Tuesday, July 04, 2006

choose my own adventure



The American Sociological Association meetings are next month in Montreal. I was going to book my flight and have noticed that flights are both pricey (even though I'm not paying for it) and that I cannot fly Northwest/Continental/Delta (my preferred carriers). Now I'm thinking about driving instead. A scenic 5 hour drive through Vermont, New Hampshire, and Quebec. Any opinions?

I need to submit a budget for the trip to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and get approval because it is international travel, although I think they would approve the car since even with parking it is likely cheaper (the car itself would be ~$250 + taxes, whereas the plane is ~$400) and of course they would approve the plane since I can't be expected to drive.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could you take a train? Enjoy the scenery but be able to take a nap or get work done too. And it is usually cheaper than flying.

dorotha said...

maybe you should have a seizure. then it wouldn't be legal for you to drive and you wouldn't have to make the decision at all!

if you don't have a seizure, i would suggest considering whether or not you might get lonely on a long drive. i guess i might also suggest getting some goofy ear piece for your cell (aka cel) phone so that you can drive with two hands once you realize that you are bored out of your mind and are going to call everyone you know (if that is what it takes) to find someone who will talk to you until your next bathroom break.

teppof said...

I would go by car - particularly if you can persuade a colleague to take the drive with you (great chance to catch up, throw around some ideas etc.). If alone, cell phone coverage is critical - I catch up with old friends whenever driving long distances alone. Never taken that drive, though sounds like a beautiful one.

Anonymous said...

I have driven that route myself many times and it is pretty beautiful. However, parking is hard in Montreal - as in, the signs telling you when & where you can park on the street are sort of incomprehensible, even if you do know French (which i do). My advice is to factor in the cost of parking at/near an all-day parking lot or your hotel before committing to the drive. Also, you have to be careful not to take a wrong turn on the highway; you could end up in New Brunswick (this actually happened to a friend of mine once).
-- Amy

mary_m said...

I'm just curious why Northwest, Continental, and Delta are your preferred carriers...

jeremy said...

Mary: My FF miles are on Northwest, and they are partnered with Continental and Delta, but not Air Canada or United.

Amy: Your street sign warning might have just frightened me back into leaning toward flying.

Anonymous said...

Vermont's beauty is not the interstate highways, but since time is a factor here and you've never been there, drive by the quickest route you have marked. Lots of old, rounded, impressive mountains green, green. Not many people., miles on end.
Maybe you can come back by some nicer roads -- through the beautiful towns (not the ones overrun with tourists). I won't give any suggestions for that unless you decide to try the real Vermont later.

Have a good trip (and yes, do consider a train or bus).

eszter said...

I thought you were short on time. Don't drive, fly.

a. said...

I could tell you more frightening things about driving in Montreal if you want some extra convincing to take the plane. But getting there by highway really is wonderfully scenic.

-- amy

Anonymous said...

Take the car and plan to spend an extra day in Vermont on the way back. Montpelior is charming and Burlington is like Madison in many ways and the scenery and small towns are beautiful.. Park at the hotel in Montreal, but do use the car to see the city from Mount Royal. You can handle driving and parking in Quebec.The part I'd worry about is driving in Massachusetts, especially around Boston. I learned to drive around NYC, and have driven in nearly every city in the US . Boston's drivers make it the only place that scares me.

UW prof on the Terrace

Kieran said...

I think you need to drive, because then you can take a day trip due east and visit Asbestos, off of Rte 55. Asbestos?

Anonymous said...

I think you need to drive, because then you can visit lovely Lowell!

captain crab said...

avoid Chicago, no matter what!

jeremy said...

I'm getting different reports on how much time it would take to drive from Cambridge to Montreal. If it's like 7 hours, it makes less sense than if it's more like 5.

jeremy said...

UW Terrace: I don't think there would have to be much Boston involved, since I would be starting from Cambridge and headed up. I agree that Boston drivers are insane.

A.: Please! No more Canadian driving horror stories.

Kieran: I had never heard of/seen Asbestos, Quebec before generating this map. It's Wikipedia entry explains the connection: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestos%2C_Quebec

Anonymous said...

It is a great drive, though it is more than 5 hours. Really closer to 7 hours, plus parking is not that easy in Montreal if you wish to avoid paying.Someone suggested the train, which I have not done. Sounds better: you get a reimburseable ticket for RWJ, and the scenery without the hastle.

Anonymous said...

If you go thru upstate New York, stop at Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame

RachelsTavern said...

I'm driving. Carpooling with a friend. I'll leave my house in suburban NYC in the morning, and leave her house in Hartford in the evening. Yahoo!! maps is claiming 4.5 hours from Hartford, so by the time you add up traveling to the airport and all of that I think this will be cheaper and no more time consuming. My personal rule is if it is under 5 hours I drive.

Anonymous said...

Driving is just fine. 5 hour tops. Did it with a 18 mos baby in the dead of winter and it was great. Drivers in Montreal are no worse than those in Boston and parking is equally horrible to get. Most hotels have parking available.

Montreal is a great city enjoy!

Dale said...

Hi, I used to live in upstate New York and spent a lot of time in Montreal. The drive up is very nice; one of the coolest views of Montreal comes as you approach the city and choose a bridge to take you downtown. That was always the best part of the drive for me.

You won't really see that much of the province of Quebec (it's probably only twenty minutes from the NY/VT borders to the suburbs outside Montreal), but it's a pleasant route. If you have time while in the city, try to get to Old Montreal. Actually, make time… it's worth it. Also, drag some folks and a few bottles of wine up to Mount Royal Park one night; beautiful views of the city from there, a great place to make plans to change the world.

If you have time on the way back, consider heading back into New York and crossing over to Vermont on one of the ferries, especially the one at Port Kent. Very nice, a good way to relax for an hour or so, and you will exit the ferry right into downtown Burlington.

I think Rachel's got it right as far as the drive time; you will likely spend more time farting around in airports if you fly than the whole drive will take. You may not need the car while in the city itself, though; the rail system is great, and will take you pretty much anywhere you need to go without the need to drive and park again.

If you've never been to Montreal before, you're in for a treat!

Dale