DC area and surroundings

Mar 24th, 2012, 09:20 AM
  #1  
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DC area and surroundings

I have a wedding in Fairfax, Virginia on a summer Saturday. Due to airfare issues, I'm thinking of taking the red-eye. I'd get in super early Friday morning to BWI and leave again Sunday night from BWI.

Does it make sense to stay Friday night in Baltimore to do some sight-seeing .... maybe the Walters and Harbor area? I could seemingly easily take the light rail in from BWI.

Then, how on earth do I relatively cheaply get from Baltimore to Fairfax Saturday morning and again Sunday? Do I take the train into DC then metro to Fairfax station then cab?

Or maybe I just screw it all and stay both nights in Fairfax with nothing to do or schlep up to DC. My Fairfax hotel is obviously pretty cheap.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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Is there anyway you can avoid flying into BWI? How much cheaper is it? The amount of hassle of getting from BWI to Fairfax is going to be enormous, hours and hours of time.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 11:09 AM
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It's like at least $200 more into IAD with poorer travel times. BWI would let me possibly visit Baltimore, at least ... if that's worth doing!
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Mar 24th, 2012, 11:35 AM
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You can easily see the highlights of Baltimore in one day. You can take the light rail from BWI to Penn Station and walk or take a cab to a hotel and then walk to the Harbor. I enjoyed the aquarium and the American Visionary Museum. The aqyarium is on the harbor and the American Visionary Museum is at the foot of Federal Hill about 1/2 block from the harbor. From the harbor you can walk or take the water taxi to Fells Point for dinner or in between for lunch.

I stayed at the Mt Vernon Hotel witch is very close to the Walters. It was reasonably priced but nothing fancy. If decide to stop in Baltimore, watch Groupon. I have seen many hotel deals for Baltimore.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 12:12 PM
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I have read that there is a bus from BWI to the Greenbelt Metro. Can anyone help here?

If that is true, you could go to DC first and site see a little and metro/cab to your hotel (is your hotel on a bus line?).

More DC site seeing Sunday before returning to BWI via Metro and Bus? Or go to Baltimore Sunday a.m.

Here's a link that may be of interest. Folks who've actually done it can help:

http://www.bwiairport.com/en/travel/...on/trans/wmata
TDudette is online now  
Mar 24th, 2012, 03:51 PM
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As far as getting to Fairfax goes, once you are in DC take the Metro into Vienna (orange line) and then a cab to your hotel.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 04:40 PM
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I'm amazed airfare is really that much cheaper at BWI than either Dulles or National, have you looked there?

It would seem you could compromise and stay somewhere where there is more to do than Fairfax county wherever you may be, such as in DC or the close-in Va suburbs or near a metro. How do you plan to get around Fairfax county without a car?

The Harbor area is not worth planning a trip around, it's that usual fabricated mall-type area, just at a harbor. Those guys have built a lot of those (I think the same guys built the area in NYC, South St Seaport, they are known for "festival marketplace" city projects). And DC has plenty of art museums. In short, staying in Baltimore sounds like too much trouble to me. If anything, I'd go to Fells Point or something.

If you really want, you can take a bus from BWI to Greenbelt metro and then someone shlep on the metro from there to wherever you are going. This will take a long long time. I don't know what metro station you are going to, but I guess Vienna which is the end of the orange line. Just getting from Greenbelt to Vienna (you must transfer) by metro will take over an hour alone.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 09:24 PM
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Thanks; I've looked at both other airports and BWI is significantly cheaper. I have friends who live in DC, so I could try to think about staying there. the hotel is about 5 miles away from the church, so I plan to cab there and hopefully back from the reception if I stay in Fairfax.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 06:23 AM
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For that short of a trip, there's no real reason to spend time in Baltimore. If you have to go in and out of BWI, I'd just come into DC and stay either in the city or out in Fairfax.

Understand why people are trying to wave you off of BWI. Yes, it is cheaper. But once you add in the transportation back-and-forth, the time it will take to get from BWI and Fairfax and back, and the sheer inconvenience of it all, that cost savings may not be worth it.

Look at the cheap option of the bus to Metro to Fairfax. You get off a red-eye, then drag yourself and your bags onto a city bus (assuming it is running that early) to the subway and then ride on the subway for over and hour, so you can then hire a cab to get you to your hotel. Then reverse all of that on your way back. It may be cheap, but a tons of hassle for a three-day trip. Fairfax is maybe 10-15 minutes from Dulles.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 06:55 AM
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JoeTro, then that shuttle to Greenbelt Metro to DC and your friends' might work for you better than Baltimore.

Although MikeT makes a good argument for Dulles, a $200 savings is not to be sneezed at. There is a metro directly from Reagan into DC as well.

Good luck!
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Mar 25th, 2012, 08:18 PM
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Thanks, all. I see that Baltimore proper is really out of the way. I may consider going to DC (which is pretty easy on the train on a Friday) from BWI and staying with a friend. Getting back from Fairfax to BWI on Sunday will be hell, though. Or, maybe using miles to IAD.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 08:03 AM
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There is a BWI shuttle bus but I don't know how far it goes. It would be a chunk of change. I'm assuming the schedules are less frequent on Sundays?
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Mar 26th, 2012, 02:03 PM
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$200 does seem a lot, but that is IAD, I wonder if a comparison was made to DCA or not. And when you add in all those travel costs and cabs, it won't be a $200 saving. Of course you have to not value your time in any way, also, and that's legitimate if you feel that way (that you don't want to include the cost of your time). At least you need to get to BWI on Sunday when traffic isn't so bad, otherwise it would be a nightmare.

You can take the Super Shuttle group van to/from BWI, that's what I'd do. At least it is door to door. that's what I recommended to a friend who was staying in a hotel in downtown DC, and she thought it was great. They may not go all the way out to Fairfax (that is a whole county, there isn't any city by that name that I know of), but I know they go to DC. www.supershuttle.com

I just checked and they charge around $50 one-way to BWI from northern VA, and they do seem to go there. They will go to Falls Church, anyway, as that is what I checked for the quote. So it's either $50 (a cab would cost more) or some of these other methods involving transfers.

Amtrak goes from WAS union stn to BWI on Sundays for only $14-24 or so, it varies by time. So that's what I'd do if you can stay in DC. If not, you'll have to get to Union Stn.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 08:42 PM
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Best news! Just snagged a 50% off Virgin America coupon for $50, so I'll probably save at least $200 in airfare and fly into IAD. Problem solved!
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Apr 4th, 2012, 07:30 AM
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There's a bus that goes from IAD to the West Falls Church Metro or Rosslyn metro - it's pretty easy. Tour around DC in your free time - lots to see!
http://www.wmata.com/getting_around/new_metro/
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Apr 4th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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Super news JoeTro. Please let everyone know how it went--add to the information pool!
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Apr 4th, 2012, 01:26 PM
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Not sure you saved any time or aggravation by switching from BWI to IAD.
FYI the Amtrak fare from BWI to WAS is $11 for NE Regional trains and there are many of them per day.
The Washington Amtrak station is on top of a major METRO station. Flying to Reagan National makes more sense if you want direct access to a METRO station.
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Apr 4th, 2012, 04:04 PM
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It's just as easy to take the bus to the West Falls Church metro, take the metro back to Vienna and then a taxi into Fairfax.
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Apr 4th, 2012, 07:42 PM
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I'm excited that you changed to IAD. It will be much more convenient for you. We live in Virginia and fly out of BWI only when there is no other option. The advice to figure your time is good. Have fun at your wedding!
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Apr 5th, 2012, 04:17 AM
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Congrats on scoring a flight to Dulles rather than BWI. I can't imagine getting off the red eye to face Friday morning commuter hell trying to get around the region. Even on metro, it would likely be standing room only. Yikes.

If you plan to stay the entire time in Fairfax County, then yes, Fairfax Co is the boring suburbs, especially without a car.

One car-free site seeing option is to take the Fairfax Connector bus from the Huntington Metro to Mt Vernon. For anyone interested in history, George Washington's home is worth seeing. The gardens and the view of the Potomac are also stunning.
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