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mid atlantic states question: route 17
Old 09-04-2007, 01:26 AM   #1
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mid atlantic states question: route 17

bizzy bizzy vacation. heading out tomorrow night. this is my first time doing this drive. stop someplace midway carolinas on way up. friday party with old friend flying in from california, saturday 50th b-day party high school reunion n.y. dinner cruise, sunday unveiling of mom's memorial, monday meet father's cousins for first time in my life, monday night dinner in n.y., tuesday lunch with cousin in from hawaii (who happened to schedule his mom's unveiling for same day as mine), wed see friend in phili and tour there, thurs-sat washington dc and then head down to captain sarah's in charleston before the last leg home.

i'm pretty much beelining it north (only because i haven't packed yet, ooops) but thought if no storms headed this way i'll take it easy coming home. i see on map highway 17 starts just south of washington dc. looks like goes through williamsburg/jamestown which i haven't seen since my 8th grade school trip there and then looks like the highway hugs the coast all the way down to charleston sc.

is this a nice scenic drive or a road to be avoided? any idea time-wise washington dc to charleston via rt 17? any must-sees along that way?
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Old 09-04-2007, 07:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
i see on map highway 17 starts just south of washington dc. looks like goes through williamsburg/jamestown which i haven't seen since my 8th grade school trip there and then looks like the highway hugs the coast all the way down to charleston sc.

is this a nice scenic drive or a road to be avoided? any idea time-wise washington dc to charleston via rt 17? any must-sees along that way?
I have taken part of that route several times to get from DC to the Outer Banks. I much prefer it to 95, which can be a mess heading south from DC. It is rolling farmland with some nice river views around Rappahannock (sp?). The best route is to leave DC on the Maryland side (295 to 210, then cut over to 301). You cross the 301 bridge back into Virgina and go about 20 miles to Rt 17. After you get to Williamsburg you are on your own to Charleston -- I always headed down to the Outer Banks on 168. But 17 looks like a nice change from the interstates.

Alternatively, if you want to cut down through the Northern Neck on Rt 3 ("Historyland Highway") you can stop in for a swim at my weekend house on the Potomac. PM me on that or if you want detailed directions for an obscure route to travel between 210 and 301.
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Old 09-04-2007, 07:26 AM   #3
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You can do 17 and will probably like it. I have done it north out of Jacksonville, FL. But, donheff, sure has the much better deal.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:32 AM   #4
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17 can be a major headache at times. I'm pretty familiar with the segment from Wilmington down through Brunswick county to the SC border. It looks like you might be going through on Saturday or Sunday through this stretch - these days are very busy during the summer months - don't know if it is far enough into the shoulder season/off season so traffic volumes are reduced. Rental houses flip on Sat/Sun usually, plus all the weekenders coming and going. This stretch of 17 isn't really that "scenic" - there's a lot of strip malls.

If you aren't in a hurry, the traffic might not bother you.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:11 AM   #5
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Here in Virginia RT 17 is a great drive except during peak traffic times (morning and afternoon commutes)....lots to see and plenty of stops along the way....Fredericksburg (downtown) is cozy with a lot of small "antique" shops.....Yorktown (the waterfront) has a couple of nice upscale shops and places to eat BUT if you're looking to make Jamestown and/or Williamsburg part of you trip ~ they are 20-30 minutes off of RT 17.....definitely worth the detour, with both or either being destination stops worthy of a more than one day stay!

Newport News can get a little congested and following the RT 17 signs for the portion that really is part of RT 168 or 243 can be a little confusing....but once you hit the James River Bridge, it's clear sailing to NC.....oops, forgot to mention the town of Smithfield....just a few miles over the JR Bridge and 10 minutes from 17....definitely worth the trip if you like quaint little shops....a wonderful art shop that compares with anything I've seen (other than big city)....a great stopover for a few hours off the road!!

OK....enough rambling....but I highly recommend RT 17 if you like scenery versus cars,trucks and more cars (interstate)...

Have a safe and wonderful trip!!
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:15 AM   #6
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Come in on 17 from the NC/SC border, Lazy. It is a nice drive once you get through the Myrtle Beach traffic. Georgetown is neat if you take the tiny detour through the historic district (good for lunch stop).
South from here, it is nice to take 17 to 95--the ACE basin area is spectacular, but I haven't done any further than that. We'll see you in Charleston!
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Old 09-04-2007, 01:13 PM   #7
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great info as always, thanx much. following along with your suggestions on map by my side. was going to take i-95 & pick up 17 at fredericksburg but i see now don's idea for 301. looks like that gives me a nice crossing over the potomac. will pm you, don, not about your generous offer for the swim but maybe lunch in washington? my cousin is a curator by day and an artist by night & weekends so i'll have time to my own while there. am bringing expedition bike to get around historic areas.

sounds like lots to see in williamsburg so maybe leave washington early, spend day biking around there and then head south on 17 and drive until i tire. from what justin says it sounds like this might be a two night trip between washington & charleston. not so terrible and if it not all that scenic then i can tour little towns by day and drive by night. still, as va said, has to be better than i-95

i love having all these people who don't work and have plenty of time to think for me. it makes retirement so much easier.

had trouble finding yorktown but looks like that is where i cut over & backtrack a bit to williamsburg or am i better off skipping yorktown & cutting over the york river on 33. ya, looks better. map shows lots to visit there. maybe worthy of a future trip to catch the rest.

17 looks right coming out of charleston and then i can see beaufort before heading back on the 95dash home.

well, last trip it was no bear. no bear. this trip is no hurricane. no hurricane.

ok, well, gotta check the tires. have protein mix, yogurt, bananas & blender, will travel.
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Old 09-04-2007, 02:23 PM   #8
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I didn't mean to disparage US 17 too much. Just the segment between wilmington and Myrtle can get congested if you hit it at the wrong time. Even if you do, it probably won't delay you more than an extra 30-60 minutes worst case (assuming no wreck). There's just a decent amount of stop lights versus I-95, which is generally smooth sailing at 80 mph most of the time over most of the length till you exit off towards myrtle.

Definitely a much more scenic route vs. 95, and a route I have considered before for a nice road trip (that I haven't taken yet).

Also, if you are REALLY not in a hurry and need to blow some time, you can take the old 17 Business route through Wilmington, NC instead of the brand spankin new bypass around Wilmington. Wilmington is a neat decent-sized town with a historic downtown and waterfront (riverfront). Might be a nice place to stroll around and grab something to eat. If WW II battleships interest you, the decommissioned USS North Carolina is docked basically in downtown Wilmington and is open for tours for a small fee. The Cotton Exchange is also a good place (albeit a little "touristy") to grab lunch unless you can find another place.
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:16 PM   #9
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As a Williamsburger, I hope you enjoy our little town, but you'll have to detour off Rt. 17 to get here (33 to 30/60 works). I-95 is generally stop-and-go, and although it can take awhile to get to 301 and the bridge over the Potomac (from DC), once you do, 17 is worth the ride. It's a good time to visit as the kids are back in school and it's not quite so touristy. Please do us all a favor and don't stop your car in the middle of our streets gawking at the scenery. Some of us are still trying to get to work! Have a good trip.
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