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  1. Default Advice on roadtrip from DC to Niagara Falls-Boston-DC

    Hello everyone,
    I'd like some advice on a roadtrip we're planning in the middle of October. I'm attending a conference in DC from 12 to17 October. The 18th we'd like to spend sightseeing Washington (cause I won't have full days to enjoy the city because of the conference) and perhaps shop at the mall (does anyone know a good one) cause we've heard that the states are quite cheap compared to europe. On the 18th we could also watch an Ice Hockey game in DC.

    So we have from the 19th 'til the 27th to drive ourselves in the rental car through the east of the US.

    We've never been to the US before so we don't really know what to expect..We think we'd prefer to see nature instead of cities...
    This is what we had in mind or what we'd like to see but I'm not sure it's do-able in the time we have.

    From DC to Shenandoah National Park and follow the blue ridge parkway to Charlottesville. (day 1)
    then onto Gettysburg-Harrisburg through Pennsylvania and Amish Country to end up close to Allegheny National Park/Forest. I've read in a national geographic book that it's a beautiful park and you can take hikes with the rangers to see the black bears (which I love). (Day 2)
    After spending some time in ALlegheny onwards to Niagara Falls (Day 3).
    Next day is spent at the Falls and surrounding area (day 4).
    Then to the Finger Lakes region to Albany (Day 5).
    On to Boston via Sturbrick Village (Day 6).

    And then we're basically out of time but what I would still like to see is Boston- Providence (Rhode Island); Princeton and some of the atlantic coast surrounding Philadelphia and Baltimore.

    How do we do this? How much time do we need to go from one place to the next and how much time do you need to enjoy the scenery and take a hike or a walk (e.g. fingerlakes region etc.)...
    Do we skip boston and new england or should we include it?
    And how long will it take us to drive from Boston back to DC (dulles international) to catch our flight back if we don't want to drive through NYC?

    Thanks for your comments and ideas !!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default what I can answer

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    First off, I don't know exactly of any great shopping centers in the DC area (I'm sure they exist, its just not my thing) but you should find things in the states to be very cheap considering current exchange rates.

    It sounds like you've got a real good start in finding some of the great nature oriented spots in the Northeast.

    I'd plan on Boston to DC taking a full day. Here are some ideas about avoiding NYC traffic, but traffic can be very heavy and fairly unpredictable, so it can be tough to say exactly how long that stretch will take. I personally would not want to start the day in Boston if you need to catch a flight out of Dulles the same day. I would plan on spending my final night much closer to the DC/Baltimore area so you don't have to stress all day long about making a flight.

    Otherwise, a lot of your questions are going to solely depend upon how you want to approach this trip. You could spend an hour at each of your stops, or you could spend a week at each of them. The same with visiting Boston/New England. There are great things to see and do there, but only you can decide if how you want to spend the limited amount of time you have for your trip. There's no wrong answers, just some tough decisions that you'll have to make.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default 8 days...

    ...if I'm correct.

    From the 19th to the 26th (leaving on the 27th) I count 8 days, which means that if you see Sturbridge Village (three hours at least) after driving from Albany, you'll have a day in Boston and a day wending your way back toward Washington, DC via Providence.

    I agree with Michael that you want to be near to Washington (at least Baltimore) the night before you fly out. Traffic delays on the highways from Boston to Washington, even on a Saturday, are legendary! (Driving from Boston to Washington is a full 8 hours with NO traffic and NO stops.)

    The big concern I have is Day 1. I don't think you'll make it past Gettysburg or Harrisburg, PA. (Washington DC to Blue Ridge Parkway to Charlottesville to Harrisburg, via I-81 is at least 9 hours of driving - no stops!) If you want to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and see some of the Amish country you'll be off the Interstate highways for quite a while, eating up a lot of time. These are all wonderful things to see and do but my guess is that you'll spend most of Day 2 getting to and exploring Allegheny Park and not get very far toward Niagara on that day. That is OK, because visiting the falls isn't necessarily a full day activity, depending on what all you want to do there. For the full view you have to cross into Canada and see the falls from that side.

    Finally, I could be wrong, but I don't think you'll see much coastline because Philadelphia is well inland, and though Baltimore is on a bay there aren't major roads following the coast like there are in California and Oregon.

    There are a few minor (think "time-consuming") roads that go out to the coast at various points, but given your time constraints, at most you'll be crossing waterways on your way south.

    Regardless, you'll have a great time, but you'll have to keep moving.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Things to Think Consider

    I have two sisters who live in suburban Virginia outside Washington, When my wife and I visit, they all head to Tyson's Corner. It may not be the biggest mall in the DC area, but it's certainly one of the best. It is just off the Washington Beltway, I-495, at Exit 46, VA-123.

    As for some possible highlights of a trip from Washington to Niagara and on to Boston, This post describes the Washington to Niagara portion of the trip, and contains a link to a description of the Niagara to Boston leg. That should at least get you started on planning a great trip.


  5. Default

    Thanks a lot everyone. That's really good advice !!

    There are some tough decision to make... are there any good roads from let's say Albany straight down to Washington DC if we decide to not go to Boston?

    THe difficulty is deciding on how much time you wanna see anything...I guess being european we're used to doing everything in a moderate tempo and not travel great distances. Anyway I'm looking forward to our trip so much, I can't begin to tell you.

    Has anyone been to the skyline drive cause I did in fact not know how to count the hours needed for it. I read somewhere you can only go 30 miles per hour so we're not sure if we are going to do the whole drive or get out in the middle. Oh and does anyone know if you can go horse riding (with a guided tour) when you've been on a horse before but are just a beginner anyway?

    Thanks again!!

  6. Default

    Ok stupid question probably. Could anyone explain what the difference is between a shopping mall and an outlet shopping mall?

    From what I researched, they're both huge :) And hopefully have Disney shops :) Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default Outlets/Malls

    Shopping malls often have the latest fashions and the clothing is sold through third party retailers. In outlet malls the shops are often owned directly by the clothing manufacturers and often feature clothing that may be a little older.

    For example - I hit an outlet mall yesterday and attacked the Van Heusen store. I bought shirts that in the store would be about $60, they were on sale at the outlet store for $32, but the store was having a sale and I only paid $22 per shirt. I prefer outlet malls, but you have to hit them at the right time. They are often not stocked as regularly as shopping malls.


  8. Default

    Thanks for the explanation. So that clears it up a bit. Happen to know any good outlet stores near DC?

    And does anyone happen to know if you go to an ice-hockey game in DC and you get tickets in the upper seats of the stadium if it's possible to get a good view of the game or are those generally bad seats?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default seatdata

    I haven't been to the stadium where the Capitals play, but I've watched Hockey from the upper deck and never had a problem. Its more fun to watch a game right on the glass, but you'll have a nice view of all of the action, even if it is from farther away.

    I'd recommend checking out which has pictures of each section of pretty much every major sports venue. That should give you a real good idea of what you'd be seeing if you go to a game.

  10. Default

    So here's the slightly adjusted road-trip-plan with some further questions:

    DAY 1 (19/10): Drive from DC to Shenandoah National Park (does anyone know how long it takes to drive through it from the north entrance to the exit near charlottesville?) to Charlottesville

    DAY 2 (20/10): from Charlottesville via gettysburg through Amish country in the direction of Allegheny National Park

    DAY 3 (21/20): exploring Allegheny National Park and then continuing on towards the Niagara Falls

    DAY 4 (22/10): Niagara Falls

    DAY 5 (23/10): From the Falls to the Finger LAkes region (anyone some good suggestions of what to see there or a good (scenic) route trough this region??) and stopping for the nigh in Albany

    DAY 6 (24/10): From Albany to Boston via Sturbridge (anyone ideas on how long this trip takes if you leave around 8 in the morning - would it be possible to be in Boston by late afternoon-evening?)

    DAY 7 (25/10): Boston (leaving around afternoon) and driving through Rode Island - stop in Provincetown and then past N.Y. (perhaps the scenic route to avoid N.Y.C. traffic you suggested on this site - happen to know how long this route takes?) and then stopping for the night around Philadelphia

    DAY 8 (26/10): visiting Philadelphia- Baltimore regions and stopping for the night close to Washington DC

    DAY 9 (27/10): returning the rental car at Washington Dulles International and flying back home in the evening (flight around 5pm) - does anyone know how long it takes getting from Baltimore to Dulles international airport on a friday afternoon???- we don't wanna miss our flight :))

    It looks a bit packed so I'm still not sure if it's do-able. We don't want to spend 8 hours a day in the car for the whole duration of our trip but it'll be a lot of driving anyway. Feedback and suggestions very welcome! Thanks so much.

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