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Road Trip Advice

St. John's, Canada
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Road Trip Advice

Hi Everyone,

I'm looking for a little advice on a road trip I'll be taking in September. A little information about the trip first:

I'm travelling with one friend. We're flying into New York and planning on staying there for two nights. Then from September 19th through to the 4th of October we'll be renting a car and taking in as much as we can, and hoping to reach New Orleans with enough time to get back for a return flight from New York.

We're interested in eating some great food, taking in the night life, music and off-beat attractions. We don't mind excessive driving, but we'd like to have some breaks, of course, when we've reached a place we want to see more of.

I'm looking for any advice on places to see along the road. Or if anyone thinks we're crazy to make the drive to New Orleans and back in two weeks. Tips? Anybody attempted a similar road trip in the past?

Cleveland
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1. Re: Road Trip Advice

It's easily doable and it sounds as if you definitely will want to spend some time in Nashville and Memphis.

If you want to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, it would be a long, one-day drive from NYC (8-9 hours, including stops). If in Cleveland for a Sunday Browns home game, you could partake of the city's large American football tailgating parties. Downtown Cleveland has a couple good entertainment/dining districts.

From Cleveland, you could head south on I-71 towards Nashville. On your way, you could stop in Columbus where Ohio State, one of the largest universities in the U.S., would offer you a party scene, an especially large one on a football weekend (reservations needed on a game weekend).

You might see a little Leaf Turn on your drive west to Cleveland. Cleveland also is only one hour from Cedar Point in Sandusky, if you are roller coaster fans. It's open only weekends in September.

From Sandusky, you can catch a ferry from Sandusky to Put-in-Bay, which is a regional party island that bills itself as the Key West of the north coast. It still may be hopping on weekends at the time of your trip, especially if the weather is good, but check on the Put-in-Bay forum.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g50207-s407/Cleveland…

If you're interested in history, natural attractions, the Kentucky Bourbon trail, or anything besides food, music and partying, let us know!

BTW, Cleveland is a regional food center, with an emphasis on ethnic and mod ethnic and locavore food. Check out the West Side Market.

Good planning!

Cleveland
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2. Re: Road Trip Advice

As noted in the travel article above, the largest Amish community in the world is south and east of Cleveland, with the most visited area two hours south of Cleveland.

It's certainly offbeat and loaded with old-fashioned, home-cooked food, especially great if you like pie.

Uden, The...
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3. Re: Road Trip Advice

TE is a great ambassador for Ohio but imo it's a bit out of your way this time. Maybe rent the car from Newark NJ. Often a bit cheaper than from NY.

You can make a 2 weeks loop via Shenandoah NP, Roanoke, Ashville, Great Smokies, Chattanooga, Birmingham, New Orleans and back via Savannah and Charleston. That's still a lot of driving but it can be done.

Tet

Cleveland
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4. Re: Road Trip Advice

Much depends upon what you want to see. I was focusing on music, partying and food, the activities listed in your post. Rock fans typically love the Rock Hall in Cleveland, and football weekends at the likes of Ohio State (reservations definitely needed) are among the best party destinations available in the U.S. If you have other interests, definitely share them with us.

So, it would seem to me at a minimum, you want to visit Nashville and Memphis. The attractions that I mentioned in Ohio would add a day of travel time over driving directly to Nashville from NYC, plus whatever time you spent in Ohio.

What kind of music do you enjoy? If jazz, NO is a must destination at some point, and NO is a top culinary destination, especially for Cajun and Creole.

If your music interests are country and blue grass, TN and Kentucky would be your destinations of choice, with even some good destinations in southern Ohio and West Virginia and western Virginia. With some research, you likely could find some festivals somewhere. Perhaps inquire on the Nashville forum. Search the TA forums using key words.

bluegrassfestivalguide.com/september-bluegra…

BTW, Cleveland has some good jazz venues, such as Wilbert's downtown, a dive within easy walking distance of most hotels, and the more upscale Nighttown, Cleveland's top jazz club. Venues such as the House of Blues (downtown), Beachland Ballroom, and the Grog Shop in Coventry, offer other concert venues for the blues and rock. If you have an interest in classical music, Cleveland is one of the top destinations in North America, with one of the world's best orchestras and arguably its most beautiful concert hall.

Obviously, eliminating New Orleans would save the most driving time. There's a remote chance you might have to do so anyway. The Gulf hurricane season certainly extends into September, and with this very hot summer, it's possible that you might decide at the last minute to change your travel plans if weather makes such a change advisable. So keep cancellation penalties in my mind when you book NO reservations.

NO is great fun, but especially so during Mardi Gras season IMO when the fun meter goes over the top.

If you were to decide to visit Ohio, by putting it at the end of your road trip, you should run into some brilliant Leaf Turn in northern Ohio and on your jaunt across I-80 back to NYC, if that's a consideration to you.

A two-week road trip out of NYC offers many choices. If you include NO, it's likely you will have at least a couple days of "excessive driving." Hopefully, you'll have two drivers on your rental car. There are certainly some posters on this forum who drive very long daily distances to get to and from desired regions. It wouldn't be my choice of options with a single driver, where ten hours (600-700 miles) would be the outer range for safety IMO.

Also, don't rule out Chicago. It's America's Second City for a reason, with many attractions, including good jazz clubs. It's a great place to visit in late September.

Good planning!

Cleveland
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5. Re: Road Trip Advice

…mit.edu/12.000/…20history.htm

Keep in mind that global warming and higher water temperatures in the Caribbean may extend the hurricane season.

Again, the chances of a hurricane affecting your plans is very low, but this is a good website to save for reference as you get nearer to your trip time. Also keep in mind that hurricanes can impact the Atlantic coast, even far inland with heavy rains and floods.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml

St. John's, Canada
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6. Re: Road Trip Advice

Thanks very much for the replies, some great suggestions, and I'll be sure to keep an eye on the weather. Thanks for the link.

My musical interests are more linked to Jazz and Blues than Country and Bluegrass, so i'd be inclined to avoid Mephis, Kentucy and Nashville, for more time in the south. New Orleans is a must for the trip, even if I have to find a cheap flight to get back to NY in time.

Uden, The...
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7. Re: Road Trip Advice

Didnot know you were flying back from Nola to NY. Thought it was a roundtrip by car. You'll pay for a drop off fee between NY and Nola plus the costs for the flight but you'll save on gas of course.

Marina, California
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8. Re: Road Trip Advice

Memphis is one of the original centers for blues, as is the area just south of there in Mississippi. It would silly to miss it if that's what you're interested in. Almost all major cities have good jazz clubs. New Orleans' jazz is actually a little different than what you find in most other cities, but that makes it more worth visiting.

Uden, The...
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9. Re: Road Trip Advice

…yahoo.com/clarksdale-mississippi-original-h…

Cleveland
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10. Re: Road Trip Advice

The Blues are definitely big in Memphis.

destination360.com/north-america/us/tennesse…

…nationalgeographic.com/travel/…

…usatoday.com/destinations/…1

Notice the Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival in late September:

http://www.bluesfestivalguide.com/

Also, Chicago is a major blues and jazz location. You really should post on the Chicago forum and check it out. My hunch is that the blues are bigger in Chicago than they are in New Orleans. The Chicago Blues Festival reportedly is the biggest of Chicago's several well-known musical festivals, such as the recently completed Lollapalooza.

explorechicago.org/city/…

Finally, the Blues roots of Rock & Roll are emphasized in the Rock Hall in Cleveland. Many of the greats are enshrined there.

If you do a one-way road trip and fly back to NYC, consider exploring the surrounding region to your heart's content before entering NO and dropping your car before your NO stay. You don't need a car in NO so you would save rental and parking charges.