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Inexpensive Hotels and trip planning in Washington D.C. area

Inexpensive Hotels and trip planning in Washington D.C. area

Old May 8th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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Inexpensive Hotels and trip planning in Washington D.C. area

My husband is taking his 88 year old father to Washington DC to the new air museum at Dulles. They are aviation history buffs and will be going to all the major museums as well as other major sights for a week in June.

Does anyone have a great hotel pick for around $100/night that has charm, and is close to the metro or public transportation? It can be outside of D.C.

Will they need to rent a car to get to all the sights, or is public transportation good? I am concerned my father in law can't do too much walking, althought he is in pretty good shape.

Does anyone know about a great tour that is available for aviation history fanatics or any inside scoop on special tours that might be available?

Thank you for your help!
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Old May 8th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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Wow... good luck with that. I'll be interested in the responses.
Hotels near DC, especially on the Metro, are really expensive these days!
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Old May 8th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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I'm open to paying more, but would like to keep it around $150.

What about Alexandria? Any nice places there in old town?
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Old May 8th, 2007, 01:47 PM
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I am staying in Alexandria next week and the rates are pretty crazy... well over 200.
My father and I stayed at the Homewood Suites which was great but not at all convenient to the Metro. In fact, my father (in his 70's) thought is was a real hassle and very time consuming.
The Sheraton Suites was very, very tired the last time I stayed there and it is running almost 400.00 a night!
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Old May 8th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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I honestly don't know if the Smithsonian runs any sort of shuttle bus out to the Udvar Hazy Center near Dulles from the Air and Space on the Mall.

The Smithsonia site, which I just went to, wasn't too helpful. It would be much simpler if they had a car.

They would NOT need a car to get to the major museums in the District and they could do some of the monuments, Arlington Cemetery, etc., by utilizing the TourMobile or the Old Town Trolley services..they both make loops to all of the major sites.

I'm not sure you will find anything in Alexandria in that price range which is also close to the Metro (King Street..and that isn't really "Old Town" per se)...they might try the Hilton Garden Inn near the Courthouse Metro in Arlington or look at some place in the Rosslyn section of Arlington.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 01:53 PM
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We like that Hilton Garden Inn in Arlington.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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Hotel Harrington on 11th Street, not far from Ford's Theatre and the National Archives.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 02:32 PM
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I was just quoted $129/night for Old Town Hotel in Alexandria but have heard it is under renovation which might be a problem. They have a shuttle to the metro which is good, and I have heard there are lots of restuarants within walking distance.

Anyone stayed there?
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Old May 8th, 2007, 02:41 PM
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If the go to the air museum at Dulles, the will definitely need a car. A taxi would easily by $100 r/t and it is not terribly accessible by mass transit.

I'd actually avoid Alexandria if you are going to go to Udvar Hazy and instead try to find something in Roslynn or Ballston. They are much closer to Dulles.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 04:06 PM
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The Smithsonian has or will be discontinuing the shuttle to Chantilly this summer. I'm quite sure it no longer running.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 07:12 PM
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I live in Alexandria, and highly recommend it if you are looking for charm near the metro. It is a nice metro ride over the river into DC to the museums from the King Street stop. Once they are in DC, the Circulator tourist bus is great for getting around.

There is a Hampton Inn on King Street fairly close to the metro in the Old Town area that shows rates of 149 on weekends and 199 weeknights this summer. This is pretty cheap for the area and a good location with a known brand. Watch out for hotels in Alexandria or Arlington that say they are in the area, but are really out on the business routes in the burbs, miles from the metro and anything worth walking to. Also watch out for cheapy hotels out on New York Ave in DC, which is a bit of a shady area and again, not great for walking.

Getting out to Dulles for the Udvar Hazy is difficult without a car or lots of patience or both. It might be worth it to metro a couple of stops to Reagan National airport one morning and rent a car there, drive out to the museum and back later in the day to drop off the car.

If they are aviation buffs, they might also enjoy the College Park Aviation museum, on the north east side of DC in the burbs near the U of Maryland. I think they can metro there, although driving may be easier. My airplane loving hubby said it was "cool." Here is a link:

http://www.pgparks.com/places/historic/cpam/

If they are really buffs, they might like to rent a car and take a loooong (but pretty) ride into the Virginia countryside to the historic airshow at Bealeton. Again, my husband and his dad were entranced and I was pretty entertained, too. They have wingwalkers, old-time announcers and music, lots of cool old planes; it is a blast. You take lawn chairs or a blanket and hang out/picnic for the show, looking up of course!

You can also pay a bunch of money to fly in an old bi-plane. Both my husband and his dad (a former navy pilot for 20+ years) were like little boys after this. The pilot even let my father in law fly a loop-the -loop. To them this was the greatest gift ever (they gave it to one another as a birthday gift- I think it may have been well over 100 per person for the short flight but was a definite thrill. I probably would have just been extremely nauseated and scared!) Here is a link:
http://www.flyingcircusairshow.com/
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Old May 8th, 2007, 07:19 PM
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One more thing. My husband just said to include a local "date spot". This is a park north of/ close to Reagan National where you can park and it feels like the planes are taking off right on top of your head. Not really aviation history, but pretty thrilling.

It is called Gravelly Point Park, and is accessed by car from the northbound side of the George Washington Parkway (in my opinion the prettiest way to see DC from across the river. This was one of Lady Bird Johnson's major beautification areas and she did a good job! It is lovely drive.)
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Old May 9th, 2007, 01:25 AM
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Just for clarification, the Garden Inn in Arlington is one block from the Metro station but I have no idea about the rates.

There is also a Hilton which sits above the Ballston Metro stop but again, I have no idea as to rates.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Thank you for the fabulous tips!

I will look into renting a car for Dulles, and also give them the names of the other air museums and see when the air show is on (maybe plan the trip around it) for some more aviation things to do.

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Old May 9th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Gravelly Point is a good recommendation for a VERY close up view of plane bellies landing/taking off from DCA. Great suggestion! I used to rollerblade the trail there and lay down in the grass at Gravelly Point to watch the planes...lots of fun for anyone who like aviation.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 10:57 AM
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Another way to Udvar Hazy Center might be to take the B5 (?) Metrobus from either L'Enfant Plaza or Rosslyn to IAD, then taxi from there to UHC. Fare is under $3 each way ... if you take Metro to get to one of those two stations, get a transfer pass at the station you board at and save 85 cents.

Seems like I read of some other way to UHC awhile back, I'll try to find it.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 12:06 PM
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Someone else posting here just snagged a room at Jury's Dupont Circle for $149 a night...It's a great location, close to Metro, lots of restaurants nearby, and that's an excellent rate.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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There is actually a shuttle bus from Dulles to Udvar-Hazy. Taking a cab from the airport will likely get you some ugly looks from a cabbie who has sat in line for 1.5 hours to get a $5 fare.

http://www.metwashairports.com/dulle...ta_bus_service
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Old May 9th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for the url, MikeT -- that's what I was looking for under WMATA
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Old May 9th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Crystal City. It was two good city blocks from a Metro stop, but the hotel did have a shuttle that ran regularly.

Nice hotel. Great, real, breakfast, so count that in your cost.

Charm. Well, it's a chain. We were going for rate, convenience, maintenance.
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