Sunday, August 16, 2009
RIDING THE BUS
Beach or Bust
There are nearly a dozen bus services between Washington and New York, but getting from the capital city to the beach without a car has been pretty much a no-go. After Rehobus, the Adams Morgan-to-Rehoboth Beach, Del., service folded before the start of the summer season, and with only limited Greyhound service to Ocean City, car-less beach-going hopefuls have been stuck.
Until Michael J. Furman launched Bus2Beach, a weekend service from L'Enfant Plaza to the Delaware beach towns of Lewes, Rehoboth and Dewey.
Furman told CoGo that he started the service in part to supplement his income while he looks for work in his field of satellite communications. He figured that in the current economy, people might scale back and spend time at the beach instead of taking a pricey vacation.
It has been a learning experience, he admitted; the one-day trips are too short for most customers. He plans to change the schedule next season, providing round trips leaving Saturday morning and returning Sunday night. For now, though, the schedule will continue as is into September, he said.
Buses leave Washington most Saturday and Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m., then depart Dewey at 4:15, Rehoboth at 4:45 and Lewes at 5:30. Buying tickets in advance is crucial, since the size of the bus (or van) depends on the number of reservations; Bus2Beach has vans for as few as six people and buses for as many as 55.
One-day, round-trip tickets cost $50. One-way tickets are $35.
For most people, driving to the beach means traffic headaches, but Furman said that hasn't been an issue. "It turns out there are a few routes that are a little bit circuitous, but even two weeks ago we got there in about 3 1/2 hours." (That same weekend, it took CoGo nearly five stop-and-go hours to get to Bethany Beach.) "There was a fellow on the bus who was native to the Annapolis area, and he gave some suggestions to cut off some time getting to the bridge," Furman said. "But of course I can't reveal what they are."MEDIA REPORT
Ex-pe-ri-en-tial trav-el (noun): The act of going beneath the surface of a destination and beyond your comfort zone to experience the essence of a place. See: Afar magazine.
On Tuesday, a new publication hits the racks, and it's an adventure of a read. Unlike other glossies that rank hotels by thread counts and compare brown sugar scrubs at exotic spas, Afar goes deep inside a destination, rummaging around as an insider, not a face staring out a tour bus window.
"They partake in the culture and find out what is authentic about a place," said co-founder and chief executive Greg Sullivan, defining the experimental traveler and the publication's target audience. "They come away knowing the people and place." Sullivan himself is a bona-fide ET: Between 2004 and 2006, he tramped around 35 countries. The travel résumé of editor-in-chief Susan West is equally impressive: By age 10, she had been around the globe twice.
To understand this ethos, CoGo ripped off the fanny pack and dove into the inaugural issue and . . . learned about the Czech word "pohoda" (a harmonious state of contentment), got a taste of South African bunny chow (according to the recipe, no bunnies were hurt), heard about China's avant-rock scene and discovered accommodations in trees, including one in a Laotian gibbons reserve. For the features, one writer learns to perfect his baguette-baking skills in Paris, another buddies up with Berbers in Morocco and a third battles the bog at a kooky Welsh festival.
For the armchair eco-traveler, Afar will make a donation to a company that offsets carbon emissions produced by flights taken for the publication. CoGo can add 18.44 metric tons to its ledger.
The next Afar is out in December; in 2010, it will be published six times a year. Find it at major bookstores and in airports. Info: http://www.afar.com.
Reporting: Christina Talcott, Andrea Sachs
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