Logistics for MIT & Princeton visit

<p>H will be speaking at a Biomass conference in Boston this summer. We are going to take advantage of the free hotel room (at Copley Square) and try to visit both MIT and Princeton. Any recommendations on how we should do this? Fly to Boston, view MIT and then drive to Princeton and fly out of Newark. Or the reverse? How is the drive? There are probably a 100 other great schools to see on the drive, but S2 has locked in on these two.</p>

<p>The drive between MIT and Princeton will take about 6-7 hours, depending on traffic, which can be heavy around NYC. It doesn't really matter which direction you do the trip in.</p>

<p>You could possibly use public transportation, maybe taking Amtrak or a shuttle flight between Boston and Newark. You can get to and from the Newark Airport from Princeton using a combination of commuter train and bus, and MIT is accessible via the Red Line in Boston.</p>

<p>Your plan sounds fine although your car rental fee will go through the roof if you drop off in a different city than you pick up. I know your son is focussed on these two schools at this time ... however when you are MIT you will be about a mile from Harvard, Tufts, and BU so it seems a quick drive through might be worth trying to sell.</p>

<p>If 1 way rentals are very high, and since you aren't interested in seeing schools or other sites between Boston and Princeton....you might want to fly from Boston to Newark or Philly.....and then rent a car at the airport....drive to Princeton...and drive back to the same airport. </p>

<p>Also...could take a train from Boston to Newark....and rent a car at Newark train station. Probably not be a 1 way rental to pick up at Newark train and return at Newark airport.</p>

<p>Might not be that much more expensive than the 1 way car rental....and you would avoid all of that crummy traffic around Boston and NYC.</p>

<p>I would fly to Newark, take one of the airport shuttles to Princeton (the shuttle info looks easy to book directly from Princeton's website), do the visit, spend the night, and then take the train to Boston. I believe that particular train goes into the South Station, but no matter where it arrives you can use the T to get around Boston, including to Boston's Logan airport. You can even buy your Charlie card online and it will be mailed to you before the trip, negating any standing in line or having to buy tokens later. </p>

<p>I hate driving up East, and find the transit systems to be cheaper and usually quicker.
Driving in Boston is something I attempted ONCE, and will never do again.</p>

<p>Edit: I think you would need to change trains at Penn Station in NYC, though. I originally thought there was a direct train.</p>

<p>I would definitely take the train from Princeton to Boston. And then, while in Boston, see all the places you can see. </p>

<p>We sort of joke in our family about the Amtrak schools ... from DC up to Princeton, Columbia, Yale, Connecticut College, Brown, and then Boston. </p>

<p>It won't be a fun drive ... there are many routes <em>around</em> NYC avoiding traffic ... and if it's a one way rental, the train will be more enjoyable. I particularly like watching the Connecticut shoreline -- there are water views along the Sound.</p>

<p>This is how we did it in August of 2008.
1. Flew to NYC over the weekend as we love the theater scene @ Manhattan. Rented Car on Sunday afternoon. Visited Columbia during night to see the night atmosphere.
2. Visited Columbia Monday morning till 3 p.m.
3. Drove to Princeton Monday visited the campus during the night time
4. Visitied Princeton Tuesday morning.
5. Drove to New Haven Tuesday afternoon; visited the Yale campus during the night time
6. Visited Yale Wednessday morning.
7. Drove to Providence Wednessday afternoon and visited Brown campus during the night time
8. Visited Brown Thursday morning.
9. Drove to MIT aroung noon and visited MIT Thursday afternoon.
10. Visited MIT again Friday morning and Harvard around 11 A.M.
11. Drove to Philadelphia Friday afternoon reached around 11 p.m. on Friday.
12. Visited U. Penn Saturday
13. Drove to NYC in the evening.
14. Flew to CA Sunday morning.</p>

<p>Kajon, if you are from the midwest and your student isn't familiar with the area, definitely make sure you allow enough time for your kid to get at least a taste of Boston (something other than in the car ... here's MIT ... back in the car). We allowed time to walk around Boston Common, the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Newbury St., etc and it just gave our kids more of a bigger feel for the city than if we had just visited the Boston-area schools on our list (which were Tufts, Brandeis and Wellesley in our case, not Harvard or MIT).</p>

<p>Thanks guys. I admit I haven't done my homework, but somewhere in the back of my mind I thought it was a 4 hour drive. (Ever since I turned 50 the information I retrieve from the "back of my mind" is not as reliable as it once was) :p Neither I nor the kids have been to Boston so we plan on doing quite a bit of exploring. </p>

<p>I know that gaining admittance to MIT / Princeton is like buying a lottery ticket, but this is S2's dream.....so off we go. </p>

<p>ParentofIvy - I would be exhausted after a trip like yours.</p>

<p>Kajon, it can be a 5 hour drive if you are driving after midnight and driving 80 mph. jingle's 6-7 hour estimate is much more likely. And, we drove for my Princeton reunion recently and it ended up taking probably more than 7 hours. There can be a lot of traffic getting into Princeton (lots that weekend due to reunions). I went to grad school and was a professor in Cambridge and live in the Boston area and know the whole scene pretty well. </p>

<p>I'd follow Pizzagirl and 3togo's advice and see schools in the Boston area and just get a feel for the place if you have time. Great schools here (Harvard, Tufts, Brandeis, ...). The train ride is not short and you have to connect once or twice (depending upon the timing) but it is pleasant and you can get lots of work done on the train. Flying is a bit of work because you have to get to Princeton, which is roughly an hour and a half from Newark airport IIRC. I often take AMTRAK to NY but tend to drive to Princeton because I have usually needed a car in Princeton. To visit the campus, you wouldn't need a car. However, if you stay overnight, lots of the hotels are not in walking distance -- some may have shuttles (you'd need to ask). The Nassau Inn is right next to the campus but tends to be on the expensive side.</p>

<p>If you take the train, it stops in Providence and you could get out and look at Brown or in NY and look at Columbia or even go on to Philadelphia to visit Penn. </p>

<p>I would consider arrange your itinerary to go from your home airport to Boston and return from Newark. Not infrequently, the price on that will be similar to a roundtrip (though not always).</p>

<p>Kajon - From a midwesterner's viewpoint, driving in Boston and Metro NYC can seem, umm, challenging ... quite challenging. I'd recommend using as much public transportation as possible! Please do spend some time getting to know Boston. There's a reason that city is the perennial "favored destination" for college students. Enjoy your visit!</p>

<p>I don't think you're going to shave much time off the drive by doing it at night. There is summertime construction on the Merritt parkway, perennial night work done on 95 during the summer, and the delays as the traffic narrows to one lane pretty much eat up the time you've saved by going at night.</p>

<p>Echo the train suggestion. Plus if your kid is going to end up at an East coast school, he'll be using the train to visit friends, attend events, etc. so might as well get a feel for it while he kicks the tires.</p>

<p>I don't see the need for a car at all (at least for the college visiting part). You can do it as an open-jaw flight going into Newark and out of Boston (or vice versa). The biggest hit will be that you have to take taxis to your hotels from the train stations (or stay at Nassau Inn in Princeton $$$). Newark airport has an "airport shuttle" spur line train which connects to the Northeast corridor train line. From there, catch NJ transit train to Princeton and take the "Dinky" spur line train (or equivalent bus) to the edge of campus. From there, taxi to your hotel or walk to Nassau Inn (bit uphill and several long blocks). After finishing with Princeton, take the Dinky to the Northeast Corridor and catch Amtrak to Boston (may need to take NJ Transit to Penn Station in NYC first, depending on train schedule). If you wish, stop there to see the city before going on to Boston. From the Boston train station, take the MTA to Harvard Square. From there, you can walk to the Charles Hotel (also $$$, but they offer a discount for prospective students at Harvard...) or taxi to other nearby hotels. When you are ready to visit MIT, take the MTA a couple of stops (or the #1 bus) to MIT. I know it sounds complex, but it may be easier than finding parking and navigating around NYC between NJ and Boston. If you want to see more schools in MA, CT, etc. then take the plunge and rent a car.</p>

<p>I don't advocate taking a car, but the route I would take is 90 to 84 to 684 over the Tappan Zee bridge to avoid traffic. </p>

<p>In Cambridge, there is the Hotel@MIT (now a Le Meridien, I think) which is in Central Square with lots of ethnic restaurants and one subway stop or a relatively easy walk to MIT, the Marlowe (lots of fun and artsy and near MIT but something of a walk to MIT or subway), there are two Marriott's in Kendall Square (next to MIT), there's the Kendall hotel in Kendall Square, the Sheraton Commander near Harvard Square, the Inn at Harvard, and a few others. No need to stay at the Charles, which is typically (but not always) the most expensive of the bunch. It depends upon taste and budget -- Harvard Square is a somewhat more upscale neighborhood than Central Square or Kendall Square -- street magicians and musicians playing in outdoor areas, etc.</p>

<p>"Kajon, it can be a 5 hour drive if you are driving after midnight and driving 80 mph. "</p>

<p>Retrieve Memory: business/econ students group at a school in Boston. regional conference in Trenton NJ. Several students packed into car, for drive through the night at high speed. Almost made it all the way without a ticket. good news, the kid who was driving, could afford the ticket.</p>

<p>bigger good news I suppose is that we all lived.</p>