Published July 17th, 2012

Maine’s mid-coast is a famous mix of quaint downtowns and rugged coastline and a great way to explore the landscape and its culture is on the Maine Eastern Railroad tours between Brunswick and Rockland. For most people, riding a train is not the first method of travel that comes to mind, but the user-friendly MER service is a really fun option for people new to the area and locals looking for a fresh perspective on Vacationland.

For a round-trip adult fare of $47 (there are discounts for children, seniors, and groups of 25 of more), you can ride in MER’s restored antique cars along a scenic track that hugs the coastline and stops along the way in historic Bath and Wiscasset. The train runs Saturdays in the spring and multiple times a day, Wednesday – Saturday, during the summer, and during Fall Foliage season it runs Wednesday – Sunday. The rail staff is eager to help passengers navigate the whistle stops; they’ll help you find a taxi if you need one, give you the low-down on the sites to see, and recommend places to eat and shop.

For an even more in-depth exploration of the coastline, I recommend MER’s travel packages, which include a train ride and a stop-over for experiences like spa treatments, a ride on a lobster boat, a cruise on a 55-foot ketch, or a tour of historic inns. The “Lighthouses, Lobsters, and Relaxation” package includes an overnight stay in the Tradewinds Motor Inn overlooking Rockland’s Penobscot Bay and a lobster dinner at the Red Jacket Restaurant.

If you’re visiting Maine during the late spring, the summer, or the early fall, I encourage you to check out the Maine Eastern Railroad for an old-fashioned, romantic take on Maine coastal tours.