When Michael Schwartzberg and his family set out from their Pikesville home to visit his parents in Long Island, they hoped to avoid the congestion of Interstate 95 by taking a route through Pennsylvania. It didn't look like such a good plan when they got caught up in Harrisburg traffic, but they finally saw daylight on Interstate 81 and made good time all the way to New Jersey.
Schwartzberg, media relations manager at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, reported in from the vicinity of Bloomsbury, N.J., in the hilly northwest corner of the state, shortly after 4 p.m. The family, with his wife Stacey Needle at the wheel, drove straight through from Pikesville in Stacey's new Honda Pilot.
Michael said he just spotted a sign saying they were about 87 miles from their destination. (Unfortunately, those 87 miles will largely be through Greater New York.)
Jordan, 9, and Brandon, 6, were amusing themselves in the back watching a DVD of "Spongebob Squarepants." Jordan said it's been a long trip but the scenery is "nice." Jordan said the visit to the paternal grandparents takes place every other Thanksgiving. "So next year we're staying home," he said. No knock on the grandfolks, but Jordan said he that's the way he likes it.
Meanwhile, Michael has been using his Blackberry to track traffic conditions on the route he didn't take. He's watched with satisfaction the reports of backup after backup on I-95. The inland route is longer in terms of miles, he said, "but I'd rather be moving."
He's still betting it will take less time to get to their destination than it would have taken on 95.