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  1. Default Road trip from Toronto to Charlottesville, Virginia

    Hey everyone,

    Me and my girlfriend are from the UK and are on holiday here for a few weeks. Staying in New Jersey at the moment, then going up to Toronto. Then we're planning to do a big drive down from Toronto to Charlottesville in Virginia to see some relatives. We're thinking of taking maybe four/five days or so. Can anyone recommend any routes? Don't really want to go the New York/Pennsylvania route cause I already know that area so well. Thinking of maybe a longer route via Detroit/Ohio/West Virginia? Perhaps a day stop at Columbus?

    We're in our early 20s and are interested in maybe seeing some places which are beautiful to drive or walk through, we're also interested in historical and cultural stuff, and my girlfriend is really into kitsch and weird roadside attractions too. Also we'd be bringing a tent so suggestions of good places to camp would be great.

    Any suggestions of routes and places to visit would be really appreciated! We'd probably be leaving Toronto on the Thursday morning and hoping to reach Charlottesville by the Sunday or Monday night, but we're pretty flexible.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Seen all that area?

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Sure you could take a route via Ontario to the Detroit area and back to VA that way. But when you say you already know the PA/NY area, it rather puzzles me. How many of the hundreds, if not thousands of routes through NY and PA have you driven and seen? Get hold of a good detailed map of NY and of PA and see how many routes there are - not just interstates - and note how many of the routes are scenic routes. I would not dismiss those States before you see how much you have not already seen. Good maps also have attractions marked on them, and once the route is chosen, you can research the routes on the web for more attractions. Those eastern States are full of history and historic sites. You can search for kitsch and weird roadside attractions. It is amazing how one stumbles upon them.

    I have spent many weeks driving through those States, and am about to spend another week there, and I have by no means seen all there is to see that interests me.

    BTW, is this a round trip? Be aware that you cannot pick up a car in Toronto and drop it in VA. You will need to take the car back to Canada.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default First, the Middle and End

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I don't know that I'd go all the way around Lake Erie to enter the US at Detroit if your main aim is to see Ohio and West Virginia. Compared with crossing at Niagara/Buffalo and going along the south shore of Lake Erie to Cleveland, going through Detroit adds another hundred miles of driving. It's possible if that's what you want to do, it's just not necessary if all you want to do is avoid well-known routes through western New York and Pennsylvania. No matter which way you go around the lake, you should end up in Cleveland, so let me divide your possible route(s) into three legs: 1) Cleveland to Charlottesville, 2) east around the lake to Cleveland and 3) west around the lake to Cleveland.

    0) Let's start with Cleveland on it's own, since it's common to all of the legs. Perhaps best known as the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it also has a world-class Natural History Museum, a national park, and (oddly) the house used for location shots for A Christmas Story among others.

    1) From Cleveland south there are quite a few attractions, scenic roads, and areas worth exploring. Start with the Ohio & Erie Canalway through the aforementioned Cuyahoga Valley National Park which gets you into the area of another scenic road, the Amish Country Byway. In southern Ohio, it might be worth your time to just follow the Ohio River for a while, say from Marietta OH to Ravenswood WV using a series of roads: OH-7, OH-124, OH-338 to US-33. There are then a number of ways to travel south through West Virginia, the easiest being the Turnpike (I-77/I-64), but your primary goal is the New River Gorge. before turning east on I-64 to Charlottesville.

    2) and 3) I think I'll save any recommendations on things to see around Lake Erie until after you've decided which way you'd like to go.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-31-2016 at 09:36 AM.

  4. Default

    Thanks so much for the reply, guys. Lifemagician, I'd definitely consider some NY/PA routes if there were some particularly interesting ones, but having driven that way numerous times I thought it would be cool to drive through some states I've never visited before.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    2) and 3) I think I'll save any recommendations on things to see around Lake Erie until after you've decided which way you'd like to go.
    AZBuck- that's some great info, thanks very much. I'm really not sure about which way to go around Lake Erie. According to google maps, the Detroit route would add an extra couple of hours onto the journey time, which I don't mind if it's a more interesting route. I thought it might be interesting to briefly stop off at or at least drive through Detroit, but this might not be worth the extra journey time if the rest of that route is boring!

    So to sum that up, regardless of distance or driving time, which route around Lake Eerie do you (or anyone else on here) think is the most interesting?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Of Two Minds

    One of the underlying principles of the advice given here is variously expressed as "There are no universally accepted 'must sees'" or as "There are no boring places". Personally I hate to drive extra miles or sit in traffic when I don't have to, but will drive for hours on end to experience great roads or see sites of interest. That's all by way of saying that neither I nor anyone else can answer your question on which way to go, only you can.

    On the plus side for going through Detroit, there are sites in southeastern Michigan and northwestern Ohio worth visiting if you have the time. Perhaps chief among those are Greenfield Village, Cedar Point, and the Bass Islands, but none of them are of the 'get out of the car and take a few snaps' sort of road side attractions.

    Conversely, going around the east side of the lake, through Buffalo, saves you around a hundred miles and a couple of hours of driving, as well as any possible tolls were you to use the Ohio Turnpike between Toledo and Cleveland. And while there aren't the major attraction that going through Detroit gets you to, there are several smaller state parks along the lake such as Evangola, Presque Isle and Geneva, as well as a railroad museum.

    But, as always, the choice of routes/attractions is yours alone to make.


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