Ideas for trip to NYC from Bryn Mawr area

Old Feb 15th, 2011, 07:33 AM
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Ideas for trip to NYC from Bryn Mawr area

My daughter is attending a music camp at Bryn Mawr College which concludes about 8:00 on Friday, 1 July. I have promised her a weekend in NYC following and am just curious about whether we should stay in the greater Philly area the night of the 1st, or head up to the city.

On the one hand, I don't want to pay city prices for a few hours sleep....on the other hand, if we stay in the city, we can get our day started early.

Thoughts?
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 09:29 AM
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That is the 4th of July holiday weekend - so many locals will be out of town and business travel slow - so I think you may find some hotel deals if your shop carefully. I would get to the city Friday night - which may well be less crowded than Sat am.
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 09:34 AM
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Thanks for the info. I was assuming that there would be a bunch of people in town but didn't factor in that New Yorkers vacation too. :^)

As for rates, I can get a room at almost any of the Hiltons, Marriotts, or Hyatts for a military rate of just under $200, but I will hold out for an even better deal.
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 10:37 AM
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Are you sure the music camp will actually end at 8? In my experience, those kind of events often run late, then all the kids need to say goodbye, cry, etc.

If you are driving, it won't be that big an issue as long as you are comfortable with a night drive holiday traffic. If you are planning on taking a train or bus, it might be stressful if you don't have a good time cushion to get to the station..

If you've got a good hotel in PA, you might consider staying there, then heading into NYC before the rest of the world gets up and on the road. If you're on a train, you can get an extra nap on the way. You can always drop your bags off at the hotel and start your day even if you can't check in.
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 11:46 AM
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Agree-stay in PA until early morning. 6 regular Amtrak trains + 1 Acela leave Philadelphia between 7:18 AM and 11:18 AM headed for New York Penn station. The regulars are $54 for 2 reserved coach seats. If you are driving, expect to pay about that much in parking fees in New York.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 05:48 AM
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You don't say if you're driving or using public transportation and that makes a big difference. If you're driving, I'd either stop halfway or spend the night near Bryn Mawr and get an early start in the morning. If you're using public transport, the decision is yours.

In my observation, there are often deals on travelzoo.com travel-ticker.com and elsewhere that are better than military rates. That weekend usually has lots of general deals and some hotels won't offer govt. rates.

Right now the Millenium UN Plaza which is one of the few hotels with rooftop swimming pool (enclosed) and views from all rooms has a promo rate for that time using the code ppclick of $138-177 depending on room. They also have a 20% off offer limited time offer on the website for $154-218 but the govt. rate is $166-198. They haven't announced where the fireworks will this year yet, East River or Hudson River; but if on the East River which was the usual place, that would be an ideal hotel for views. If they're on the west side as they have been for the last 2 yrs., hotels like the Distrikt, Ink48 and the Fairfield Inn Suites TS
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 05:50 AM
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PS if you're driving and don't want to pay NYC parking prices, you can leave the car at the Port Imperial terminal of the nywaterway.com ferry for $10day. Taking the ferry over is pricey but a fun way to arrive and they have a free shuttle bus on the Manhattan side to take you where you need to go.
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Old Feb 27th, 2011, 03:47 PM
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mclaurie, to elaborate, I'll be arriving at Bryn Mawr in the early afternoon, having driven about 5 hours. Also, we will be leaving early the 4th, so we won't be around for the fireworks that night. As a member trying to maximize points and status with Hyatt, Hilton, or Marriott brands, I definitely want to stay at one of those properties, which is why I've shied away from using 3rd party bookings (i.e., Travelocity, etc.) as I am under the impression that I won't get credit for my stay if I use them. Please correct me if I'm wrong as I'll all about getting a great rate and credit for it!
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 04:58 AM
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Travelzoo and travel-ticker are not 3rd party sellers but merely sites where others like hotels and booking sites post sales. I don't know whether using a promo code excludes you from getting points credit but I wouldn't think so nor would I imagine that you can't get points if you book with a 3rd party website but that's easy to check. The only method of booking that I THINK doesn't normally entitle you to earning points on a stay is if you bid on Priceline and even that may not be for every hotel. It's a good question and you might want to post it as a new thread here. flyertalk.com is another forum exclusive to all the frequent flier/guest programs and might also be a good place for you to post and learn about deals that might help you for that weekend.

You explain that you will have driven 5 hrs to get to Bryn Mawr but you don't say how you plan to get to NYC. Since I don't know where you live, I don't know how inconvenient it would be for you to leave the car in Pa. and use train or bus into NYC and then retrieve the car on the way back nor do I know whether budget or comfort/convenience are the driving force behind your decisions. Leaving the car in PA will save you driving, perhaps get you to NYC faster and save you paying parking fees in NYC. There's train service between Bryn Mawr and Philadelphia (Septa train) all night http://www.septa.org/schedules/rail/pdf/tho.pdf
If it's possible to leave the car in Bryn Mawr at the train station that's one idea and either stay in Phil. or continue from Phil to NYC on Amtrak (or Septa to NJ transit).

If you prefer driving, you could drive to the Metropark area in Iselin, NJ and spend the night there. According to maps.google.com it's 1 1/2 hrs. from Bryn Mawr and there are several nearby hotels including a Hilton and a Renaissance. You could park the car there in the morning and take the train the rest of the way.

Another scenario is to drive near the Amtrak station in Philadelphia, spend the night, perhaps find out if you can leave the car at the hotel and take the train into NYC. If you map any location (like the Phil. Amtrak station) and then use the 'search nearby' feature you can find hotels. There's a hotel called Inn at Penn which is a Hilton hotel that's near the train station that seems to have good reviews. (Reviews are linked on the google map).
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 06:59 AM
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If you've already driven five hours on Friday, the 1st, to get to Bryn Mawr, and given that there's a distinct possibility that your daughter's event may not end promptly at 8 p.m., you may not want to leave Bryn Mawr until Saturday morning, the 2nd.

Of the three scenarios McLaurie suggests, I'd recommend driving early Saturday morning about 1-1/2 hours to Iselin, NJ, and parking at the Amtrak Metropark station. The route is almost all Interstate driving and is relatively easy to follow even if you're unfamiliar with the area. Amtrak or NJTransit service into New York Penn Station from there is frequent, and many drivers leave their cars there. Another advantage of this scenario is that, for your return trip, you're just a short train ride back out of NYC, and you're close to the New Jersey Turnpike or Interstate 287 for your drive back to your origin.

As McLaurie points out, if you want to leave your car in suburban Philly, train service from Bryn Mawr to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia is frequent, and Amtrak trains run regularly from there to New York. If you stay overnight somewhere near Bryn Mawr, you could leave your car at that hotel (ensure in advance that you can do that) or at the Bryn Mawr SEPTA station (call SEPTA or the Bryn Mawr police to see if it's permitted), then travel to NYC on Saturday morning.

My last choice would be driving into Philly. There's just no need to do it. The Inn at Penn is near 30th Street Station in Philly, but it's a fairly long walk. And getting to it isn't particularly simple, particularly if you're unfamiliar with the layout of Philly's streets and highways. You'd need a hotel van or taxi to make the hop to 30th Street, especially with luggage. (Again, you'd need to inquire whether you can leave your car at the hotel. The parking bill will certainly be higher than at the Bryn Mawr station, at a hotel in the suburbs, or at Metropark.)
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 08:48 AM
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thanks bspielman and mclaurie. I have found a Hyatt Hotel in the Bryn Mawr area (Plymouth Meeting) that offers free parking as well as a shuttle service that will get me to (but not from) the Septa Station taking me into Philadelphia for access to the Amtrak. When I contacted the hotel they said it would be fine for me to leave my car there for the weekend, so that will save me parking (and gas) fees. This way, we'll be able to stay in the area that night and can get an early start the following morning.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 09:59 AM
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Good plan!
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 09:11 PM
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There is a dearth of Hilton, Hyatt or Marriott hotels in the immediate vicinity of Bryn Mawr, as you've undoubtedly noticed. Generally speaking, as you've discovered, most of the closest ones are in the Plymouth Meeting area, not too far from Bryn Mawr by car.

However, the closest SEPTA station to Plymouth Meeting (where a Hyatt or any other hotel van would be likely to take you) is Norristown. That station, though, is on a SEPTA line (the Manayunk/Norristown line) that goes by a long and very indirect route to 30th Street Station. (So indirect that SEPTA suggests using a bus to make that trip, not rail.)

The most direct (in fact, virtually the only other nearby) route to 30th Street is the Thorndale/Paoli line, which passes through Bryn Mawr. You'll need to ensure that you can get from Plymouth Meeting to Bryn Mawr or one of the other nearby stations on that line (and vice-versa on the return trip).

You might have to arrange a taxi. Or, as I've noted, it might be possible to leave your car at whichever SEPTA station you decide to use, but it would be advisable to call the local police department or SEPTA in advance to find out whether you can do that.

Here's a link to the SEPTA transit map: http://bit.ly/geMqYY
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 03:14 PM
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The great majority of train stations on the Paoli line have very tight parking. It would be very difficult to find a space, let alone leave your car there overnight. There is a Marriott Courtyard in Wayne, just west of Bryn Mawr on Rt 30. The Strafford station is with walking distance of the hotel if you have just overnight bags or the hotel may have a shuttle. Call the hotel and ask about parking. It's in a business park with limited spaces.
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Old Mar 4th, 2011, 01:24 AM
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Birdie found the spot. Somehow, searching on "Marriott Hotels near Bryn Mawr" did not bring up the Courtyard in Wayne. That's your obvious choice: One of your desired hotel chains, on the right SEPTA line to 30th Street just a few stops farther than Bryn Mawr, with what the hotel's website states is complimentary free parking.
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