not the case. When we stepped off the boat we were ushered into the gift shop. It was so crowded because another tour had just finished that I didn't even want to shop. I decided to try to take some pictures of the house. The tours are guided so if your group is big or your guide doesn't speak loudly you are going to miss a lot of pertinent information as there isn't much literature about the home on the property or in the rooms. Our guide was good and he seemed to be knowledgable, though no one in my group asked any challenging questions. Once you tour the interior of the house you come out the back of the house to look around at the boat house and what used to be the tennis court, then that's it. Tour is over. You cannot tour the grounds on your own, you can't go back into the gift shop, as your boat will be waiting for you. The other 5 people that we traveled with (we didn't know them) were already seated on the boat, so I had no chance of shopping for a book, dvd or souvenir. The island is much smaller than Heart Island where Boldt Castle is located so clearly they cannot accommodate an excess amount of people and I appreciate their attention to safety, but they should allot at least 30 additional minutes for pictures and restroom use. Most people who visit these homes are first-timers so they should understand that and let you linger for a little while. Even though the group was small and the tour guide was personable and audible I would prefer an audio tour with more details about each room and/or piece of furniture. Aside from feeling rushed and spending so much money I enjoyed the home. Boldt was literally half the price and we spent 5 hours on property, but Singer is not to be missed.

  • Stayed: July 2012
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6  Thank Nicole A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Singer Castle on Dark Island

Address: Box 59, Dark Island, Chippewa Bay, NY 13623-0059
Phone Number:
Region: United States > New York > St. Lawrence County > Chippewa Bay
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Chippewa Bay
Price Range: £466 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 28
Also Known As:
Singer Castle On Dark Island Hotel Chippewa Bay

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