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  1. Default Northern VA to Smugglers Notch VT

    Hi Everyone!

    I've been digging through this website and the forums ever since I discovered it this weekend and have learned so much! I was hoping for some current recommendations on the best route and best stops for a trip I impulsively booked this weekend. I love researching and planning things so I enjoy getting as much information as possible.

    My father, boyfriend, and myself live in the DC area (Northern VA and Southern MD) and have booked a week at Smugglers Notch VT from Sunday September 27 through Sunday October 7. Since we check in on Sunday we have a chance to take it slower on the way up, leaving Saturday and staying somewhere overnight if necessary. I have read that the ride up RT 7 is very pretty and was thinking of using that instead of the highways. On the way back we would want to make the trip in one day so we will be back before Monday so I'd like to know the quickest way back down. I've read that the highways Google Maps recommends aren't always the actual quickest way in this area.

    All 3 of us enjoy being outdoors hiking and mountain biking, eating good food (both nice restaurants and hole-in-the-wall places), and drinking good wine and hard ciders (my dad is the only big beer drinker of the group), and we aren't big history buffs. I'd love some tips for the drive up and back as well as any spots along the way. I've already got ideas for places to see and eat at in VT but I'd love more recommendations! I know I can't see everything but I love adding to my ever-growing list before making any final decisions.

    Thanks so much in advance! This is a great community and I'm so glad I stumbled on it.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-07-2015 at 08:47 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Option(s)

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    We usually don't like to label any route the 'best' simply because there are so many choices that what might be best for one person is not so much for another. But in your case, I think there is one basic route that would serve (with variations) both of your legs, up and back, well. Since you will be pressed for time on the way back, I'll describe the 'faster' version of the route first southbound. Leaving Smugglers Notch, take VT-108/VT-100 down to Waterbury and get on I-89 southbound to the Royalton VT area. There take VT-107 southwest to VT-100 south to Sherburne and US-4 west. Follow that to Fort Ann NY and then use NY-149 west over to I-87 south. From here on it's all interstates: I-87 to Albany, I-90 west to connect to I-88 west to Binghamton and then I-81 south to Harrisburg PA. From there you can continue on I-81 to Hagerstown and use I-70/I-270 into the DC area of else take US-15 to Frederick MD and I-270. But note that while this route keeps you out of New York City, the Philadelphia suburbs and Baltimore, and off the NY, NJ, DE and MD turnpikes, it is just a shade over 600 miles and so right at the upper limit of what's safely doable in a day. Plan on getting an early start and not making too many stops - but do get out and walk around for a few minutes every couple of hours and change drivers as needed.

    Now you'd use the same basic route going north but with a few more scenic and slower-paced options. As noted above, US-15 is a good scenic way north out of the DC area up to Harrisburg. You'll have the option of spending a little time in Gettysburg if you'd like. There is also an alternative to taking US-15 all the way into Harrisburg and that is to use PA-94/PA-34 from York Springs to Carlisle and get on I-81 there. The next big option for scenery over speed starts just north of Harrisburg and that is to take US-209 along the southern edge of the Poconos, through the Delaware Water Gap, and on up to Kingston NY. From there you can use NY-199 across the Hudson and over to the Taconic State Parkway north to almost its very end. But just before you reach its terminus at the New York State Thruway, take the exit for NY-295 northeast to NY-22 north and then US-20 east into Pittsfield MA. From there US-7 will take you north through western Massachusetts and Vermont. But for a truly scenic route, at Bennington VT take VT-9 east to VT-100 north and take that all the way up to Stowe and VT-108 into Smugglers Notch. Halfway would be somewhere in the Catskills region of New York, as good a place as any to spend a quiet evening to break up your drive.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-07-2015 at 10:57 AM. Reason: Minor Typos

  3. Default

    Thanks for the quick reply AZBuck! I've enjoyed reading many of your other replies to people taking similar trips and was hoping I'd hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to route out both of these trips.

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