As a little girl I remember going to BWI on Sunday afternoons – back then it was still called “Friendship Airport” and there was a long platform off the airport where people could go to watch the planes take off and land. With security being so different from back then and the airport now called “Thurgood Marshall” (after the Supreme Court Chief Justice who was born in Baltimore) as well as “Baltimore-Washington International (BWI),” things have definitely changed. No longer do you go to the airport to watch the planes – although there are unofficial watching places outside the airport fencing.
I can’t count how many times I’ve been to this airport – to fly somewhere, to drop off someone, or to pick up someone arriving. I used to live and work right around the corner from the airport and on the landing pattern.
In my opinion, BWI is the easiest airport in the Washington, DC, area to get in and out of. Of course, if you are staying in Washington, DC, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to fly into BWI since it is quite a distance from DC; but for those staying in the Baltimore area, it is perfect.
There is plenty of parking around the airport – as with most airports there is daily, short term and long term parking at various prices with shuttle buses running regularly. Hotels and restaurants are all around the area for hungry and tired travelers.
While waiting for your flight inside security, BWI has plenty of restaurants and shops to keep you busy. And the airport isn’t overly huge so you don’t feel that you are walking miles and miles to get to your gate.
As with many US airports, security can be long unless you get lucky. Just plan on delays so you won’t miss your flight.
Getting to BWI is easy - you can drive, use a taxi, or take the light rail which ends at the airport and goes directly into Baltimore.
Baltimore Washington International Airport is located, really, in Ferndale, just 8.5 miles (14 km.) from Baltimore's Inner Harbour. Aside from domestic airlines such as American, United, Northwest and Southwest, BWI as it is commonly called, also caters to Aer Lingus, British Airways, and Icelandair. If you're coming in from Reykjavík, Baltimore is your choice point of entry. Baltimore has all manner of ground transport including local trains, buses, taxis, and limos. Amtrak even has a station nearby.
My predominant memory of the Woodrow Wilson bridge is that of going to catch a plane at what was in those days National Airport (DCA) to go to my daughter's graduation from the USAFA. We left really early for the airport, but just before we got to the bridge, the draw bridge opened -- and got stuck and wouldn't go down again. By the time they got it fixed, we were late - so late that we had to do an O.J. Simpson sprint through the airport and the plane left the gate before everyone was seated.
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge is the southernmost section of the 64-mile Capital Beltway, but it is in Maryland. It goes from the Washington suburbs in Maryland to Alexandria Virginia, but the bridge is a Maryland bridge because the Potomac belongs to Maryland.
This bridge is the ban of the existence of anyone who commutes from someplace in Maryland east DC to Virginia. There's always a back-up for the bridge, even though it is a free bridge and not a toll bridge. The reconstruction of the bridge is now complete so maybe it is better now than it was.
One thing that is better is the height of the new bridge. The bridge is a drawbridge. Most larger boats or sailboats have to have the draw bridge opened. The new bridge is taller so less boats have to have the draw opened. We could get under the bridge now with our sailboat.
The Chesapeake Bay cuts Maryland in two - it stretches from Virginia almost up to Pennsylvania.
There is one main east west bridge and that is the Governor Preston Lane Bridge AKA the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which is not to be confused with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in Virginia.
Some bright soul figured out that if you took the tolls on Maryland bridges in just one direction, it would take half of the personnel and if you doubled the toll for one way that it would not decrease the revenue appreciably. So the Chesapeake Bay Bridge only collects the toll going east, and the Governor Nice Bridge (the US 301 bridge over the Potomac) only charges going south.
Maryland has designated certain roads as "Scenic Byways". We almost always take the Lower Patuxent River Route when we go to Baltimore and these pictures were taken in the fall of 2005 on our most recent trip. This byway travels through the farmland lying along the Patuxent River. In 1814, the British landed in Benedict and marched north through this same countryside. The section we travel goes from MD 381 where we turn onto MD 382, or Croom Road. At Croom Station, the road crosses the old Pennsylvania Railroad tracks. We end up on US 301. This is not only a nicer road to travel on which usually has less traffic, but also cuts the corner, so it is shorter.
There are 30 other State Scenic Byways. These are:
Chincoteague Bay Route
Beach to Bay Indian Trail
Old Ocean City Road
Old Turkey Point Road
Underground Railroad Trail
Old Main Streets
Atlantic to Appalachians
C & O Canal Route
Historic National Road
Western Shore Beaches
Calvert Maritime Tour
Religious Freedom Tour
Susquehanna River Tour
Steeple Chase Country
Anne Arundel Colonial Tour
Patapsco Heritage Tour
National Historic Seaport
Historic National Road
Baltimore Washington Parkway
Catoctin Mountain Loop
Civil War Battlefields
Coal Heritage Tour
Savage River Road
Historic National Road
C & O Canal Route
PDF files with the routes pictured are on the website
Most Maryland highways are toll-free.
But on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway - a fifty-mile section of I-95, which stretches from the northern Baltimore City line to the Delaware border - a part of I-95, a $5.00 northbound toll is collected.
The toll plaza is located in Cecil County, one mile north of where The Tydings Memorial Bridge crosses the Susquehanna River (photo 5)
On this part of I-95, there are two full-service Welcome Centers with restrooms, travel information, telephones, food, and fuel to motorists.
Chesapeake House Welcome Center (on I-95, Cecil County)
Maryland House Welcome Center (on I-95, Harford County)
Every time I go north from Baltimore or Washington towards Philly on I-95, I always take Exit 77 north on Hiway 24, then US Hiway 1 north towards Philly. You can then take I-476 back to I-95, then continue north to PHL. I have NEVER been stuck on traffic on this detour, and always saved $7 on tolls. If there are no jams, staying on I-95 will save you time. If there ARE jam-ups, it's a no-brainer.
Be sure to fill up before you cross the MD-PA border -- gas becomes scarce and more expensive when you cross into Pennsylvania.
When the bridge over the Susquehanna is jammed, there is no reason to pay $4 to stay in a moving parking lot. Just go around it.
Driving in Maryland, you will notice that gas stations have varying prices for more or less the same product. Since both of us did quite a lot of driving for work, we kept a note of where gas (or - now- in our case - diesel) is likely to be cheaper. For diesel we also want a station which has a good turnover because we are less likely to get a bad tank. We also like to use Hess or BP (formerly Amaco) because we know they have good quality fuel. (My husband used to inspect oil terminals, and our son worked for Hess.)
The gas stations on the Eastern Shore near Salisbury and Cambridge on Route 50 are usually cheaper. And at our home, Ridgells in Hollywood on US 235 is where we go. Another good place is on Route 3 in the middle of the divided highway. But whenever we are in the Baltimore area, we come here. It may not look like it from this sign, but we saw other diesel on this day that was as high as $2.49/galleon.
Directions to the station which is at Holsum Way and Maryland Route 2 (Ritchie Highway)
# If you are driving up from Washington, DC...
* take 295 or 95 North until it intersects with 97 North
* Take 97 North to Rte. 2 (Ritchie Highway) North to Holsum Way
* Just past the Saturn dealer.
# Coming down from Baltimore...
* take 695 to Glen Burnie. Rte. 2 South to Glen Burnie
* Pass the MVA to Holsum Way
# East from Olney or Rockville...
* take 495 to 95 North to Rte. 2 South to Glen Burnie
* West from Laurel take 32 East
* to 95 North to 100
* East to 97 North
* to 176 East
* to Ritchie Highway
* to Holsum Way
# Approximately 20 miles from Columbia and 20 miles from Severna Park
The MdTA provides a website with access to information about Maryland highways.
You can use the webpages to find current reports on accidents and slow-downs, on construction sites, weather conditions and traffic advisories. There are pages on toll roads and how to get a pass to save money.
This is the last ferry across the Potomac River. The car ferry Jubal Early crosses just upriver from Leesburg, Virginia in a area of bucolic rurality. The ferry can get busy on the weekends, so don't think of it as a timesaver then. There are small boats you can rent over on the Maryland side along with picnic grounds, if you want to make a day of it here. The C&O towpath is near at hand, too.
Parts of suburban Maryland in Prince George's and Montgomery County are served my metro rail and metro bus goes further into the hinterlands. The pictured metro station is in New Carrollton, Maryland at the eastern terminus of the metro rail's orange line. New Carrollton is the first of many stops northbound on Amtrak's northeast corridor (Washington-Boston). Because the New Carrollton station is both a metro and an Amtrak station, it should be classified as both "train" and "subway/metro".
Popularly known as the Bay Bridge, plans to build a span linking Maryland's Eastern Shore with the rest of the state had been in the making for more than 40 years. The idea was conceived of as early as 1907. Unlike the Delaware Memorial Bridge, nearly everybody wanted it. The site selected was between Sandy Point and Stevensville. Construction was delayed twice, not because of strong and powerful opposition by the shipping industry. It was first delayed in 1929 on account of the Great Depression and the early 1940s for World War 2. Initial dredging began in 1949 and its original span opened in 1952. In 1973, a twin span was constructed. One for eastbound and the other for westbound traffic. Both spans are 4.35 miles (7 km.) long and are 186 feet (57 m.) above the water to allow ships to pass.
The Nice bridge crosses the Potomac River between King George County, Virginia and Charles County, Maryland. It is a toll bridge ($3), but only one way. If you live south of Maryland and want to beat the toll, go north into Maryland on Rt. 301, but return on Interstate 95.
Water taxis are a reasonable way to get around Baltimore. Fares are $5 for adults, $2 for children. Day and month passes can also be bought. The taxis are blue and white and are marked water taxi. Be careful. Not all taxis stop at every landing. You may have to transfer. Tell the pilot where you want to get off upon boarding. When it comes up a bad cloud, water taxis will go to the nearest landing and won't start back until the cloud passes.
Your traditional rest areas along the interstates of the United States is a brick building with loos, vending machines, plenty of parking, and maybe some green space for strolls and picnics. At state lines, the rest area also has a welcome centre. However the state of Maryland offers more along Interstate 95. At exit 82, in Aberdeen northeast of Baltimore, is the Maryland House Service Area. Of course, there are loos, payphones, and vending machines, but there are also places to get travel information, ATM, fax, a post office, and wireless internet. You won't have to just settle for crisps and nabs (Southern for peanut butter crackers). There is a Bob's Big Boy Restaurant and a food court with a Cinnabon, Gourmet Bean, Roy Rogers, Sbarro, and TCBY. You can even get petrol at Exxon and Sunoco stations on site.
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