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  1. Default Road trip tips from Minnesota to New York City?

    Hello,

    we are an European family of three adults and we are going on a road trip from Rochester, MN to New York City. We are going to head out after visiting our family members for few days in July and the road trip is going to be 20 days long . It is going to be our first time in the U.S.

    I was wondering if you know any interesting places we could visit? Architecture, events, historic sites, parks, museums, etc.

    We are going to ride from Minnesota - visiting SPAM Museum, through Wisconsin, Illinois - stopping in Chicago for three days, maybe incorporating Route 66, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania - we would like to explore the area around Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Hershey, York and Lancaster, possibly visiting Washington D.C., and New Jersey to New York City for five days.


    Thank you very much for every suggestion!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Things to Hit, and Skip

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First of all, as you plan I would suggest that if Washington DC is going to be in your plans, and it should be, that you go there before visiting the Harrisburg/Hershey area and that you then go from there to New York. I-95 from Washington to New York by way of the Maryland. Delaware and New Jersey Turnpikes is one of the most congested and expensive (tolls) highways in America.

    With that in mind, a few stops to consider. On your way down to Chicago, there are a couple of places i like to recommend. The first is Wisconsin Dells, not for the many water parks that have sprung up in town, but for a boat ride through the namesake Dells of the Wisconsin River. The second is Circus World Museum in Baraboo WI. Then in Chicago, be sure to check out the Field Museum of Natural History.

    To get more of a feel for America, and to escape more tolls on the Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania Turnpikes, consider using US-30/US-250/US-40 from Chicago through Fort Wayne IN and Washington PA and down the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia. Such a routing will take you through Amish country in eastern Ohio (around Millersburg) and down the old National Road past Fort Necessity National Battlefield, the scenic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, and Fort Frederick State Park.

    It's at Hagerstown that you'll need to decide whether to continue into Washington DC (on I-70/I-270) or head north using MD-64/MD-77 through Catoctin Mountain National Park (home to Camp David) to Thurmont and then US-15 up through Gettysburg to Harrisburg. If you do go into Washington, I'd recommend that you come back out the same way to Frederick MD and pick up US-15 anyway. After visiting Harrisburg and Hershey I-78 provides a good (and free) way into New York City.


    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    To add to AZBuck's very complete list, I have to say -- Indiana and Ohio tolls are LOW compared to the PA Turnpike. You can "shunpike" the PA Turnpike by going south on I-79 at about 28 miles into PA. Take that to Morgantown, WV, where you turn east on I-68. Then at Hagerstown, make that decision that AZBuck mentioned.

    AZBuck, I wasn't aware that Catocin was the home of Camp David. That's nice to know! We're taking that route to Gettysburg from the south (64/77/15) that you mentioned, on our trip this summer. Probably just before the OP gets there, so with smooth sailing on our laptop, I may be able to bring fresh information regarding this route to this thread.


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default I Wouldn't Have Known Either...

    ...except that once, many years ago, I was driving through that area (on my way to Chicago on the 'backest' roads I could find) and stopped to take a hike in the woods. Before too long I was intercepted by some Shore Patrol officers who 'suggested' that I should turn around and head back the way I came. I had learned (in Belfast) not to argue with armed military and so returned to my car and drove on. But my curiosity had been peeked, especially by the naval presence in the Maryland mountains, and I did a little research. It turns out that Camp David is staffed by the Navy and was in that general area, so my assumption was that I was getting a little too close and had tripped some surveillance system. The exact location of Camp David is not publicized for obvious reasons, but I do remember a small note at the time of the creation of Catoctin Mountain National Park that it would encompass Camp David. You can't visit it, of course, but you can appreciate the setting.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default That's my way.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    ...except that once, many years ago, I was driving through that area (on my way to Chicago on the 'backest' roads I could find) and stopped to take a hike in the woods. Before too long I was intercepted by some Shore Patrol officers who 'suggested' that I should turn around and head back the way I came. I had learned (in Belfast) not to argue with armed military and so returned to my car and drove on. But my curiosity had been peeked, especially by the naval presence in the Maryland mountains, and I did a little research. It turns out that Camp David is staffed by the Navy and was in that general area, so my assumption was that I was getting a little too close and had tripped some surveillance system. The exact location of Camp David is not publicized for obvious reasons, but I do remember a small note at the time of the creation of Catoctin Mountain National Park that it would encompass Camp David. You can't visit it, of course, but you can appreciate the setting.

    AZBuck
    That is by far my preferred way of finding and appreciating any attraction / site. Far more so than tons of research beforehand.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Routes to get a sense of small town America.

    Far be it for me to add anything to the wonderful advice from AZBuck. I absolutely loved State route 39 from Mansfield to Dover, through Millersburg. A most scenic drive, albeit slow on two lane roads. It will give you a wonderful sense of small town America, as well as Amish Country. Likewise, US-40 is a wonderful drive through interesting architecture of small towns, especially that section immediately south of Washington PA.

    Enjoy.

    Lifey

  7. Default

    Near the start of the trip from Rochester, if you've got time then I'd very highly recommend WI35 South from La Crosse to Prairie du Chien. It's one of the few roads which runs closely alongside the Mississippi River and it's very scenic. On the west bank opposite Prairie du Chien is Effigy Mounds National Monument which has more than 200 prehistoric mounds built by Native Americans including numerous effigy mounds in the shapes of animals including bears and birds.

    In Virginia, Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive is a wonderful road along part of the ridge of the Appalachian Mountains, and so in a totally different way are both US340 and US11 through the beautiful farming country and small towns of the Shenandoah Valley to the west of the park and parallel to it.

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