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Driving from NH to FL. What is there to see or eat?


Dec 28th, 2013, 02:59 AM
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Driving from NH to FL. What is there to see or eat?

Next week, I am taking a road trip from Nashua, NH to Orlando, FL and I've never been to the south east. Anything I should try eating or seeing? Any good cheap suggestions for hotels? Thanks in advance!
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Dec 28th, 2013, 04:58 AM
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If you take I-95, the route is not scenic except for northern Maryland, and food and lodging are pretty much limited to the usual chains. I-81/77 is more scenic.

It would be reasonable to do this trip in two and a half days. If you could add a day, you might stop in Richmond or Savannah on the way down, Charleston or Williamsburg on the way back.

Try to avoid NYC or Washington before 9 and between 3:30 and 7. Washington is worse than NY-NT-CT. There is heavy truck traffic everywhere on the route from late afternoon overnight through early morning as fruit and vegetables are moved from Florida to the Northeast.

States in the southeast do not handle snow or ice very well. Snow that you would laugh off in Nashua creates chaos because they don't have the equipment or experience to deal with it, either at the driver level or the government level. I won't bore you with war stories, but I got 'em. If you see a storm coming, you may want to hole up in the next decent Hampton Inn with a pile of books and a bag of goodies.

If you want to avoid boredom, you can get off the interstate for an hour or so and drive on one of the parallel routes like US 1. Slow, but it makes a change. Buy gas in NJ and Virginia, not in NY, PA, or the mid-Atlantic. I don't know current prices in the Carolina's, GA, or FL.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 06:26 AM
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We've done the trip by car many times and I would say if you want to stop at historic sites, like Civil War battlefields, the DC museums etc., Philadelphia, etc then down 95 is the route to take. If you want mountain scenery, hiking, a cave tour etc. then the 81 route is closer to opportunities to get off the interstate and explore.

The last time we went from CT, we did the 81 route to just below Roanoke then cut southeast towards Charlotte area and on to pick up 95 in South Carolina. It took a little less time than the previous time when we took 95, but was more miles. We have never missed all the possible traffic jams on 95, no matter when we started out. Somehow the DC area has often been the worst, but maybe because we can leave early enough to miss the fun in CT and NY on 95.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 06:39 AM
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You might want to look up some other threads here that have recommended the BBQ places along I95 in North and South Carolina.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 09:28 AM
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If you end up taking I 77 S, consider the Harvest Grill at Shelton Vineyards near Dobson, NC

You can also stop by the real Mayberry in Mt. Airy, NC. Overnight at the Hampton Inn at the vineyards and enjoy visiting this part of NC.

Travel safely!
cmcfong is online now  
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Dec 28th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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That "scenic" part of I-95 mentioned above....absurd.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 10:02 AM
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Dukey, it is scenic only by comparison with what precedes and follows.

This is known as damning with faint praise.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 10:21 AM
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If you do this trip more than once, you may consider taking the Amtrak Autotrain between Lorton VA and Sanford Florida. You can actually sleep on the train while you and your car are moving toward Florida (or Virginia). The phone # to call is 1800SKIPI95.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 12:12 PM
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I have driven Boston - DC and south (NC and GA) more times than I want to think about.

1. Get a toll transponder

2. Take the Tappan Zee Bridge, not the George Washington Bridge.

3. Something always happens in NJ - it could be 2 AM and clear and there is always some delay

4. Just when you think you are free of Balt/Wash area traffic, you hit the Richmond/Fredericksburg area and after a long day of driving think you could poke your own eyes out.

How long do you have? Is this a get-there-fast trip or a tour?

If you leave really early AM, you can get south of DC the first day. Lots of inexpensive chain hotels along I95 around Fredericksburg, VA. If you want to do some sightseeing, take a slight detour to Savannah and/or Charleston. Outside the Historic Districts of each city there are also plenty of inexpensive hotels. Do not ever stay at the Days Inn Midtown just outside Savannah, though. Depending on your timing, there are also quite a few cheap hotels in the Rocky Mount, NC area. Many of them have outside corridors - I have stayed in these as a female traveling alone and once or twice felt a little creepy.

We have never found anything else we want to see thru NC and SC - I am sure there is something, we just never found it. You can stop and buy enough fireworks in SC to blow up a small country if that is your thing. You will see a zillion signs for South of the Border - a truly honky tonk collection of bad food, RV park, fireworks, dirty restrooms. But the signs are amusing for about 100 miles.

Food - there is nothing to eat on your likely route thru NJ other than fast food on the Turnpike. Anything else requires a significant detour. There are plenty of BBQ places in NC, but do some research ahead of time - from signage it is difficult to tell on the highway if the advertised restaurant is right off the highway or 10 miles thru cow pastures.

Have not driven the route south of Savannah, so can't help there.

Have a safe trip. If it were me, I would just get on I95 in mid-Jersey and just drive fast and deal with it. Better if you have 2 drivers.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 02:33 PM
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There are definitely things worth seeing in NC, but NOT along the I-95 corridor.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 02:40 PM
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Oh, lord, Gail, spoken like the experienced parent of a New England college kid who went to school in NC!

I had two of them, so seven years of Boston to Chapel Hill and back. I took various other routes to avoid 95. It meant a day and a half on the road each way, but I saw a lot of beautiful country. When I drove the truck north after the Youth graduated, it was 14 hours on I-85 and I-95, mostly grim. The good side, of course, were the long hours with the kids, talking.

I have driven from Richmond to Tampa and south on a number of occasions. Everything you say is true, only it sounds funny here! Might as well get it over with unless the trip is the thing, then take US 17 down and US 441 back.
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Dec 29th, 2013, 06:27 AM
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Just did the trip via Delmarva and Eastern NC; recommend this routing:

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Dec 29th, 2013, 12:50 PM
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There's plenty to eat. What route are you taking?
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Dec 29th, 2013, 06:14 PM
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I have driven Delaware to Fl more times than I care to think about. We have taken the Chesapeake Bay bridge tunnel from Delaware to Md to Norfolk and 301 when we knew we weren't going to time the traffic right. 301 is really interesting if you want to see where John Wilkes Booth was captured, where Doc Mud lived and the homes of Robert E Lee and George Washington.
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Dec 30th, 2013, 04:07 AM
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The Potomac Bridge on 301 is currently being resurfaced with traffic being permitted in only one direction at a time.

It took me about half an hour to cross it northbound on December 3. It is a high, two lane bridge and should be avoided in bad weather.
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Dec 30th, 2013, 02:22 PM
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Ackislander, that is a HIGH old bridge. Glad we aren't headed north by car anytime soon.
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