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  1. #1

    Default Memorial Day Weekend

    Hey all,

    My girlfriend and I are thinking of going to North Carolina (Raleigh area) for Memorial Day weekend to visit some of her family that moved down there. We are starting from the eastern Poconos and going south. There are three possible routes. One was to go to Harrisburg and hit up 83 to Baltimore and head down 95. Another is to go down the Northeast Extension towards Philly and hit 95 in Philly. The third is to go down 81 and then head east on 64 towards Richmond and then south on 95. That would avoid the Philly and DC areas. Would the third route cost me a ton of time compared to the other 2 options?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Several Alternatives

    I had a look at 5 different routes including the three that you listed, and they were all within 80 miles and about an hour or so of each other. Actually, your I-81/I-64 route is the longest in terms of miles (588) and the other two go through both Baltimore and Washington, so the drive times you get from mapping software are likely to be optimistic. So consider these two alternatives;

    I-81 to I-66 at Front Royal; turn towards Washington but use US-17 to cut southeast to I-95 (538 mi.) This route still goes through Richmond/Petersburg, but is mostly Interstate.

    I-81 all the way down to Lexington, VA and then US-501 to Durham and US-70 to Raleigh. That's a bit longer at 546 miles, but is the most scenic and spends the least time in cities.


  3. #3

    Default Poconos to Raleigh area

    Hi jim,

    I live in Raleigh and in the past 3 years have been through the Poconos en route to Scranton and I-84. I am notoriously against traveling the Ho Chi Minh Trail (aka I-95 from roughly Richmond through Massachusetts) unless absolutely required to.

    I particularly like AZ Buck's suggestion to do I-81/I-66/US-17/I-95. A slight derivation of that would be to take US 15 south of Harrisburg to Warrenton, VA and reconnect with US 17 there. Probably a bit shorter but a bit twisty and 2 lane from the Potomac to Leesburg. Scenic horse country on that stretch, however. So should be US 17 from I-66 to Warrenton, too, as Upperville is really the heart of Northern Va horse country.

    Oddly enough, the I-295 bypass around the east side of Richmond and Petersburg reconnects with I-95 several miles south of the I-95-I-85 split in Petersburg. Unless you hit Richmond at rush hour, however, I normally shoot straight through the city on I-95, avoiding the longer eastward "bulge" of I-295 and connecting directly with the northern end of I-85 in Petersburg. It should be noted that I-85 from the south edge of Petersburg all the way to the NC line is as nice a stretch of Interstate as you'll find, is lightly traveled, and nowadays has 70mph speed limits all the way.

    My Raleigh home is 7 miles due north of Capitol Square so my normal approach from the Nawth is via I-85 to US-1 at Henderson, NC. If your destination is much east or south of Raleigh, I-295 at Richmond to I-95 to US-64 is probably better. If instead the destination is much west or north of Raleigh, my I-85 to US-1 route is better. If you're headed for Durham or Chapel Hill, I-85 to Durham + US-501 to CH is the way from Petersburg.

    Have a fun RoadTrip!

    Last edited by Foy; 05-06-2010 at 12:41 PM. Reason: I-85 detail

  4. #4


    I was planning to use the I-295 bump on my first original option (I-81/I-64/I-295,I-95)

    The destination is Fuquay-Varina to be exact. I like the suggestion of US-15. It's a road I'm familiar with. I was there last year as far as Frederick, Maryland for a cousin's wedding. It's some scenic country there and not too heavily traveled. Using that I could bypass all interstates but they may eat up some precious time. I'm not as worried about the time getting there as getting back on Memorial Day. Maybe (I-85,I-95,US-17, US-15 etc) on the return may be a little quicker.

    I like that run through 501 and and 70 after Lexington, VA as well. I'm going to have to look into that one more. I wouldn't mind these non-interstate runs as I've been on 81 all the way through from the Canadian Border to North Carolina at one time or another. It's actually 35 miles shorter than the first route I was thinking of for the trip down to NC that involved 81. Thanks for the advice. I'll talk these two routes over with the others involved and get to work.

    Thanks for the information!

  5. #5

    Default Richmond, cont'd

    Hi Jim,
    When headed south of Richmond and approaching it from I-64 west, towards the Valley, it's really out of the way to go all the way to the east side of town to I-295 if you're ultimately headed for I-95 south to Emporia, VA and on to NC. For around 5 years now VA 288 has been open from I-64 well west of Richmond all the way to I-95 between Richmond and Petersburg. VA 288 is a completely modern 2 to 4 lanes each way Interstate-grade beltway skirting Richmond's western and southern suburbs.

    If I were headed for Fuquay-Varina from the Nawth, I'd be inclined to look at staying on I-95 to Wilson, NC and then take NC 42 through Clayton to Fuquay.

    If you like US 501 from Lexington and Lynchburg, VA, you'd like US 15 all the way down the middle of Virginia from Culpeper to Clarksville, thence through Oxford to I-85 north of Durham. There you can pick up NC 55 to Fuquay. US 15 is a very scenic and entirely rural 2-lane highway which passes through nicely rolling countryside and a number of quaint towns and villages from Orange to Farmville. From Culpeper all the way to Dillwyn a clear day will provide great views of the Blue Ridge off to the west.


  6. #6


    248 was the one I was looking at then. I knew the road was west of Richmond and hooked up with 95 to the South. I wasn't looking at the map at the time.

    I saw the US 15 route too and I mapped that out. It seemed a bit longer thatn the route that hooks up with 501 in Lexington. I'll double check the route 15.

    On the way home, which I wanted to be a quicker trip, and I mapped it out and the I-85 version is quicker than taking 42 and 85 and see which one is quicker. (according to google maps anyway) I'm still planning on avoiding the DC/Baltimore area with US 17 and US 15.

    When using google maps something interested me. It showed me a suggestion using US 13 and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It primarily uses 95, 64, and US 13 among others before getting to PA. It adds time according to google maps but only 12 more minutes when compared to my route going from 85 to 95 and then US 17 and US 15.

    I could take a rural route to NC and a coastal route home. Is this logical? Thanks for the help!

    Dominic (Jim Z is the DJ name)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Savor It, It's Not a Time Saver

    I have often recommended using the Delmarva Peninsula as an alternative to I-95 for travel along the east coast, but not because it saves time. While you could conceivably save time by just hoofing it up US-13 (and DE-1 once you get up to Dover, DE) this is a route to be savored for the many side trips it offers including Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, the quaint towns of Maryland's Eastern Shore, and the many wildlife sanctuaries which dot the Chesapeake Bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean/Delaware Bay to the east. Oh, and you want to be careful of the distinction between the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which crosses at mid-bay between Annapolis and Kent Island, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel which crosses at the mouth of the bay between Chesapeake Beach (Norfolk) and Cape Charles.


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