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How we stayed in DC for less than $25/day

By June 26, 2012Beer Travel
TRP-does-DC
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Before I started researching what it would be like to bring our RV up to the northeast, I was terrified of this over-populated, tiny-street, low bridge clearance having section of our country, or at least that’s what I envisioned. In the West, it’s really not a problem RVing around. It is much more spread out and it is very common to pass fellow RV travelers on the road or see them parked in driveways in the neighborhoods we drove by. Leaving KS and going through CO, WY, WA and OR I thought, “Wow! Everyone has RVs!!”. Up until now I’ve never been anywhere in the east, except FL, and never had been north of there. So the thought of visiting the east was daunting and a little scary to say the least. But it turns out, when you start a beer blog and talk about traveling the US seeking out the great beer destinations one would be amiss to never visit the northeast. So here we are, parked just outside of Philly, with two major cities down and two to go.

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Savor 2012

Pre-Savor shot with Stanley, the greatest RV ever!

Savor: at the National Building Museum.

Rockin' the red carpet!

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A few weeks back we ventured into DC for SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience for the first time. We are lucky to have other RVing friends that had already tackled DC in their RV with success, so needless to say I look to CheddarYeti and many others who have done it before for their advice. We are typically pretty good at street parking, finding an inconspicuous place to pull up for the night, but there is something about larger cities, the unknown of the different neighborhoods, and ones you should probably avoid, that you might not know about until you get there. Then there is also the impending heat of summer that has crept up a couple times, but so far has been quite pleasant. If it wasn’t for our two dogs the heat wouldn’t be as big of a deal, but anytime it gets above 90 we really need to 1. be driving all day or 2. plugged into electricity. With these things in mind combined with the fact that we would be gone trying to explore as much as DC as we could all day long we knew street parking wouldn’t be an option for us in DC.

Enter the urban oasis, Greenbelt Park, only 12 miles north of DC and about a 30 minute train ride into the city, located in Greenbelt, MD. The campground is known for it’s “affordability, National Park Service hospitality and peaceful surroundings”. It also offers you a chance to enjoy the outdoors before you tackle the city. And for only $16/night you really can’t argue with this place. The park does not have electrical hookups for RVs but does have plenty of trees and shade to help beat the heat. We were lucky during our stay in DC that it only got into the upper 80s/lower 90s once and it stayed pretty cool beneath the trees. If you camp in the D loop, you can take a beautiful trail for about a 3/4 mile to the intersection of Route 201-Kenilworth Avenue and Paint Branch Parkway. From there you continue on Paint Branch all the way to the College Park train station. It’s about 1.6 miles away from where we camped and turned out to be a very peaceful bike ride on our way to the train.

The peaceful trail on the way into the city

You pass a small little creek and we even saw a few deer each time we took the trail. We don’t tow a car, so we rely on bikes and public transit to get us from A to B(eer). Once we got to the train station we decided to purchase $20 passes and ended up paying about $2.40 each way depending on when we rode. They have peak rush hour times that they bump up the fares, but we never left before 9 am so didn’t have to worry about the morning rush and we were able to avoid the 3-7 rush hour as well (not in effect on the weekends). You can bring your bikes on the train but not during their peak times, which we did once. It’s never that convenient to bring your bikes onto a train when you’re not experienced doing it all the time, but we managed to get by and it definitely helps you see more of the city.

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TRP on the TRain


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But $25/day… that’s all you may be asking yourself? Well, yes, if you don’t include our beerventures. In fact, you could easily do it for less than $25/day if you brought your own lunch and had your own picnic on the mall, because as you may know all the museums in the city are free (some charge on the weekends). But either way, this was a substantial savings for us, especially considering we dropped $120/each on our well-worth it Savor tickets. Savor can be a huge expense for most beer geeks, but if you kick it Stanley style, we can show you how to save some pennies. What, no RV you say? Well, first of all, that’s a bummer, but second of all no big deal!! You can tent camp at Greenbelt Park too! So next time you head to DC, treat yourself to a different experience, in the beautiful serene setting of the campground conveniently located just outside of the city. If you’re like us, you will find a certain relief making your way out of the city to sleep under the stars among nature at night.

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Author Maria

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