SAINT CLEMENTS CASTLE AND MARINA is the perfect destination for boaters seeking a historic site that mixes New England charm with Old World appeal. The 90-acre property is located 35 nautical miles from Long Island Sound up the Connecticut River in Portland, Conn. The property’s sweeping panoramic views are augmented by the castle’s thoughtfully restored courtyards, vibrant gardens and manicured lawns.
In 1898, Howard and Gertrude Taylor broke ground on the castle. The Taylor family had been prominent in the Connecticut River Valley region for many generations. New York City architect Sidney Algernon Bell took inspiration for the design in part from 16th-century European castles. The structure includes an art gallery modeled on the one found at the Chateau of Langeais along the Loire River in France. There are two towers that riff on Norman fortifications from the time of William the Conqueror and a French Tudor-style entrance.
Years later, in 1993, the historical Saint Clements Castle was gifted to the Saint Clements Foundation, Inc. — a non-profit organization formulated for the preservation of the Castle, its gardens and art treasures. From its inception, the Foundation has supported programs for the Homeless, Cancer Research, Hospice and Programs for the Local Children.
The onsite Port-Hampton Marina features 22 slips with all new docks and state-of-the-art lighting, cable, and internet access. The storm-protected basin has recently been dredged to a nine-foot depth, and the basin is adjacent to the deep-water channel on the Connecticut River. Port-Hampton Marina also has a new 160-foot bulkhead wall designed to accommodate motor yachts and sailing vessels up to 140 feet. On-site amenities include the Sunset Pier, a private beach, the Captains Lounge and the Donegal Tavern, where you can enjoy a Castle Ale. Fuel and pump-out accommodations are conveniently located 10 minutes up the river.
In addition to all the weddings, the castle hosts numerous special events throughout the year, including an always popular bash for the Kentucky Derby (May 7), complete with a hat contest. Festivities are held at the Port Hampton Marina Club, overlooking the marina basin, and guests celebrate with authentic blue grass music and mint juleps. Other perennially popular events include a summertime romantic dinner dance and the annual Masquerade Ball (October 21).
Ten minutes away, in Middletown, are numerous restaurants, pubs and golf courses, and there’s a never-ending roster of activities. In short, Saint Clements is the perfect place from which to explore the scenic Connecticut River Valley.