Drive DC to NYC: Good stops?

Old Feb 7th, 2009, 09:23 AM
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Drive DC to NYC: Good stops?

My husband, 4-year-old daughter and I are planning on renting a car to get from DC to NYC at the end of March. We had originally been planning on taking the train but it seems that there is a 2 bag per person policy that we couldn't meet. We also find it challenging to board/unboard a train. So a rental car seems like a decent option.

Is there anywhere terrific to stop for lunch in between DC and NYC? We'd like as nice and attractive a place as possible, possibly in an area that was worth walking around for an hour or so before getting back on the road.

Thanks!
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 11:47 AM
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Since your most direct route will be via 1-95 and the New Jersey Turnpike, one great stop on the way (about 2/3 of the distance) is Mastoris Diner in Bordentown... Not much to sightsee around, but worth the stop...

http://www.mastoris.com/
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 11:58 AM
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How about Princeton NJ? It'll be 3/4 of the way to NYC. It's about 10miles from an exit 8 on NJ Turnpike. There are plenty of places to eat in Princeton, and it's a picturesque town.

BTW, am I correct in reading that you will be renting a car in DC and turning the car in NYC?
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 12:58 PM
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DC to NYC isn't a fun trip, usually; but if you aren't in a huge hurry, you might consider getting off I 95 and going around Phila. into Bucks County (Doylestown, etc.) and then come through NJ to get into NYC. Much prettier and much less soulless interstate travel. Lunch in New Hope or Doylestown would be nice. You can shun-pike and find a covered bridge or two.
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 02:35 PM
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Longwood Gardens wouldn't be that far off course but their dining room is closed until April 1.
http://www.longwoodgardens.org/default.html

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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 03:10 PM
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If the weather is nice, and a pretty place to walk around is appealing, Winterthur is closer to your route than Longwood Gardens, and I think they have food year-round. Depending on a lot of weather variables, the end of March could be quite lovely for walking aroudn the gardens there.

But if you're thinking more of finding a good meal in a little town where you could walk around, then you should look at the Bucks Co. or Princeton options. Princeton has lots of restaurants including chains and more local places.
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 04:54 PM
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Are you sure you can find a rental car that will hold you and all your luggage (at least 7 pieces, if I read you correctly)?
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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Yes, we would be renting a car in DC and returning in NYC. As to luggage, we usually rent a Town Car or something like that and have never had any trouble fitting in all of our junk since my daughter only takes up a small part of the back seat area.

Thanks for all of the suggestions. You have given me some research to do. But I'll take any more ideas that come up.
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 06:07 PM
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A couple more things that come to mind regarding renting a car for DC to NYC:

1) Some cars come with an EZPass transponder. You can choose to use it or not use it (to use it, you slide it out of the case). Obviously, it's much more convenient to use the transponder for all your tolls, but I believe most car rental places add on a "convenience fee" if you use the transponder in the car.

2) Find out where the gas station is in NYC near your car rental return. Gas stations are not too common in Manhattan. Of course, you don't need to worry about that if you purchase the full tank option from the rental car company.

3) Do you have any idea which day of the week you're planning to take this drive?
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Old Feb 7th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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Longwood Garden's Terrace Restaurant and its the full-service dining room will be closed for renovations until March 27. However, cafe-style food service will be available daily.

Your four-year-old will surely enjoy the whimsical fun in the indoor children's garden.

Longwood Gardens would be a lovely break in your drive that day.
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Old Feb 24th, 2009, 08:53 PM
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Just priced the rental iwth Hertz...$1600!! This is for 6 hours! I've heard of drop off fees but this is crazy.

Acela train, here we come.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 06:04 AM
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Hertz would be the last place I'd check. You can do much better.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 06:59 AM
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 07:04 AM
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Surprisingly, Hertz is pretty good in NYC, but I think you're experiencing the huge drop-off fee because you are going from an area with relatively inexpensive car rental rates to one with very expensive rates. And there's a huge premium on parking space in Manhattan garages, where almost all car-rental companies operate. You might do better with Enterprise, but I suspect it will be really expensive (though $1600 seems utterly ridiculous).

I'd urge you to take another look at train or even the bus and to seriously re-think your luggage situation. It's going to hamper you in more ways than one on this trip.

Finally, take another close look at the luggage limits. Yes, you are limited to two bags, but this doesn't include any baby items such as strollers, car seats, laptop bags or so-called "personal" items. If you really have 7 large rolling suitcases or duffles, I'm sorry to say that you're seriously going to regret traveling that heavy if you are coming to Manhattan.
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Old Feb 26th, 2009, 05:28 AM
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I have travelled often on Amtrak, and occasionnally have pushed the envelope with some of my business equipment. No one has ever questioned me. I would have a direct discussion with Amtrak, also consider a business class seat??? You can have an Amtrak porter help you with luggage on and off.
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Old Feb 26th, 2009, 06:15 AM
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Where I like to stop en route (if I have time) is Havre de Grace, MD. You go into the town and eat along the water. Very nice. You can have crabcakes and the usual MD stuff. Much better than the hwy rest stops which are dreadful. I only stop for a nice lunch, however, if I have time.

I would not bother with the Acela train because I would never have more than 2 bags. I take the Bolt Bus now (boltbus.com). It is really great (luggage under the bus) and is run by Greyhound. Last time I paid $22 each way central city to central city.

I think you need to pare down your luggage. Are you going to a wedding? Otherwise you are bringing way too much, by the way. Remember: Whatever you bring and no matter how luxurious you travel, you will end up schlepping it at some point. You do not need your entire wardrobe. In fact, one bag per person should be enough. I traveled with children when they were 4 and we always had one checked bag and one carry on with toys and games for them. If your daughter has to bring her entire room to be comfortable, maybe you should just go to a resort where you pack and unpack once and wait until she is older to do a big trip.
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Old Feb 26th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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I saw this post and have a very similar requests. I want to know what is the best route to go from Northern Virginia (near Dulles Airport) to Hamilton, New York. My husband, five year old, and I will be traveling in the summer by car. We are from LA and not familiar with driving in this part of the country. Thanks in advance.
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Old Feb 26th, 2009, 09:57 PM
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If you are still reading this; i would guess your hefty drop off fee is because you were quoted a location in manhattan. If you opt for one of the airports, it would be quite a bit lower. Last summer i had a one way rental into NY and was due to return it to JFK. On the way into the city i called to see if i could return it to a Manhatan location which would have made it easier for me. Their response was "certainly" I was then quoted $1700 for the rental. Needless to say, i went to JFK and saved about $1500!
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Old Feb 27th, 2009, 11:40 AM
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If driving, you could stop at Newark, DE, home of the Univ. of Delaware. Nice campus, main st. with stores and restaurants, easy stop off of I-95 (plus could skip toll by taking last exit in MD-saving not just $, but sometimes alot of time). Almost exactly halfway from DC to Manhattan. Also, I would look into dropping off close to Manhattan in NJ, maybe Jersey City or Hoboken, or Newark Airport if necessary, check Hertz locations. BTW, gas is about .40 per gallon cheaper in NJ.
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Old Feb 27th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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I had to laugh because we just made this trip a couple of weeks ago and we stopped at Havre de Grace, Mastoris Diner and in Newark, DE, all mentioned above. Mastoris is worthwhile if you're a devotee of Road Food.

http://www.mastoris.com/

We had a nice lunch (casual setting, kid friendly, get a free bowl of popcorn from the machine behind the hostess stand) at the Deer Park Tavern in Newark:

http://www.deerparktavern.com/

And had a nice stroll along the water at the southern end of Havre de Grace, near the small lighthouse, marine museum and Decoy Museum, where they have a nice boardwalk along the waterfront. At the southwestern end of this walk, next to a marina, is a nice playground.

Newark and Havre de Grace were recommended in a recent article in the WaPo directly on point for your inquiry. I"ll try to find it for you.
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