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Welcome to my blog where I share some of my favorite things from the Midwest cities along Lake Michigan.

Riley's Railhouse: Rich in Railway History

Riley's Railhouse: Rich in Railway History

Original Freight Scale

Original Freight Scale

Riley’s Railhouse located in the heart of downtown Chesterton is the perfect location for your next stay while visiting the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  It’s within walking distance of shopping, restaurants (Albano's Pasta Shop:  Simple, Focused, Rustic Italian), two wineries and only minutes away from the Indiana Dunes State Park, beaches, and the South Shore Train Station which will take you right into downtown Chicago.

Also, the uniqueness of the Bed & Breakfast makes it an enjoyable and memorable experience.

The building, constructed in 1914 by the New York Central Railway is situated on the Norfolk Southern double main line and once served as a freight station.  

Extensive labor has gone into restoration and renovations while preserving as much as possible. 

In the main lounge, you’ll find many antiques, railroad memorabilia, art, and the original, functioning freight scaled once used in the train depot. The building is large, but the Rileys have made it comfortable and welcoming.  There’s a large kitchen in the middle of the lounge which serves as a gathering space.  There's also a bar in the lounge.  

Lounge has large open kitchen

Lounge has large open kitchen

Delicious breakfast served  to guests in the morning

Delicious breakfast served  to guests in the morning

Lounge Bar

Lounge Bar

Two rooms in the depot serve as guest rooms.  The lower berth sleeps up to two, and the upper berth sleeps up to 5.  The upper berth also has a balcony for train enthusiasts to step onto for a view of the passing trains on the Norfolk railway.  Up to 90 trains pass each day.

No need to worry about excessive train noise.  The installation of triple-pane soundproof windows greatly diminish the noise.  I was amazed at how much they cut down on the sound as I watched one train pass with the windows shut.

Upper Berth sleeps up to 5

Upper Berth sleeps up to 5

Renovated New York Central Boxcar

Renovated New York Central Boxcar

Outside of the depot sits renovated vintage railway Boxcars that serve as guest quarters. Much attention has been given to detail in the beautifully decorated, warm, cozy spaces. The New York Central Boxcar has two guest rooms that each sleeps up to 4.

My family and I stayed in the renovated New York Central Boxcar recently. The mattress as well as the bedding was very comfortable.  I slept like a baby!

The next morning we enjoyed delicious breakfast and lovely conversation with the owners and other guests in the lounge.

The warmth and hospitality shown to us made it difficult to pack up and leave.

You don’t have to be a train enthusiast to stay here. Beach visitors stay at the Railhouse too. Many guests who weren’t necessarily fans of the railroad upon arrival have departed with a new appreciation for the importance of the railroad in history.  Mr. Riley’s knowledge of the virtues of the railroad and the history of the building coupled with his enthusiasm prompts you to want to learn more!  His love of trains started with his father's hobby of purchasing and restoring railroad lanterns.  There are some on display in the restored depot.

This year Riley’s Railhouse will celebrate six years of business.  There’s no other space like it in the area. This place is a gem! 

Hopefully, you’ll check it out for yourself!

Noteworthy Mentions:

  • Railfans can request a room with view of the tracks
  • Soft ear plugs provided for guests in each room.
  • The lounge is available for rent

INTERESTING NOTE:
Outside of the building, there are two cameras supplied by Railstream.biz that are positioned facing the tracks east and west allowing viewership of passing trains 24/7 through the camera’s stream.  These are 2 of 10 cameras situated throughout the United States.  People from all over the world including Peru, Germany, England, and Ireland have seen the railstream videos and visited Riley’s Railhouse as a result. You can view the livestream by visiting www.railstream.biz and selecting Riley's Railhouse from the live video page. 
 

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