Amtrak Downeaster: 5 fun things to do near Saco, Maine

Hannah Donahue

The next stop on the Amtrak Downeaster is Saco, Maine. While it definitely seems to be more of a spring and summer destination, there are still plenty of things to do in the winter months. The local shops, restaurants and cafés are a great place to start.  

First Stop: Quiero Café  

At any time of the day you can find some delicious Latin American cuisine at Quiero Café. Located right off of Saco’s Main Street, at 8 Pepperell Square, it is easy to get to from the Downeaster stop. From authentic coffee, to empanadas, to smoothies and more, there is something for everyone on the menu and it is all freshly made behind the register. The atmosphere is aesthetically pleasing, and the aromas are indescribable. Quiero Café is a delicious stop that all the locals rave about.  

Second Stop: Elements: Book, Coffee, Beer 

Not your typical café. A short walk from the train stop, you enter Biddeford, Maine. At the end of the street there is Elements: Books, Coffee, and Beer, which like its name suggests is a café and bar that also sells new and gently used books. All the drinks and books are labeled in a way to mimic the periodic table of elements. This café offers a unique setting for students to enjoy a conversation, get some schoolwork done or read a book, and maybe even find some leisure reading to purchase. What makes Elements different besides being surrounded by books is how the register turns into a bar; but don’t worry, if you want your own table you will be able to find a seat around the bookshelves.  

Third Stop: Part and Parcel 

Part and Parcel is a must-stop for anyone. Located in Biddeford, Part and Parcel is a local specialty market and kitchen that is women-owned and operated; it embodies the idea of “eat, drink, and shop local.” Part and Parcel offers local beers and wines, prepared foods and home goods. Their staff is friendly and willing to help answer any questions a customer may have. With a modern layout, the entirety of the store is easy to navigate. Not to mention all the unique purchasing options that allow for a one-of-a-kind experience that you can’t find anywhere else.  

Fourth Stop: Local shops 

Walking up and down the streets of Biddeford you are bound to find some unique shops like Trillium. Owned by a local friendly businesswoman, who originally studied journalism but decided to quit her day job and open up her own shop, Trillium sells some of the owner’s handmade jewelry. The small shop also sells other products and gifts for the home, self and soul. Some of the gifts are made and produced by other local vendors, but the biggest catch is the handmade jewelry located in the register casing. While spending a day in Saco and Biddeford you have plenty of opportunities to support small, local businesses.  

Fifth Stop: Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery 

Before catching the train back to Durham, the Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery is a necessary stop to fill up your stomach before the ride home. At the Run of the Mill, you will find your typical American cuisine like wraps, sandwiches, soups and more. If you are 21 years and older, the brewery’s sample platter allows you to taste-test all seven beers that are currently on tap for only $6. When asked what you would like as a side, pay a little extra for the sweet potato fries—you won’t regret it. Walking up to the doors you can tell it’s a beloved local restaurant because the parking lot always seems to be full.