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Historic Railcar on Beautiful Skaneateles Lake at Glen Haven refreshed for 2016

Homer, NY, USA
  • Cottage
  • Bedrooms3
  • Sleeps8
  • Bathrooms2
  • Half Baths0
  • Minimum Stay1 - 2 nights

Cottage, 3 Bedrooms + Convertible bed(s), 1.5 Baths, (Sleeps 8)

A family setting. Enjoy morning coffee and evening barbecues on deck overlooking the lake! Historic railcar built in 1936 by Budd and located on Skaneateles in 1976 has been completely refurbished-including charming oak and cherry hand cut and placed paneling from local Glen Haven forest. Property features large 20' X 40' dock on 198' of private lakefront. Pebbled beach at lakefront allows for easy wading into the lake. Enjoy time in the most unique rental property that Skaneateles has to offer!

Keywords: Railcar, Skaneateles, rental, lake, fishing, boating, family, cabin, house


Ian DeSouza

Member Since 2008
Response rate:
Response time:
within a few hours
english, Swahili
Calendar last updated:
Mar 01, 2018
About Ian DeSouza

We are local residents with a property further up the lake. My children have all grown up on and around the lake, and regard it as a special place. The railcar was our lake cottage for the better part of ten years, and very much a part of us now.

Ian DeSouza purchased this Cottage in 2000

Why Ian DeSouza chose Homer

Its unique and rustic. Comfortable for a longer stay, we have had visitors who lived there for six months and loved it, and easy for a short one or two night novelty stay at the end or beginning of a longer holiday elsewhere. Fishing, boating, swimming are fantastic in this notably pristine glacial lake; in fact, we drink from it untreated.

What makes this Cottage unique

The views, sounds, ambiance around the property are soothing and lovely. Its a relaxing place, with most of the comforts of home out in the woods, by a lake....and what is there not to love about sleeping in an authentic railway carriage with history. A fire in the pit on the lawn outside the car just makes for the perfect way to unwind and end the day. The setting is rustic, after all it is a setting in the woods with many of the sounds and feel of a nature based setting that has included a nesting pair of Bald Eagles nearby, deer, foxes, different varieties of water fowl and the other creatures you would expect in such a setting.


    • Internet
    • Pets Welcome
    • Air Conditioning
    • Heater
    • Kids Welcome
    • Washer & Dryer
    • Parking
    • No Smoking


      • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 8
      • Bedroom 1
        1 queen, Cherry pannelled walls milled from the property
      • Bedroom 2
        2 twin/ single, Second bed pulls out from under the first
      • Bedroom 3
        1 bunk bed, Single upper and a queen lower, converts to couch
      • Convertible bed(s)
        2 sleep sofa /futon, in living room
      • Queen size Beds (1), Double Beds (1), Twin or Single Beds (1), Sleep Sofa or Futons (1), Bunk Beds (1)


      • 2 Bathrooms
      • Bathroom 1
        toilet, combination tub/shower, tub, Small but practical
      • Bathroom 1
        toilet, shower
      • Both bathrooms are small, but practical, with some original railcar fixtures and features.

      Location Type

        • Lake View
          Lake settled into Valley
        • Lakefront
          200ft of lake front with dock. Clear and clean water, approx. 5ft and greater depth of the front of the dock, but walk in access on either side and small pebble beach
        • Mountain View
          Behind the railcar is a hill that can be walked. Approximately an hour and half to the top.
        • Rural
          Feel of in the country, woods on the property reaching back 1500ft to state lands. Great for hiking in the summer, and cross country skiing in winter.
        • Water View
          Water view from most locations on the East side of the property, including from the open Deck breakfast deck
        • Waterfront


            • Adventure
            • Away From It All
            • Budget
            • Family
            • Historic
            • Romantic
            • Spa
            • Sports & Activities
            • Tourist Attractions


                • Guests provide their own meals


                    • Linens Provided
                    • Air Conditioning
                    • Hair Dryer
                    • Heating
                      Oil filled electric heaters that can be located where needed
                    • Internet
                      Cable WiFi
                    • Iron & Board
                    • Clothes Dryer
                    • Living Room
                      Two comfortable futon style couches
                    • Parking
                      Parking for four cars
                    • Parking Off Street
                      For three of the four cars
                    • Parking for RV/Boat/Trailer
                      Consumes some of the car park space.
                    • Towels Provided
                    • Washing Machine
                      Older Maytag, in the basement, and area accessed purely for washing and drying clothes.


                        • Coffee Maker
                        • Cooking Utensils
                        • Dishes & Utensils
                        • Kitchen
                        • Microwave
                        • Oven
                        • Refrigerator
                          Mid size Stainless Steel Fridge
                        • Stove
                        • Toaster


                            • Child's Highchair
                            • Dining
                              Weather permitting, everyone is encouraged to use the deck or dock for meal times. However there is a small functional dining area in the car.
                            • Dining Area
                            • comfy seating for 4 people


                                • Balcony
                                • Deck / Patio
                                  Umbrella, chairs and table overlooking the yard with more seating and a firepit.
                                • Kayak / Canoe
                                  Upon request there are two Kayak's available. Life vests are provided and must be worn.
                                • Lawn / Garden
                                  comfortable and safe for young children, protected by a privet hedge between the railcar and the lake
                                • Outdoor Grill
                                  Gas grill


                                    • Long-term Renters Welcome
                                    • wheelchair inaccessible


                                        • festivals
                                        • health/beauty spa
                                        • library
                                        • restaurants
                                        • winery tours

                                          Leisure Activities

                                            • photography
                                            • antiquing
                                            • boating
                                            • eco tourism
                                            • outlet shopping
                                            • bird watching
                                            • scenic drives
                                            • shopping
                                            • sledding
                                            • walking
                                            • wildlife viewing

                                              Local Services & Businesses

                                                • ATM/bank
                                                • Babysitter
                                                • fitness center
                                                • groceries
                                                • hospital
                                                • laundromat
                                                • massage therapist
                                                • medical services

                                                  Sports & Adventure Activities

                                                    • pier fishing
                                                    • cross country skiing
                                                    • fishing
                                                    • fly fishing
                                                    • freshwater fishing
                                                    • golf
                                                    • hiking
                                                    • hunting
                                                    • ice skating
                                                    • jet skiing
                                                    • kayaking
                                                    • mountain biking
                                                    • cycling
                                                    • sailing
                                                    • scuba diving or snorkeling
                                                    • skiing
                                                    • snorkeling
                                                    • snorkeling/diving
                                                    • snowmobiling
                                                    • swimming
                                                    • tennis
                                                    • water skiing
                                                    • water tubing
                                                    • wind-surfing

                                                      House Rules

                                                      Check-in: 4:00 PM

                                                      Check-out: 10:00 AM

                                                      Cancellation Policy

                                                      Canceled bookings will not receive a refund

                                                      24 Reviews

                                                      Very Good4.1/5

                                                      Latest reviews

                                                      It felt like home

                                                      Adam D. P.

                                                      A unique cabin on the lake from the outside and it was like being back at the family cabin we use to have on the inside. What a wonderful time. We are staying there again.

                                                      Fun Guys' Weekend

                                                      John S.

                                                      The owner (Ian) was friendly and open for questions. The railcar itself met all of our needs. Grill,nice deck, space for 5, an awesome dock, and plenty to do (board games, fire pit, kayaks, etc). Beautiful lake too! Crystal clear water. Would consider a return visit.

                                                      The property was everything advertised. Our kids loved the fact it was a "real" railroad car,.

                                                      Ian D.-

                                                      The three distinct rooms were extremely functional. We used the new trundle mattress that has been commented on previously, and it proved very comfortable. The views of the lake from the breakfast/sundowner deck were spectacular. The kitchen is functional and well equipped, a little tricky working out how to pull out the stove, but obvious once you work it out. The seating arrangement around the fire pit on the lawn was perfect, place for 8 comfortably. Kids loved the s'mores. Internet works well, but there is little point using it in such a wonderful place. Weather was spectacular so we swam and Kayak'd off the dick everyday. The village of Skaneateles is a short drive away, but much nicer by boat. We had dinner in the village three times, and enjoyed the ride up and back as much as the quaint village.

                                                      The owner introduced himself, provide a great review of the places to visit, plus a history of the car itself. He was very hospitable and available before and during our stay to answer questions. We will come and stay again; 5 adults and two children, loved it.

                                                      Wonderful getaway weekend!

                                                      Kara W.

                                                      Just had a great getaway weekend with friends at this unique lake location. The railcar is authentic, maintaining many original fixtures, but with plenty of modern updates to make it comfortable. The beds were good (especially the futon), the towels were clean and plentiful. Two bathrooms (one with shower only, one with shower/tub combo) made it very easy for 4 people to stay here. You could do 6, if you had some couples, even 8 if you had some small kids. Kitchen is small but adequate for the amount of cooking you do on this kind of vacation. Grill on porch worked great. The wireless worked well.

                                                      The area is beautiful. It's about a 25 minute drive down from Skaneateles, which is a charming town. Once we checked in the railcar, we barely wanted to leave, but there are a few small stores and restaurants around if you need them. The area is pretty quiet and very peaceful to sit on the deck any time of day.The lake itself is across the street and down some very steep steps, but once there the dock is very nice. Large and steady, with two kayaks.

                                                      Ian was wonderful in communicating and providing information. For a weekend in mid-July in this area, the price was reasonable.

                                                      It was nice, but it needs to be refreshed.

                                                      Thomas A.

                                                      The shrubs by the deck off of the train need to be trimmed do you can get a better view of the lake. The outdoor furniture could use a coat of paint.

                                                      Kids loved it but needs some updating

                                                      Allison M.

                                                      The kids loved the exterior and that fact we were staying in a train. The bunk bed room was perfect for them. The house had lots of pros and cons. It could definitely be a 4+ stars with a few upgrades.

                                                      Biggest issues were the air stopped working while we were there and you are in a large metal box when it is 90 outside so it got a bit warm. The owner came out and attempted to fix it and was were able to get it functioning on a part time basis (we had to turn it off for part of the day and then it would work at night). He was unable to get someone out to repair it while we were there.

                                                      As stated in previous reviews, the trundle bed was unsleepable as it was just a box spring. The funtons were comfortable though. There was a broken window in the basement and the basement was wet and covered in cobwebs. Trying to go down there to do a load a laundry was kinda gross. Although we were close to wine country we couldn't find a wine opener! Good thing we had our own. Some blinds to block the morning light reflecting off the lake would also be nice. The sun came in early and bright. It rained pretty hard one day and some of the windows leaked.

                                                      The kitchen had pretty much everything we needed to make our meals. The bathrooms were small but manageable. The house was fairly close to two towns for groceries and entertainment. There was a great hike to go behind a waterfall and swim in the river farther down that our kids loved. It is within 45 minutes of some of the finger lakes wineries and some other nice waterfall hikes. The lake was beautiful and we had a great time in it pretty much every day. There was kayaks down there to use along with a fire pit for enjoying the sunset. You could jump right in off the dock or explore with the kayaks and tub. There was ample parking for the 3 cars we had. The large deck with patio table was great and we ate almost all of our meals there.The owner responded quickly to all contact and wanted to make sure we had everything we need to enjoy our stay.

                                                      Overall we would probably go back to the area and even go to the railcar again with a few updates. Our kids have asked to go back as they loved that fact that it was a real train car and you could see the wheels and everything.

                                                      Owner's Response:

                                                      Thanks for the thorough review. I agree that the issues listed could be better.

                                                      To late for you, but I will try and sort separately. The hedge was high and has now been trimmed, in fact we are opening up the whole view to the lake. The trundle bed box spring, is actually the "box mattress" supplied with the unit, but we agree it's really lacking and will replace with a mattress. By the way this was not included in the bed count when advertised, but understand the confusion.

                                                      The tired deck chairs were a local artists idea, the chairs are actually poly urethaned to seal in the weather look...but I agree it was ambitious and we will replace this coming week.

                                                      Glad otherwise you enjoyed the area and the uniqueness of the RailCar....Ian


                                                      Homer, NY, USA

                                                      The village of Skaneateles at the north end of the lake has great dining, a few pubs, an exclusive Spa, additional accommodation, Bowling, ice skating, fitness center. The patisserie provides lovely morning bakes and bread, and there are several in town coffee shops. All within walking distance of the free boat slips on the north shore in the village (summer time). Medical facilities, including a hospital, etc. can be found in Cortland 13 miles south of the property. There is a well stocked Tops supermarket in the village, and one in Cortland as well. Should you need it, Lowes, Walmart, marine repair facilities etc. are available within 20 minutes drive of the property.

                                                      Rates & Availability

                                                      Additional information about rental rates

                                                      Cleaning Fee
                                                      Pet Fee
                                                      Additional Guest Fee
                                                      Damage Insurance

                                                      The Damage Protection will be used to cover Breakage, Misuse, Extra occupancy, removal of Linen from beds and excess Garbage. Linen should be removed from, and placed on, the beds before departure (It takes longer to prepare the property for the next guests if not) and there will be a $25 charge. Provision is made for a maximum of 3x13 Gal trash bags per stay. Above this number, there is a $10 charge per 13Gal bag charge. All garbage must be placed in the container provided in the first room on the north end of the rail car base. Thanks you.

                                                      24 Reviews
                                                      Very Good 4.1/5
                                                      Enter dates for accurate pricing
                                                      For booking assistance, call 888-640-7927

                                                      Property # 166878