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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A trip on White's Ferry

Traveling from Maryland to Virginia, there are plenty of bridges and busy highways to get you from point A to point B. These options offer proof DC has earned its ranking as the fourth worst traffic in America.

But one method of transportation allows for scenic views and a chance to experience history.

White's Ferry is presently the only ferry service operating across the Potomac River, which divides Maryland and Virginia. Ferries have run at this location since 1817 and although there were once more than 100 ferries crossing the Potomac, White's Ferry is the only survivor.

Years ago, when my dad lived in Virginia, we used to make the ferry ride every morning and evening going to and from school. It's amazing how under-served this area of the Potomac is by a bridge but also how thousands of people rely on the ferry to commute to work or school. The ferry serves not just drivers but bikers and pedestrians, as well.

Both sides of the river offer a plethora of farms selling produce and homemade wares. There are rambling vineyards on the shores of the Virginia side, and miles of hiking and biking trails, along with Civil War remnants, on the Maryland side.

The ferry runs year-round -- it may pause service during major storms or if the river ices over -- and has proved a reliable method of transportation. Plus, you can't beat the gorgeous views of the Potomac River. Washingtonians are lucky to live in an area that offers the culture and history of DC combined with the natural beauty of Maryland and Virginia.