Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario

Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario in Smiths Falls – Guest Experience

Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario in Smiths Falls – Guest Experience

Have you ever stayed overnight in a train caboose? Did you know that the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario (RMEO) in Smiths Falls gives us the opportunity by hosting their cabooses on Airbnb!? No matter is you’re a train enthusiast, history buff, community supporter, or have kiddos that love adventures – this is a truly unique experience that is a lot of fun for everyone. It’s also a great rest stop for thru hikers and cyclists with the nearby trails.

The station building was built in 1912 and the property is just over 10 acres, in 1985 Parks Canada declared it a National Historic Site.

I was met by Becky, the Executive Director who is not only the kindest human but made sure I had the best of stays. Which included a tour with Tony, the President of the Board of Directors at Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario. The tour included how the station operations were conducted, insights into the engineering, the rich history of both the station and the rail companies. I won’t spoiled all the interesting facts for you, but listening and learning about how life used to be was better than Netflix.

Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario

The Low Down

  • In the heart of Smiths Falls
  • Close to Cataraqui and Rideau trails for hikers and cyclists.
  • Cabooses are onsite with the museum.
  • Children and pets welcome.
  • Electricity, AC, and Wi-Fi in cabooses.
  • Fresh linen and towels provided.
  • Washrooms and shower in main building.
  • Shared fridge and microwave in main building.
  • 5min walk to Tim Hortons and main street
  • 3min drive to Starbucks, Walmart, fast food
  • The most kind, thoughtful, and rail savvy hosts
  • Book and more info: https://rmeo.org/overnights-on-a-caboose/

“Step back to the early railroading days, and book an overnight stay in one of our two, authentic cabooses (a 1940s wooden CPR caboose and our 1967s steel CNR caboose) overlooking our picturesque 1912 Canadian Northern Railway station. Curl up in our comfortable pull-down beds with fresh linens, settle back and relax in the quiet glow of the lantern. ” ~ RMEO

Unique Overnight Stays in a Caboose

This truly is a unique experience, the cabooses are from different times and each have their own style. There is the 1967 CN steel caboose, the 1945 CP caboose, and the 1947 CN wooden caboose. Besides the electrical and AC, they are true to their original state. I was fortunate enough to stay in the “orange caboose”, which is the 1947 CN wooden caboose.

It has the original bed frame, a beautiful large desk, an old stove that they used to use for heating, and plenty of windows.

What I enjoyed most besides the excellent tour and insight into history, was spending a quiet morning walking around the grounds and imagining what life must have been like.

Recommendation: Bring shower sandals and perhaps indoor slippers/wool socks.

Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario

Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario Wildlife

If you’re looking to experience wildlife, then my suggestion would be to venture out a little a hike Mill Pond Conservation Area, Murphy’s Point, or the Perth Wildlife Reserve.

Recommendation: Try out the iNaturlist app, for flora identification along the trails. Also, like most trails and sites, there are ticks which is easy enough to take precaution against: use bug spray with DEET (especially on shoes/legs), wear your socks over your pants (there’s no one around to comment on your fashion), and always to a tick check once inside.

Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario Activities

It’s just after 7am as I write this from a picnic table shaded by a caboose, a volunteer arrives onsite walking towards the building with his lunch box. He’s dressed in dickies overalls, bright white t-shirt, and wide brimmed train hat and proceeds to diligently conduct a walk around of the building and trains. He stops to say hello and tells me that a group of folks are working on a miniature train model inside one of the cabooses that reflects the train station and line during its glory days.

You can venture into a lot of the cabooses, from the dining car to the dental car and others. Inside the station you’ll find the operators station, historical facts and pieces, along with the gift shop.

There are the hand cars that you can ride, and on certain days you can get a train ride as well!

Recommendation: Bring a hat in the summer as most of what you’ll want to explore is outside. Join the RMEO Facebook page to catch all their upcoming events and news.

Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario

Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario Trails and Treats

The two major trails that pass near Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario are the Cataraqui Trail and the Rideau Trail. There is also the more urban Smiths Falls Heritage Trail. Plenty of parks to explore along the Rideau River such as Lock Island, Turtle Island, Centennial Park, and Veterans Memorial Park.

Recommended stops include The Arts Hub (local artisan products), Up Wellness Market (health food and the best darn smoothies), Smiths Falls Public Library (events and books), and The Pickled Pig (delicious sandwiches and lattes). Don’t forget to pick up Mighty Valley Coffee (my current favourite is Fool in the Rain) at the Arts Hub or Up Wellness Market!

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