If you live in the Washington area, one of the things that binds people together is the desire to escape the area.
There are times the mass of humanity makes you want to leave during the holidays.
If you have ever done it, you know there are plenty challenges to making that happen.
An article in the December 20, 2013, Washington Post brought back lots of memories. The article, I-95: The bane of our holiday travel existence has some choice words for I95.
We meet again, as 2.1 million residents of the Washington area attempt to leave the city by car this Christmas week, desperately crawling along the demonic hellscape of your infernal asphalt wasteland. Monica Hess, Washington Post
Anyone who has lived or worked in the Washington area or who has friends there can attest to how bad the traffic is. The holidays only make it worse.
Years ago in the late eighties when I started traveling back and forth to Northern Virginia from Roanoke, Virginia, Interstate 81 was an escape from the traffic.
Once you made it over the mountains on I66 and descended into the Shenandoah Valley, you could count on a reasonable and even pleasant trip. That respite from traffic disappeared many years ago. As far back as 2006, I can remember having to exit I81 more than once to get around traffic jams.
I will not pretend to know which is worse during the holidays, but I do know I81 has slowed to a crawl around Thanksgiving for well over 25 years. Of course I95 near Fredericksburg is pretty bad just about all the time. We have been in some epic traffic jams there. Last spring we actually got off I95 near Fredericksburg, headed west, and eventually came in I66 because we heard that backups on the beltway were actually causing the problems south of Washington.
Still I enjoy visiting the Northern Virginia area. There is no doubt that Tyson's Corner along with neighboring Reston can be called the epicenter of shopping.
At one time I had fun knowing exactly where to park at Tyson's Corner. The right spot meant that I could sneak in and out of LL Bean's and the Apple Store with a minimal amount of fuss. Still that required being in town early during the Christmas season and leaving well before December 20. I probably would not even attempt that now.
I long ago decided to escape the holiday madness. I am much more interested in enjoying the seasonal reversal and our winter marsh visitors here on the Carolina coast during the holidays than I am in shopping in any mall.
Over the years we have seen more and more people come to the beach for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Many of us who live here and the visitors come to join us find seasonal peace here along the quiet waters of our piece of paradise, the Southern Outer Banks. The area's south facing beaches, including those in the town of Emerald Isle, stretch from near Cape Lookout down to the Swansboro area. They are nice any time of year, but they are particularly nice on a warm December day or January weekend.
Our home not far up the river from Swansboro, North Carolina makes a nice harbor away from all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Christmas is pretty peaceful on the White Oak and we would not have it any other way.
If you are thinking of coming for a visit check out our area travel guide. With all its pictures it is the perfect complement for that new tablet and only costs $3.99 for the Kindle version which works on just about anything.