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AAA Member Connection

Autumn 2011

 

Then and Now: BelhurstCastle

 

            It took 50 men fours years to build BelhurstCastle in Geneva in the late 1880’s. The three-story mansion was the dream of Mrs. Carrie M. Young Harron Collins, who came to Geneva from New York City in May of 1885 to inspect the property, known as Belhurst, which means beautiful forest. She bought it on the spot. She then moved to Geneva, divorced her first husband, Samuel Harron, married her manager, Captain Louis Dell Collins, and set out to build the home of her dreams.

            Mrs. Collins, a woman of means, spared no expense when building the Richardson Romanesque-style mansion, which cost $475,000 to build at the time. During construction, one worker fell to his death from the tower and another went insane when he was putting on the roof.

            Also built was a brick poultry barn, heated with a steam boiler, for her prized Japanese Golden Pheasants and a boathouse to hold her 20 passenger, gasoline powered yacht. The boathouse was later consumed by a fire which burnt for four days.

            After Mrs. Collins died in 1926, Belhurst was bequeathed to her grandson, Hal Harron, who later sold it to Cornelius “Red” Dwyer in 1932.  Dwyer operated as a speakeasy until the repeal of prohibition in 1933 and as a gambling casino for almost 20 years. He halted gambling operations in 1952 and continued running the restaurant until 1975, when he sold Belhurst to Robert and Nancy Golden. The Goldens lived upstairs from the restaurant; eventually they converted the second and third floors into guestrooms.

            In 1992, Belhurst, which has been voted as one of the most romantic places in New YorkState, was sold to the present owners, the Reeder family. The 12 guest rooms in the castle feature modern amenities; some of them have fireplaces, balconies, and lake views. Accommodations are also available at their sister property, White Spring Manor, a 1900’s Georgian Revival manor, which has 13 spacious guest rooms.

            Enjoy dining in two restaurants. Edgar’s, on the first floor of the castle, features fine dining, with menu selection like steaks, chops, seafood, and a specialty wine pairing menu featuring Finger Lakes wines. The more casual Stonecutters Lounge features soups, salads, and sandwiches on the menu.

            In 2004, a 30,000 square foot facility was added, which includes the Vinifera Inn with 20 luxurious guest rooms, the Meritage Ballroom, popular for weddings, the Stonecutters Lounge, and a wine tasting room and retail shop for their winery, which also opened in 2004.

            In spring 2010, they opened Isabella Spa, which offers a variety of spa services, including massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, hairstyling, and make-up application.

 

Belhurst, 4069 Route 14 South, Geneva, NY   315-781-0201, www.belhurst.com