"Definitely do it," he says.
"The crew makes the whole entire trip," Zackery says. "When you get on the train, everyone's always smiling, they're welcoming every single passenger, and then when they come around for ticket collection, they always make little conversations with people."
Zackary travels on the Downeaster which runs multiple times a day between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston North Station.
"Definitely get the business class upgrade if you want even more room or a quiet car to study in since it's only $8 more," says Zackary, a sophomore at the University of Southern Maine who uses his Student Advantage membership to get cheaper tickets and his Amtrak Guest Rewards membership to earn points toward free train travel.
When Zackary's on the train between Portland and Boston (about 2.5 hours) he takes advantage of the free WiFi and enjoys the extended legroom onboard. "I love how much space there is on the train," he says, "and when you take the bus there's no legroom. Having those few extra inches means the world."
Even though Zackary's been riding the Downeaster since eighth grade, he says he's definitely interested in experiencing another route.
"I would personally love to do a cross-country trip to the west coast," he says, "possibly San Francisco or Los Angeles because I want to see everything in between. I think by taking the train, you can see more than in a car."
I have to get back on the Downeaster next time I go to Maine. I love Concord Coach Lines, but missed taking the train from Boston to Maine this past July...
One other thing to note here that I forgot to mention would be that this train also makes 2 daily trips from Boston to Freeport Maine (Home of the L.L. Bean flagship store) and Brunswick Maine along with all other station stops (Boston, Woburn MA, Haverhil MA, Exeter NH, Durham/UNH, Dover NH, Wells ME, Saco/Biddeford ME, Old Orchard Beach ME [seasonal] and Portland ME).
Do it, Zakary! It's a wonderful trip.
Take the California Zephyr to Oakland, then the Coast Starlight (the best train on Amtrak!) to LA, and the Southwest Chief from LA back to Chicago.
My wife and I traveled from Santa Cruz, California to Boston and back. It's a wonderful trip. You'll see things you would never see from a car!
@Hayduke2000 Sounds like it was a great trip. Maybe it will be a gift to myself after I finish my degree!