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  1. Default Day trip from NYC

    Hello all,

    I am currently planning a holiday for December 2016 (yes i know next year but planning is half the fun) anyway i was thinking that we might be able to do a day or three or five (most likely) round trip from NYC through Randolph, NY down to Washington DC and back to NYC.

    The idea for visiting Randolph is to do the 'Amish Trail' and it is important to us that we visit the Smithsonian is DC.

    I have read that it is more of an authentic amish experience in and around Randolph than Lancaster, PA however obviously this is what the internet would have me believe.

    Finally my questions;

    - travelling at December, i understand that the weather will have an impact on this regardless however could we expect to be able to travel at this time of the year? Is there much risk of road closures due to snowfall?

    - vehicle type, we are a family of 6 (2 adults, 2 teens, a 10 yr old and a 4yr old) and while we try to travel light there is always a need for some luggage and even more at winter due to bulky clothing. In the past we have rented a Chevy Suburban for it's size but i would like to hear what everyone's thoughts are on this. Is it better to have a SUV for this time of the year or would a van be ok?

    - are there any thoughts on travelling via Randolph?

    - any must do's for this trip?

    Thank you all for your time and suggestions


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default To get you started.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    As you are already aware, the weather could impact on any tripping you plan to do. However, the roads need to be kept open for trucks to keep the US going. So road closures are few and far between, and not for extended periods. Just stay flexible.

    Since this is still 15 months off, I suggest that you get hold of some really good detailed maps, and follow the suggestions in this paragraph:-

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Start with maps. Not GPS, not software, not Google, but real honest-to-god paper maps that show you your entire route, that you can mark up (and erase), that you can stick pins in, and that show something about the land you'll be driving through. Those are your essential tool in any RoadTrip planning process. Start by marking all the places you know you want to visit. Then connect the dots. Then look for more places of interest and scenic routes along the lines connecting the dots. Repeat until you've got as many sites and roads as you think you want.
    If you do not have good maps from previous trips, and good maps are not available locally, you can order a Rand McNally road atlas from the RTA store, via the link at the bottom of this page. Those maps grade the roads (particularly relevant in winter), show all the towns and cities, and most of the attractions.... natural attractions, historical and some touristy sites.

    Be aware that when you are in NYC you will not want a car. That also applies to DC. Both cities have excellent public transport, very little parking, and when you find a spot it is expensive. You might plan to take the train between those two cities. You may also like to check out renting a vehicle in NJ I believe it is much cheaper than renting a car in NY. I'd imagine that something like a Suburban or a GMC Yukon would be more comfortable than most SUVs for your family.

    Enjoy the planning, and when you have more questions, feel free to ask.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default In my experience -- for day trips -- always take your vehicle to the citiies

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    Be aware that when you are in NYC you will not want a car. That also applies to DC. Both cities have excellent public transport, very little parking, and when you find a spot it is expensive.
    Generally that is true, but from my experience, it can be very, very difficult to find any room at the park-n-rides near either cities on weekdays to leave your car and travel into the city. For that reason, I ALWAYS drive my car into both cities. Yes, sometimes it can take a bit of time to find street parking -- but I've never looked more than 15 minutes to find a place to park in any neighborhood on my visits. So, while Lifey's advice is the conventional approach -- from experience, it is easier and often more fun to drive into those cities.


  4. #4


    I don't want to discourage you, but I can see two problems you might encounter on your planned trip. First, Randolph is a far side trip from a NYC to DC trip. It is nearly 400 miles off course, where Lancaster environs is more direct. Second, Randolph is in the Western New York 'snow belt' with lots of lake effects off Lake Erie, and December is the worst time of year for those sudden 12" snows. If you are set on Randolph for your Amish experience, you will have to go back to Binghamton on I-486 to go south to DC. Otherwise, you'll be risking local roads in Pennsylvania in winter weather conditions; not ideal.

    No matter what you've heard about Randolph, PA Dutch Country is my choice for authenticity, and I've been there several times. Try planning both ways and see if you don't opt for the latter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Authenticity

    I have lived in Amish country and there are a few things people need to be aware of if they want to have an "authentic Amish experience". First and foremost, the Amish do NOT consider themselves to be a tourist attraction. They will not trade on their beliefs for mammon, particularly not on Sundays when they will not even talk about, let alone accept, money. In my experience, if your see a billboard advertising an "authentic Amish experience", you can be guaranteed of one thing: It will be none of the three. I agree with Harry that it is at best pointless, and at worst counter-productive, to go so far out of your way in search of something that you cannot find in the time you have available. If you want an "authentic Amish experience", it will take far, far longer than a few days on a RoadTrip.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Washington DC Paid Parking

    I just received an e-mail from a new service that is trying to be the "Open Table" for parking lots in some of the more-parking-challenged cities in America. Here is their list for Washington DC...

    Press statement:
    We allow users to find and reserve guaranteed parking in commercial lots and garages through our website and mobile apps in over 4,000 garages in 40 cities around the country.

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