Staycation Showcases: Converted Caboose

CARRABASSET VALLEY, Maine (WABI) – Accommodation in Maine comes in many forms, including the growing popularity of Airbnbs.

And it turns out there are some unique ones to be won.

This month Joy Hollowell presents Staycations in Our State.

We head to Sugarloaf Mountain to discover a converted caboose.

It has been about a century since a train entered the Carrabasset Valley.

So visitors to Pain de Sucre may be surprised when they see this bright red caboose perched on the mountainside.

Johanna Fowler bought the property from a former ski tracker.

“The owner, Rex Harper, wanted to hear a description from each person so he could decide,” says Fowler. “And I told him that I was a waitress, and that this was my first home, and he chose me. I wasn’t the highest bidder so I thought it was pretty magical.

The caboose is part of the Maine Central Railway. It operated from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

“All air brakes are original,” says Fowler. “They’re all plugged in, so if I want to take it on the road,” she jokes.

The caboose arrived here in 1970. At the time Fowler acquired it, the boxcar was in dire need of repair.

“It took me seven years to restore it,” she says. “The roofs are all replaced because it is a wooden caboose which is very rare.”

Took 80 pads just to sand the floor.

Along the way, Fowler discovered that this decommissioned caboose was still a huge hit.

“This really nice man who is a neighbor, Mike always walked by him,” Fowler recalls. “He came to see me one day and said, ‘I’m pretty sure I worked in your caboose. “”

The next day, Mike returned with two of the train’s original lanterns.

“One time I got back to the caboose and found this key on my bar with this note on it and it was written, ‘This is a key that fits the caboose door,’ Fowler said. reading the letter which she has now framed. the caboose. “It’s a key I found among my father’s belongings when he died years ago. One of the magical things that happened to me here.

In 2006, Fowler began renting the caboose.

“This is where all the dishes are,” she said, gesturing to a side door in the unit.

Fowler has worked hard to give customers a taste of the train life.

“This is the cupola where the engineer would sit and look along the track to see if another train was coming,” Fowler explains, pointing to the window. “If you’re sitting here you have to wear a hat. “

Last March, Fowler was fired from her job as a waitress in southern Maine at the height of the pandemic.

“This van kept me in business,” she says. “I got requests every week actually, when it’s usually my off-peak season in the spring and summer. “

Prices for the stay range from $ 150 to $ 250 per night. Fowler says many of his regular customers are from Maine.

“I had amazing people who came and stayed,” she says.

For more information on staying at Red Caboose on Sugarloaf, log onto

Other stories from this series:

Maine treehouse

Comfortable dome

Historic canoe shop

Goose Rocks Lighthouse

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