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  1. Default 2014 Summer trip Northeast (NY-WDC-Detroit-NY)

    Hello everyone,
    we are new to the forum.

    We are from Germany and are planning to come to the US this summer. The tour is roughly planned and the dates for each part of the routes are set. However there are still a few questions we have and we would love to get some *insider*-advice / experience / opinions from you.
    We are 4 travelling ( 2 US-experienced travellers, 2 first time visitors)

    Our route will be as follows:
    day 1: Fly into NY, drive straight to Philadelphia and stay overnight (outside the city)
    day 2: .........not yet planned........visit Philly? Lancaster county? ........arrive in Washington D.C. in the evening
    day 3-4: Washington
    day 5: drive from Washington to Pittsburgh
    day 6: drive to Detroit (originally we wanted to do Boston-NY-Wash....however, my parents 60+ are travelling with us and want to visit our relatives in Detroit, since my aunt is 80+ and we want to see never know at that age. So itŽs a bit of a stressful trip but weŽll make it ;) and we donŽt rush ourselves
    day 7-8: Detroit
    day 9: Detroit - Niagara Falls
    day10: Niagara Falls - NYC
    day 11-14: NYC
    day 15: flight back home

    Sooooo my still open questions:
    1) day2: would you reccommend to visit Philly? Is it worth seeing the city? Should we rather cross and stop in Lancaster county and look around there? Going straigt towards WDC in the morning and look at something interesting in Greater Washington area? What would you reccommend.

    2) day5: is there anything interesting on the way? Anything we should stop there and look around? Or should we rather get to Pittsburgh as fast as possible and enjoy Pittsburgh?

    3) day6: we want to stop in Grove City for outlet shopping? Anyone ever been there? Is it worth the stop?

    4) day 9/10: We thought about driving a little bit towards NYC (away from the N.Falls) after visiting the Falls that afternoon. So the next days trip to NYC would be shorter. Does that make sense?
    Driving Niagara Falls to NYC in one day is quite a long (8h?) drive, isnŽt it?
    Any routes reccommended? Any interesting stops in between? If we drive away from the Falls for an overnight stay - do you have any reccommendations on where to stop? Rochester? Catskills?.....?

    Thanks so much for your help!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    What is your scheduled arrival time in NYC and which airport are you flying into? It may be best to get a hotel near the airport and wait till the next morning to set out for Philly.

    Your real world drive times via fastest route with necessary stops only will be:

    NYC - Philly: 2 hours
    Philly - DC: 2.5 hours
    DC - Pittsburgh: 4.5 hours
    Pittsburgh - Detroit: 5 hours
    Detroit - Niagara Falls: 5 hours (Via Canada)
    Niagara Falls - NYC: 7 hours

    These all do not account for sightseeing, are on Autobahn-quality roads, and assume travel in/near large cities is not done during morning or evening rush periods. A lot of these roads are toll roads. I would rent a vehicle with an EZ-Pass transponder so you won't be delayed in the cash lanes. EZ-Pass is not accepted on the bridge or the tunnel between Detroit and Canada, you would have to pay cash there. It's about 2 hours longer to get from Detroit to Niagara Falls via only the US - unless there are border crossing delays at Detroit or Niagara Falls.

    There are alternatives to the fastest routes, but they will take longer. I mentioned them for planning purposes so you can determine how much extra time you would have.

  3. Default

    Thanks a lot for your information!

    We will arrive in NYC (JFK) at noon. We thought about staying a night at JFK, but since we arrive pretty early in the day, we thought itŽs better to take a short (2h) drive towards Philly already. This way we would have the next day for the route Philly - sightseeing - WDC and could arrive late that day in WDC.

    If weŽd stay at JFK....we would have to do NY-WDC in one day with far less sighseeing. Does that make sense?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You have to consider exactly how much time it will take to collect your luggage, get through customs/immigration, and pick up the rental car. You may be looking at trying to get out of NYC in rush hour which would extend your drive time to Philly considerably - and you may have rush hour in Philly to deal with too.

    However, going from NYC to DC via Philly and sightseeing in only one day isn't very realistic either.

    Having a car in the large northeastern cities (NYC, Philly, DC) can actually be a liability due to congestion and difficult parking - you may want to consider using public transportation till you are ready to leave DC, then rent a car for return when you get back to NYC. The only difficulties here would be luggage handling.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Things to See

    Philadelphia was the first capital of the US and Washington is the current capital, so there are lots of historic sites, government buildings and unique museums in both cities. Far more than you can see in a day in each. Still some of the highlights in Philly would be Independence H/Mall (parking is available in an underground garage), Elfreth's Alley, Betsy Ross' House, the Franklin Institute, and the Italian Market. In Washington, most memorials, government buildings, and museums are along the National Mall, but you'd do better to park outside of town near a Metro station and taking that in to one of the stops near the Mall.

    Between Washington and Pittsburgh, one of my favorite sites to spend a couple of hours off the road is Big Pool where at Exit 12 of I-70 you have both Fort Frederick and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.Pittsburgh itself is a rejuvenating city and worth a visit, but I haven't been there in over 50 years so am not familiar with its newer attractions. Another possible stopping point on the way to Detroit is the Cleveland area with Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Natural History Museum. In Detroit, besides family of course, the obvious attraction is Greenfield Village. You'd be better served by going through Canada between Detroit and Niagara Falls, but ask about this when you first enter the US in New York. And Between Niagara Falls and New York there are a number of sites worth visiting.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Public transport.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Having a car in the large northeastern cities (NYC, Philly, DC) can actually be a liability due to congestion and difficult parking - you may want to consider using public transportation till you are ready to leave DC, then rent a car for return when you get back to NYC. The only difficulties here would be luggage handling.
    That is an excellent suggestion. Those three cities have good public transport, very little parking, and when you can find it, is very expensive. Yes, it is true, you may have luggage issues. However, it may help you perfect the art of 'travelling light'. Something I am yet to perfect. lol


  7. Default

    Oh thanks so much for your suggestions!!!

    As of timing and sightseeing: we know there are so many things to see between the cities and the cities itself of course. But due to the fact that weŽre tight on time (for many reasons) and that we def. want to do the detour to Detroit (family) we have to cut down on sightseeing and concentrate on some things.

    GLC: we wonŽt be in a hurry at the first day....just getting out of the city and getting to Philly (well weŽll stay overnight just outside Philly in NJ). So IŽll keep in mind what youŽve said about traffic.

    As of driving: we will hire a car from NY-NY and drop it off once we arrive back in NY (so no car for the last 4 days - but that is def. much easier in NYC as you said). As of Washington we will park our car at the Pentagon Fashion Center and take the Metro to the city. Me and husband have been to NY/ DC couple times and know the cities pretty good. We take my parents with us this time and want to show them around.

    I guess the biggest Questions are still for the the in-between-cities-parts
    Philly to WDC: worth going to Lancaster County and skip Philly therefore...or visa versa
    WDC to Pittburgh: where is it worth to take a break?
    AZBuck - IŽll take a look into what youŽve suggested! Thanks
    And then Niagara to NYC: where to stay overnight? Worth to stop anywhere between? IŽve heard of Corning, the glass manufacture / museum. Anyone been there?

    Also weŽll take the route through Canada. IsnŽt a problem with getting back into the US ;)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Just make sure you are allowed to take the rental car into Canada.

  9. Default

    Thanks for reminding me. Just checked again. Yes they allow it!
    Should we get an EZPass Device from the rental station? Just saw they offer it!
    How can we track if the charged us the correct ammount?


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Can't see a need.

    There should not be any need to. I doubt that they would do the wrong thing. You can always get the scheduled fees for every toll road, off the internet. Then you will know exactly what you're spending.


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