Sunday, April 2, 2017

US 1: Washington, DC to New York City

This week, we're heading from our nation's capital to the Big Apple on US 1.  Starting in DC, you'll move more slowly than you did farther south because in general, towns in the Northeast are closer together and more heavily populated than those that the highway passes through farther south.  

But there is a lot to see along the way:  quaint little towns, large metropolises (or is it metropoli? and is it redundant to call a metropolis large?), historic buildings, and national parks . 

back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia


When you cross into Maryland from DC, your pace will slow down significantly as you enter the congested Northeast.   You will encounter stoplights more frequently than you would on the southern third of the road, and you'll experience slower traffic due to general congestion (and a little bit of construction), especially during morning and evening rush hours.  

Maryland

Since US 1 skips Delaware altogether and our goal was to visit all 48 continental states on this trip, we actually abandoned the highway for a couple of days.  We left DC on US 50 and passed through Maryland's capital, Annapolis, crossed the Chesapeake Bay, and entered Delaware for a loop around the state before rejoining US 1 in southeastern Pennsylvania two days later.  We'll share our Delaware detour at a later date.

Entering Maryland from DC, we continued through the sprawl of greater DC into suburban and rural towns until we reached Annapolis.



back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
Maryland's Capitol building
back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
This cannon on the state house grounds is approaching its 400th birthday!
back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
Inscription on the cannon
Annapolis is a town I'd love to go back to for a weekend sometime.  We arrived after dinner, and the town was quiet.  The section of town around the state house is laid out like a bicycle wheel, with the Capitol in the center and streets leading out from it like spokes.  It felt very inviting and was among the three or four smallest capital cities we visited on our trip.


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
Looking toward State Circle from the state house grounds


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
One of the streets that radiates out from State Circle
The U.S. Naval Academy had already closed to visitors, so we weren't able to visit it, but we walked over to it and saw several midshipmen receiving takeout over the gate from a delivery guy.  The Academy may have closed to visitors for the day, but it hadn't closed to pizza and sandwiches.


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia

Crossing the Severn River on the Naval Academy Bridge took us back to US 50 and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and a $4 toll. 



back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
Looking back toward the Naval Academy from across the Severn River
Pennsylvania
After our jaunt through Delaware, we returned to US 1 in Pennsylvania, which we entered on a road so small there was no "Welcome to Pennsylvania" sign.  Very soon after we rejoined US 1, evidence that we were approaching a large city began to appear, and we hit the outskirts of Philadelphia in the midst of afternoon traffic.

Like DC, Philadelphia is a town with many options, and we chose only three for our 24 hours in town.



Valley Forge National Park

On the southern bank of the Schuylkill River northwest of Philadelphia lies Valley Forge, a small mill town that built up in the early 1700s around iron processing.  



back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
Very few buildings from the original town remain.
back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia

During the brutal winter of 1777, Washington and the Continental Army camped here, clearing the land of timber to construct and heat quarters for the men.  This is a very simple explanation of the significance of Valley Forge in the Revolutionary War, but I'm no historian so I'll skip the rest so you'll have something to learn when you visit!



back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia


Reconstructed cabins like those that soldiers would have built and slept in


Independence National Historic Park

Located in the center of Philadelphia, Independence National Historic Park covers many city blocks and includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and multiple other historic buildings.  You could spend a full day here and still not visit them all.  


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia

We chose to tour Independence Hall and spend the remainder of our time walking around the park.  Tickets to tour Independence Hall are free and assign a tour time, so we were able to go explore the area on foot and see some of the historic buildings before returning for our tour.
One of the nearby historic buildings...I don't recall which one it is now.
back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
These huge and colorful tulips in the garden of one of the nearby historic buildings.
back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
This iron fence surrounds the Second Bank of the United States.
The tour of Independence Hall was very enjoyable and informative.  Since I'm writing this nearly a year later, I don't recall all the little details, but it was a very well-done tour.


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
Courtroom of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
Assembly Room in Independence Hall
The line to see the Liberty Bell is long (it doesn't require tickets), and we had both seen it on family vacations as children, so we decided to skip it this time around (and you can see it through the glass, so we did catch a glimpse of it as we walked by).


Reading Terminal Market

We met some friends who live in Philly for lunch at Reading Terminal Market, housed within the old Reading railroad terminal. It was packed on a Saturday at lunch time but we all managed to order food and meet back up at a vacant table in a reasonable amount of time.  There is an abundance of restaurant options to choose from, and afterward, you can walk around (or shove carefully maneuver your way through the crowd) to find dessert options, kitchen wares, and produce.



back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
A busy Saturday afternoon at Reading Terminal Market

New Jersey

Like Pennsylvania, there wasn't much of a welcome as we entered New Jersey.  Our time here was fairly short and also very traffic-y.  


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
Welcome to New Jersey
Our main adventure in New Jersey was trying to find the state house in Trenton.  


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia

We never did see it (I'm not entirely sure why, because in looking at the map today, I think we drove right past it), but while looking for it we accidentally crossed the Calhoun Street Bridge back into Pennsylvania, where we got a warm welcome to both states.



back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
Yes, that's spray paint on the back of a road sign welcoming drivers to Pennsylvania...
back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
...and its counterpart on the other side of the bridge.
We left US 1 in Newark or Jersey City then drove toward Staten Island, NYC's most suburban borough, through Bayonne.  


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
In Bayonne, we stopped and looked across at the city near the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.
Since we stayed in Brooklyn (cheaper hotel AND cheaper parking!), we skipped driving through Manhattan and instead took the more direct and less congested route across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn.


back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
I walked up this part of the bridge with 50,000 other people a few months later to the start of the New York City Marathon
back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia

New York

US 1 does go through the city, but we didn't stay on it as I mentioned above.  If you want to stick to it as you pass through the city, take it all the way to the George Washington Bridge, where it joins with I-95 to cross the Hudson.  After continuing as the Cross Bronx Highway for several miles, exit at Webster Avenue just north of E 174th Street, go through the Center of Bronx Park, continuing onto Boston Rd., then Boston Post Rd. as you continue toward Connecticut.



We stayed in New York for the weekend, but like our Delaware detour, it's a story for another day.  Next week, we'll pick up with the drive from New York toward Boston and Maine, which will probably need to be broken down into two posts so they don't get long and boring. :-)



back roads road trip: US Highway 1 from Washington, DC to New York City through Philadelphia
Staying in Brooklyn is cheaper and at least in this case, 
it has a much better view than anyplace we could afford to stay in Manhattan!


Take a look at points of interest along US 1 between DC and NYC here:



Thanks for visiting, and check out these groups for more travel inspiration!



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26 comments:

  1. So much to see in the Northeast! Valley Forge is on my list - the street I grew up on was named after it. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

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    1. How funny - it is definitely worth a visit the next time you're in PA!

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  2. That looked a great road trip, we are heading over to Washington next year so looking forward to that. #feetdotravel

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  3. This is definitely one road trip I'd LOVE to take! So much history here! And Annapolis looks absolutely charming! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard (www.caliglobetrotter.com)

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    1. Annapolis really was charming - even on a miserably cold day in May! It's definitely a place we'll return to one day. This is a great drive to really take in the history of the East coast.

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  4. Annapolis is super-cute. The restaurants in the downtown area are really good for seafood and watching all the Navy guys in thier uniforms is fun!

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  5. Wow, another amazing roadtrip! Annapolis looks beautiful and there is so much history on this stretch of the US 1. I really enjoyed the few hours I spent in Philadelphia and would love to explore the route between DC and NYC a bit more - we were in a mad rush to get to NYC so that a few people could catch their flights home! Thanks for sharing

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    1. Yes, you must make getting to the airport a priority, even if it means skipping some fun stuff along the way! Thanks for stopping by again!!

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  6. I've never been to Annapolis or Valley Forge, and you make both seem really appealing. I do remember visiting Reading Terminal Market when we were in Philly and really wishing that I had more time to explore/eat there. That NJ/PA sign on the bridge is hilarious!

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    1. Thank you, Michele! Confession: We MIGHT have driven across the bridge two or three times just to experience those signs again. :-)

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  7. Really neat overview of a long trip. I would probably just be honest and stick with "shoving" .. :)

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    1. Ha, yes. Of course! Honesty is the best policy.

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  8. So much to see on this part of your journey! We were happy to see our favorite spot in Philly, the Reading Terminal Market. :) Great fun riding along with y'all! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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  9. What a great road trip! We're doing NYC > Washington in the summer, but by rail. Thanks for sharing, great read and photos!

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    1. Oh, cool. We rode from the upstate of South Carolina to Baltimore on a sleeper car a few years ago, and it was a lot of fun. Coming into DC from the North, you'll get a great view of the Capitol out the right side of the train.

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  10. I love this trip. It must have been beautiful to take during the spring. Isn't it amazing how many times you can roadtrip through the US and still not see everything you want? We didn't get to the Reading Terminal Market and have yet to check out Annapolis. So much to cover! Thank you for more travel inspiration :)

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  11. We love road trips! Thanks for sharing. Looks like a busy Saturday at the Reading Terminal Market.

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    1. Very busy, but fun nonetheless. I wouldn't want to do it every week, though!

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  12. This looks like a great road trip. I haven't been to US before but I would love to do it one day. Love the photos, especially those with the streets from State Circle.

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    1. It's a unique one - totally different from any other part of the US. We're glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by!

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