66, part VIII:
Washington, D.C. to New York City
Just over the border of the District of
Columbia, the Clara Barton Parkway runs into Canal Road, which
in turn leads into "M" Street in Georgetown, an area
that predates the planned capital of Washington, D.C. that grew
Be sure to spend time walking around Georgetown,
one of the most charming areas of Washington, both day and evening.
Many small restaurants and shops are found here, as well as lovingly
restored row houses. President Clinton attended Georgetown University
here, and Senator John F. Kennedy lived near the corner of "M"
and Wisconsin (on "N" Street) prior to becoming president
Parking can be difficult to find in Georgetown,
but to avoid expensive towing park legally.
East of Georgetown lies the centre of Washington,
including the White House and most major government buildings.
Two excellent guidebooks to use to plan
a stay in Washington are:
1) Let's Go USA Canada by
the Harvard Student Agencies for a short stay that includes visits
to other parts of Canada and the U.S. Its budget travel information
is completely updated every year, and
2) Let's Go Washington, D.C.
for an in-depth visit or new resident. Like the first, this budget
guide is completely updated every year. Both are fun to read.
These guides have outstanding budget accommodation,
restaurant, club, and sightseeing information, as well as vital
safety information. Please note, however, that both are truly
budget guides. You may wish more comfort.
You may significantly reduce hotel or motel costs in D.C. (and elsewhere) by using Hotwire.com or
With both, you pick the quality range, neighbourhood (in larger cities like
do not learn your hotel
name until you pay.
This really saves because hotels can get rid of their excess inventory at rock bottom prices without their full paying customers finding out.
Those travellers lucky enough to be seated
in left hand seats while landing at Ronald Reagan National Airport
from a westerly direction have panoramic views of many Washington
landmarks including the Capitol building, Washington National
Cathedral, and the Washington Monument.
The White House, however, sometimes hard
to pick out amongst its neighbouring office buildings, attracts
the most attention--perhaps another sign that power in America's
three part federal system has become too skewered toward the Executive
Landing for many passengers is always exciting,
but those who have heard the rumour--the very logical rumour--that
missiles are stationed at or near the White House ready to shoot
down any plane that comes too close must feel an extra rush of
adrenaline while landing.
Moreover, Washington, D.C., in general,
brings an extra rush of adrenaline to all visitors. This sometimes
beautiful city is fascinating in every way and is a must visit
On the other hand, the greatest heightened
awareness comes from knowing that considerable danger lurks here.
A national shame. Crime stalks every visitor, and travellers must
be very careful.
Washington, D.C., is too interesting not
to visit, but the best plan is to sightsee in a well-planned frenzy
and then to leave as soon as possible. Be especially careful not
to become inebriated here and thus not at full alertness when
out at night.
Any discussion of safety in urban America
opens one to accusations of racialism, particularily in Washington,
D.C., whose present conditions have been bred of the most evil
racialism. But, Dr. Voyageur understands, unlike some, that American
urban dwellers of African descent are the most frequent victims
of crime in the United States.
No one realizes more that many urban neighbourhoods
have become hell-holes to be avoided than the residents of these
very neighbourhoods who feel trapped in their present living arrangements
by financial restraints, inferior educational opportunities, and
bureaucratic red tape that hinders new business development.
In Washington, more than in most cities
in the United States, one is struck by the proximity of the richest
and poorest neighbourhoods. And, there is almost no middle ground.
The middle classes are found in the mostly white suburbs, not
to any great extent in the city. In contrast to other urban areas
in the U.S., even the poorest recent immigrants are not attracted
to Washington, DC. itself.
The traditional American experience is for
each generation to move up in wealth and area of residence. In
Washington, however, the great contrast between the wealthy and
the poor has made movement from one area to another rare within
the city, resulting in what is known as "hyper-segregation".
Although a growing black professional and
managerial class resides in the eastern suburbs of Washington,
as well as in some areas of Montgomery County, which is north
of the city, too few residents have broken the stranglehold of
Washington, D.C, hopelessness and bitterness.
In D.C., Dr. Voyageur suggests that travellers
restrict most of their sightseeing to government areas and to
the wealthier commercial and residential areas. This policy will
exclude visits to most black residential and commercial areas.
He warns, too, that no area of Washington is free of crime, so
stay amongst other people.
In addition, Dr. Voyageur highly recommends
taking organized tours such as those offered by Gray
Line Tours while in Washington.
For additional safety hints and discussion of
some of the underlying issues, please see the Safety
lesson. For dealing with the extremely hot Washington, D.C., Summer
climate, please see the Health lesson.
has some dining suggestions, cultural event listings, and other
tips. Also, Zagat Survey has inexpensive
guides for Baltimore and Washington, DC
and other northeastern cites that offer invaluable suggestions.
From Washington, D.C. to
the Atlantic Ocean
On leaving D.C., for safety reasons, we
do not want to drive through the eastern neighbourhoods. Take
Dr. Voyageur seriously on these matters.
From the north side of Lafayette Park (Yes,
that's the usual American spelling for the Frenchman who gave
the U.S. so much help during its revolution against Britain) located
on the north side of the White House, Sixteenth Street heads northbound.
Drive north on Sixteenth Street, Northwest, through Washington.
At the northern edge of Washington, D.C.,
Sixteenth Street reaches a traffic circle. Take either of the
major streets that generally continue in the same direction as
Sixteenth Street, northbound into Maryland.
Just north of the border of Washington and
Maryland, adjacent to the tariff circle, Dr. Voyageur once lived
for a short time in one of the large apartment buildings in the
Blair complex on the right. Add this to your list of the sights
that you've seen!
Keep going in the same direction, north
When you reach Interstate 495, the Capital
Beltway, as you will by either road, go east toward College Park.
If lost, you just need to ask someone to
point you toward the "Beltway", Interstate 495, which
circles the Washington area. People across the U.S. joke that
the government bureaucrats and others who live or work "inside
the Beltway" think differently from the rest of America.
Continue eastbound (and southbound) on I-495
to U.S. Highway 50.
Because of the numerous D.C. area residents
driving to the Atlantic beaches via the just one bridge available
over Chesapeake Bay, a major bottleneck, Highway 50 should not
be travelled eastbound on Summer Friday afternoons and evenings,
Saturday mornings, or prior to a holiday.
Head eastbound on Highway 50 toward Annapolis,
the Maryland state capital and home of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Historic city centre Annapolis is interesting to visit on foot,
but it can be very hard to find parking. If too much of a hassle,
From Annapolis continue eastbound on Highway
After the long bridge over Chesapeake Bay,
avoid some traffic by turning eastbound on Maryland State Highway
404, which continues eastbound into Delaware as Delaware State
At Nassau, turn right, southbound, on State
Highway One, which becomes Maryland State Highway 528 when we
cross the border into Maryland again.
We can pick the Atlantic beach or beaches
of our choice to enjoy along this ocean-front highway. Enjoy the
glorious white sand and surf here.
Generally, the more we continue southbound
the more the route becomes commercialized. Ocean City, Maryland,
however, at the end of the road here, is a fun spot and a major
summer youth centre. Prices balloon in the summer. Dr. Voyageur
bemoans the lack of trees and shade in many of these Atlantic
Ocean resorts, but Ocean City is worthwhile to visit.
From our favourite Maryland or Delaware
beach, we turn back northbound on Highway 528 or Highway One.
Continue northbound to Lewes, Delaware.
Turn north and east onto U.S. Highway 9.
Follow the signs eastbound to the Lewes
Ferry, which will cross the wide entrance of Delaware Bay to New
This ferry offers all year service, and
its schedules are frequent in Summer. The cost, which depends
on the number of passengers and size of vehicle, is low.
New Jersey shoreline
After docking in New Jersey, follow the
signs south into the nearby town of Cape May, and try to find
parking. You may have to try very hard in this popular place.
Walking around Cape May is a treat. A major
resort since the 19th Century, Cape May is an architectural dream.
Unlike so many beach towns, including Ocean City, Cape May actually
has charm. The crowds can be daunting, however, so after getting
the flavour of Cape May, head north.
Follow the signs north along the shoreline
to Wildwood, a more modern beach side resort.
Wildwood and its neighbour Wildwood Crest
are often very crowded, so continue north on the beach side boulevard
to North Wildwood. Here, the beach is so wide that there is room
for everyone. This is typical Atlantic shoreline with a very gentle
slope into the sea.
Depending on the time available, you can
either continue up the coastline here through the beach communities
of Stone Harbor, Avalon, Sea Isle City, and Ocean City (the New
Jersey one), or you can save time by heading north along the the
Garden State Parkway. Dr. Voyageur likes to do a little of both.
For the parkway, from north of North Wildwood
take State Highway 147 westbound. Then go north on the Garden
State Parkway, a pleasant toll road.
At various points we can exit the parkway,
and go back toward the beaches.
In any case, do not take the beach side
highway north of Ocean City, New Jersey, as it becomes too congested.
Ocean City, by the way, is a quintessential old fashioned summer
resort town. A bit run down in spots.
Note that most of these beach communities,
except for Atlantic City, sell tags to visitors that permit beach
use, a practice never found on the Pacific coast. Enquire locally
if tag rules are in effect and are being enforced. Otherwise,
you may be fined if you are not wearing a tag on your bathing
suit. Dr. Voyageur dislikes this tag system. After all, we are
spending money on food, accommodation, etc. in these resort towns.
West of Atlantic City, exit the Garden State
Parkway onto the eastbound Atlantic City Parkway, another divided
Continue on the Atlantic City Parkway toward
the casino highrises. When you can go no further eastbound on
a major street in the casino district, turn left and head northbound
Soon, you see the distinctive Taj Mahal
Casino and its signs looming on the right. Dr. Voyageur likes
to park here in the covered parking structure, which at the time
of this writing is not expensive. He then high-tails it to the
Taj Mahal Buffet, one of the best inexpensive casino buffets anywhere
(easily under $10). The American food has been better than the
Dr. Voyageur has more information regarding Atlantic City
in the his Atlantic City lesson.
The big deals are the casinos, of course, the boardwalk along the
ocean, and the surprisingly clean beach with nice surf that fronts
the main casinos and boardwalk.
Exit Atlantic City on Absecon Boulevard,
which is the eastern end of U.S. Highway 30. This route offers
many of the less expensive motels in the Atlantic City area.
The other end of Highway 30 is in Astoria,
Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River, but we will turn north
onto the Garden State Parkway, just west of Atlantic City. Oh
all right, if you want, head for Astoria, but remember that the
explorers Lewis and Clark turned around when they got there.
For a good camping spot, convenient to Atlantic
City, reserve the KOA campground near Tuckerton in the midst of
a large pine forest. Its rates include tags for use of a beach
on Long Beach Island in the Summer and a free shuttle to Atlantic
City. New Jersey has few campgrounds, and this must be one of
web site has contact information, directions (You will need
them!), and a full list of amenities, which include air conditioned
"Kamper Kabins" for an extra charge. This place is highly
Beware, however. Arriving very late one
very foggy night, Dr. Voyageur headed for his assigned camping
spot. It turned out that the recreational vehicle and camping
spots use the same numbering system. He was asked to move his
tent the next morning, least his kind mingle too long in the KOA
RV high rent district.
For Long Beach, from the KOA area head north
on U.S. Highway Nine. From both the Garden State Parkway and Highway
Nine, turn eastbound on State Highway 72. Once over the bridge
and at the beach front, turn either north or south.
The Long Beach area is somewhat similar
to Ocean City, Maryland, but it lacks the larger motels and variety
of restaurants. The young crowd here is mostly from the Philadelphia
area. The steeper beach drop off at Long Beach reminded Dr. Voyageur
of southern California.
For fewer crowds, a better place than Highway 72 to exit
the Garden State Parkway is at Tom's River. Head eastbound on State
Highway 37 to the coast. Then turn right, and go southbound to Island
Beach State Park. This park is long enough to offer some solitude.
We are getting closer to New York City,
however, so do not expect to be completely alone.
Continue north on the Garden State Parkway.
Entering New York City
We do not want to drive into Manhattan due
to the very limited and sometimes unsafe street parking and the
extreme expense of off-street parking. The tow trucks that drop
by if we overextend our time are a powerful negative motivation,
One solution is the long-term parking at
which has low rates at several of its lots (See web site) compared
Exit the Garden State Parkway eastbound
on Interstate 78 toward New York City. Then follow the signs to
Newark Airport and its long-term parking areas. From adjacent
to the Newark Airport terminal buildings, buses run every 20-30
minutes to the Pork Authority Bus Terminal in New York City for
around $10. Or, you can grab a ride on an authorized van directly
to your hostel or hotel for under $25.
Another solution, parking at suburban train
stations, gets harder all the time. Both New Jersey and New York
have enormously improved their commuter train networks. Gone are
the filthy cattle car-like environments that never ran on time.
Therefore, new customers are flocking to the suburban rail stations
and taking room needed for adjacent commercial district parking.
The towns, evidently believing that more
revenue is lost than gained from these new daily visitors, are
posting steep fees and time limits for non residents.
If you do find a spot, frequent train service
departs for New York Penn Station. The fares, which depend on
the time of travel, are low, especially the return excursion fares.
The New Jersey Transit
web site has information, or better yet, do not worry about this,
as we are not talking about much money.
We are strayed a long way from the original
U.S. Highway 66, yet we have seen a wonderful cross section of the
United States, which will remain with us forever.
Back to top
For Route 66 travel hints go to Part IX:
Planning your Route 66 trip.
Go to >> Route 66, part I: Introduction
Go to >> Part II: Santa Monica
to Las Vegas
Go to >> Part III: Las Vegas to
Go to >> Part IV: Albuquerque to the
Go to >> Part V: Mississippi River
Go to >> Part VI: Understanding the
War Between the States
Go to >> Part VII: Virginia to Washington,
Go to >> Part VIII: Washington, D.C. to New York City
Go to >> Part IX: Planning your Route