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AstriCon 2010 coming to D.C. – Two cents on traveling

Digium (www.digium.com) has formally announced dates and places for AstriCon 2010. (www.astricon.net).

This year’s event will take place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just outside of Washington D.C., on October 26-28, 2010. 

FYIs on getting to the Gaylord from local hubs

Please note travelers take my advice at their own risk – my day job is not concierge

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

GOOD NEWS – This is the closest airport to the Gaylord and I believe is a 30-40 minute cab ride directly from the airport, assuming no rush-hour traffic (Yes, DC natives are now laughing). 

Travelers selecting this option may want to land at Reagan, take a Metro (Yellow or Blue, doesn’t matter) down to King Street station and grab a cab there over to the Gaylord. 

Yellow line stops at Eisenhower Avenue and Huntington with a transfer to a cab will also work, but I cannot vouch for the availability of cab service at Eisenhower.  If arriving at Huntington, go to the lower level, walk out, and there should be cabs available – the station is an “end-node,” so there’s always 4-6 cabs around to take people places. 

More adventuresome travelers with light luggage could take the free King Street Trolley (http://alexandriava.gov/Trolley) from the King Street Metro down to the Potomac River Waterfront.  From there, one could pick up a Water Taxi (http://www.potomacriverboatco.com/national-harbor-schedule.php) from the Alexandria Marina directly to the Gaylord.  One way tickets are $8.00 and be advised that taxis leave every hour and 10 minutes or so, with the dock-to-dock time about half an hour. CHECK the website for the most up-to-date schedule.

BAD NEWS – Being a smaller airport, there aren’t that many cross-country direct flights into DCA. East Coasters from Boston and the South might want to look at US Airways, one of the primary carriers there. United frequent-fliers may be able to hub through Chicago or Denver to get to IAD, but don’t expect a cheap ticket.

 

Washington Dulles International (IAD)

BAD NEWS – If you’re coming from the West Coast, the “Washington” part of Dulles is anywhere from 40 minutes (if you’re really really lucky) to an hour and 20 minutes away from the Gaylord. 

Look at taking a Super Shuttle or renting a car. I think there’s also a way to take a bus ride from Dulles to the closest Orange Line stop, but it’s going to be a long bus ride and then you have to navigate to switching from Orange to Blue lines so it might not be worth the cost in aspirin.

GOOD NEWS – If you have time to kill and like airplanes (Hi Mark! Hi Danny!), the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center (http://www.nasm.si.edu/UdvarHazy/) is available, and there’s a shuttle bus available.

 

Baltimore Washington International (BWI)

GOOD NEWS – While just about the same distance (46 minutes in traffic, up to 1 hr 20 min … or more in traffic) as IAD, plane fares into BWI tend to be cheaper. 

BAD NEWS – The most direct way from BWI to the Gaylord is still a car or Super Shuttle. 

An alternatively creative route would be to take the train into DC to Union Station, then Metro to King Street.  Amtrak or MARC both have routes and there’s a free shuttle bus between the airport and the close-by rail station.

Once at Union Station, you can take the Red Line metro over to the Green/Yellow line, and then Yellow Line to King street. Or just take a cab.

 

Amtrak Union Station

If you’re traveling from New York, Philadelphia, or points in between, taking the train to D.C. (Union Station) is not a bad idea. You could metro from Union Station to King Street, or simply take a cab.

An alternative route might be taking the train from points north to New Carrollton Metro stop and then getting a cab (30-40 minutes?) to the Gaylord.   

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