Buffalo to Boston via Rochester

Jan 26th, 2004, 07:16 PM
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Buffalo to Boston via Rochester

My son is auditioning at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester on a Friday and at the New England Conservatory in Boston on the following Monday. We're flying into Buffalo on Thursday and out of Providence on Tuesday. I know these are out of the way airports but with Southwest Rapid Rewards the flights are free.
The main question is transportation between these locations. We're from the southwest where it doesn't really snow. I'm pretty nervous about renting a car in February for such long distances but also not too excited about the prospects of Greyhound and Amtrak. Any advice or input for a snow wimp?
hcgonz is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 07:32 PM
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Not sure why you're hesitant about Greyhound and Amtrak, but they're perfectly reasonable alternatives. You won't need a car while you're IN Boston, especially there's no handy parking but easy subway access aound the Conservatory.

The airport in Providence is actually south of the city, in Warwick, so you'll want to get the bus to the airport form Boston, rather than taking Amtrak or the Commuter Rail to the train station in Provdience, where you'd have to switch to a bus to the airport. It's a perfectly resonable alternative -- I live in a suburb that borders on Boston but have flown out of Providence several times.
Anonymous is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 06:43 AM
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From Buffalo airport- you can hook up with Amtrak at the Depew Station and go to Rochester and all the way into Boston. If you don't want to drive, that is better then the bus. Amtrak can be very costly so look under the "rail sale" feature on the reservation page, the 48/49 and 248/249 trains. Be prepared for SIGNIFICANT delays- it seldem runs on time. Budget for cabs- will be running you some bucks from Buffalo airport and the Rochester train station.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 07:24 AM
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In addition to the "Rail Sale" specials (the link is at the top of the first Reservations screen), look for the link to special deals on the Amtrak home page, they often offer discounts for using matercard or whatever, and always offer discounts for AAA etc.

But the best deal for you is their "campus visit" buy-on-get-one-free deal: if a kid is going to look at colleges, he and the parent go half-fare! You just have to get a form signed by his guidance counselor (and Amtrak never even asked us to show them the form). I believe you can combine this offer with the discounts fro "Rail Sale" but not the other special offers.

Anonymous is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 07:41 AM
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Check on Amtrak's "Rail Sale" - there's a link on their home page -- and look for train #448 - Chicago to Boston, and click on that. On a subsequent screen you can enter that you only wish to go from Rochester to Boston. They are not always being offered.

Rather than take a train from Boston to Providence, just take a bus from the bus station which is connected to South Station (where you'd catch the train at anyway) .. see http://www.pvdairport.com/ground_transport/buses.htm

Be aware that the #48/#448 Amtrak *IS* often late (9 hours twice the past week)
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 08:10 AM
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Congratulations on your Eastman audition! My kids (high schoolers) take lessons there through the community education division and it is a great place!

As bad as it sounds you might want to just consider renting a car and driving carefully. When you get into our train station you are still far enough way from Eastman that you will need a cab (it's kind of not-so-great neighborhood), and then what do you do after? I guess you could get another cab to the airport...bu thtey aren't cheap here like NYC.

We are indeed having a very rough winter this year, and I think there is some snow predicted for Friday (well, it snows everyday it seems). But the road crews are good, especially on the thruway. There are 2 parking garages right near Eastman. Park in one of those. Street parking is 2 hours only. There is a decent restaurant (lunch stuff) across the strret called Arias, and a good coffeeshop right down the street (Javas).

I don't think (but I'm not sure) if the buses have any kind of a shuttle between Buffalo and downtown Roch. They should because we use the Buffalo airport all the time. The Trailways/Greyhound station is walking distance to Eastman.

Write back if you have any further questions.
Jan 27th, 2004, 08:15 AM
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I just called Trailways bus and they run a "shuttle" between Buffalo airport and downtown Rochester once a day at the not-very-convenient time of 8:15 pm departs Buffalo and arrives Rochester 9:30 pm. Ticket is $17 one way. Their number is 1-800-295-5555.
Jan 27th, 2004, 08:21 AM
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Yikes, for that kind of money, maybe the OP should look into renting a car at the airport in Buffalo and dropping it off in Boston.
Anonymous is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 08:26 AM
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Yeah, public transportation between Buffalo and Rochester and Boston will be so expensive that the best bet is to rent a car (maybe they could get an SUV if they reserved NOW) and tough out the drive. The train is ridiculously inconvenient too. (We used to live in Boston! Never could figure out a better way then driving.)
Jan 27th, 2004, 08:48 AM
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Since almost all the driving involved would be on highways, it won't be bad unless we're actively in the midst of a storm. And since one audition is on Friday and the other on Monday, the OP does have some flexibility in when they would be making the Rochester-to-Boston drive.
Anonymous is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 09:28 AM
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First, start hoping that Buffalo doesn't get one of their insane snowstorms, measured in feet.
Second, driving will not be bad, just boring (actually, some of the scenery will be gorgeous, but it's a looooong drive). I recommend stopping for a day of skiing while you're in the area!
The northeast is VERY experienced with snow and the roads (especially the mjor highways where you'll be) will be getting plowed while it's still snowing, repeatedly, until they are all cleared. Try to do the majority of your driving mid-day (warmest time of the day). I went to school in Albany and did some trips in winter to Ottawa, Montreal, Syracuse, Binghampton, Long Island, and Boston. I was a new driver then and did fine.
Buses can take forever. The bus from Albany to Long Island, NY would take over 6 hours and if I drove I could get the same place in just over 3 hours.
pb_and_j is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 07:22 PM
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Thanks so much for all the great advice. Now we just have to decide! I also tried pricing the flights between Rochester and Boston but the connections and cost don't make it a great option either.
The Amtrak was really 9 hours late? Is that at final destination?
hcgonz is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 04:42 AM
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When we visited colleges with our son last year it was sometimes useful to have a car to tour the immediate surrounding areas - get a picture of where he might be living. If it snows enough to make car travel horrible, I woulld not feel great about the bus either. The thruway gets cleared very quickly, so as long as it is not actively snowing when you leave, it should be fine. You could do a one-way rental Buffalo to Providence - you really can drive into Boston - it is just once you get here that you will want to leave the car parked.

Considering you are doing 4 cities in 6 days, the cost and aggravation of bus/train/taxi plus hauling luggage, son, (?instrument?) would make me rent a car.
gail is online now  
Jan 28th, 2004, 05:44 AM
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Suggest you rent the car and drive. Amtrak focuses on Boston - NYC...everything else is an afterthought.

The drive is long, but is NY Thruway directly to Mass Turnpike. The only potential issue is crossing the Berkshires in Western MA. That can be tricky in bad weather.

For planning purposes, it's 250 miles from the Worcester/Millbury exit on the Mass Turnpike to Syracuse...about 4.25 to 4.5 hours. From Worcester, an hour maximum to Boston. From Syracuse, an hour to Rochester and another hour to Buffalo, I believe.

If you drive, you have the opportunity to stop in Lenox/Stockbridge for shopping and the Norman Rockwell museum.
gc is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 09:29 AM
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hcgonz -- Definitely rent a car. What if you should happen to miss a bus/train and end up missing an audition? Buffalo and Rochester are not easy places for public transportation. Even if it is snowing, you will be fine -- they clear the roads like mad in the NorthEast. And if it happens to get really bad -- no problem. You've put in enough time between the two auditions to take your time and drive safe.

Also, another poster indicated getting a SUV -- if you are not used to driving a SUV in snow, don't rent one! They provide a false sense of security. Get a regular car that you are familiar with. Besides, you won't be on any back roads where you would actually need a SUV.

As far as cost, I can't imagine it being much more than all the public transportation. There is recent post regarding car rentals and how to get the lowest cost.

Good Luck!
ethaete is offline  
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