UMCP/GWU trip logistics

<p>D1's interest in DC area schools has condensed down to George Washington and UMCP, with Goucher and American falling off her list. She and the spouse will be taking a vacation trip in late August, ending with visits (and interviews where relevant) to Rochester, UMCP and GWU. </p>

<p>Flights (nonrefundable, so those arrangements can't be changed) are already booked, but hotel and rental car reservations haven't been made yet. The bare-bones plan is</p>

<p>Thursday Sept. 2: Fly from Rochester to Baltimore arriving at 7:40 AM. Tour UMCP
Friday Sept. 3: Tour GWU, interview
Saturday Sept. 4: AM flight home leaving from Dulles</p>

<p>The spouse hasn't been to DC in a very very very long time, so for tourist purposes will be happier staying in DC. We very much prefer to use public transportation where possible, and there's the benefit for D1 in seeing what it's like to get around sans private car. At the same time, sometimes time is of the essence. Which of the following plans is the most sensible/least foolish?</p>

<p>1) Rent a car at BWI, and drive to UMCP. Drive to hotel in DC, leave car parked at hotel until Saturday morning.</p>

<p>2) Slight variation on first option: rent car at BWI, drive to UMCP, return car to BWI and take public transportation to DC/taxi from DC to Dulles</p>

<p>3) Take public transportation from BWI to DC, check luggage at hotel, take public transportation back to UMCP. </p>

<p>Thanks for any help.</p>

<p>I will talk to DS later on for more of his input at least regarding public transportation between UMCP and GWU and what he feels are your best options. </p>

<p>But as far as public transportation between BWI and DC. A taxi will cost you about $65.00 Amtrak about 15-20 depending on day and train. If the MARC is running, that is far cheaper. SUpershuttle costs $39 each person. </p>

<p>If you take the MARC or AMtrak, it will take you to Union Station. You can catch the Metro lines from there to get to hotel. A taxi from Union Station to GWU costs $11. </p>

<p>If you rent a car, you may incur additional charges since you are getting a car from one place and returning it to another. I usually have been charged extra when I have done that. </p>

<p>Driving from BWI to UMCP will take about 45-60 minutes depending upon traffic. Takes about an hour to drive to DC although it did take me much longer last month due to road construction and tourist traffic. </p>

<p>I'll get back to you after DS wakes up and I can talk to him. </p>

<p>Do you have an idea of where you want to stay? DC? Close to GW?</p>

<p>As I'm sure you know, DC traffic can be awful. It's particularly bad during morning and evening rush hour. I still recommend option #1 if your wife can handle the traffic. The drive from BWI to College Park is pretty easy, and the drive to Dulles on a Saturday morning won't be bad. Option #3 would work also, but will involve more time. At BWI, you can take a shuttle to the Amtrack station and take an inexpensive MARC train to DC Union Station. From there you can take a taxi or metro to the hotel, and then metro back to College Park. I'm not sure about options for getting to Dulles on Saturday. A cab would be expensive. I don't recommend option #2.</p>

<p>By the way, you should check to see if those dates are move in dates at either school. If they are, I'd go with the public transportation option. My daughter has visited both of these schools and likes them both.</p>

<p>Last year we rented a car at BWI and returned it to the main train station in DC. H did all the driving and I don't think he enjoyed the DC traffic. We took a taxi back to BWI and it was about $60. If I were to do the trip without H, I would do the car from BWI to UMCP and back and then I would find a way to take the train or the metro link into DC and then cab it to the hotel. (which I would book near a metro line)</p>

<p>Classes are in session at GWU that weekend. Move in is the week before. But it is Labor Day weekend so traffic and tourists may be a bit heavier than normal.</p>

<p>In doing our Gtown/GWU/AU tour, we stayed at the Doubletree Guest Suites, 801 New Hampshire Ave NW, which is literally 2-3 blocks from GWU and right around the corner from the Foggy Bottom metro stop, so public transportation is a breeze.</p>

<p>It's so close to GWU, as a matter of fact, that upon arriving at the hotel and walking around for a bite to eat, we wandered onto the campus and ate there without even realizing it! </p>

<p>The rooms / suites are a generous size -- we had two of them since we had our family of 4, but if it's just you/spouse/kid, I would see if any of the suites have a sofabed. (They may very well - we just didn't investigate this.)</p>

<p>The Foggy Bottom metro is a pretty central metro stop, IMO.</p>

<p>Good luck! GWU and UMCP are VERY different in look and feel so it will be interesting to see which one falls off the list.</p>

<p>I don't want to push American back on you, but we thought it was very easy to do American and GWU in one day (we did American in the morning, easily reachable via the metro, and then GWU in the afternoon), so just something to consider.</p>

<p>I just checked rental car rates with a BWI pickup and Dulles dropoff. Cheap enough, $60-70 including taxes for both days, no drop-off charge but there'd be two nights of parking at the hotel. MARC train is $6 a head, 40 minute ride to DC. The last time I was in DC was 3 years ago and a taxi from Dupont Circle to Dulles on a lazy Sunday was around $50. Bottom line is that this doesn't get decided on price. </p>

<p>mom2boys, staying in DC is preferred. </p>

<p>Pizzagirl, I just was sending the spouse your old reply to my previous thread on this subject with the Doubletree recommendation. </p>

<p>
[quote]
I don't want to push American back on you

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Hey, no mission creep! :)</p>

<p>I just talked to my son. His suggestion is to take the MARC train or the B30 bus from BWI to GreenBelt Md and then take the green line one stop to UMCP. From there is a shuttle that will take you directly to the visitor center. </p>

<p>You pick up the Marc at BWI. Look for the buses outside of the baggage claim area. It is a 10 minutes drive to the train.</p>

<p>From UCMP to GWU. Take the green line towards Branch AVe but transfer at Gallery Place to the Red line towards ShadyGrove. Take it one stop to Metro Center and get on the Blue or the ORange Line to Vienna/Fairfax Fraconia-Springfield. Get off at FOggy Bottom GWU stop. When you exit the station, you will be right by the GWU hospital entrance and right next to the campus. </p>

<p>Hotels right near GWU- Hotel Lombardo, The State Plaza, One Washington Circle. Those are all on campus or one block away. </p>

<p>To get to Dulles from GWU. At Foggy Bottom station, catch the Blue or Orange line and head towards Viena/Fairfax/Fraconia/Springfield. Take it one stop to Rosslyn and transfer to the 5A bus shuttle to Dulles. It will be less than a buck to transfer to the bus. Bus takes you right to terminal. SHould take about 20 minutes. If you take a taxi it will be about 15 minutes and may be about 20 dollars. </p>

<p>He feels you really don't need the car and it will be more of a hassle. Plus the hotels charge valet fees for parking. </p>

<p>I was in DC last month and rented a car since I had to move DS. Traffic was the worst I have seen it with lanes closed, construction, etc... Driving a couple miles took 30 minutes. Not a pleasant experience and it wasted a ton of time. If you don't really need the car, don't get it. The public transportation system in DC is excellent and cheap. </p>

<p>If daughter can download apps to her phone, download the Washington Subway WMATA app and also the NEXTBUSDC app and this will provide maps and stops, etc... NEXT APP actually uses GPS to tell you when your bus will be coming and will also help you get from point A to Point B. </p>

<p>As for places to eat :
On campus- the GWU deli is very good located right next to fire station. FoBoGro in the basement for sandwhiches. Tonic is also good. </p>

<p>Near campus- Founding Farmers, froggy bottom pub, anything in Georgetown, anything in Dupont. Cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake or CakeLove (Ustreet). </p>

<p>Breakfast at Au BOn Pan next to CVS. Or Cosi on 17th and H? TOnic has good breakfast too. </p>

<p>If you have any other questions, let me know!</p>

<p>As PizzaGirl said, UMCP and GWU are opposite ends of the spectrum. Both good schools with very different feel about them. DS liked both of them but in the end, he liked the city setting much better. </p>

<p>When we toured UMCP I did not realize it was so close to DC and did not plan enough time to visit the DC area schools. We had to make another trip back to DC to see American and GWU. You are being much smarter than me!</p>

<p>DS has a few friends at UMCP. He has been able to visit them easily and they have been able to come into the city easily too. They don't come into the city that often, but it is about 30 minutes train ride into the city so it is very doable. </p>

<p>Good luck with the tours and interview. DS did not do an interview and he still got in.</p>

<p>It's better to take the Green Line (Branch Ave Direction) get off at L'Enfant and transfer to the blue or orange to Foggy Bottom (GWU). No need to change to the red line and then to blue or orange. One less transfer and that's a good thing!</p>

<p>mom2boys, thanks so much for asking your son for details, and for the restaurant and hotel suggestions. I'm concerned, though, about going from BWI to UMCP using public transportation because the travellers will have luggage. If they aren't able to park their bags in a rental car or in a hotel room (which will ideally be in DC), any touring around UMCP's campus is going to be unwieldy. I think the tradeoff is to either spend a couple hours taking public transport from BWI to DC back to UMCP, or head to UMCP earlier in the day by rental car and then try to beat traffic back to DC. Your thoughts?</p>

<p>My son that the last time he did a tour at UMCP they had a room where they could leave their luggage. You might want to call ahead and see if they will be doing that.</p>

<p>I am sure that admissions tour offices run into people with bags all the time, and have a place where bags can be left temporarily. Just call ahead and confirm. Don't pack too much anyway, for such a short trip ... an H and a S can easily get all they need into one shared carry-on, and then maybe a backpack for the S.</p>

<p>I am very familiar with the area. Fastest and best is to take the Marc train as recommended above from BWI and head for UMCP first. If UMCP has a place to leave your bags great, if not, I suggest you consider staying Th. night at UMCP at the Marriott on campus (do not stay at any other hotel in College Park-the surrounding area is a turn off and a pain to get to campus). Otherwise, go to betterbidding.com and click on LA for hotwire and priceline to see what the prices and hotels are for DC. You will save money getting a 4 star hotel on either hotwire or priceline. The doubletree idea is fine, just suggesting you compare these web sites for prices. I also agree that your husband and D should visit AU if there is any interest (it is about 20 minutes away on the metro plus take another shuttle from the AU stop to the campus). What does your D want to study? Make sure she wears something nice for the GW interview. Not grubby jeans, not a tank top. GW presents a polished business like image. UMCP is very casual. UMCP has a fantastic reputation for a large, thriving Hillel and active Jewish community. I also recommend taking the metro in between these stops so that your D will see what travel is like should she decide to study here. Kids from UMCP can easily take the Metro to DC. Your D may love the public transportation or just hate it--this may or may not factor into her decision here. Feel free to PM me for any specific questions.</p>

<p>Good point about finding a place to leave bags at UMCP. They'll have been on the road for about a week and a half at that point, so they won't be able to travel super-light. Especially if they are bringing home presents. Especially if any of those presents come from Lake Champlain Chocolates in Vermont. :) I do not expect them to bring home presents from the Ben and Jerry's factory. ;)</p>

<p>Many people are with their suitcases on the metro. However, I caution you to watch your belongings carefully.</p>

<p>I took the train to BWI train station and a taxi to UMCP once, it was easy and pretty quick. The Marriott on UMCP campus is nice, but can be pricey and it is on the other side of campus from admissions- the Quality Inn and Suites is cheaper and is walkable to campus - that area is where a lot of the UMCP kids go to hang out - it has the restaurants and services. The other local hotels are north of campus on Route 1 - but they do have shuttles that will take you to campus, which could be important with lots of luggage. I have stayed at the Clarion and Comfort Inn which were both ok.</p>

<p>If you rent a car, you need to get a tag from UMCP admissions to be able to park on campus - I registered ahead of time and got one in the mail, with instructions on where to park and a campus map- that made things easier.</p>

<p>If you do have time, I also echo the advice to add American to the list - depending of course, on her intended major. It wasn't high on my son's list but he ended up getting a fabulous scholarship, visited it again and ended up loving it - he just finished a very successful first year. They really do a lot to try to attract high performing students.</p>

<p>Having written that out, I realize with lots of luggage, you need to stay put for the two nights, so staying near GW makes a lot of sense.</p>

<p>Here is the metro page so you can look up schedules. It takes a long time to get from GWU to College Park on the Metro (~45 minutes). There is a UMCP shuttle from the Metro stop to the campus that the college kids use that might be good to use if you had luggage. There is a schedule on the UM site that I can't post a link to.</p>

<p>Metro</a> - Home page</p>

<p>My son used a shuttle service (SuperShuttle) to get from American to BWI - they would probably take you to College Park if you wanted. </p>

<p>SuperShuttle</a> | BWI Airport</p>

<p>Or you can take a free shuttle to the BWI Rail station and take the MARC Train to DC. (That's the cheapest way for sure)</p>

<p>MARC</a> Train | BWI Airport</p>

<p>I love thinking up options. I came up with Option 4: rent a car at BWI, visit UMCP, drop off bags at hotel near GWU, drop off car in downtown DC. Then take public transportation around DC, take Super Shuttle to Dulles.</p>

<p>I like Katytibbs' option. I hate paying extra to park my car at a hotel. Last time we visited D at GW we stayed in Rosslyn (I think it was a Residence Inn?) which was very convenient.</p>