Road trip between NYC and Washington DC

Old Jan 5th, 2020, 03:10 AM
  #21  
 
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Kay, I don't know what sort of price point you're looking at but I can't speak highly enough of the hotel I stayed in which was the Beacon on the Upper West Side. One of its advantages [as well as being very well placed for the Met, Frick, Guggenheim, Central Park, etc, etc, the subway and the cross town buses] is that all of the rooms have a kitchenette which I found was a real boon, plus even my basic room was pretty spacious. Discounts for signing up to their insider scheme and 5 night stays and no resort fee. I'd definitely stay there again. And after I booked it I discovered that at least two other fodorites have stayed there too!

https://www.beaconhotel.com

I can also highly recommend Montreal for a few days; I particularly loved the French vibe and the old town. And there is a train that goes all the way there from NYC - the Adirondack line. ok it takes 11 hours but it would be a fun way to travel.

Adirondack-Schedule-111119.pdf
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Old Jan 5th, 2020, 07:58 AM
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Kay--what time of year are you planning to take this trip?
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Old Jan 5th, 2020, 08:10 AM
  #23  
 
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I live in the DC area and Baltimore is okay but I sure wouldn't mark it as some fascinating must-see for foreigners.
I have to agree with this. We spend a lot of time in DC because our kids and grandkids live there. We've been to Philadelphia (definitely worth a visit), Baltimore (I wouldn't take any time away from DC, and we thought the Inner Harbor area was poorly planned and boring), Annapolis (very nice town, and if you do go, be sure to visit the campus of the Naval Academy, in general, and the second floor of the museum on campus, which houses a sensational display of ship models), Charlottesville (nice drive through horse country, UVa campus), Harpers Ferry (enjoyed the historical displays), Appomattox Courthouse, and other small historical town in Virginia (Leesburg, Lexington, Staunton, Luray, the first three of which are good for a few hours' stop on a road trip, the latter only if you're taking a tour of the caverns, which is excellent). We've been in Lancaster, which we thoroughly enjoyed - it's beautiful and, of course, interesting due to the Amish influence. We've also been in Rehoboth and Bethany (not particularly a fan of either).

So there's lots of choices to make, but if it were me and I had one week, I'd probably go to DC and maybe spend a day in Annapolis from there.
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Old Jan 5th, 2020, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by KayF View Post
Thanks guys, I'm slowly checking all your recommendations, some I've heard of but most I haven't. We may just get the train from NYC to DC and not bother with seeing anything else in the area, or may get a car to see some places in the 'middle' (with train at each end). The jury's still out, I need to do more research. Adding in Quebec and Montreal has also been suggested to us, so lots of options. If we don't spend the time and money on an east coast road trip, we can perhaps have one or two extra days in NYC, where accommodation is horribly expensive - another topic I know!

Kay
Did you consider flying to Boston to start and then taking a train to New York? If accommodation is too expensive in NYC, you could take a late train out to Philadelphia where lodging will likely be cheaper.
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Old Jan 5th, 2020, 08:58 AM
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As an example, a week ago I booked Amtrak tickets between NYC and Washington DC. It was 15 days before the departure and I was buying for a group so getting the saver fares mentioned would be helpful. When booking, these were the lowest prices fares available in the two types of trains.
Northeast Regional (3.5-hour trip) $54
Acela (3-hour trip) $137

Looking at the exact same trains today, 8 days before departure, the same tickets are $88 and $183. The prices will continue to increase as the travel date nears.

Looking at the same trains for 2 days from now, the same tickets cost $98 and $215. A walk up fare for today would cost $200 and $328.
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Last edited by ellenem; Jan 5th, 2020 at 09:04 AM.
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Old Jan 5th, 2020, 08:40 PM
  #26  
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Hi annhig, we have been to NYC once before and stayed at the Beacon! Great minds We liked the hotel and location but when I checked prices recently it seemed very expensive. Mind you, there is nothing cheap. Thanks for the tip about signing up for their insider scheme, I will look into that. We really liked the supermarket across the road (Fairway?) and bought a few dinners there. After spending the whole day on our feet exploring, sometimes we just wanted something easy.

To Vttraveler - we haven't booked anything yet but are thinking Sept/Oct.

sf7307 - my husband likes the idea of train to DC, then a day trip by train to Annapolis. Saves money on car hire, less stressful if we don't have to drive and navigate.

tomfuller - thanks for the thought but I guess that would only give us a day in NYC? We want longer than that, it will cost us a lot for accommodation but after forking out thousands on airfares, we might as well see as much as we can, within reason. Will probably have about a week in NYC.

ellenem - thank you! Great, practical and factual information. We really appreciate it, that's so useful to know.

Kay
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 07:09 AM
  #27  
 
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Kay--I just made a reservation at the Beacon for September using the insider rate. There is a "winter sale" through today. The reservation can be canceled up to the day before.
We like the Beacon, too, for the reasons you and annhig mention. The market across the street is indeed the Fairway.

My husband's brother and his wife try to get to NYC from California in September every year and we use their visit as an excuse to go to the city for a few days.

September/October is also a nice time to visit Montreal and Quebec City if you decide to add that on to your trip.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 11:25 AM
  #28  
 
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Philadelphia would be a logical stop between NYC and DC. It has a couple of world class museums.

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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 11:37 AM
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Any of the city stops will work.

But as I read it, I thought you wanted to mix things up with a drive in the countryside for a week. If so, you would really enjoy the quietness and the beauty of the Amish countryside, Fallingwater is simply amazing, the drives in rural VA and/or Shenandoah NP would be lovely.

I like ciites. I visit them often. But I think I'd feel "cheated" if I just saw more of cities in the US and didn't get out to explore what is literally the majority of the US - driving and enjoying rural roads.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 01:49 PM
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Chelsea area of NYC is where my family gravitate. They just stayed at the Standard High Line or when on the cheap the Jane hotel.

At least in DC all the museums are free and you can use Airbnb. I wish you could see a little of the eastern shore though.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 02:27 PM
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>At least 4 great minds certainly as that's four of us [at least] who've stayed there. And I liked the Fairway too though I used it mainly to purchase a few things for breakfast at the beginning of my stay as i like to go out in the evenings and there were quite a few nice places to explore in the area.

Kay--I just made a reservation at the Beacon for September using the insider rate. There is a "winter sale" through today. The reservation can be canceled up to the day before.>>

That's funny, VT. When I looked at it I was only offered non-cancellable terms.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 07:55 PM
  #32  
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Thanks everyone. I checked on the Beacon website and the current deal is book and pay now, non-refundable. I guess deals change all the time.

starrs - you are right, we were thinking it would be a good idea to add in something different as the trip is starting to look like a lot of cities and not much else. I had a look at the Delmarva Peninsula - is that a bridge or ferry at the end near Cape Charles? What's that whole area like? We've been to the Florida Keys and also Provincetown, up near Boston. Anything like that? I'm trying to get a picture in my head. The distances are not that far so might work. From the online photos, it looks a lot like our Gold Coast - beaches and highrises, though some of the older architecture looks wonderful.

Kay
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 08:18 PM
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by KayF View Post

starrs - you are right, we were thinking it would be a good idea to add in something different as the trip is starting to look like a lot of cities and not much else. I had a look at the Delmarva Peninsula - is that a bridge or ferry at the end near Cape Charles? What's that whole area like? We've been to the Florida Keys and also Provincetown, up near Boston. Anything like that? I'm trying to get a picture in my head. The distances are not that far so might work. From the online photos, it looks a lot like our Gold Coast - beaches and highrises, though some of the older architecture looks wonderful.

Kay
Others would be better to give you feedback, including Macross (#4) and a couple of other folks. I'll give them a shoutout on FB. (I've sent a mesage for a few to check out this thread. You'll get great advice from them!)

I did spend a day in the last few months visiting Chincoteague and Assateague national seashores. They are the polar opposites of what you've described. The lure for me, was the famous children's book, as it is for so many others. I flew out via Norfolk (I believe. Maybe Virginia Beach. If you go that way, you may enjoy a visit to Williamsburg as well. Giving another person a shoutout. But I digress...)
https://www.nps.gov/asis/index.htm
https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Chincotea...our_visit.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misty_of_Chincoteague

I think the NJ shore may be more of what you are imagining. I've been to Cape May (across the water fro the peninsula) in winter (okay, very early spring) with a friend to open a house up for the season and I've wandered around Delvarva a bit as side trips to work trips. That reminds me of TDudette's* recent trip reports. Again, so many other people would be much better resources for you on this.

*click on this to get started but also on her screen name to read more of her trip reports.
White Swan Tavern
and this one -
The Kitty Knight House - A Mini Trip

Edited again to - Winterthur
Current Tours | Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
(I'm losing my mind. Who did the Winterthur TR?)
Editing again - Winterthur references were on FB but also mentioned here in #78 and after
https://www.fodors.com/community/fod...1674098/page4/

That's it. Hopefully the real experts will speak up. But if you DO decide to include DC, I have another house museum and garden to recommend.
https://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/
(My MD Fodorite friend and I visited there. Also the same person = Fallingwater + Kentuck Knob and the Flight 93 memorial)
Done for now.

Last edited by starrs; Jan 7th, 2020 at 08:53 PM.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 08:45 PM
  #34  
 
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Jumping to NYC -
Consider the Hampton Inn Chelsea -
https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/nyc...attan-chelsea/
LOVE the location. I stayed nearby (at a friend's apartment) a year ago last week and loved the location, things nearby and easy access to the rest of Manhattan. If they have availability and you are interested, I'll share some of my favorite things nearby. It's not far from Eataly near the Flatiron building if either are helpful for reference points.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 10:39 PM
  #35  
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Thanks so much, still looking up where all these places are on Google Maps. I am checking where the state borders are so I can figure out where the NJ shore is. If it's all built up with highrises, it's not what we are after. I noticed there are two Ocean City's very close to each other, is that just to confuse travellers

What is the famous children's book?

Kay
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 10:48 PM
  #36  
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Forget that, I've just seen your link to the book on Wikipedia. Thanks for all the links, it makes it easier.

The wildlife refuge sounded good, until I read there are mosquitoes, ticks and poison ivy! We visited a wildlife refuge a few years ago near Denver, they had rescued bears and lions and all sorts, it was wonderful to see them but they had some very sad back-stories. Upset me a bit but still glad we went.

Kay
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 11:11 AM
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Just a few random comments here. Cape May, NJ and Lewes, DE connected by a ferry are both charming seaside towns with good restaurants and shopping. The Delmarva Peninsula, in general, is not particularly beautiful or charming. I do believe that as you are driving up Route 13 after you've gone over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel, if you wander to the coast you will find some old, small towns. That area though, IMO, does not have loads to offer. Annapolis is a nice stop though and a couple of hours wandering around Fells Point in Baltimore is always pleasant. Others are correct that the Inner Harbor area should be avoided. Ocean City, MD has a boardwalk and lots of hotels. Ocean City, NJ has a boardwalk but fewer high rises.

A beautiful country drive can be had through Lancaster County, PA. It is really pretty rolling farmland and you will see plenty of horses and buggies as well. The small city of Lancaster has a great indoor farmer's market, a performing arts theater and some nice restaurants. It has really improved over the last 5 years. Between Philadelphia and Lancaster you can visit the Brandywine Valley with its world-class Longwood Gardens and historical Winterthur.
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 11:23 AM
  #38  
 
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Jerse;y Shore

The New Jersey Shore is about 120 miles of oceanfront towns south of NYC. It has a huge variety of all kinds of Oceanfront towns. Not very many of them have highrises. There are two Ocean Cities....one in New Jersey and one in Maryland. The onl yplace that I would avoid is Atlantic City.
New Jersey Shore - A Guide Serving Jersey Shore Towns
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Old Jan 12th, 2020, 01:13 AM
  #39  
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OK, just wanted to let you helpful people know I've come up with a short list. I haven't had time yet to see how to link them up and some may have to get crossed off if they are too far out of the way. We plan to get the train from NYC heading south and hire a car for around a week, maybe from Annapolis, and do a loop from there, then train to DC. Or possibly train from NYC to DC, have a few days there, then hire a car and drop it back at the airport before leaving DC. Still need to work that bit out.

On the list but not in any order yet:
Cape May, NJ
Lewes DE
Annapolis MD
St Michaels, MD
Frederick MD
Longwood Gardens and Winterthur Estate PA
Harpers Ferry, WV

Last question at the moment - would we need to prebook accommodation? Prefer not to if possible.

Thanks for all the help.
Kay
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Old Jan 12th, 2020, 07:54 AM
  #40  
 
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Hertz, Avis and Enterprise all have rental desks in Washington Union Station. You could also get off a NE Regional at BWI and rent a car there. Harpers Ferry is a bit off the beaten track but it does have an Amtrak stop if you wanted to just go to the town, walk around and take the next train back to Washington. There is a ferry that runs between the tip of Cape May NJ and Lewes Delaware if you wanted to get a good view of the ocean.
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