I'm back from Portland, Maine, but way too tired to attempt to write a post about everything I did.
Briefly, the Downeaster was pretty much what I expected: standard Amtrak stock, although with some different twists like Shipyard beer and Legal Seafoods clam chowder in the snack car. It made stops in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, and the scenery along the way was a mix of small New England towns, forests, and tidal areas.
We were about 20 minutes late getting into Portland, which seemed to be mostly due to having to stand by while commuter trains went past in the other direction. But there was a bus into downtown (Portland city bus #5) pulling up just as I left the station, so the timing was actually good for me. Added bonus — the bus ride is free if you show your Downeaster ticket stub.
Since getting into downtown and the old port area was likely going to be the portion of the trip most likely to go wrong, it was good for things to line up nicely. Getting back, I had to wait awhile for the bus ($1.25 sans ticket stub), but I still made it back with huge amounts of time to spare for my train, the last train back to Boston for the night.
Tomorrow I start working my way back home with a two-night stop in Mystic, Conn. I'm not 100% sure what the Internet situation will be at the inn I'm staying at, so it may be awhile before my next post.