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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Weekend Topic: Heading home

When you start thinking of the logistics of your move to college, you'll probably wonder how you'll get to and from Charlottesville in the future.

First of all, rest assured that Charlottesville, though a small city, is a city nonetheless. There are plenty of transportation options here.

1. Planes
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO) is a relatively small airport that is served by Delta, Northwest, US Air, and United. Non-stop flights generally go to Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Cincinnati, JFK, and Dulles (the Dulles flight is only 30 minutes long). The airport is 10-15 minutes north of town and most students get there by sharing a cab/shuttle with other students.

The Richmond Airport is just over an hour away. I don't know of any public transit that goes there. Dulles International Airport is about two hours away. Though there isn't direct public transportation to Dulles, some alumni have organized bus that meets international students who come to the last orientation session ("Session L", the one that is held just before the official move in). Washington, DC's Reagan Airport is accessible by public transit, though I'm not sure this is a popular option with students. To get there, you'd take Amtrak from Charlottesville to Union Station, then take the DC Metro to the airport.

2. Trains
There's an Amtrak station about a 1/2 mile down Main Street from The Corner (the student shopping district). The free trolley stops right at the station. Trains run a few times a day and go up to DC and down south.

3. Automobiles
Charlottesville is on I-64, about 45 minutes from I-95 and I-81 and two hours south of Route 66. First year students can't have cars, but there's a "ride board" online that you can use to find an older student who might be driving home to your area.

4. Buses
Obviously, we have bus companies like Greyhound here, but even more convenient are the buses that make trips just for students around the holidays. There's a bus service about which I've heard (forgive me for not knowing the name at the moment) that has two general "trips". One drops students off at a mall in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads area and another drops students off at one of the Tysons Corner malls in northern Virginia. I'm sure that you'll hear about this from older students if you wind up here.

Any questions?