Is there a better way to get from NYC to Vermont than this?
June 28, 2004 12:21 PM   Subscribe


I'm driving to Vermont in a few weeks. I'll reach the NYC area around noon on a Saturday. I usually take the NJ Turnpike to the last exit at Ft. Lee, hit the Ft. Lee Starbucks and then the Palisades Parkway to the Tappen Zee, Saw Mill to 684, 684 to 84 to 91.

This does not work spectacularly well, but I've always figured it was as good as any. But maybe it isn't.
posted by mojohand to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
Which part isn't spectacular? I'm with you up to the TappanZee... that's how I drive home to Connecticut. If you're looking for a more scenic drive, after the Tappan Zee, you could try 684 to 84 to Rt. 7 and wind your way up through rural western Connecticut. Probably will take you awhile longer, but the drive will probably be nicer.
posted by crunchland at 12:38 PM on June 28, 2004

Has it really come to this? Directions?

Thats how I'd do it. A few tips: Avoid exit 16 on the NJTP if there is any kind of event there. I've seen traffic for the GWB back up to the Pallisades, so you might consider another route if it is a heavy trafic day. Expect delays around the 80/95 interchange, when the N/B NJTP goes from 6 lanes to 2. Get an EasyPass; there is no excuse for not having one.

Have fun!

On preview: "Rural" Rt. 7 is lined with Mercedes dealerships, outdoor furniture stores, diners, and Wilton High. There's no scenery in this god-forsaken state. There's plenty in VT, tho, so save your long-way time till you get up there.
posted by ChasFile at 12:44 PM on June 28, 2004

Response by poster: Yes, it's come to this, Chas. Directions, especially those that allow you to avoid sitting amidst fumes on the Turnpike, are about as valuable as data gets these days. I make no apologies.

I endorse the Chas' counsel on EasyPass. It's a spectacular application that really improves your life. I'm astonished at how many people who use the Sprawl toll roads and still don't have one.
posted by mojohand at 12:53 PM on June 28, 2004

The big question is: Western or eastern Vermont?

If you are going to a place like Rutland, you might as well stay on 87 up to Saratoga and turn east on Route 4. You sacrifice some scenery, but it's expedient. It might be out of the way for a place like Burlington, in which case you'd want to get to Connecticut and take Route 7.

For eastern Vermont, in the White River Junction area, take the Tappan Zee to 287 and get on the Hutchison River Parkway. This becomes the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut; take exit 68N in Meriden for I-91 north and you're on your way.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:29 PM on June 28, 2004

Response by poster: Stupid of me. Yes, I'm headed near the Northeast Kingdom (Greenboro). I want 91 to St Johnsbury. So you like the Hutchison-Meritt over 84.
posted by mojohand at 2:10 PM on June 28, 2004

The rural Rt.7 I meant Chas, which you take off of 84, isn't as far south as Wilton. It starts in Brookfield, and goes up through New Milford and Kent.
posted by crunchland at 2:23 PM on June 28, 2004

So you like the Hutchison-Meritt over 84.


If you don't mind a little Bronx highway driving and the $6 toll, the George Washington Bridge will save you some time and distance. Saturday noon shouldn't be a problem for traffic. Take the western spur of the NJT to the GWB. Once across the bridge, take I-87 north (Major Deegan) into Yonkers, then the Cross County Parkway east (NY Thruway exit 4). This becomes the Hutch, which turns into the Merritt, which turns into the Wilbur Cross, which takes you to I-91.
posted by PrinceValium at 3:59 PM on June 28, 2004

Are you looking for scenery, or are you trying to get to Greenboro as quickly as possible? I take the route PrinceV describes because that part of NYC is a lot more beautiful than cutting through Connecticut. On the other hand, the Merritt is really pretty nice, no trucks, but it's a little slower and can get congested with traffic and those 90 degree exits into the rest stops are harrowing. You'll be a few towns over from my house, if you go through Rutland, stop by the library and say hello.
posted by jessamyn at 5:20 AM on June 29, 2004

Best answer: Having lived midway between the GWB and the Cross-County for 2-3 years, and having now lived within spitting distance of the Tappan Zee for a couple of years, I can tell you we always avoid the GWB, whenever possible. Even if it's technically a shorter line on the map, you never know when you're going to run into a _nasty_ jam.

Likewise, I had a consulting gig where I drove from the Bronx to Hartford once or twice a week, and you've got the same basic issue with the Merritt--it's a great drive, and it's arguably shorter, but if there are any traffic jams, you're screwed. It's a little two-lane "highway", and there's just no margin for error. I've sat there for more than an hour at times, not even at peak, because both lanes have been blocked off after a fender-bender.

My parents live right next to Waterbury, and they either come to our place or we go to their place once a week. We've tried _every_ combination, and the route you're thinking of is the most reliable, by far, to get across Westchester. (Just in case you're tempted, don't bother trying 287 to 684 or the Hutch, either. 684 is a better way to get into CT, and the Saw Mill is a better way to get to 684. In my experience.)
posted by LairBob at 9:01 PM on June 29, 2004

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