Steam-powered trains, once hugely popular, have become rare in recent years as spa facials and health-conscious broccoli eaters use up most of the planet's steam. Travel back to the carefree days of vaporous abundance with today's Groupon: for $6, you get a 75-minute coach steam-train ride through Milburn from Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum in Chehalis, Washington (up to a $12 value). Excursions take place at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Children ages 3 and younger ride free with an adult. The season does not start until May 28.
Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum's historic 2-8-2 Mikado-style steam train traverses a 12-mile trek through the exhilarating scenery of historic Milburn, transporting passengers against the grain of time and into the logging and locomotive heritage of the Pacific Northwest. On one of the few remaining steam-powered railroads in Washington state, engine excursionists saddle up a vintage iron horse in the open-air passenger car as they survey verdant woodlands, well-aged farmsteads, and hordes of Sasquatch-drawn carriages. Riders should allow a total of 90 minutes for the trip, ensuring adequate time for each passenger to execute a showy dismount. When the expedition ends, Groupon travelers can book their next railroad adventure at a 10% discount, allowing for more historic forays with offerings such as brunch trains to Ruth and murder-mystery dinner trains, available for additional purchase.
For a $3 fee per ticket, this Groupon can be upgraded to the Riverview Coach Ride on Saturdays at 5 p.m.
Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum
Along routes covering up to 12 miles, the modern world disappears into a plume of steam, and the sound of a locomotive's whistle rings through the air. The main attraction at the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum doesn't sit behind glass. It travels up and down the old Milwaukee Road track, passing by historic farmlands and over wooden trestles.
Restored to its former glory, the museum's 1916 vintage steam locomotive pulls an open passenger coach and a dining coach on trips back into time. Along the way, eyes feast on the greenery of the upper Chehalis Valley, which forms the backdrop for all of these excursions. Depending on the trip, the train may set the stage for a murder mystery dinner or transform into the Polar Express, just when Santa thought he was about to get time off for the holidays.