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The Baltimore Sun

Maryland House hopping with travelers the day before Thanksgiving

The holidays were in the air at Maryland House, as a steady stream of pre-Thanksgiving travelers took a break on their way up or down I-95 Wednesday morning.

The Aberdeen travel plaza was decorated with cardboard snowmen wishing "Good Tidings to All" and plenty of greenery. A young woman stopped to snap a picture of a large Christmas tree in one of the lobbies.

Those stopping at the plaza around 10 a.m. Wednesday to grab a coffee, take a restroom break or go over their routes said traffic had been relatively light so far that morning and they were eager to reach their destination.

As one man, who left North Carolina at 4:30 that morning but declined to give his name, put it, "getting an early start was important."

No major traffic or incidents had been reported in the area Wednesday, the on-duty officer at the JFK Highway Barrack of Maryland State Police said in the afternoon.

The heaviest traffic was expected to be late Wednesday.

"We are not expecting the worst of it until this evening," he said.

Alicen Harrad, who was walking her dog by the parking lot, was on her way to Crownsville from New York City.

It was her 31st year making the Thanksgiving trip.

"I always look forward to Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday," Harrad said, adding she has a small family. "I think that makes it even more important."

She was traveling with her daughter, who came from San Francisco, and said traffic had been pretty light.

"I think most people are taking off on Wednesdays," she said, noting the driving was going well so far. "We had a spurt of rain here and there. It's been fine."

The rain that had dominated the area Monday and Tuesday mostly took a break the day before Thanksgiving, and some people were milling around outside the travel plaza or taking smoke breaks.

Juraj Greso was also outside, skimming a textbook.

The Slovakia native was part of a group of international students from the University of Richmond in Virginia. They were using their break to visit the nation's biggest city.

"In three weeks, I'll be gone," Greso said with a smile about his time in the U.S. "I just wanted to see New York, and experience the Big Apple."

"Traffic is OK; it's not that bad," he said about the drive so far.

Weather-wise, "I was afraid it was going to freezing," he said, but pointed out the temperature was set to be in the mid-60s despite the fact that it was late November.

Hunter and Gerri Jones, who said they were from northern Virginia, paused in the lobby before continuing on their way to visit family in Connecticut.

"It's not so bad so far," Hunter Jones said about the traffic, noting they probably left a bit earlier this year.

"It's just like, zip it in and zip it out," Gerri Jones said about passing through places like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. "Getting around New York is always a challenge. We have our bail-out routes."

Gale Knight was making her way with some family members from New York City to North Carolina. She said it was her first time making the trip.

"I am looking forward to being with my sister for the holiday," Knight explained. "Usually she comes to see me."

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