Post # 17
The smart trip card will pay for itself in just 5 fares. Not round-trips. 5 single trips. 2 trips if you register it online for the $3 bonus. They just added an extra fee of $1 per trip to buy a regular fare card.
Post # 18
I would recommend the Sky Bar in downtown C’ville for food, it’s really quite good. There’s always music and people out and about on the pedestrian mall, and it’s a lot of fun. If you’re tea people and you want to take in some of local C’ville weirdness, the Twisted Tea Branch is an amazing little tea shop/hookah lounge, and it’s loads of fun and oddities. Virginia will be super warm and sticky, and be prepared for our cicada and stink bug onslaught.
Colonial Williamsburg is a blast. I could kill days there. It’s about 2 hours from C’ville, and it’s a deathly boring drive along 64. Bring lots of water. Pay for the pass to go see all the buildings — it’s worth it. The gardens are also amazing. William and Mary is a gorgeous campus, too, and that’s Thomas Jefferson’s alma mater, so you’re really on the Jefferson trail, there. Jamestown is amazing if you can spare the time for it, and the little colonial triangle between Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown is great. If you’re into colonial/Rev War history, it is a blast. The living history/reenactors who work there are excellent, and the attention to detail at all the sites is lovely.
Post # 19
@fishbone: I think we’re going to do the Beacon Hotel. It looks great! Have you stayed there? The only thing I wish it had was free breakfast. 🙁 Oh well. Do you know of any little semi cheap breakfast places nearby? Maybe we should buy muffins and stuff and just keep them in the room. 🙂
I’m on wmata.com and it looks like the bus system is pretty great. You just put in where you want to go and it tells you what to do. Handy for non-public transportation savy person like myself. Most everyone has cars where I live.
Thanks so much for the advice!
Post # 20
@mistress_anne: NOOOOO! Cicadas!! (You guys don’t have the 17 year cicadas that everyone is freaking out about do you?)
Thanks for the advice! We’re only staying in C’ville for a day I believe. I think we’re going to do Mount Vernon then drive that afternoon/early evening to C’ville, check into a hotel, maybe explore a little, check out of hotel in AM, check out Monticello for a few hours, and then drive to Williamsburg and shop that night (OMG Williamsburg Premium Outlets and Yankee Candle Village look fun!) Spend a full day doing Colonial Williamsburg, sleep, then catch a plane in Richmond.
I literally have this trip scheduled by the hour. (Insane, I know!)
Post # 21
@Paiger8: never stayed there, because I’m local, but I’ve hosted several events there and my guests were all quite happy, plus they do a “bottomless mimosa” brunch 😀
for breakfast, not sure how cheap you’re looking for but there’s a McDonalds about 4-5 blocks north on 17th right across from a grocery store. There also Luna Grill a couple blocks away that do breakfast all day and open at 8: http://www.lunagrillanddiner.com/DC/
Post # 22
@Paiger8: I’m on wmata.com and it looks like the bus system is pretty great.
I’d definitely recommend taking the subway as opposed to the bus anytime that is an option. If you stay at Beacon House the red line Dupont Circle is just a couple blocks away, and Orange/Blue lines at Farragut West or Foggy Bottom is a bit of a walk but not too bad. The busses to go everywhere, but they stop on every corner practically, so a ride across town takes a lot longer than you might expect. Cabs are cheap too, it shouldn’t be more than about $6 to get from DuPont to the closest green/blue/orange/yellow stations unless traffic is really bad. Trains come every 6-12 minutes depending on what time of day it is. If you want to go to the National Mall and the Museums most people go to Smithsonian, Archives or Federal Triangle stops. Changing lines on the subway is really easy at most stations.
Post # 23
Charlottesville-Two words to not forget. BODO’S BAGELS! Great breakfast and lunch bagels and sandwiches! There are a few locations, too.
I’ll also recommend a bed and breakfast or staying near The University/Downtown. The Omni is nice and right on the downtown mall area (a pedestrian area with tons of cute shops and restaurants). I believe there is also a Marriott near the university. I know you’re short on time in c’ville, but there are some great wineries there! I loved Keswick Winery.
DC-all very good recs, I’ll add in the Newseum and Spy Museum if time allows!
have a great trip!
Post # 24
@Paiger8: Most of the things you have planned for NYC are fairly close to eachother, but if you plan on going to the 9/11 memorial, you DEFINITELY need a metrocard. That is way way downtown, it would take you quite a long time to walk all the way down there so the subway will be your friend (and it will cost 1/10th the cost of a taxi down).
I’d say you should try to fit in some museums and I definitely agree with @JrzyGurl: about getting a look at the Statue of Liberty (only a look though since Liberty and Ellis islands are both closed due to hurricane damage)
Post # 25
NYC- I’ll third the point of staying far, far away from the carriage horses. SO very cruel to those poor horses. Central Park is quite large, so perhaps you should figure out what specifically you’d like to see. The main loop that runners and bikers use around the park is 6 miles long, so unless you’re wearing good walking shoes and have lots of time, you’re unlikely to see everything. And the southern end that the carriage horses use is stinky from their poop. But they are limited to a pretty small area. For food in NYC, stay away from tourist areas (Time Square, etc.). You’ll pay a whole lot of money for not very good food. Do make sure you pack good walking shoes. You can see so much on foot. A friend of mine walked from Harlem to the East Village (including through Central Park). That must have been quite the day! When we have visitors, I like to take them for a walk over the Brooklyn bridge. The skyline view is quite stunning. Lots of people also love the Highline.
DC- I agree with the Ethiopian recommendations. I loooove Dupont Circle (and Larry’s Ice Cream- mmmm!). Spend some time on the Mall and around the tidal basis to see the monuments. The FDR is my favorite (it’s on the tidal basin, not far from the Jefferson, but it’s more of a walk-thru thing and isn’t something big you can see from the distance). My favorite way to see all the monuments is lit up at night. There’s something so special about them then (though the Korean War memorial looks rather eery at night).
Post # 26
@Paiger8: We do have them. We also have large black beetles I call army tanks. They’re obnoxious, but nothing more. Make sure to have sun protection and some low-key mosquito repellant for Monticello and CW. A sun hat is a good bet here in central VA.
The Bodo’s suggestion is great for breakfast, they’re an awesome little local bagel chain. Spudnuts makes potato doughnuts, if that’s more your speed, and if you want to eat good local pizza, Mellow Mushroom is the best. And the Williamsburg Outlets are awesome. Yankee Candle is a lot of fun. You’ll have a blast.
Post # 27
Oh! I would also check out The Meatball Shop. There is one in the West Village, another favorite area of mine. I would go to The Meatball Shop for lunch, and then walk over to The Highline. The Highline is a great elevated park, very cool absolutely worth seeing.
Post # 28
@fishbone: Great advice, and I second the Ethiopian food, I’m going to miss it when I leave. Also, yes. I would say avoid taking the bus if at all possible as a tourist. If you do take the bus, definitely get the SmarTrip card because otherwise you need exact fare. Also, you get deals on the bus lines if you have the SmarTrip card just like the metro. You may want ot download a NextBus and/or NextTrain app on your phone. If you’re here during the weekend, service can be really spotty, and even during the week there is a lot of track work that makes the wait between trains really long.
@TwoStatesBride: Good Stuff Eatery is SO GOOD.
DC is pretty friendly and people are really willing to help when you need to find your way somewhere. There’s tons of great food, so use Yelp and see what’s around when you get hungry, there are so many great places!
Post # 29
For DC, make sure your hotel is located near a metro stop. The metro is super easy and the best way to get around. If you’re looking to stay outside the city to save some money, try Silver Spring or Bethesda, MD or Arlington or Alexandria, VA. All are fairly easy metro rides in about 30-60 minutes. If you stay outside DC and are using taxis, make sure you don’t tell them where you are going until you get into the taxi. DC taxis are so mean about taking you out of the city – even just across the bridge to Arlington! But, once you’re in they have to take you!
Post # 30
@Paiger8: I can only speak from DC. I would say at the Key Bridge Holiday Inn in Rosslyn (Arlington, VA). It is always the cheapest, we love it, and it is right near metro. Don’t stay in the district, it generally is easier to commute in than start in the district.
When you go to the mall, do not get on metro before 9am. From 7-9am it is for commuters who are stressed, sequestered, and late for work. You will have a much more pleasant experience if you wait until the fares go down at 9:30. Us DC folks are cranky in the morning, especially when it is hot. It is totally safe, but you are packed like sardines.
Take the metro to Capitol South, from there you can walk to the LoC and the Capitol Visitors center. I would say plan a few hours for those, and then walk down to the Native American History museum. Grab lunch there. It is the best place on the mall. Then walk down the mall to the other memorials. Wear comfortable shoes and dress for humidity. At the end of the mall, you will be at the Lincoln Memorial, you can then walk across Memorial Bridge and take the Arlington Cemetary metro one stop back to your hotel.
For dinner, I recommend walking accross Key Bridge to Georgetown. There are a ton of great restaurants and bars there. It is beautiful. You can also metro (orange line towards Vienna) 2 stops to Clarnedon and it is a bustling suburb with great restaurants.
Let me know if you have any questions– I would be happy to answer them!
Post # 31
OMG BEES. MY BRAIN IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE. So. Much. Information. Thank you all so much!! Paiger8’s head goes *BOOM.*
I’m just gonna keep planning away and will post any questions I have when I get to the end. Honestly, the public transportation is what I’m the most nervous about. I’ve road the trams in San Fran and Denver but they just go straight down and then back. I’m just super nervous about getting on the right subway/train/spaceshuttle. 😉