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

Bedrooms 3
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 1 - 2 nights


About the property

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

More Details

Ian DeSouza
Member since: 2008
Speaks English, Swahili
Response time:
Within a few hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
25 April, 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.


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday cottage in Homer in Town of Sempronius

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Self-catering
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 16:00 / Check-out: 10:00
  • Max. occupancy: 8
  • pets considered
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
Location Type:
  • Lake View ...
  • Lakefront ...
  • Mountain View ...
  • rural ...
  • Water View ...
  • Waterfront
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Budget
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Spa
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Parking Off Street ...
  • Parking for RV/Boat/Trailer ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Hob
  • Toaster
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 - Toilet , Bath with Shower , Bath (no shower) , Small but practical
    Bathroom 1 - Toilet , Shower Enclosure
  • Both bathrooms are small, but practical, with some original railcar fixtures and features.
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 8
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 Large Double Bed , Cherry pannelled walls milled from the property
    Bedroom 3 - 1 Bunk Bed , Single upper and a queen lower, converts to couch
    Bedroom 2 - 2 Single Bed , Second bed pulls out from under the first
    Convertible bed(s) - 2 Sofa bed/Futon , in living room
  • Queen size Beds (1), Double Beds (1), Twin or Single Beds (1), Sleep Sofa or Futons (1), Bunk Beds (1)
  • Balcony
  • Terrace ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Garden ...
  • Barbecue ...
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • wheelchair inaccessible
  • festivals
  • Health/Beauty Spa
  • library
  • restaurants
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antique hunting
  • bird watching
  • Boating
  • eco tourism
  • outlet shopping
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • Shopping
  • sledding
  • walking
  • Wildlife Viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • Babysitter
  • fitness centre
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundrette - serviced
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • ice skating
  • jet skiing
  • Kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • pier fishing
  • sailing
  • diving
  • ski
  • snorkelling
  • Snorkeling/Diving
  • Snowmobiling
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • water skiing
  • water tubing
  • wind-surfing


Very Good! 4.1/5 -
(24 traveller reviews)

41% Complete
41% Complete
8% Complete
4% Complete
4% Complete
Historic Railcar on Beautiful Skaneateles Lake at Glen Haven refreshed for 2016
average rating of 4.125 based on 24 reviews

It felt like home

  • 4 of 5

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.

  • Review Submitted: 28-Aug-2017
  • Date of Stay: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Fun Guys' Weekend

  • 5 of 5

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.

  • Review Submitted: 09-Aug-2017
  • Date of Stay: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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The property was everything advertised. Our kids loved the fact it was a "real" railroad car,.

  • 5 of 5

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.

  • Review Submitted: 04-Aug-2017
  • Date of Stay: July 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Wonderful getaway weekend!

  • 4 of 5

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.

  • Review Submitted: 03-Aug-2017
  • Date of Stay: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Kids loved it but needs some updating

  • 3 of 5

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.

  • Review Submitted: 26-Jul-2017
  • Date of Stay: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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
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It was nice, but it needs to be refreshed.

  • 4 of 5

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.

  • Review Submitted: 23-Jul-2017
  • Date of Stay: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
40 Miles
Syracuse (SYR), Binghamton (BGM), Ithica (ITH)
Nearest Barpub
1 Miles
Glenhaven Restaurant and Bar
Nearest Golf
15 Miles
Skaneatles Country Club; Cortland Country Club
Nearest Motorway
15 Miles
I-81 or I-90
Nearest Restaurant
1 Miles
Glenhaven Restaurant
Nearest Ski
20 Miles
Greek Peak, Song Mountain, Toggenburg, Labrador
Car: recommended

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.


Prices & Availability

Prices for this holiday cottage in Homer, USA

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rental Period Minimum Price Additional Nights Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event Price
15 Jan 2018 - 21 Jun 2018
2 night minimum stay
for 2 nights
My Standard Rate
1 night minimum stay
for 1 night
Notes: Rates are based on 6 guests; add £72 per night, per additional guest

Additional pricing information

Cleaning Fee £143.06
Pet Fee £71.53
Property Damage Protection £42.2

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.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • Cancelled bookings will not receive a refund.
Ask Owner a Question

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