White’s Ferry closed, trip to simpler, quieter era diverted

White's Ferry is closed Wednesday because of high water on the Potomac. Some longtime ferry commuters are having to resort to Plan B.

NEAR LEESBURG, Va. — Every work day for the past 17 years, Doug’s morning commute from Winchester, Virginia has included a stop on an aging concrete ramp, on the Loudoun County side of the Potomac River.

Wednesday, White’s Ferry was closed, because of high water on the Potomac.

Doug, who preferred to not give his last name, travels to his job in Montgomery County, Maryland, on White’s Ferry — the only cable ferry service that carries cars, trucks, bicycles and pedestrians across the Potomac.

For a one-way fare of $5 for cars — cash only — Doug, and others who choose the ferry, avoid rush hour congestion, noise and pollution.

Daily, he estimates he saves “15-20 miles, and 35-40 minutes, maybe.”

The ride on the ferry takes approximately 6 minutes, he said.

The ferry, named for Gen. Jubal A. Early, a Confederate officer in the Civil War, remained docked on the Dickerson, Maryland side of the Potomac, next to the White’s Ferry Store and Grill, where the sign boasts of cold beer, ice, bait and tackle, and canoe rental.

On a normal day, Doug uses the time on the ferry to relax.

“Some people get out. I’ve done it so many years I just sit there, and enjoy the view,” he said.

“Usually it’s serene, but not always. If you look out there now, you watch the logs, and the ferry driver attempts to dodge them.”

Doug makes no excuse for choosing a commuting route that includes an antiquated way of getting from Point A to Point B.

“It is a trip back in time, I love the nostalgia,” he enthused. “I tell people ‘I’ve got to get a ferry,’ and they say “What? Is there a ferry around here?'”

Trips on White’s Ferry are expected to resume at 5 a.m. Thursday.

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