Author Topic: Help Mustache my East Coast road trip: MA, CT, VA, Washington DC  (Read 3044 times)

BZB

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Hi MMMers,
I am planning a trip from Houston, TX to visit family and friends in August. We have family members that are getting frail and this is our chance to see them while we can. We want to visit Greenwich, CT, Roanoke/Blacksburg, VA, and Warrenton, VA areas where we can stay with family. Also we may visit a friend in Bethesda, and might be able to stay with them. We also would like to visit the Boston area if possible but don't have free lodging there. I want to see the Fairbanks House in Dedham, MA, which appears to be a suburb or commuter town next to Boston.
 
We can only take a week off work plus weekends on either side, so we are thinking flying to the East Coast to save time. It will be 2 adults and a 4 year old. I know this may be too much for one week, so we can scale back if needed. The highest priority visits are Greenwich, CT, Warrenton, VA and Roanoke, VA because we have some elderly family members there.

What airports are cheaper to fly in/out of?
Does it make sense to rent a car for the Virginia portion but use trains and other transport for the DC, CT and Boston visits?
Any other travel tips to make this efficient and minimize cost?
Thanks for reading this and I'd appreciate your advice.

marblejane

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Re: Help Mustache my East Coast road trip: MA, CT, VA, Washington DC
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2014, 07:08:26 PM »
The biggest challenge with renting a car is that one way car rentals (where pickup and dropoff locations are different) are incredibly expensive. I would recommend flying into Roanoke, renting a car there locally if necessary. Then, take MegaBus from Roanoke to Washington DC. (Here's the press release on that route: https://us.megabus.com/christiansburg.aspx) Count on 4-5 hours for this bus ride.

From DC, you should be able to take public transit to Bethesda. I'm not sure about public transit to Warrenton, but it appears to be close by. You could also rent a car in DC to travel to/from Warrenton if necessary.

Greenwich is basically a suburb of New York City. There's plenty of train/bus options between DC and NYC (Actually, I think Acela will take you straight to Greenwich, but it's expensive). Megabus would probably drop you at Penn Station in New York, and from there you can hop on a local train to Greenwich.

So, a sample itenerary would be:

Day 1-2 Roanoke
Day 3: Travel to DC
Day 4: Visit relatives in Warrenton
Day 5: Head back to DC, then on to NYC
Day 6: Stay in NYC (or, go directly to Greenwich, CT)

As you can see, fitting Boston in will be tight. You are counting on about 4 hours from Greenwich to Boston, I believe. So, it depends on how many days you want to spend with relatives. If you want more time with relatives, then plan to fly back out of NYC.

Stacey

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Re: Help Mustache my East Coast road trip: MA, CT, VA, Washington DC
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2014, 07:16:11 PM »
I would probably cut Boston out of your list.  You don't want to cram too much in, especially since you have to account for travel time between all of these places.  Whether you take public transport or drive, it's still going to take some time.  At the end of the day, I'd think about how much time you want to spend with each of these folks and then see what time you have left over.  I'd probably spend the "left over" time in the DC or NY area since you'll be nearer to each of those areas when visiting family. And if you're staying with your family in Greenwich or your friend in Bethesda, you can easily explore NY or DC and use these places as your home base.  And Warrenton is in a beautiful area - lots to explore there, as well.  If you're looking for inexpensive places to stay and you like to camp (and bring along your gear), you can actually camp close in to DC (in Bethesda or Potomac, I think) at a local park.  If you want details, let me know and I'll get back to you with more info - I think it's in Cabin John Park. 

RootofGood

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Re: Help Mustache my East Coast road trip: MA, CT, VA, Washington DC
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2014, 08:03:09 PM »
Skip Boston and check out Philly instead?  It's half way between DC and NYC roughly speaking (about 2-3 hours away from each).

We're leaving for a five week road trip up the east coast and into Canada in 2 days.  We plan on stopping in DC for a few hours to check out pandas at the zoo, then on to Philly on the first day (we're driving from Raleigh).  We've been to DC so many times already.  We are staying 3 nights in Philly and 2 nights in NYC. 

+1 to the other comments saying to not do too much in this 1 trip.  DC is probably good for at least 2-3 days on its own, and same for NYC. 

« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 08:09:24 PM by RootofGood »

BZB

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Re: Help Mustache my East Coast road trip: MA, CT, VA, Washington DC
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2014, 08:06:16 PM »
Thanks for the replies, Marblejane, Stacey and RootofGood! I figured Boston was a stretch. Ah - another time... One day I want to be able to choose when and how long my vacations will be.

I would love to go camping on this trip but I'm not sure I would have enough room to pack the gear for the plane. I suppose I could ship my camping gear to the relative's house and then ship it back home.

I've heard good things about Megabus - they have service here in Texas too.

I have to remind myself the focus of this vacation is to visit family elders before they are gone. Sightseeing will have to be secondary, as frustrating as that is.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Help Mustache my East Coast road trip: MA, CT, VA, Washington DC
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2014, 08:29:02 AM »
This'll be a fun trip! I've lived in NYC, DC and I live in Boston now--so I'm excited for you! Folks are probably right that Boston is too much to add in for this sojourn, though I'm sad to say it since it's a lovely place (not that I'm biased or anything...).

For the sightseeing that you do have time for, DC and NYC are rife with free opportunities! In DC, all of the Smithsonian museums (Zoo included!) are FREE as are the monuments and memorials. You shouldn't have to pay to visit anywhere (don't bother with the museums that charge: Newseum, Spy Museum, etc).

Also, no need to have a car in the cities--the transit options are plentiful and the Subway (NYC) and Metro (DC) are both easy to navigate. Plus, parking is nightmare-inducing if you don't have a resident parking pass. DC also has a bikeshare program you can rent bikes from by the day or hour (called Capital Bike Share).