You can’t tell from this photograph, but this is a nearly life-size replica of the Polar Express, from the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg and the movie by the same name. And you may not be able to tell this, either – it’s made out of gingerbread. It is sitting in the main lobby of the Samoset Resort in Rockport.

Three chefs spent roughly 80 hours combined to build the train, which was a little easier than last year’s project (a gingerbread light house), according to executive sous-chef Eric Hansen; he worked on it with his wife, pastry chef Lorraine Willever-Hansen, and executive chef Tim Pierce. The chefs have been sculpting gingerbread at the resort every Christmas for about a decade; five years ago, they got more ambitious, and the gingerbread pieces started to get bigger.

“This is the first one that people can actually climb on,” Hansen said. “The tricky part was making it sturdy enough to withstand a lot of footsteps.” That’s done with wood framing. “As hard as a cookie is,” Hansen explained, “it’s still a cookie.” The gingerbread isn’t meant for eating – “No! No! Definitely not!” But try telling that to young visitors. The chefs baked extra gingerbread in order to “re-side it if you will, as (the display) went on, since there were a couple of bite marks here and there,” he said.

To see the gingerbread Polar Express (and the smoke machine and gingerbread tunnel, too), visit the main lobby of the Samoset Resort on the Ocean, 222 Warrenton St., through early January. But no need to mourn the train’s departure with the end of the holidays. Because in mid-January, Samoset chefs will carve a massive bar out of ice, and invite visitors to sidle up to it, plant themselves on its ice stools, and order drinks served, naturally, in glasses carved of ice.

— PEGGY GRODINSKY