Trains. If you love them, you love them like crazy. Northern California has her fair share of train history. When she became a state in 1850 there was no easy way to get here. And each mode of transportation from the east coast, be it a ship around the tip of South America, or by covered wagon along a cross-country trail, had its fair share of danger. Thankfully, we get to enjoy trains with a lot less stress and a lot more fun. As a matter of fact, there’s an exceptionally awesome train you can dine in with your family and a lot more. All aboard for an incredible time!
The town of Dunsmuir has quite a history with the railroad.
The lovely town of Dunsmuir was once a booming railroad town. It was formerly known as "Pusher" because this was the spot where the trains picked up more locomotives to help push the trains up a very steep grade to Mt. Shasta. It makes sense that this is where you'd discover such an adorable restaurant like this one.
Descendants of the railroad families here decided to resurrect the love of trains here.
Bill and Deberta Murphy both came from family who were a part of the railroad history here. In 1968 this couple decided to begin collecting unloved and cast aside boxcars, flat cars and even a caboose. For years they restored and repaired these antique iron giants and brought them back to life.
Come see their 1927 Willamette Shay Steam Driven Locomotive!
One train source had this to say, "Ephraim Shay (1839–1916), was a schoolteacher, a clerk in a Civil War hospital, a civil servant, a logger, a merchant, a railway owner, and an inventor who lived in Michigan.
In the 1860s he became a logger and wished to devise a better way to move logs to the mill than on winter snow sleds. Two years later he invented the Shay Locomotive. In 1877 he developed the engine that could sit on a flat car with a boiler, gears, and trucks that could pivot." This was genius at the time--and changed logging and transportation in huge ways.
Explore a train and step back in time.
There's something special about piling the kids in the car and taking them to a place like this. Not only do you get a fantastic dining experience, but there's also a car that's a shop and one for just sitting outside and relaxing. There's a lot to do here. And, if the kids say they're not interested? Bring them anyway. It's these family field trips that leave a lasting mark.
Dinner is served Wednesday through Sunday. The lounge opens at 4pm and dinner begins at 5pm. Make sure to call ahead for reservations. What a delight to eat in an antique rail car. One person said this about it, "Antique hand tools, gauges, pictures, signal and other artifacts recall the glory days of railroading in the west and specifically the Dunsmuir and McCloud area." How cool is that!?
Oh My Heck!
Menu items include steak, chicken and fish items. But they have specials each week, so what you may have your first time is NOT what you get next time - but it's just as yummy! This is their "Oil Can Willie Special." Their featured dessert was "Freight Car Apple Delight. A cinnamon popover on a layer of Granny Smith apple pie filling. Served with vanilla ice cream and house made salted caramel sauce. " (Are you kidding me!? I'm on my way!)
Dining and more...
The natural beauty that surrounds this restaurant...ahem...railroad park is just incredible. Apparently, this white heron decided to hang out for awhile, too. Another reason why bringing the kids would be pretty cool.
You can spend the night, too!
For some of us, driving up to Dunsmuir will take a few hours in the car. Which means you might want to expand dinner into an evening there. Guess what? You get to sleep in a rail car, too. But, with all the modern amenities. This might just become an annual trip for you and your honey.
If you'd rather camp, go ahead!
There are 45 spots to choose from here. Stay alongside Castle Creek and go to sleep alongside the gurgling sounds of nature. You're really close to the Sacramento River, too. Which means the fisherman you bring along will be quite pleased. Let him unwind while he fishes for trout, bass and catfish. Pets stay free!
Dinner and a show.
Come for dinner, but stay for Mother Nature's show. This is a lot more than just a dining car - this is a railroad experience on steroids. Take advantage of this precious place with the people you love.
What a great way to teach your kids about history, or just celebrate a special day with your favorite train-lover. Life’s too short not to enjoy this kind of dining.