Help me plan our road trip from Ohio to Massachusetts please.
July 29, 2010 1:43 PM   Subscribe

What interesting things should we stop at, or what interesting places should we stay at on the course of our roadtrip from Columbus, Ohio to Stockbridge, Massachusetts in mid-August?

I am not generally one for long periods of time in the car; however, I've booked a vacation for the ladyfriend and I, and we're driving in an effort to save some funds for super fancy massages and such once we reach our destination.

The drive is roughly 11 hours before stops, so we're probably going to stay overnight each way, and would like to find some interesting things to do or see and/or some interesting places to stay (B&Bs, quirky hotels, etc.) on the way to or fro so that we don't go insane from that much car time.

Our routes are somewhat flexible, so will follow either I80 or I90 through Pennsylvania, or I86 through New York, depending on which offers the most scenic or interesting options.

Interests which may or may not be relevant: me: knitting, crafty stuff, seafood; her: comics, superhero stuff; both of us: roller derby, vegetarian food, historical sites, art.

Websites which could help in finding this stuff out would be helpful too -- I found the basic roadside attraction ones, but it's difficult to parse what's actually going out of your way for from most of those.
posted by pixiecrinkle to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you into wine, at all? You'll be passing quite close to the Finger Lakes, and there are some surprisingly decent wineries to be visited and sampled there. It's also pretty.
posted by Decani at 1:50 PM on July 29, 2010

Stockbridge has the Norman Rockwell museum and his studio, along with the restaurant that inspired "Alice's Restaurant".
posted by mkb at 1:51 PM on July 29, 2010

If you decide to take I-86, there's the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning. Decani recommends wineries, but your best bet for Finger Lakes wine without straying too far from I-86 is probably Hammondsport, NY (less than 10 mi from the interstate, Dr Frank and Bully Hill are good tastings). The stretch from Erie to Binghamton is a long, empty one, I have to warn you in advance (I live in Ithaca, so I have driven it many times when driving out west). Ithaca itself I would recommend given your interests, but it's a little far from either your northern or southern possible routes and would add several hours to your trip.
posted by aught at 2:15 PM on July 29, 2010

I've done this exact trip on both 80 and 90. 90 is far more scenic, and you can take a trip up to the Falls with only a bit of a detour. The Finger Lakes region wine country is also really beautiful. Plus, on the toll road, you get far fewer trucks than you do on 80.

As far as what to do, I'm less helpful there. I'm usually trying hard to get where I need to go as quickly as possible. But I do highly recommend 90 over 80.

Also, you know this thread is going on right now too, right?
posted by olinerd at 2:26 PM on July 29, 2010

Best answer: I may be jaded and nostalgic, but I think 90's a bit boring through Central NY and 86 is closer to pretty things. And Niagara Falls is big and wet, sure, but the American side is not impressive, IIRC. Should you crave waterfalls and are passing by Rochester on a Saturday night, dig the free laser & firework show at High Falls. It's a bit kitschy, but hey it's free?

FWIW, Dr Frank and Bully Hill are very different sorts of wineries. Dr Frank's is, to put it bluntly, a much classier operation. (They also recently opened a new tasting facility after a fire.) Bully Hill is a more Spring Break party atmosphere. There are call-and-response shouts during tastings.

Speaking of Rockwell museums, there's the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in downtown Corning, for your art fix. It also has toy trains, guns, and glass. You could go for the Corning museum trifecta and also visit the Benjamin Patterson Inn. If you keep going on 86, you'll pass the Newtown Battlefield near ELmira (which last I checked might close?).

If you're already into the roller derby scene, you've probably got better connections, but I know people involved in Rochester and Ithaca. We have at least one MeFite active in Roc City, now that I think of it, but I'll let her introduce herself if she's around?
posted by knile at 2:38 PM on July 29, 2010

Best answer: Regarding 'art' at your Berkshires destination, in addition to the Norman Rockwell Museum (mentioned), you should consider a visit to Mass MoCA and other galleries, etc. in North Adams, MA and the Clark Art Institute as well as the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, MA. They are neighboring towns about 40 miles north.

Closer to Stockbridge there are many art galleries in the neighboring towns/villages of Pittsfield and Housatonic, MA.

Also, consider an evening at Tanglewood (Lenox) -- summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as contemporary acts, jazz, etc. Purchase 'lawn tickets,' pack a dinner picnic and bring a blanket!
posted by ericb at 2:42 PM on July 29, 2010

If you have passports, you can park on the US side of the falls and walk over the bridge to the Canadian side -- it has a fun theme-park atmosphere. The US side isn't as dramatic but you can get good views of both the US and Horseshoe falls, and it's a nice park to walk around.

Definitely take Rt 2 through the Berkshires to enter Mass. You can see both museums ericb mentioned and its a beautiful drive.
posted by bitterpants at 5:56 PM on July 29, 2010

If you take 90, Rochester NY isn't all that far off the highway (the 490 will get you there and back out to 90 further east). It's small and quirky. There's Nick Tahou's, home of the garbage plate (eat at your own risk, preferably when drunk), Dinosaur BBQ, the George Eastman House which is open for tours and has a museum I think, they have a minor league baseball team (the Rochester Red Wings), Wegmans in Pittsford, and Upstate NYers really know how to do the weekend-outdoor festival properly. Hit Google with your travel dates and maybe you can scare one up.
posted by absquatulate at 7:03 PM on July 29, 2010

Wegmans in Pittsford

I can't get over people thinking of Wegmans stores as tourist attractions. ;-) But my parents always want to go to the one here in Ithaca when they visit. (To the OP -- it's a huge supermarket with all kinds of prepared foods, buffet lines including Asian and vegetarian foods, and interesting bulk food items, in addition to the usual supermarket.)

Also a note that there's a Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse too, though since vegetarianism was mentioned in the OP's interests, neither location may be of interest to them. OP: If you do however sometimes eat meat and are tempted by Dinosaur BBQ, be forewarned there are often lines and waits to get in.

FWIW, Dr Frank and Bully Hill are very different sorts of wineries. ...

Yes, this is true - personally I find they make a fun contrast when making the winery rounds in that area - Dr Frank for the quality (they're probably the best winery in the Finger Lakes), Bully Hill for the fun (and for perusing the label art).
posted by aught at 8:46 AM on July 30, 2010

A warning: there is a lot of construction on 80 and 86 this summer. I think on our trip from Pittsburgh to Albany yesterday via 79, 80, 15, 86/17, and 88, the only road that did not have at least several miles of construction on it I think was 79...

Pittsburgh is probably a little out of your way, but there's a great B&B in the North Side, the Toonseum cartoon museum, the Carnegie Museums, several fabulous fish markets, the oft-metafiltered Bayernhof, and, of course, the Derby Demons...

By the way, the Roadside America site that was mentioned in the other thread has an easy-to-overlook map option, which makes it a little easier to see what's within a semi-reasonable distance of your route. OH -- PA -- NY
posted by FlyingMonkey at 6:34 AM on July 31, 2010

We have at least one MeFite active in Roc City, now that I think of it, but I'll let her introduce herself if she's around?


Roc City Roller Derby is having a bout on August 14. The Roc Stars are playing the Lake Effect Furies from Queen City Roller Girls in Buffalo. Total grudge match; two of our players used to play for QCRG.

TIckets are available here: if'n you're interested.
posted by Lucinda at 6:21 PM on August 5, 2010

« Older Attack of the Killer(?) Tomatoes!   |   Repo'd cars in Austin Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.