Interstate 95 northbound through Harford County was a pretty solid wall of traffic by midday Wednesday, as the annual Thanksgiving travel rush got into full swing.
Southbound, however, there was plenty of daylight among the cars and trucks on the interstate that typically sees some of its highest traffic volumes of the year on the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
For the most part, the northbound traffic moved, just not at particularly high speeds.
Meanwhile, at the Maryland House Travel Plaza near Aberdeen, business at the restaurant, shops, gas pumps and electric charging stations was brisk throughout the late morning and early afternoon.
Ashesh Prasann stood under a small tree in the Maryland House parking area enjoying some coffee with the few others in his group.
“We left D.C. this morning and we are hoping to get through New York before it gets too crazy,” Prasann, who was with a group of friends traveling to Boston to visit relatives for Thanksgiving, said.
“We will be staying until Saturday, so we hope that it won’t be too bad coming back to D.C., but we’ll see,” he laughed, as he headed back to his vehicle.
The light, chilly breeze kept travelers moving quickly to and from their vehicles while others took their four-legged friends for a stroll and a bathroom break.
Dressed with his warm hat, Howard Silver, who is from Philadelphia, made his way through the grounds with dogs Barnaby and Lucy. Silver was on his way to meet family in Washington, D.C.
“It’s not that bad of a drive.” Silver said reaching down to pet one of the dogs. “We figure it will take about three hours, traffic hasn’t been that bad so far but…” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “It’s taken us a lot longer before.”
John Burchell, who was traveling from Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Philadelphia, took a moment to restock his cooler with water and sodas during his break at the Maryland House.
“We’re headed to Philadelphia to see the grandchildren, can’t wait, traffic hasn’t really been that bad, almost there,” Burchell exclaimed as he climbed back into the driver’s seat and prepared to leave.
A steady stream of travel buses also came and went, with passengers running into the travel plaza for a quick snack or bathroom break or just to take a moment to stretch before climbing back onto the bus.
One group of buses carried a very excited group of young people and their chaperones from The Biloxi High School Marching Band from Mississippi.
Members of the band stood around and talked for a bit, while others took selfies in front of the large Maryland flag on the side of the building.
The group was traveling to Philadelphia to play in the city’s Thanksgiving Day parade before traveling to New York City for a visit.
Another traveler, Tim Gilmore, stood at the back of his family van sorting through a few bags before he and his family went into the travel plaza.
The Gilmores were on a journey from Stonington, Conn., to a town near Orlando, Fla., where the family is relocating.
“Traffic hasn’t really been an issue today,” Gilmore said, as he pulled the jackets he was searching for from one of the bags at his feet. “Some setbacks in New York, but not too bad after that.”
Gas prices keep falling
Earlier in the week, AAA Mid-Atlantic noted in a news release that motorists can add cheaper gas prices to their list of “things for which to be thankful” this Thanksgiving holiday.
Many gas stations around Harford County were selling regular unleaded in the $2.25 per gallon range, while AAA said the national gas price average is $2.62 per gallon, which is eight cents less than a week ago, 25 cents less than last month, but eight cents more than last year’s price on this date.
Maryland’s average price is $2.47 per gallon, a seven-cent decline from last week, a 29-cent drop from last month and three cents lower than the price last year on this date. The state average is a penny less than the 2018 low price set March 9 and the average cost on Thanksgiving Day last year, according to AAA.
Nationwide, some 49 million people are expected to travel over the long holiday weekend, AAA said.