Drive from DC to Boston

Old Apr 12th, 2009, 09:33 AM
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Drive from DC to Boston

I have seen this topic discussed in the past but wondered if there were any other thoughts.
We have never travelled in this part of the country. We will return to NYC via train from Boston but would like a scenic route to take from DC to Boston to be done with one overnight enroute. Any suggestions on where to spend that one night and the route? Thanks.
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 11:21 AM
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What time of year?

What are your interests? Just scenery? Seeing something historic (Gettysburg? Liberty Bell in PA? Mansions in Newport?)

This is a long drive, with the potential for hitting a lot of traffic in several places, so you'll need to sort out a route after deciding what you want to see. But - do not attempt the NYC area near any rush hour.
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 11:57 AM
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My favorite way to do this is to stay west of Philadelphia and NYC - stopping either in Bucks County (Doylestown/New Hope etc.) or somewhere around Storm King area north of NYC (on west side of Hudson - Newburgh/Cornwall).
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 12:02 PM
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We will have spend some time in DC before travelling further in mid-June. We have a teenager travelling along. We are looking for a break really after sightseeing in DC and more sightseeing to be done in Boston. A relaxing drive through pretty scenes would be all we want ! We are also considering whether to take the train instead but it would seem a shame not to see more than what a train ride would offer. Thanks.
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 12:16 PM
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Shun-piking through Pennsylvania and/or that piece of New York just above northern NJ is a good idea. Get detailed maps of Pennsylvania, NJ, and NY north of Westchester County and test one of HKP's suggestions. Another advantage of that route is that you can get into Connecticut well north of NYC, and that can be really pretty too.

You're probably going to have one short day and one long day - so if you want the first day to be the short day, stop in Bucks County; if you want the second day to be the short day, stop in the Hudson valley.
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 12:23 PM
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Thank you for the suggestions. It looks promising ! Can you tell me the best route between Bucks County and Newburgh ? Are there any suggestions on where to stay in Hudson Valley ?
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 04:03 PM
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Take US209 through the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area.
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 08:13 PM
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Also considering Amtrak versus flying, as car rental with drop off charge is expensive. The cost of train versus plane seems almost equal. A rental car may actually cost more than either !!
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 05:41 AM
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If you're checking out flying, be sure to price Southwest from BWI to either Providence, RI or Manchester, VT as an alternative to flying directly into Boston.
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 05:56 AM
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This is a really long drive and I've only ever done it on the highways, which are not scenic. I'm not a huge fan of driving (so clearly I'm biased) but I would suggest just taking a Southwest or JetBlue flight, and building in time to drive around DC and/or around Boston. Richmond, Charlottesville, Williamsburg are all nice places in VA. From Boston you could go to Cape Cod, go north to NH or VT, or drive west through the suburbs. Concord is a particularly charming town not far from the city.
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 06:11 AM
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Either you're interested in driving to see what's "on the ground" and away from the interstates or you're not. Some people (apparently like orangetravel) haven't the patience for car travel - by highways, DC to Boston in decent traffic is only about 9 hours, but it's an ugly 9 hours. I can tell you from experience that those 9 direct hours on the busy, intense interstates would wear you out more than the more leisurely poking around away from the interstates, split out into two days.

The train is efficient but you aren't going to see much more than you would see from the car - in some places, the train track even parallels the highway - and it can take you at least the same 9 hours. The cost for 3 of you could be almost as much as the rental, depending on timing.
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 06:18 AM
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I will say that part of the Connecticut stretch on the train IS pretty - where it leaves paralleling the interstate and runs along the shore.
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 10:49 AM
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It sounds like from what you all are saying this is a drive that you either take a few days and travel on small roads to avoid cities,in which case it could be pleasant, or just barrel through on interstate for 9 hrs and get it over with.

Neither prospect is ideal for us since we have only 2 days max to do it.

Given the choices, would it be better to take a flight out of DCA for $98 pp, or Amtrak Acela for almost the same price ? We are staying near Dupont Circle in DC and plan to be in the Back Bay of Boston.
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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You only need TWO DAYS, a short one and a longer one (e.g., 4 and 6 hrs.) to do this, and you have plenty of time.
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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Not sure where the Acela leaves you in Boston. Logan is a fair cab ride from downtown. More likely that the flight will be on time than the train.
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 03:20 PM
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The Acela arrives into South station which is in Back Bay. Do Amtrak trains run off schedule ie late often ?
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Old Apr 13th, 2009, 04:36 PM
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Back Bay and South Station are the two stops on the Amtrak trains into Boston. They are different stations, a couple of miles apart.
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Old Apr 14th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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Amtrak trains don't control most of their own track so often are delayed. I think the Acela does better than the regular regional lines.
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Old Apr 14th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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AMTRAK owns the Northeast Corridor track between Washington and Boston. Acela Express is highly on-time. It's nothing like the other long distance trains. And definitely more likely to be on-time than flying in the NE.
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Old Apr 14th, 2009, 02:00 PM
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I stand corrected. I've only ridden Amtrak in the NE corridor once in the last several years, round-trip DC-NYC. We were late on the return trip, but it was due to an electrical problem on the train, not track priority issues.
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