The Centennial Inn Train Car
Location: Livingston, Mont.
Cost: From $195 per night
When the first vacationers came West, some just decided to stay there.
Such was the fate of this late-1800s Northern Pacific railcar, which now sits on a secluded 13-acre spot along the Yellowstone River an hour from Yellowstone National Park. That's just lovely and all, but the inside of this care is a thing of beauty worth beholding as well. You'll sleep in a queen-sized walnut bed made in 1880 or the car's original twin beds from its more mobile days. Crystal chandeliers, a pressed-tin ceiling and an Italian marble shower with brass fixtures are all lavish touches for what looks from a distance like a long-abandoned relic.
As for what's around, you'll be tempted to make like the rail car and just sit here a while. Your own private sand beach stretches 1,000 feet along the Yellowstone River. The view from the train car's deck takes in the canyon between the Gallatin Range and the Absarokas. Nearby, herds of bison gather in Yellowstone's Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley during mating season in July and August. You can always make the trek to Yellowstone, but Chico Hot Springs is a relaxing experience in keeping with the vacation-on-rails motif.