GETTING THERE: Cresson, Pa., is 180 miles northwest of Washington. Take I-270 to I-70 west to Breezewood, Pa. Pick up the Pennsylvania Turnpike west to I-99 north almost to Altoona. Take Exit 28 (U.S. Route 22 west) and proceed to the Cresson/Summit exit.
STAYING THERE: The Station Inn's seven rooms (827 Front St., 814-886-4757, www.stationinn pa.com) are $55 for a single, $85 for a double and $99 for a triple, breakfast included; no credit cards. Those willing to trade a train view for more amenities might prefer the Cresson House Bed & Breakfast (417 Park Ave., 814-886-5014, www.cressonhouse.com), with five rooms for $82 to $92, breakfast included. The Tunnel Inn (702 Jackson St., 814-884-2975, www.thetunnelinn.com), another railroad motel five miles away in Gallitzin, charges $65 for a single, $100 for a double, including breakfast and "track snacks."
EATING THERE: The Station Inn is within walking distance of five restaurants. All, says inn owner Tom Davis, are "cheap, bountiful and greasy." The Cresson Springs Family Restaurant (Route 22 at Route 53, 814-886-7710) has homemade pies. Ten miles west in Ebensburg, Off the Rack (3047 New Germany Rd., 814-472-8835) is a somewhat more upscale ribs-and-fish spot.
NEARBY RAILROADIANA AND OTHER STUFF: Up Front Street is another vantage point, the Heritage Park observation platform and the Pennsylvania Railroad caboose. On Cresson Area Heritage Days (Sept. 30-Oct. 2 this year), Front Street becomes one big block party, starting with a "hobo dinner" ($3 for a big bowl of chili). Immediately adjacent to the Gallitzin Tunnels is the Tunnels Park and Museum (814-886-8871, www.gallitzin.info), a restored 1942 caboose and museum with exhibits and a 20-minute film. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark and Visitors Center (814-946-0834, www.railroadcity.com), about 10 miles from the Station Inn, is open April through October (November and December weekends only). The Railroaders Memorial Museum (1300 Ninth Ave., 814-946-0834, www.rail roadcity.com), 15 miles from Cresson in Altoona, contains three floors of exhibits. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from April through October, weekends only in November and December. Combined admission for the Horsehoe Curve and the Railroaders Museum is $7.50 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for youth and free under 5. The Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site (12 miles west of Altoona just off Route 22 at the Gallitzin exit, 814-886-6150, www.nps.gov/alpo) is an inclined-plane railroad dating to the mid-1800s.
INFO: Cresson Area Chamber Of Commerce, www.cresson area.com.