One of those basic basic questions that gets overlooked. Now that the holy-shit-this-is-really-about-to-happen feeling has finally blossomed, I thought it would be a good time to put up a general travel guide. College Park is easy to get to, but kind of a tricky area once you get there. Therefore, I'm going to break it down into three phases: getting to College Park MD, getting to the Chapel for the ceremony, and getting to the reception.
PART I - College Park
DRIVING FROM POINTS NORTH -- A few tips.
--The Saw Mill River Parkway is a death trap. Steer clear of it unless you're the type who likes riding roller coasters, sitting on hot coals, and practicing acupuncture simultaneously. Take I-287 West towards the Garden State Parkway Instead.
--Unless you have EZ-Pass, bring $30 for tolls. It won't actually be that much, but it'll be closer than you want to know.
--When you pass into Maryland, don't get too excited. You've still got a good hour and a half left.
--Try to refrain from blinking during the trip, or you'll pass through Delaware without even realizing it.
--I like to take Garden State Parkway down about halfway through Jersey, pick up the Jersey Turnpike, and follow I-95 all the way to College Park (exit 25). It's a little heavy in the toll department, and traffic can be bad if you time it wrong, but the route is pretty simple and it can go by pretty quick if you hit the traffic right. Click here for a map from the Best Man's street to College Park, and alter to suit your tastes and/or location.
DRIVING FROM POINTS SOUTH, WEST
Ask Hannah, or just follow the North Star :-) Seriously, I'm not really qualified to answer this. It's taken me a good 6 years of driving around here to come up with the above tips, and after dozens of times driving up and down, trying different routes, and getting lost in Baltimore for an hour at 3 AM, this is all I have to show for it. Just find 95 North and you'll be fine. Or buy a GPS. Those are cool. Find one with Pierce Brosnan as a voice option. That'd be so cool. But I digress...
DRIVING FROM POINTS EAST
Hope your car is waterproof!
FROM THE AIR
The two major Airports - BWI and Regan/National both offer public transportation means of getting to College Park.
Regan/National has its own metro stop and it's such a pain in the to drive from Northern Virginia to Maryland that the metro is really the only practical option. More on the metro in a bit.
BWI has an automobile-rental facility; take 195 to 95 south and, depending on traffic, you'll be in College Park in between 25 minutes and 2 hours. However, if you follow signs to the busses you can catch a B-30 Metrobus, which will take you to the Greenbelt metro station--only one stop away from scenic College Park. Or just call Hannah and me, like many already have.
PART II - Memorial Chapel
FROM THE METRO
Them wedding bells is ringin at that red splotch on that map up there. If you find yourself in another town in the MD/VA area, coming from Regan/National airport, or metrobussing in from BWI, you'll want to make your way to the College Park - U of MD stop on the green line. Obnoxious and persistent delays aside (they say "Please allow and extra 30-45 minute to your travel time" like they're doing you a favor), the system is pretty clear, compared to other subway systems such as New York's. Just keep an eye on the map--they're posted like every 10 feet on the trains and in the stations. When you get to the College Park stop, call for help and someone will come get you.
HINT! Calling when you're at the Fort Totten metro stop will give the person retrieving you just enough time to meet you right when you get there. Not that Hannah and I used this tactic a million times in college or anything.
FROM THE ROAD
Because it's 2:15 in the morning, I'm going to copy and paste from the Memorial Chapel web site.
From the Capital Beltway (I-95/I-495):
- Exit 25, (or Exit 27 if coming from Baltimore)
- Go 2.5 miles south on US 1, past Campus Drive, toward downtown College Park
- Turn right onto campus at Regents Drive, just before the downtown business district
- Memorial Chapel will be on the corner of Regents and Chapel Drive
- Turn left on Chapel Drive
- Turn left at the dead end and enter Lot Y (Do not park in Lot W)
If Lot Y is filled:
- Exit the lot at the barrier (which rises automatically as you approach it)
- Turn right onto Chapel Drive
- Turn left at Regents Drive
- Take the first right into Lot L or continue in Lot L to the first right giving you access to Lot C2 or Lot C1 to your left
If you are not joining us on our bike ride procession, the drive from the chapel to Cherry Hill Park is very easy. Just get back on Route 1 North, and drive on that for a little under 2 miles. When you see an IHOP on your left, hang an immediate left onto Cherry Hill Rd. If you go past the intersection with 495, or pass IKEA, you've gone too far.
Go down about a mile, and take a left into Cherry Hill Park campground. Tell the people at the gate that you're headed to the conference center. Go straight for as long as you can, and take a right at the fork (onto Yosemite Lane) and you'll be rolling into the Conference Center in no time.
If you've made it as far as some of you will have traveled to make it out, up, or down here, this'll be the easy part. We do have a couple of safeguards in place just in case. First, a nice big map of the campground. Second, injured groomspeep Grant will be leading a caravan from point A to point B.
I mean, this looks like a guy who knows where he's going, right?
So writing for an hour late late on a Monday night seemed like a really good idea at the time. We have another busy day tomorrow--they all are at this point. My family is coming into town, but I probably won't be able to put them to work until Wednesday. So since it's all Hannah and me again tomorrow I'd best be heading to bed at last.
And I just remembered that I forgot to do the dishes. God. Damn. It. Nothing like a warm bath of residual soy sauce spray before bed.
See you all in a couple of days!