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Help Us Plan Our Vacation To Corvette's At Carlisle...

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Old 02-05-2017, 09:30 PM   #1
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Default Help Us Plan Our Vacation To Corvette's At Carlisle...

Hopefully some members will take a few minutes and try to help us plan our vacation this year to the Carlisle show.

We finally made it to Bowling Green 2 years ago and it was an awesome experience. Next on the agenda was the Corvette Carlisle show. I obviously am aware of the show from Aug 24-27th but am hoping maybe some members who are regulars there or locals can maybe chime in with some recommendations or tips?

First off and foremost, we're coming from NC and at a quick glance, looks like about a 7 hr drive. Unfortunately, my Vettes will not be seeing any action as far as the show(or drive). To be completely honest, I've never been to PA so I'm hoping there are some recommendations thrown our way as far as sights to see, places to go & things to do. I'm not really sure how big Carlisle, PA is but I'm assuming around that weekend, most hotels are booked waaaaay ahead of time and peak in price? Would it be better to stay a half hour or so away to save a few bucks as far as hotel stay?

Secondly, not sure if its similar but I know we have the Auto Fair here in Charlotte twice a year. It is also a Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun show as well. Down here, Thurs usually sucks b/c a lot of people are working and Sun usually sucks b/c people leave after Sat evening to return home. Saturday is the big day and Friday afternoon is the runner up. Is it the same way at this show?

Other attractions within an hour or two? Im clueless as far as PA goes lol. Im thinking Hershey, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, ball games, museums, etc.?

So any help any of you guys can offer in the way of tips, attractions, place's to avoid, anything would be great. I have seen the dedicated thread to Carlisle and have read quite a bit of that but wanted to hear from everyone out there on what they enjoyed or find best.

Thanks and hope to see some of you guys in August!

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Old 02-06-2017, 10:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by austinseanchris View Post
Hopefully some members will take a few minutes and try to help us plan our vacation this year to the Carlisle show.

We finally made it to Bowling Green 2 years ago and it was an awesome experience. Next on the agenda was the Corvette Carlisle show. I obviously am aware of the show from Aug 24-27th but am hoping maybe some members who are regulars there or locals can maybe chime in with some recommendations or tips?

First off and foremost, we're coming from NC and at a quick glance, looks like about a 7 hr drive. Unfortunately, my Vettes will not be seeing any action as far as the show(or drive). To be completely honest, I've never been to PA so I'm hoping there are some recommendations thrown our way as far as sights to see, places to go & things to do. I'm not really sure how big Carlisle, PA is but I'm assuming around that weekend, most hotels are booked waaaaay ahead of time and peak in price? Would it be better to stay a half hour or so away to save a few bucks as far as hotel stay?

Secondly, not sure if its similar but I know we have the Auto Fair here in Charlotte twice a year. It is also a Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun show as well. Down here, Thurs usually sucks b/c a lot of people are working and Sun usually sucks b/c people leave after Sat evening to return home. Saturday is the big day and Friday afternoon is the runner up. Is it the same way at this show?

Other attractions within an hour or two? Im clueless as far as PA goes lol. Im thinking Hershey, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, ball games, museums, etc.?

So any help any of you guys can offer in the way of tips, attractions, place's to avoid, anything would be great. I have seen the dedicated thread to Carlisle and have read quite a bit of that but wanted to hear from everyone out there on what they enjoyed or find best.

Thanks and hope to see some of you guys in August!
If your not bringing your car you can get a three day event pass for $35 dollars. Most of the hotels in the area will be about 150 a night and sold out weeks before with Corvette's everywhere. If you don't mind traveling you could stay in the York area. We stayed there several times and you can get a hotel for about 100 a night , maybe less. In York you can tour the Harley Davidson plant. 45 minutes to the west is Gettysburg Battlefield, 45 minutes to the east is Lancaster county and Amish country with several tourists activities and restaurants. Strasburg railroad and the Penn Train museum are in the area. and about an hour or less from there is the QVC shopping studio and tours if your wife maybe interested. To the north of Carlisle is Hershey with Hershey park and Trouges brewery. There are several small wineries in the area some have tasting rooms.

At Carlisle if you can swing it at $60 dollars a person is the CMAF dinner on Aug 25th. We've done it as part of the VIP package and it's well worth it. It's for a great cause, a very good meal and several "VIP's" from the corvette world will be there. They have an auction where you can bid on some really cool stuff.

This should get you started.
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:52 PM   #3
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If your not bringing your car you can get a three day event pass for $35 dollars. Most of the hotels in the area will be about 150 a night and sold out weeks before with Corvette's everywhere. If you don't mind traveling you could stay in the York area. We stayed there several times and you can get a hotel for about 100 a night , maybe less. In York you can tour the Harley Davidson plant. 45 minutes to the west is Gettysburg Battlefield, 45 minutes to the east is Lancaster county and Amish country with several tourists activities and restaurants. Strasburg railroad and the Penn Train museum are in the area. and about an hour or less from there is the QVC shopping studio and tours if your wife maybe interested. To the north of Carlisle is Hershey with Hershey park and Trouges brewery. There are several small wineries in the area some have tasting rooms.

At Carlisle if you can swing it at $60 dollars a person is the CMAF dinner on Aug 25th. We've done it as part of the VIP package and it's well worth it. It's for a great cause, a very good meal and several "VIP's" from the corvette world will be there. They have an auction where you can bid on some really cool stuff.

This should get you started.

Good deal...thanks for the heads up. Yea, honestly, I dont mind staying a few minutes away to hopefully cut down on some of the traffic so if York fits that bill, then sounds good to me. And based on what you have described, its kinda centralized there with the other attractions. I have a co-worker today that was telling me about the Frank Lloyd Wright home and the Gettysburg area saying that both were neat to visit. Not quite sure what the FLW home is but...? Is there any best day or times to go? Honestly, out of 4 days, we will probably go on definitely 2, maybe 3 of the 4 days total.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:03 AM   #4
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Check choicehotels.com for any rooms available in the area, and then on the same website, expand your search to Scotland Pa. It's about a half hour from the fairgrounds straight out I 81 and an easy 4 lane drive. There's a new Super 8 there and that's where we stayed last year. Very nice, about $80 a night, free breakfast. There's also a Comfort Inn and a Sleep Inn there as well. But it's an easy drive and a lot less expensive.

Here's a great site to check out as for what's to see in the area
https://www.visitcumberlandvalley.com/

Send for a visitor guide here https://www.visitcumberlandvalley.co...isitors-guide/

Hershey Chocolatetown, Gettysburg, and the state capital of Harrisburg are all within an hours drive, along with Amish Lancaster.
There's a real good car museum in Hershey as well. http://www.aacamuseum.org/

Not sure which Frank Lloyd Wright house you were talking about but if it was Falling Water, you're no where near. And Pittsburgh is on the other side of the state, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours away.

Of course, the best way to go to Carlisle is in your Vette and getting a reserved spot on the Fun Field. But since that's not an option for you, plan on going Friday and Saturday since those are the two busiest days. Thursday is almost a set up day, and Sunday is a dud aside from the awards ceremony and small parade. The BIG parade is Saturday night through downtown Carlisle.
Wear the best shoes you can for walking because you'll walk MILES. There is no parking for cars except Corvettes at the fairgrounds either so you'll have to find a lot or on street parking. A lot of the locals allow you to park in their yards for a small fee. There is also no shade at the show, so wear sunscreen and a hat or use an umbrella. It can, and often does, get to 100* or more for the show. There is plenty of food on the grounds from breakfasts and coffee to Subway, chicken, pizza, ice cream and everything in between. As for finding a place to sit and take a break, you'll have the grandstand or while you're eating at the food court. That's about it.
There's a rickety tram that rides around for free that takes you all around to see the cars and through the swap meet. Just flag it down while it's going around and you can hop off anywhere. It's a great way to see pretty much everything.

If you go on Corvettes at Carlisle's website you'll see the event map. That will give you a good idea of the layout. You can pick up a program for free at the information center next to the grandstand and it will have a map inside it to keep with you while you're there. Here's last year's map. I doubt much has changed for this year since they pretty much keep everything the same from year to year. http://www.carlisleevents.com/pdf/Corvette-Map.pdf

That's about it. Ask away if you have more questions.

Last edited by USA1 427; 02-07-2017 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:26 PM   #5
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Check choicehotels.com for any rooms available in the area, and then on the same website, expand your search to Scotland Pa. It's about a half hour from the fairgrounds straight out I 81 and an easy 4 lane drive. There's a new Super 8 there and that's where we stayed last year. Very nice, about $80 a night, free breakfast. There's also a Comfort Inn and a Sleep Inn there as well. But it's an easy drive and a lot less expensive.

Here's a great site to check out as for what's to see in the area
https://www.visitcumberlandvalley.com/

Send for a visitor guide here https://www.visitcumberlandvalley.co...isitors-guide/

Hershey Chocolatetown, Gettysburg, and the state capital of Harrisburg are all within an hours drive, along with Amish Lancaster.
There's a real good car museum in Hershey as well. http://www.aacamuseum.org/

Not sure which Frank Lloyd Wright house you were talking about but if it was Falling Water, you're no where near. And Pittsburgh is on the other side of the state, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours away.

Of course, the best way to go to Carlisle is in your Vette and getting a reserved spot on the Fun Field. But since that's not an option for you, plan on going Friday and Saturday since those are the two busiest days. Thursday is almost a set up day, and Sunday is a dud aside from the awards ceremony and small parade. The BIG parade is Saturday night through downtown Carlisle.
Wear the best shoes you can for walking because you'll walk MILES. There is no parking for cars except Corvettes at the fairgrounds either so you'll have to find a lot or on street parking. A lot of the locals allow you to park in their yards for a small fee. There is also no shade at the show, so wear sunscreen and a hat or use an umbrella. It can, and often does, get to 100* or more for the show. There is plenty of food on the grounds from breakfasts and coffee to Subway, chicken, pizza, ice cream and everything in between. As for finding a place to sit and take a break, you'll have the grandstand or while you're eating at the food court. That's about it.
There's a rickety tram that rides around for free that takes you all around to see the cars and through the swap meet. Just flag it down while it's going around and you can hop off anywhere. It's a great way to see pretty much everything.

If you go on Corvettes at Carlisle's website you'll see the event map. That will give you a good idea of the layout. You can pick up a program for free at the information center next to the grandstand and it will have a map inside it to keep with you while you're there. Here's last year's map. I doubt much has changed for this year since they pretty much keep everything the same from year to year. http://www.carlisleevents.com/pdf/Corvette-Map.pdf

That's about it. Ask away if you have more questions.
Awesome...thanks for the heads up and recommendations! Not to sound like an idiot, but never having been up north in the summer, I'm assuming the weather in late August is still hot(based on your sunscreen and no shelter comment)? Here in NC its usually in the low 90's in late August so I wasn't sure how miserable the weather would be up there...?
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Old 02-08-2017, 03:46 PM   #6
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It will almost definitely be in the 80's. We've been going for 14 years and have had a few years where it was in the upper 70's to low 80's and those are the temps we pray for. Last year was miserable.......upper 90's and humid as hell. Upper 80's is more normal. Some years (2005 in particular) it was in the 100's. We left the fairgrounds early and went back to the hotel just to cool down. Turned out that was a good idea because there were straight line winds that went through the grounds and did major damage to displays and cars. But just that one time. Weather is unpredictable. Best advice I can give you is to check Wunderground or Weather.com (any weather site) and check the forecast before you start your trip. Almost everyone has a pop up canopy with their car and I'd say most people don't mind if you stop and talk for a bit just to get out of the sun. Personally, if I'm away from my car and come back to find someone sitting in my chairs, I don't mind too much as long as they don't keep sitting there once I'm back. Pretty much everyone is friendly and happy to talk to you. You can almost always plan for a day of rain or sometimes two, so be sure to bring an umbrella or two, or ponchos. As for the weather temps.......you'll probably feel right at home.

Last edited by USA1 427; 02-08-2017 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:45 AM   #7
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I'm some what local to Carlisle and have made the trip past the Mt. Pleasant area many, many times. I have family in the Greenville/Spartanburg area. My tip for the trip up, stop to eat in the Roanoke VA area. Once you get on 81 in Roanoke, the places to stop become slim.

Since you'll bring 81 up, stay in Chambersburg, Scotland, or Shippensburg. They are all on 81 and will be 30-45 minute drives in the morning, but much cheaper. I would suggest Scotland or Chambersburg. Don't go to York unless you want to sight see in that area. Otherwise you'll be driving over an hour out of your way.

If you stay in Chambersburg, you'll be about 30 minutes to Gettysburg, 45 to Harrisburg, and 40 to the fairgrounds. If you want to go to Pittsburgh or the Frank Lloyd Wright house, you'll be about 2 to 3 hours away (depends where in Pittsburgh you want to go). And if you want to go east, you're only 2 to 3 hours to the Philadelphia area. Also, if you stay in Chambersburg, the Baltimore and Washington DC area is only 1 1/2 hours southeast. Basically, Chambersburg will be a very centrally located place to stay considering you want to see more than just the car show.

There are a ton of things to see and do in the area. It all just depends on what you are interested in.
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Old 02-13-2017, 04:11 PM   #8
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Agreed about staying in Scotland. We stayed there last year at the new Super 8 and were very satisfied. New hotel, clean, free breakfast and the rooms were under $80 a night with AARP discount. Here's the link. https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/super-...0927:Rio:Local
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Old 02-13-2017, 04:38 PM   #9
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Agreed about staying in Scotland. We stayed there last year at the new Super 8 and were very satisfied. New hotel, clean, free breakfast and the rooms were under $80 a night with AARP discount. Here's the link. https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/super-...0927:Rio:Local
And you can be to the fairgrounds in about 30 minutes from that hotel. Not much of a sacrifice for half the price of Carlisle hotels.
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:38 PM   #10
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There are other options too. About 10 miles east is Mechanicsburg with a lot of hotels and motels and next to that is West Harrisburg. Then across the river is Harrisburg. I have stayed in all of those areas, including Carlisle. I would bet that some of the Carlisle hotels are already booked up or close to it.

I second most pfmthe recommendations. That museum in Hershey is worth it and so are visits to Gettysburg and to Amish country. I have not visited Harley Davidson.

The weather can be variable, including hot and muggy, rainy, and even kind of cold and rainy. Be prepared.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:31 PM   #11
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Thanks for the great advice thus far. The Super 8 sounds like a good deal and definitely don't mind staying about 30 mins away. Of course Carlisle is our main focus of the trip, obviously we do wanna do more so the more centralized we are, the better. Don't mind staying in a cheaper motel/hotel just as long as we aren't being carried off by the bugs at night or sleeping on a rock. Been there and done that!

I wasn't aware that we would be so close to Baltimore and DC. I'm sure there's tons to see in DC, but wouldnt mind catching an Oriole's game in they're in town sometime that week/weekend? Anything in those 2 areas that are a must see?

And lastly, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh...between the two, which one should we go to(since it appears we'll be right in between both of them)?
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Old 02-18-2017, 11:38 AM   #12
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Pittsburgh is 2 hours west of us and I live in Johnstown which is 2 hours west of Carlisle. So about 4 hours, but we don't take the turnpike all the way like you would if you were driving directly to Pittsburgh. So it's probably an hour shorter, about 3 hours. Philly is a little closer. But if you're planning on doing DC or Balto after, Philly is closer. And heck, if you're going to Balto, why not drive another couple hours east and hit Ocean City Md? I've never been to Philadelphia so I can't tell you what's in the area, but if you do decide to come west to Pittsburgh, you could always take the more scenic route and drive Rte 30 instead of the turnpike. You could visit the Johnstown Flood Memorial and museum, the Flight 93 Memorial is nearby and worth the visit. Historic Ligonier Pa is along the route as well. Or take the turnpike and get off at the Somerset exit to visit those places and take 30 to visit them. Do you have a AAA office nearby? They could map out a route for you. Or send for a PA visitor guide.
As for the Super 8 hotel, like I said, we stayed there last year and were pleased. Clean and new and reasonable. We'd be staying there again this year except we got a free hotel thanks to my son.
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Old 02-18-2017, 02:58 PM   #13
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As the other guys said, the hotels in town book up fast. Most of the guys from my club are staying at the Best Western, that place is all booked up. I dragged my *** and didn't get in on it. I shopped around and found rooms at the Quality Inn, its just few miles from the fair grounds. The phone number is 717-243-6000. As of Thursday night they still had a few room left. I think I paid 145-150 a night...
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Old 02-22-2017, 12:51 PM   #14
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Thanks for the great advice thus far. The Super 8 sounds like a good deal and definitely don't mind staying about 30 mins away. Of course Carlisle is our main focus of the trip, obviously we do wanna do more so the more centralized we are, the better. Don't mind staying in a cheaper motel/hotel just as long as we aren't being carried off by the bugs at night or sleeping on a rock. Been there and done that!

I wasn't aware that we would be so close to Baltimore and DC. I'm sure there's tons to see in DC, but wouldnt mind catching an Oriole's game in they're in town sometime that week/weekend? Anything in those 2 areas that are a must see?

And lastly, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh...between the two, which one should we go to(since it appears we'll be right in between both of them)?
Baltimore and DC are super easy if you time it right to avoid traffic. I usually go to a few Orioles games a year. There are some parking garages right near the stadium, both of which are right off the interstate. Or you can even park outside the city and take the train right to the stadium. The ballpark is right next to Inner Harbor. Definitely walk around there if you go to a game. DC is totally different. Museums and land marks everywhere, with most of it free to the public. Parking in DC can be a pain, so I'd recommend taking the metro in. Very easy and much less stressful.

To me, Philly and Pittsburgh are a toss up. I've been to both, but I'm not an expert on either. Honestly, both will probably be about the same for you. They each have a wide variety of things to do in and around the cities. It's all personal preference as to what you are looking for.
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Old 02-23-2017, 04:54 PM   #15
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My dad and I stayed not too far away in Mechanicsburg last year, cant remember the hotel but it was next door to a Lexus dealership. As for places to eat....theres a great little place called The Carriage House Taven.....awesome steaks and coooooooooold beer. Its not too far from the Carlisle Fairgrounds: Address: 1582 Holly Pike, Carlisle, PA 17015
Phone: (717) 323-0463
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:06 AM   #16
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Thanks for the great advice thus far. The Super 8 sounds like a good deal and definitely don't mind staying about 30 mins away. Of course Carlisle is our main focus of the trip, obviously we do wanna do more so the more centralized we are, the better. Don't mind staying in a cheaper motel/hotel just as long as we aren't being carried off by the bugs at night or sleeping on a rock. Been there and done that!

I wasn't aware that we would be so close to Baltimore and DC. I'm sure there's tons to see in DC, but wouldnt mind catching an Oriole's game in they're in town sometime that week/weekend? Anything in those 2 areas that are a must see?

And lastly, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh...between the two, which one should we go to(since it appears we'll be right in between both of them)?
Any of the areas others have mentioned will be plenty close enough to get you to the show. The only thing to keep in mind is that traffic can really get backed up Friday and Saturday, so don't be surprised if your 30 minute trip takes you another 30-45 minutes to get from 81 to a parking spot and walking into the fairgrounds.

There's a lot do around central PA - some nice roads, the AACA museum in Hershey, Hershey Park/Chocolate World, Gettysburg, Amish country, and I'm sure more depending on what your interests are. That's all within about 40 minutes of Carlisle.

Baltimore is about an hour away, the stadium is right off the highway. There's a tourist area called Inner Harbor next to the stadium with restaurants, bars, the national aquarium, etc. I personally love the aquarium, but I'm just an overgrown kid so I still think staring at fish for hours is cool.

Between Philly and Pittsburgh, both are great places (I've lived in both, as well as not too far from Carlisle), but very different. Philly is a little under 2 hours from Carlisle, a larger, more east coast city. The downtown area (called Center City) is very walkable and more a commercial/residential mix so it stays active late at night and all weekend. Pittsburgh is about 3 1/2 hours from Carlisle, a great place with definitely more of a mid-western attitude. As the joke goes, drivers actually stop when you step into the middle of the street in Pittsburgh (except the buses on 5th Ave, just don't ever try and cross 5th Ave). Pittsburgh is more neighborhood centric, there is a really improved downtown area, but you're more likely to be traveling (a very short distance) to one of the shoulder areas like the South Side for bars, or the strip district to restock your Steeler's gear. If cost is a concern, Philly can definitely be pricier than Pittsburgh, but they're both urban areas so what you spend is dependent on what you do. If you let me know what you're looking to experience, I may be able to give some advice. Both cities have plenty of choices for museums, shopping, parks, pubs and my favorite - food.

As for the Frank Lloyd Wright designs, he actually did several properties in PA. The most famous is Fallingwater, in the mountains roughly 2 1/2 hours west of Carlisle. They do guided tours during the day, plan on spending about 2 1/2-3 hours there. The house is built around a stepped waterfall (hence the name), which unfortunately doesn't run as strong as it used to, but there should still be decent run off in August. If you're over 6 feet, you've got to watch out for the low concrete ceilings.
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Old 03-08-2017, 02:27 PM   #17
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You will only have back up problems on 81 depending on what time you're on the highway. We leave Scotland around 6 a.m. and have never hit any tie ups or back ups. And leaving in the afternoon to drive back........if you leave around 3 or after 6 you won't hit any heavy traffic either.
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Old 03-13-2017, 05:16 PM   #18
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try to arrive near the fairgrounds no later than 7:30, especially on Saturday. get close and pay the $10 to park. beat the crowds and get a start while it's cooler. take a break occasionally and sit in the grandstands to rest.
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:45 PM   #19
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Well, after taking everyones advice into consideration, we decided to go with the Super 8 in Scotland. It was $63/night and got great reviews. Went to book it and "NO ROOMS AVAILABLE". Outstanding...

Honestly, I wasn't planning on booking for about another week but glad I got started tonight. Tons of places are already booked up. I've never been up here and until this year have not talked to anyone who has gone but I guess this is one hell of a show lol. Nonetheless, had to spend a little more but did get booked at the Sleep Inn in Chambersburg. Got pretty good reviews and the next best prices based on amenities. If I wanted to smell an ashtray all evening, I could've gotten a room for cheaper but I decided I'd like to refrain from that.

I didnt look, but I wonder how much rooms are in Carlisle itself and if there are even any left lol.

Based solely on google maps, its saying its 32 miles to Carlisle and about the same on time. Like everyone said, looks like a straight shot up I-81. Everyone is saying to get there early...Man, "7:30"? I thought this was a vacation lol! We're planning to be there Friday and Saturday. Do we need to purchase tickets ahead of time or just wait till we get there?

Thanks again everyone for the help and heads up thus far!
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:39 AM   #20
USA1 427
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Never stayed in Chambersburg, but you'll have more options when it comes to eating at least. Scotland is tiny with one restaurant. Chambersburg is much bigger. Skip the Chambersburg Mall (which is in Scotland) if your wife thinks she wants to go there to shop. There are only about 4 small stores and a movie theater left inside there. Everything else has closed including the Bonanza buffet. But the buffet moved to Chambersburg, so that should tell you something.
As for rooms in Carlisle, you might be able to find one at one of the roach motels, but you'll still pay big bucks. The Days Inn South, which is where we used to stay, was $179 a night last year with a 3 night minimum. Most better, closer hotels (clean) average $150 a night.
As for getting there by 7:30,
Since you're not bringing your Vette you don't need to worry so much about what time you get there. But the morning is the best time to stroll the grounds before the heat of the day sets in. Your only issue will be finding parking. Unfortunately, Dickinson College is in downtown Carlisle close to the fairgrounds and Corvette weekend is also "move in" weekend for the college which increases the madness. So when you come into town, keep an eye out for excited freshmen.

Last edited by USA1 427; 03-16-2017 at 11:40 AM.
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