Getting to USMA

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by tallbutshort, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. tallbutshort

    tallbutshort Member

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    I plan on doing an overnight visit at West Point sometime this fall. I'd be going without my parents, so I'm not sure what the best way to get from the airport to USMA is. Any advice?
     
  2. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    Which airport?
     
  3. Szpieg

    Szpieg Member

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    from newark international?
     
  4. AKH

    AKH Member

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    Not travel advice, but a scheduling tip - try to finalize what days sooner rather later, especially if you're flying. When I got around to actually requesting my visit through the online system, my first two choices were already full even though it was a month out. I had to settle for a different date.
     
  5. titan2010

    titan2010 Member

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    hey, as a cadet, the best way is to take the train north, get off at Garrison (directly across the river) and then hop on the ferry. However, I don't know if non-cadets are allowed on the ferry. Moreover, the ferry stops running Oct. 31 this year. You could probably take a cab from garrison train station across the river, but that might be costly because the nearest bridge is a bit south. Then again, you could take a cab the whole way. I'm just a measly plebe and I know nothing, so there are probably better ways, I just don't know them yet...
     
  6. mmb5

    mmb5 Member

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    Information from a class page...

    After one gets to Garrison, how does one get to West Point?

    This is absolutely the tricky part. You get off the train and there you are, standing and looking across the Hudson River at West Point. There are several options you can now follow. To be absolutely clear about the first, the ferry, I spoke at length today with the USMA Harbormaster. He is the person who operates the ferry for USMA and I received from him the conditions under which he operates the ferry.

    THE USMA FERRY
    1. If the USMA ferry is running, and if you are either accompanied by your cadet or state you are a guest of your cadet and can identify him/her and give their cadet company designation, you can cross the river for a modest 25 cent fee on the ferry. The ferry is operated solely for the benefit of cadets and their guests. The ferry crosses the river from Garrison (where the Metro North train station is located) to the USMA South Dock. The South Dock is located on the rivers edge below, and slightly South of, the Cadet Area. A street runs up from the dock area and comes up to Thayer Road adjacent to the Thayer Hotel and Buffalo Soldier Field. If you walk up from the dock this is where you will arrive on post. There is also a extensive set of stairs (a little to the North of the South Dock and behind the soccer field that is at the level of the river) that go up to the main cadet area but you had better be in good physical condition before you use them as they are quite extensive and the climb requires some really heavy physical effort.

    2. The ferry will be in operation this year (2006) from April 14 through May 28, and from August 4 through October 29. It operates on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and if there is an extended weekend with a holiday or Plebe Parent Weekend it will operate on Monday as well. Hours of operation are 11:45 AM to 7:30 PM Friday and Saturday, and 10:45 AM to 6:30 PM on Sunday and Mondays. The ferry is in continuous operation. It justs goes back and forth across the river during these hours. There is no set schedule, however, the Harbormaster does know when trains are scheduled to arrive at Garrison and he tries to have the ferry parked on the East side at the station when trains arrive there.

    3. The schedule stated in paragraph 2 above is it. The ferry will not operate during morning hours or weekdays other than Friday. A question has arisen as to whether or not it will be operating during graduation week. The answer is no, except for the days and times mentioned above.

    If the schedule works for you,call the Admissions Office;they can arrange permission.
    A TAXI
    A second method of getting from Garrison to USMA is to use a taxi. There are some local companies operating from Highland Falls that do provide this service. In speaking with the USMA Harbormaster, however, he indicated that these companies appear and disappear with great frequency and that he could not tell me today who will really be in business this Spring and able to pick-up passengers at Garrison. In other words, no one really knows yet who to call for taxi service this Spring.

    This is not a hopeless situation. There are taxis. Neither I nor the Harbormaster, however, can tell you now who they are. You had best rely on your cadet to figure this out for you prior to you needing this service.

    HAVE SOMEONE PICK YOU UP
    If your cadet has an automobile they can possibly pick you up. It depends on the time of day and their ability to get off post. Another possibility is to have you cadet ask their officer sponsor if that person might be able to pick you up.

    That's it other than to walk or swim, both of which I mention in jest.
    Your cadet has access to information about the ferry hours of operation on the USCC web site under the S-4 heading, Transportation section. You cannot access this web site. It is an internal USMA operation only available to those associated with the US Corps of Cadets (USCC).

    Alternative: take the bus from the Port Authority instead. You end up closer to the post, onthe right side of the river.

    2009 Memory Page Links
     
  7. tallbutshort

    tallbutshort Member

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    Thanks for the advice. Yes, I'd be flying into Newark. It sounds like the ferry is a no-go since I'm neither a cadet nor a parent of one.
     
  8. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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  9. sterlingmom

    sterlingmom Member

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    If you are flying into Newark with your parents, I would recommend renting a car and driving to West Point.
     
  10. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    As you can see by all of the above posts, getting to West Point from any NYC airport via public transportation is a multi step process and can be overwhelming if not use to public transportation. The cadets have this down but also have the option of the ferry.

    Have you considered flying into Stewart Airport (Newburgh)?
    It is about 20 miles from Thayer Gate (30 minutes driving time). It may cost a little more to fly in to Stewart but it is an easier and quicker trip from there to West Point.
    You can call ahead and hire a car service to drive you from the airport to West Point and back to Stewart for your return flight. http://www.viscontirides.com/rates/index.asp?rlid=10
    This company is very familiar with taking cadets to and from West Point and are very accommodating. You also pay for the tip when you reserve the service so you don't have to worry about having the cash to do that.
    When you compare the costs of transportation from Newark to WP and the cost of flying to Stewart plus the car service, it may not be much different and the hassle factor is a whole lot less which may be worth it to you since you are traveling alone.

    Stewart is definitely my favorite airport to use. We rarely fly into the NYC airports. The plane tix price is a little more to use Stewart but not that much more. It is just so much easier travel-wise and is worth the few extra $$ to us.

    Another airport to consider is White Plains. It is usually cheaper than Stewart (and sometimes cheaper than the NYC airports). I have used it a couple of times but have never flown my cadet there so I can't vouch for the ground transportation. It is a little further to WP than Stewart but closer than the NYC airports. It is about an hour to WP from there.

    Just some other options for you to consider.

    If Stewart and White Plains are not an options for you, call Admissions and tell them you will be traveling by yourself and ask them what they would recommend for your travel from EWR to WP. Who knows - they may arrange for car transportation from the Garrsion depot to WP or make accommodations for you to ride the ferry.

    You must have a LOA to be scheduling an overnight visit (or recruited athlete perhaps?)! Make sure you schedule your visit at least 2 weeks in advance.
    October is a great time to visit West Point!
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  11. luv2swim

    luv2swim Member

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    Bus option

    I recently read a favorable report by someone traveling between Newark and WP. You can take a bus from Newark to New York Port Authority (the main bus terminal in NY) which is available from the terminals at the airport very frequently:

    http://www.coachusa.com/olympia/ss.details.asp?action=Lookup&c1=Newark+Liberty+Airport&s1=NY&c2=New+York&s2=NY&resultId=85818&order=&dayFilter=&scheduleChoice=&sitePageName=%2Fshortline%2Findex%2Easp&cbid=526802318136

    Then catch the Short Line into Highland Falls. This one is less frequent and would require some planning, but I think it puts you at the WP Visitor's Center.

    http://www.coachusa.com/shortline/ss.details.asp?action=Lookup&c1=New+York&s1=NY&c2=Highland+Falls&s2=NY&resultId=919&order=&dayFilter=&scheduleChoice=&sitePageName=%2Fshortline%2Findex%2Easp&cbid=644219950262

    I don't know what you need to do after that to actually get into West Point. Perhaps Admissions can guide you when you set up your visit.

    Good luck!
     
  12. tallbutshort

    tallbutshort Member

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    Thanks for the information everyone! It sounds pretty tricky to get there, so I'm probably going to pick a different date when my parents could come with me.
     
  13. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    If your parents have never visited West Point, I think they would find the talk by the Admissions officers very informative. It's a great time to ask questions and hear what other parents are curious about. Deb Dalton from the Public Affairs office is wonderful at telling what all West Point has to offer your cadet. The cadet-led tours are always excellent.

    If you fly into Neward and rent a car, make sure to have your GPS with you! It's a wild ride!:eek:
     
  14. freedomtruck

    freedomtruck Member

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    And if you do happen to have a GPS, make sure the software/maps within are updated. Otherwise, the GPS may take you on unnecessarily long routes through the mountains to West Point.
     
  15. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    If you can get to visitor center or anywhere in downtown highland falls you are within walking distance of the South entrance gate.

    There is a campus shuttle that will take you pretty much anywhere you need to go! I think it runs every half hour, but admissions could confirm.

    We mainly used it from Hotel Thayer just inside the South gate, but my impression was that it had stopped in Highland Falls earlier. (Was full of civvies headed to work on campus)

    All that said- for visits to USMA I'd still suggest renting a car. By the time you do planes, trains, taxies, etc a car rental is normally cheaper and will save much time. It's a no-brainer if it's more than one traveling.

    USMA is not hard to get to or find, especially if starting from the NJ side of things. Head up Pallisades Parkway, or drop on to 9W headed north and ride along the hudson. Both will get you to Highland Falls. Just make sure you are on the west side of the Hudson!!!! (there is also a 9E)

    In most cases you park your car at Buffalo Soldier field just inside the South gate and use the campus shuttle. Parking is available but usually full anywhere near admissions, so it's just easier.

    For a quick pickup/drop-off, it's OK (per admission) to drive to the admissions building, and wait in front with flashers on and vehicle occupied. Pretty common for parents picking up candidates after overnight visit.

    and for hotels, having tried 2-3 different options, our experience was that Hotel Thayer is nicer and more convenient than the alternatives. You'll pay almost as much to be 20-30 minutes away in a budget hotel. IE: Hotel Thayer $113 vs econobudget for $99. No contest. Holiday Inn Express was the same as Hotel Thayer and much further away.

    Though it looks close on the map, Newburgh is over the mountain and a good 30 minutes away. And is not a particularly nice place to stay. Waterfront is OK to visit, but downtown is quite rough.
     
  16. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    Inquiring minds want to know how you got The Thayer for $113. I have never seen it below $160 and most times ( at least the times you want to visit, ie R-Day, A-Day, PPW, football games) is in the $300 range. :eek: I've noticed too that the Holiday Inn Express is usually in the same price range as the Thayer which makes no sense to me because it is not as nice and about a 10 minute drive (IOW not in walking distance like The Thayer). Love The Thayer. You just can't beat the convenience but if you can't justify the price there are options.

    You definitely need to know where to stay and not stay in Newburgh. There are some not so nice areas in Newburgh. Fishkill is an option to look into. Lots of hotel choices there and some cute restaurants in the town of Fishkill.
    Another option for more affordable hotels is the Nyack/Nanuet area. A scenic 30 minute drive down 9W or Palisades Parkway. Close to White Plains which is usually a cheaper airport to fly into.
     
  17. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    maybe we just got lucky and it was not a busy time. But my wife mentioned we were there for an overnight candidate visit, and that was the rate quoted. (She probably also mentioned AAA)

    HI express was pretty much the same cost when we were there. Econolodge (Rodeway??) there in Highland Falls just a hair cheaper, and it's pretty basic from external observation.

    Fishkill and others are options, but you have to go over the mountain (like to Newburgh) and then over the river, etc. Not a huge problem, but a fairly long drive if you have early AM appts.

    None of the area hotel/motels were cheap when we were there in the summer and last week..... just too much tourist traffic. I'd expect that changes mid-winter! :)

    I could see how reports would vary on the Thayer. Some things are very nice, and others it's not up to par with something like a Mariott. And that it's booked way ahead / unavailable at times.

    They seem to supplement the academy stays with corporate events, and the bus's arrive with hundreds.
     
  18. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    Your wife sounds like a smart shopper!

    OK - I'm going to let the cat out of the bag on how we got good deals at The Thayer last year.

    http://www.smartcirclecards.net/servlet/the-2327/Smart-Circle-Card-Up/Detail

    We bought one of these A-Day weekend at the PX. It more than paid for itself as we made several trips to WP Plebe year. Heck - getting one night free more than paid for the card! Even if we didn't stay in the hotel, we would eat there and use the food deals. Also, even without the card, if you take your cadet to the Sunday Brunch there, they give your cadet a discount.

    Very true. You just have to weigh what is more important to you on that particular trip - cost v convenience.
     

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