When I used to work in Reston just off Sunrise Parkway, the time after Labor Day always meant that traffic got even more intense up in Northern Virginia.
Living on the coast of North Carolina has gotten me more used to seeing traffic like the picture to the left. It was taken September 1 near the Point at Emerald Isle, the day before Hurricane Earl passed by us.
Two of us had decided that we should get in some fishing before conditions got nasty at the coast. We managed to leave my dock in Bluewater Cove at about 9:20 AM. Around twenty minutes later we were headed out Bogue Inlet with the Point at Emerald Isle on our port side and Hammocks Beach State Park-Bear Island on our starboard side.
We anchored near the eastern most end of Bear Island and fished until the winds shifted and the boat was rocking a little more than is comfortable for relaxing fishing.
Though we saw almost no boat traffic that day. There was traffic 24 hours later we they announced the mandatory evacuation of Bogue Banks where Emerald Isle, Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores, and Atlantic Beach are located. Local officials were making certain to they were on the safe side when they called for the evacuation. Many of the late season tourists went just far enough inland to find a motel room and then came back the next day to enjoy what turned out to be a wonderful beach day.
Even during the evacuation the traffic was almost non-existent, at least in the mind of someone who has made more than a few trips from Reston Parkway or Whiele Ave. to the Tyson's Corner area before 9 AM. I have been wondering if the summer break from traffic never existed this year on the Toll Road because of all the construction inside the median? Both my Reston based grown children now have jobs that don't require them to do the Toll Road so they are no longer good sources of morning commuting information.
Usually my memory is dragged back to the time I spent in bumper to bumper traffic on the Toll Road when someone who has visited Emerald Isle complains about the traffic. We don't have real traffic even at the season's peak. Someone recently complained on an online forum about Emerald Isle's traffic being terrible, and it prompted me to write a post about our crowds of summer. Maybe just after fourth of July fireworks it might take thirty minutes to get from one end of town to the other. However, in the winter you can do the length of the town of Emerald Isle in about five minutes. During 99% of the summer that time only goes to eight minutes.
I am pretty sure that I have spent 3 minutes a few times just trying to get on the Toll Road.
Whatever the traffic situation is after Labor Day up in Northern Virginia, I hope it isn't too bad. I am hoping to get up for a visit this fall. We will miss our Northern Virginia visitors as Fairfax County and other spots go back to school. This last couple of weeks, our crowds have mostly been from Northern Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Ohio. North Carolina schools have been back in session for a while.
We decided to do the mountains for Labor Day and miss the last big beach holiday. After all, starting the week after Labor Day, we end up being a very quiet world of full time coastal residents. We are hoping that our luck we had with Earl stays with us through the rest of the hurricane season.
Earl actually made some of our surfers very happy with the waves that came just before he slipped by us.
As our beaches quiet down from our summer visitors, it is a perfect time to come wander the streets of Beaufort or make a visit to take advantage of how our unique location on the water can expand your mind with its vistas. The water will be warm well into October, there will be even less competition for beach space. Beach life is pretty nice.
We are a wonderful place to retire and get away from those Toll Road traffic jams. If you need to browse our real estate, check out my Southern Outer Banks Real Estate site.