Oh, Help me get to New York!
November 17, 2006 10:18 PM   Subscribe

Best time to travel from Washington, DC to New York City for Thanksgiving?

I must be in New York City proper by noon on thanksgiving. I have to work til midnight in washington dc wednesday night. i'm thinking leaving the district at midnight is the best call. Anyone have a better suggestion? Anyone done this and knows how bad it will be?
posted by metasav to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (12 answers total)
You'll be fine at midnight. Could probably leave even earlier. Like 9:00 or so.
posted by JakeWalker at 10:46 PM on November 17, 2006

Also, do you need to take your car? It honestly won't be bad by 9 or so on Wednesday night, (Sunday may be a different story), but why not look at Amtrak Acela train? $50 upgrade to first class = unlimited food and drink (including booze).
posted by JakeWalker at 10:51 PM on November 17, 2006

Um, they have to work until midnight. Do you mean that you're driving and trying to beat traffic?
posted by crabintheocean at 10:51 PM on November 17, 2006

Sorry, misread it. Thursday will be ugly, so leaving at midnight isn't horrible if you can stomach it. Otherwise take a nap and leave at 5 or so. Or take the train.
posted by JakeWalker at 11:13 PM on November 17, 2006

I just checked Amtrak and there are 8 different trains that will get you into NYC by noon.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 2:06 AM on November 18, 2006

Just an FYI I did that drive last weekend. There is construction right across the Maryland-Delaware border where they turn 4 lanes into 2. Because of this we got to enjoy the same 10 miles of Maryland for 2 hours so plan accordingly.
posted by Captain_Science at 6:31 AM on November 18, 2006

I routinely make the I-95 drive between Philly and Baltimore in the midnight hours and usually have no trouble. I will echo the comment by Captain Science that due to construction, the section of I-95 on the MD/DE border is a nightmare during daylight hours, so you'll have much better luck with it at night. My drive normally takes 90 minutes at midnight and took 3 hours the other day when I had to deal with the traffic.

One other thing: I-95 is heavily patrolled by State Troopers looking for speeders, and is even more heavily patrolled during the holiday travel season. Watch your speed, especially through the last 20 miles of Maryland. Better to get there with a little more travel time than with a bunch of speeding tickets.
posted by galimatias at 8:21 AM on November 18, 2006

I've tried multiple variations of the drive and my advice is this: get some sleep and leave 6am Thanksgiving morning. The roads are EMPTY. It's incredible. No guarantees, of course. But I did it 3 times and it always beat my Wed. night or ESPECIALLY Wed. after work drives. Always got in well under 4 hours.

Two notes: MD cops tend to set speed traps in the median. Stay out of the left lane except to pass and keep it under 80. You'll probably be fine.

Second note: There is indeed major construction on I-95 in my least favorite state, Deleware (ten miles, two tolls, always backed up). Four lanes go down to two. This could have unforseen impact on your drive, but my guess is because the roads are so empty, any delays there will be minor.
posted by raconteur at 9:07 AM on November 18, 2006

I take that route as well to Phila-- it can be a mess. I did a little research and the construction in DE is SUPPOSED to be done by Thanksgiving according to DE's DoT .
posted by psususe at 10:26 AM on November 18, 2006

If you're worried about the MD/DE border you could always go east through Annapolis and up the Delmarva Peninsula, hooking back up with 95/Jersey Tpk at Wilmington. Depending on your route north up the peninsula, you can get onto 95 just a couple miles before you get to the Del Mem bridge.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:25 PM on November 18, 2006

Another route to avoid the DE toll construction is to exit I95 in Elkton or Perryville MD and head east to Route 40. Rejoin I95 in Glasgow DE. There are lights on Route 40 but no construction. With a clear road, Route 40 is slower but with I95 construction, its much faster.

If you make this trip often enough, exit I95 on Route 155 at Havre De Grace MD, take the Route 40 bridge & buy the toll sticker - it's either five or eight dollars -that's good for the entire year. Pays for itself in three trips.

(another hint - if you go through Havre De Grace, don't turn right at the Route 40 sign on Ohio Street. Continue on down the hill & under Route 40, follow the road to the right at the bottom of the hill - this is Juniata. Take the right on Erie and a right at the end of the street onto Route 40. During daylight travel, this move can cut 10-20 minutes waiting on the light at Ohio & Route 40).
posted by jaimystery at 1:43 PM on November 18, 2006

Can you just take the Greyhound? That way you can sleep and watch a movie while being in the HOV lane. I'm taking your trip in reverse and while I've never traveled via bus during the holidays, the drivers can get you down the Jersey Turnpike in lightning speed. It's usually under 4 hours, though I'm sure this time it'll be longer. Tickets are $35 if you use the internet special.
posted by zoomorphic at 1:52 PM on November 18, 2006

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