Because the inn is located 2,014-feet above sea level, the temperature cools down comfortably come evening, and, for those addicted to TV as well as trains, a set in the Common Room offers a chance to catch your favorite shows.
As might be expected, Davis stocks a multitude of rail books, magazines and DVDs for his guests to enjoy. He also gives directions to the area’s best train photo vantage points such as the Cassandra Overlook (rated the best by those in the know), the bridge at nearby Lily and Carney Crossing.
Icing on the cake, the inn is only three miles from the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, six miles from the Gallitzen rail tunnels, 10 miles from the Horseshoe Curve and 15 miles from the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum.
With its cornucopia of rail riches, the inn draws many repeat visitors. Davis claims that 85 percent of his guests return for at least one other visit, and one guest, who holds the record, has spent a total of 83 nights at the inn.
At the time of my stay, Ted Turnicki of Jewett City, Conn., was on his 17th visit, the first of which dates back to 1998 when he saw an ad for the inn in a rail magazine.
"While I come here basically to see the trains, I also like the fact that there’s no telephones or TV and that I can get away from it all.
Connecticut may seem a far away place to come from to watch trains, but Davis’ guest book lists visitors from places like Germany and Australia. One fan I enjoyed the inn’s porch with one evening named Jeff Stern was from Nova Scotia.
Awakening at 8 in the morning after my sleepover, I looked out my bedroom window only to see three guests getting out of their car with camera equipment in hand. From the smiles on their faces and their buoyant camaraderie, I knew they must have captured images of something interesting at Cassandra or Lily bridge.