My 3-year-old son, JoJo, spent most of the time at the Red Caboose standing outside it. Inside, the comfortable setting of five beds, a kitchenette and bathroom could not convince him he was staying in a real caboose that had got loose. These red cabooses are centrally located in Strasburg: in the back yard is the Toy Train Museum, and down the road a half mile are the Railroad Museum and the Strasburg Rail Road. The sizes of the cabooses vary widely: some sleep a honeymooning two, while others sleep six. Be forewarned: You must reserve your caboose about a month in advance. Price per night is about $70.
Best: You can sleep in a real caboose!
Worst: You're sleeping and living in a real caboose! Which means, life in a trailer: teeny bathrooms, tiny windows and, sometimes, a musty engine smell.
Besides the gift shops at each of the train museums, there are a few other train-memorabilia stores. First worth seeing is the Thomas Trackside Station, located next to the Choo Choo Barn. You'll see Thomas' round face on over 500 items . . . everything from puzzles and puppets to pillows. Downstairs from the Thomas store is the Strasburg Train Shop. Pretty good prices, according to my husband, who wanted to break out the checkbook for his O gauge Lionel trains collection.
IF YOU GO . . .
Directions: Take Interstate 83 north. Around York, see exit for U.S. 30 east, Lancaster. Take it into Lancaster. Right after Rockvale Square Outlets shopping center, make right onto Route 896 south. Follow signs to Strasburg.