by Phil Corless
To completely make your kids’ vacation, all you have to do is book a room in this rural bed and breakfast. They will not be able to contain themselves when they see four authentic train cars, an engine, and a caboose, which make up the most unique accommodations in Fairbanks. Ideal for a small family is “Arlene,” an old hospital car used during WWII. Now it contains a huge master bedroom with a queen bed, a second bedroom with two twin beds, a spacious living room, and shelves filled with games and toys for the kids. A huge home-cooked breakfast is served in an actual dining car each morning.
The Aurora Express is located in a rural area 7 miles outside of Fairbanks. The train cars are lined up in the woods on a hillside overlooking the city, the Chena River and the entire Tanana Valley. If you can get the kids to leave their train, it’s an easy 15-minute drive into Fairbanks to find restaurants, grocery stores and activities. You’ll be close to the Museum of the North, on the campus of the University of Alaska. Here you can learn about the people, wildlife and history of the state. Kids will love the Native totems and gold rush equipment on display. The Riverboat Discovery, a popular riverboat cruise, will take the whole family on an unforgettable three-hour trip down the Chena River and into the history of Fairbanks. There are many memorable things to see and do in Alaska, but sleeping in a train car at The Aurora Express might be the highlight of your family vacation.
Our Editor Loves
- Antique train cars
- Stunning views
- Breakfast in the diner car
- Horse Back Riding
- Theme Park
- Water Sports
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
We stayed for two nights in the CanCan room; it would have been great to stay longer. As far as the room goes, it is so cool to sleep in a railroad car, and besides the "wow!" impression we got from the decor, we found the details remarkable. The bed was divine--the best sleep we had out of five places we stayed on our trip. What luxurious purple sheets!
But the most fun was in the dining car, where we had wonderful breakfasts and then long chats with Susan and Mike and the other guests. We really enjoyed their company and are in awe of the things they take in stride. We hoped to end our trip on a high note here, and we definitely did.
The location is good--the view is gorgeous, and while it's on the ridge and definitely requires a car, it's only about a 10-minute drive into town.
One thing you may not get here is wifi. Susan said she had been having problems with her Internet provider (which may be why she has missed some reservation requests--if you don't get a response, call them!). But there's free wifi and computers at the Fairbanks library.
My husband and I stayed here in this July, and we cannot say enough good things about it! Aurora Express was the most unique place we have ever stayed in, and the owners were funny, sweet, and helpful. My husband has a wheat allergy, and Sue went out of her way to get special bread he could eat so he could have the same (delicious) french toast as everyone else. The history and personality of this B&B cannot be overstated. If you have the time, look through the pictures of how they got the trains to the property - or ask the owners.There was also a beautiful view! Everything was simply fantastic! We highly recommend this bed and breakfast to anyone who like trains, uniqueness, personality, and fun.