Finding that not-a-home within a home
July 25, 2006 7:30 AM   Subscribe

I have the last three weeks in August to get away from it all. The caveat: I have little money and minimal transportation. What now?

I live in Baltimore. My job ends August 7th, school doesn't start until the beginning of September. This gives me three weeks to unwind and refocus. I'd like to spend some time visiting friends in Michigan (which will take a good chunk of my minimal funds), but I also want to be alone for a while. Camping, or an extended road trip, something that gets me away from people entirely. But I haven't got a car, and as far as I know there aren't any real campgrounds accessible by public transportation or within a reasonable driving distance.

Does anyone have any suggestions of where one can camp for an extended period of time in the Baltimore area? If not, any creative, cheap ideas for how to get away when you're at home (more than just taking a day to yourself)? Staying home is not a preferable option, since I live with good friends (nothing against them, I just need a break from everything).

Note: I have taken Greyhound bus trips before, and they didn't offer the solitude I'm looking for.
posted by schroedinger to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What about Amtrak? If you fancy Montana, trains from Chicago (maybe your Michigan friends can give you a lift?) stop at the entrances of Glacier National Park. I can't think of many places more away from it all. A return journey will run you less than $200. You haven't said how minimal your budget is, but I think that's a good deal. I've had a lot of good experiences on Amtrak, and as someone who's racked up thousands of miles on Greyhound, am well placed to make the comparison ;)
posted by methylsalicylate at 7:59 AM on July 25, 2006

I think Amtrak when combined with a bicycle would be a great option. Bicycle camping can be fun and you can get the basics for a reasonable price especially if you can find used equipment. You don't need a huge tent and during August you don't really need a sleeping bag. Just get a good sleeping mat and a small personal shelter.
posted by JJ86 at 8:10 AM on July 25, 2006

There are plenty of middle-of-no-where places just outside of the population centers in Michigan if you're willing to combine the trips. What area will you be around?
posted by 517 at 8:40 AM on July 25, 2006

Best answer: Well, it's going to be an adventure without a car, but you can take the Maryland Transit Administration MARC train to Fredrick and then hike 10 miles to Catoctin Mountain Park. I'm not sure how much solitude you were looking for, it's not exactly wilderness like Alaska, but it's a lot wilder then the city. And with hiking the trip should be dirt cheap, if you tack on 15 bucks or so you could probably take a cab from the train station to the ranger station.
posted by jefeweiss at 8:59 AM on July 25, 2006

I don't know about Baltimore, but in many areas there are monasteries or convents that will let you stay at minimal or no cost.

I suppose it depends upon the place, but I've never been asked about my religious views or been the target of proselytism -- they just offered gracious hospitality.

For anyone in the Boston area, I've heard good things about the Cowley brothers (affiliated with the Episcopal Church).
posted by Ø at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2006

Jump on the Appalachian Trail in MD and see how far you can get, then hitchhike or take the bus back to school.
posted by trbrts at 12:25 PM on July 25, 2006

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