Has anyone used Amtrak or Concord Coaches for a trip to Maine? If so which would u recommend.
Haven't used but have stayed along the route, I think Amtrak would be more scenic than a bus.
Where in Maine are you going?
Nowhere in particular. Just wanted to go up to see Maine for the day
Freeport is focused entirely on shopping.
I would choose Portland. It's a nice small city with interesting shops and good restaurants and an art museum all in a walkable downtown. There is also the Shipyard Brewery tour if that's of interest. You can also take a ferry out to a Harbor Island, such as Peak's.
The Amtrak Downeaster service is great. Very efficient and stops along the way.
As mentioned, Freeport is strictly for outlet shopping and LL Bean. If you aren't into that, go to Portland. It's a lovely city and really pretty this time of year to walk around.
Have taken the Downeaster twice this summer. Two thumbs up. First, it's sooo comfortable and easy, the comfort of air travel of olde. Add the free wifi averaging 81 mbps and an AC plug for every seat.
My first trip was to L.L. Bean etc. in Freeport. As Alanm says, it's all about shopping (and some eating). But that was quite good enough for me for a day. The L.L. Bean "campus" can absorb hours.
The second trip was even more interesting. I went to Old Orchard Beach, in which "everything" is within blocks of the train stop. I wish I knew how to upload photos here. The beach was just packed with color as far as the eye could see, and the amusement park was humming. It was kind of cute to see - full - bins for empty pizza boxes every hundred feet or so along the beach.
What I found interesting was that the vast majority of people - last week, certainly - were speaking French. "The French Canadian Riviera." It was nice to see that the establishments are finally flying the quatre fleurs de lys, rather than the maple leaf. One can "do" Old Orchard Beach in a few hours or spend the night, although it's pretty expensive now -- one is hard-pressed to find a *motel* at < $200.
[I have no connection with Amtrak or the tourism industry.]Edited: 23 August 2013, 13:47
Why not York Beach or Old Orchard Beach? Those are different options from Portland. Freeport is a town built around the LL Bean flagship store. There are outlets and the giant store (which runs wilderness jaunts, archery classes, etc.) and lots of fudge and ice cream shops, boutiques, but it's not seeing Maine the way I think of seeing Maine.
And yes, Maine is the one place I get to practice my schoolroom French. We were in one restaurant in OOB where the French-speakers outnumbered the English speakers. TV stations include a number in French. Interesting...
All of the train advantages are clearly outlined above. Also - if you're taking this trip the weekend of 9/14 - 9/15, there is currently a promotion to try the train for $5.00.
We have done both Concord Coach Lines and the Downeaster between Maine and Boston. We make our choice based on time of travel, price and destination. If we're connecting to South Station or the airport, it's definitely Concord Coach. If you're planning on doing stops other than Portland, like OOB or Freeport, I'd choose the train.