Get me from Boston to Rutgers, except not from Boston
August 15, 2014 2:16 PM   Subscribe

As a side trip to a New England-a-Palooza vacation, my partner is trying to get to this conference in Rutgers NJ. Are there sensible ways to get from Hartford, Manchester (NH), or Springfield (MA) to there?

More Details:

a. Conference is 8am-5pm. Travel would be from night before to as early as return can be made.
b. Conference is a Friday. Hard constraint is getting up to Sturbridge, MA on Saturday afternoon.
c. We have money. We don't have time.

Bonus questions:

1. If we can start from Boston, what is the right answer? Acela? Fly (to where?)
2. Where to stay near Rutgers / things to do, etc.
posted by gregglind to Travel & Transportation around New Brunswick, NJ (5 answers total)
You can take Amtrak's Northeast Regional from Springfield to Penn Station, then PATH from Penn out to Rutgers on the Thursday. On the Saturday, if you want to get up early, you can take the Northeast Regional back to New Haven, then a 90-minute coach bus to Springfield and be in at 10 a.m. The Amtrak part of the trip will be under $200 if you buy now and just get a coach seat. Just be careful when you choose the trip to pay attention to whether you're choosing one of the times that has a coach bus portion if you don't want that. Have fun!
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:46 PM on August 15, 2014

I would just rent a car in Hartford and drive. Should be about a three hour drive (although Connecticut always surprises me with the horribleness of it's traffic). You can do it by train from Hartford or Springfield but not sure it would be worth the added hassle of getting to/from the train station, timing, etc.

Do not fly from Windsor Locks (between Hartford and Springfield) to Newark, it's usually a prop plane, slow and unpleasant.

Everyone has their own opinion on what the best way is to get from Boston to (near) NYC, and I don't know that any of them are wrong... Acela is fast and comfortable and takes you closer to Rutgers than a flight to Newark does, but there are a lot more flights than there are trains so the timing might be better. Driving doesn't always take that much longer than the train or flying.
posted by mskyle at 2:51 PM on August 15, 2014

The linked conference appears to be at the Newark campus, which would make things easier, although the same Amtrak route appears to stop in New Brunswick as well.

Amtrak is definitely easiest from Boston, as the Springfield/Hartford options require taking a shuttle bus to New Haven, where you'd actually board the train. Also, if returning to Springfield/Hartford, the only Friday night return option leaves Newark at 5:04 pm-- there are later options if going to Boston.

Hartford is also close enough to make the Peter Pan bus feasible; Boston or Springfield would get you back very late on Friday night.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 3:05 PM on August 15, 2014

Driving is viable from Hartford, a little less so from Manchester or Springfield. The (very) big problem is NYC traffic smack dab in your way. BUT....if you drive at night, and time the trip to hit NY metro after 10, it's much much less of a factor, particularly if you sanity check for jams on google maps or waze. If you're willing to go late-late, you'll probably be able to go an unbroken 70 the whole way, which means 2.25 hours from Hartford. Can't beat that flying, with check-in, ground transportation, etc. Mail me if you want route suggestions, I do this a lot.

If you try to fly but can't get sched you want, one hail mary option would be to network around for private pilot referrals (kick in gas, they're not allowed to charge), as this is an easy trip in a single engine and there are small airfields near Rutgers.
posted by Quisp Lover at 3:39 PM on August 15, 2014

Short answer: if leaving from Hartford, drive. If leaving from Boston, take the train.

Slightly longer answer: The worst of the NY metro traffic can be avoided if you time your arrival in the area to after 8pm (10pm, as Quisp Lover says, is overstating it a bit) and, more importantly, do not take I-95 through the Bronx under any circumstances. The parkways in Westchester are your friend.

Train is always the best way to travel - especially if money is no object - but the branch of the NE Regional that goes up towards Hartford and Springfield only runs a few times per day. If you are coming from Boston, though, take the train.

Also, if you do drive, you can leave Friday night and head straight back up to Sturbridge. It's a three-hour drive. That's a lot of driving in a short period, but I'd rather just get there. There's not a whole lot to see near Rutgers.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:37 AM on August 18, 2014

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