Get me to Virginia!
July 22, 2008 5:47 PM   Subscribe

Help me get from Brooklyn to Virginia! With the least amount of tears possible.

Ok I'm determined to visit my friend who lives in Herndon, Virginia. I know nothing about Virginia. How can I get there with as little stress as possible? I dont have a car, and I live in Brooklyn so you have to figure getting to Penn Station or getting to an airport is at least an hour tacked on top of whatever the actual journey entails.

So far I checked out Amtrak, but it would be around $250 which is a little pricey. I could fly... but with an hour to the airport, then the hour or so at the airport, then the two hours or whatever flight... looks like it would be a major hassle. I could always take a crazy chinatown bus, or a slightly less crazy trailways bus, but that is subject to traffic and will probably be upwards of six hours. plus i dont even know what town/city to bus TO.

I'm only going for three days and two nights, so I'd prefer to not spend hundreds of dollars and travel for twenty hours. Ideally it would be under $200 and 4-5 hours total travel time.

Any suggestions? Is this even possible? My head is spinning.
posted by silverstatue to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Take the "crazy chinatown bus" (like BoltBus) to downtown DC, then jump on the metro (2 blocks from the bus dropoff) to West Falls Church or whatever is closest to your Herndon friend. They can pick you up there. You can't easily take public transport to Herndon.

Another bus service, Vamoose, goes to Rosslyn VA which is incrementally closer to Herndon than downtown DC, but not by much. There's a metro there too that can get you to West Falls Church.

Yeah, it may take a few hours, but it's cheaper than train and plane, and at least you have free WiFi!
posted by nkknkk at 6:11 PM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I live in Brooklyn and my parents live in Herndon. I take Vamoose to Rosslyn and then the train--ask your friend if she can pick you up from an Orange Line train.
posted by sweetkid at 6:13 PM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I take the Chinatown bus from NY->DC all the time, and sure your friends have all the info you'd need to get from Chinatown in DC to their place.
I always take Apex Bus Lines. I always buy my ticket online with paypal, and I always take as early a bus as can drag myself to.
It's hardly crazy. traffic is always a chance, but those early buses I take have so far all been smooth swift journeys.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:13 PM on July 22, 2008


I'm in Falls Church, and 24 hours ago I was in manhattan.

I'd reccomend taking the subway to manhattan, getting on the Boltbus (at 7th and 30-something), which will drop you off near metro center in DC. Then you can take the orange line to Vienna, which is a half hour by car from Herndon.
posted by phrontist at 6:14 PM on July 22, 2008


Um, BoltBus looks way cooler than my shabby Apex choice, I am going to try them next time!
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:15 PM on July 22, 2008


I'm posting again, but as a frequent Virginia goer I would recommend not going into DC just to get to VA. Go the Vamoose to Rosslyn route.
posted by sweetkid at 6:20 PM on July 22, 2008


damn, vamoose looked great, but the times dont work out (I want to leave saturday morning but the earliest bus out is at 2pm). Leaving Friday is not an option - it has to be Saturday morning.

I will check out the rest of them. Keep the suggestions coming!
posted by silverstatue at 6:22 PM on July 22, 2008


Nthing the BoltBus. They even have WiFi.
posted by matty at 6:33 PM on July 22, 2008


DC2NY is another bus option and they have buses leaving Penn Station at 8 and 10 AM Saturday. It drops you off near the McPherson Square Metro, which is downtown, but Metro will get you pretty far into the suburbs.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:34 PM on July 22, 2008


Buses are pretty damn fast, just so you know. Especially on a Saturday morning. Less than 5 hours.

Metro will take you approximately 15 min drive from Herndon (The metro will take 35 mins to get to falls church). Or your friend could meet you in the city and you could walk a little bit around.
posted by sandmanwv at 7:36 PM on July 22, 2008


I read recently that Mega Bus is also doing a DC/NY route.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:56 PM on July 22, 2008


Silverstatue - this is completely possible. In fact, i do this very ride once every few months (NYC to Herndon on only buses and trains)

There are a million options to get to DC from New York City. By the way, I've never had a NYC to DC bus ride take six hours, and I've done this trip upwards of 40 times. Normal time is 4-4.5 hours. Worst it's ever been (once) was five hours.

NYC to DC:
Greyhound runs express buses (about $22 each way) from NYC to DC. I take these all the time. Cheap and quick. Go to greyhound.com and click on the E-Fares on their home page. Greyhound is usually my preferred method of travel, mainly because they run something like 20-22 express buses between DC and NYC every day. The other providers don't.

Alternatively, you could try boltbus.com or megabus.com. These are more comfortable and about the same price (and wifi on board), but they don't leave as much.

Avoid Chinatown buses. Bad service and bad quality rides, and they oversell. (I say this, and I'm of Chinese descent)

DC to Virginia:
This part will cost a total of about $3-4.
Any of these bus lines will come into DC, and be close to a metro station. The metro opens at 7am on a weekend. You can plan your trip out to your friend's address with WMATA's trip planner, at wmata.com, or read on below.

Your options here are:
1) Orange Line to Vienna Station on the Orange Line, which is the furthest west station and your friend can come pick you up at - prob a 15 minute drive for them at most.
2) Orange Line to West Falls Church on the Orange Line. From here, you can take a Fairfax Connector bus that will actually take you to Herndon. WMATA's trip planner will tell you which bus to pick up at the station. (It should be the 950 or 980 - http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/north.htm)

I recommend you take option #1, unless your friend doesnt have a car - but the Fairfax Connector buses only come once every half hour on weekends.

Write me if you need more info.
posted by waylaid at 9:21 PM on July 22, 2008


i've done all of this! it's easy:

step 1: take the bolt bus to dc. (i did this today!)

step 2: take the metro (orange line) from metro center to west falls church, then the fairfax connector out to herndon (did this every weekday for about six months!)

it'll take you an hour and a half to get out of dc to herndon by aforementioned public transit. getting your friend to pick you up from the metro would also be a stellar idea (the toll road is nice and quick).
posted by soma lkzx at 12:14 AM on July 23, 2008


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