Best route from MA to VA?

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by stevecaz, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. stevecaz

    stevecaz New Member

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    I'm driving from Mass. to Williamsburg VA next week, and looking for the latest summer 08 info on the best route - mainly concerning getting around NYC. Any recent tips, bad construction sections, etc.

    My plan is to take 84 across CT, down 684 to cross the Tappen Zee, then finally onto the Garden State Parkway. AAA states there is construction on I84 west of Hartford for a considerable distance - meaning it could be no issue or hell so I'm looking for info. I want to get into Williamsburg for dinner and time for the kids to swim in the pool, and I'll be hitting greater NYC region around 10:00 am. I should miss worse of traffic, plus its always a tad better in summer than school time.

    Once at DC I plan to take the 495 beltway around. I've only driven through there at 1:00 am virtually alone on the road, but I've heard horror stories on DC area. I'll be here around 2:00 in the afternoon.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Jack66

    Jack66 Kinda Jovial Member

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    What day of the week and do you have at least three in the car? 495/95 is worse in the summer and especially bad at commuting times. HOV is available south of DC if you have at least three. Of course, HOV direction and rules change according to what time and day it is. 95 south isn't too bad once you hit Fredericksburg but 64 east is another matter.

    Tune your radio to FM 103.5 in southern MD, DC, and NO VA. They have the best traffic updates on the 8's.
     
  3. Sufferin' Prius Envy

    Sufferin' Prius Envy Platinum Member

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    Hi Steve,

    The "Best route from MA to VA, like any other long distance drive is something very time sensitive, and the "best route" can change minute to minute depending on weather, accidents, road closures, etc.

    My suggestion would be to plan the route using Google Maps, and check it again in the morning, just before you leave.

    Google Maps recommends this route: from: Sturbridge Ma to: Williamsburg VA - Google Maps

    My suggestion for the "best route" from MA to VA would go something like this . . .

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=...0.84706,-97.207031&spn=39.95945,91.054688&z=4


    . . . and since you have a Prius, it's soooooo doable! :)
     
  4. ursle1

    ursle1 Realist

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    So you skirt nyc, the prob is -dc to richmond +
    no solution
    but if you change your itinerary 12 hours (as you were lucky enough to have last time) you will enjoy the drive
    jmho
     
  5. stevecaz

    stevecaz New Member

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    Well look at that, I never saw that Google maps added Traffic, and I can tell it to predict traffic at specified day and time - very nice. Google never fails to impress.

    There will be 4 in the car. We are leaving central Mass around 7:30 am on a weekday. That will have us skirting NYC around 10:00 am, but didn't know that DC to Richmond was a bigger issue. I'll have to look at the predicted traffic there. Last year we did Raleigh to Mass in one shot, leaving at 6:00 pm and getting home at 4:00 am. We had the roads all to ourselves with a few truckers, and everyone was doing 85 mph. The roads were so empty it was almost like the cops didn't care that people were making time in the middle of the night.

    Right now it does show 45 mph roads in the long 84 stretch through CT. I have to think its still better at my planned time than 95 along the coast though which is a horrible road.
     
  6. Jack66

    Jack66 Kinda Jovial Member

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    That IS a nice Googlemaps feature!

    OK, West 495 is probably the better route around DC during the week. One itinerary had that on it and it should be a good choice. The HOV is usually open going south around 1200 during the weekday. It is open to all until 1530 (3:30 PM) then it is restricted to 3 or more. The reason I tell you that is because people flood the HOV a little bit before it goes restricted to beat the main line traffic and it clogs up. The HOV opens up to all again at 1800 (6:00 PM) and there is usually a mad rush of folks that waited to get on the HOV.

    Friday afternoons in the summer are a complete madhouse -- even on the HOV. In fact, on Fridays you need to avoid the last HOV exit and get off at Dumfries. It seems like an idiotic idea to get off the HOV that doesn't look so bad and get on the main line that is crawling but resist the thought! If you don't get off at Dumfries then you go around a bend in the road and you see a line of cars miles long that are all trying to use the single merge lane back onto 95. Also, you can't get off the HOV without breaking the law and possibly incurring a large fine ($$$). My carpool has tested this theory numerous times (not the law breaking) and the outcome is the same every time. You can pick a car in the main line and track it after you stay in the HOV - you gain ititially but then you hit the long HOV merge line and the other car steadily pulls ahead and you lose sight of it while you reach for the hanky to dry your tears.
     
  7. Ct. Ken V

    Ct. Ken V Active Member

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    stevecaz,

    We did basiclly Hartford,Ct to Hampton, Va just last month & each way we tried had its problems. Going was on a Friday workday & I was worried about commuting traffic around Baltimore, DC, Richmond, & Fredericksburg. I too chose I-84W to I-684, then I-87 & 287 to cross the Tappan Zee Bridge (so much easier than I-91 S to I-95 S, across the G. Washington Bridge, & still I-95 S further). I also took the Garden State Pkwy as far as I could until I picked up I-95 S (around I-95's exit 10 I think it was) to take me across the Delaware Memorial Bridge. After that, I opted (because of the suspected tie ups from workday commuters around the 4 cities I mentioned above) to pick up Rt 46 (I think) in New Castle, Delaware & take it all the way down through Maryland & the the little Virginia peninsula to the Chesapeak Bay bridge/tunnel. Only thing wrong with that plan was the continuous stopping for very many traffic lights along that route (I noticed later that I could have stayed on I-95 S longer & still would have been able to connect to Rt 46 further down & been able to avoid a lot of those traffic lights). So it was a long drive. I think we started around 10:00 AM & got to Hampton, Va around 11:00 PM (with only short meal stops & a few pit stops for gas, to stretch our legs, etc).

    The return trip being 2 days later on Sunday I thought would be a breeze (with no work commuters) if we just stayed on I-95 N (& variants) all the way up to the Garden State Pkwy. WRONG!! There was lots of constuction & tie-ups along I-95, I-295 or I-495, & the DC beltway (basically anything that had a "95" in it). There were quite a few stretches where we moved along at only 5 or 10 MPH for about an hour's time at each area. We started out from Hampton,Va at about 10:00 AM & called it quits for the night when we had only reached the Delaware Memorial Bridge by 8:30 PM (with still normally 5 more hours to go from that point). We got some food 1st & then a motel in New Castle, Delaware for the night. Let's see, a total of 13 hours time to destination going down to VA, but so far staying on the "95's" coming back up north to get home, we had 10 & 1/2 hours invested just to get to the bridge (& normally another 5 hours from there). On Monday morning the remainder of the trip actually took 6 hours instead, mostly due to being in I-95 traffic tie-ups again just until we could pick up the Garden State Pkwy at around I-95's exit #10. From the Garden State Pkwy on, everything was smooth sailing.

    So 13 hours on the road going (pretty much avoid'g the "95's") & 16 & 1/2 hours return'g home northbound (start'g on a Sunday & carry'g over onto Monday, stay'g on those "95's"). It was a good thing that nobody of our party had to be at work Monday morning (we left the motel around 9:00 AM & got home a lttle after 3:00 PM. By the way, I-84 wasn't bad for us either way, just the normally heavy (but moving right along at a decent pace) traffic that is usual between Hartford & Waterbury. Have a safe trip.

    Ken (in Bolton,Ct)
     
  8. Jack66

    Jack66 Kinda Jovial Member

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    Anyone try HWY 13 that runs south generally from Philadelphia to Hampton Roads? It says it is a little shorter than than 95. I suspect it has lights but it looks like a nice drive. Besides, you will be driving the opposite direction on the bridges from the Hampton area drivers. I haven't driven it so I don't know why anyone else hasn't recommended it. It doesn't look like a good option to travel south unless you are trying to go to the Hampton / Williamsburg area.
     
  9. Ct. Ken V

    Ct. Ken V Active Member

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    Hey, Jack66,

    Was that maybe Rt 13 that I was on all the way down to the Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel & not Rt 46 like I thought? I think Rt 13 & Rt 46 run together for a while from just south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge through New Castle & down a little further until one of them splits off. Maybe I'm not remember'g the route #'s right.

    Ken (in Bolton,Ct)
     
  10. the dean

    the dean New Member

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    I have done the trip many times from eastern PA and much prefer the route from Delaware to the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge. It brings you out below Williamsburg but the trip up to Williamsburg is quick.

    Never go around Baltimore or DC unless it is 2am.

    The worst road I have traveled is 95 between DC and Richmond.
     
  11. Jack66

    Jack66 Kinda Jovial Member

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    I think you are right. I'd like to try that route sometime -- looks scenic.
     
  12. chinalfr2

    chinalfr2 Member

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    Try this route if you like to avoid traffic. Link to Google Map.

    This route is longer, but you will avoid all traffic to travel through NJ, PA, MD, W VA, VA. It's also less tolls road.

    I took this route from VA back to MA during Memorial weekend. It's worth the extra hours on road and we got to visit Hershey PA for some sweets.
     
  13. cmympg

    cmympg Who knows? Who cares?

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    I've driven Route 13 from Delaware to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel ($12 one way/$17 round trip within 24 hours) many times. It is scenic with many interesting restaurants and farm stands. You do go through several small towns.

    If you do choose that route, watch your speed. There are several speed traps on Rt 13.
     
  14. stevecaz

    stevecaz New Member

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    Good info Ken and all.

    This looks awful. I'm looking at 2 options. 1) just forget NYC/Baltimore/DC/95 Richmond area and skip it all. Take 84 across CT through to Scranton, then 81 down where I pick up 64 straight over around Richmond and onto Williamsburg. It is about 120 mile longer, but most of 84 has no traffic, 81 has none, and 64 across to Richmond has none. It might just be that Google's predicted time around 12 hours would be spot on.
    Option 2) take the normal 95 (or 84 to Tappen Zee), to Garden State Parkway and 95, and then take Route 13 down through Delaware to the Chesapeake bridge and on up to Williamsburg.

    On the way home we are heading to Hershey, so taking 81 for that Route is a good option.

    I realize now I'm being too ambitious with the kids making all the way to Williamsburg in one shot given the inevitable traffic woes. I'm going to need to find a stopping point for the night around 3 hours away and we can then be in the Water Country parking lot by 10 am.
     
  15. chinalfr2

    chinalfr2 Member

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    Option 1 is a good route. Less traffic and less tolls.

    Keep this as an option. Try PA/NJ/NY via I-81/I-78/I-287 instead of PA/NY via I-81/I-84. Gas is cheaper in NJ.
     
  16. Ct. Ken V

    Ct. Ken V Active Member

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    stevecaz,

    Some friends we know had gone somewhere down south to a wedding or reunion or such a couple of months before we took our trip & they did your same "over to Scranton, then down" route & they said it saved them a lot of time over what it took us for our trip.

    Ken (in Bolton,Ct)
     
  17. tjman

    tjman Junior Member

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    We've done the Boston-to-Northern Virginia route twice using that route (over to Scranton, then down). *Much* easier than NYC/NJ/Balt.

    For an alternative route from Northern Virginia to Williamsburg, try US Route 17 from Fredericksburg if 95 to Richmond is backed up. Will bring you into the Williamsburg area at Yorktown.
     
  18. Bohous

    Bohous New Member

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    We just did this trip (Boston to NC outer banks) and I made a rookie mistake of taking I-95/GW Bridge through NYC. I've driven TO The City several times but never through. When driving to NYC I always take RT-15 (Merritt Pkwy) from I-91. From there I think you can probably catch the Tappan Zee over the river.

    The drive down I-95 VA wasn't that bad but a bit frustrating. It would cruise for 3 miles then crawl for a mile and repeat through much of the state.

    We also looked at the I-84/I-81 through Scranton route (which is how we go to my parents house at the other end of VA) but it just seemed like an awful long way around. Who knows, time wise it might be a wash without all the traffic but Scranton traffic and even Waterbury, CT can be slow as well.

    We also have 2 kids (2yr old and 5mo) so we broke up the trip. I think we might have made Williamsburg in a day but when we travel to my parents we usually stay right outside Hershey PA at a Country Inn and Suites which I can recommend. Has clean rooms, a pool and a nice breakfast.
     
  19. Jack66

    Jack66 Kinda Jovial Member

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    How did it work out?
     
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