‘Bittersweet’: Labor Day getaway begins on Chesapeake Bay Bridge as summer ends

It’s estimated that about 440,000 cars will be crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge this weekend as people try to cram one last trip to the beach in before everyone else goes back to school.

With gas prices down and the weather pretty much perfect, it’s the logical destination and why some people got an early start on their travel to wrap up the summer.

“It is sad,” said Allison Isett, of Woodbine, Maryland, as she gobbled a quick breakfast with her husband and two children. “It’s been a really nice summer, we’ve spent a lot of time at the beach and this is kind of our last weekend [there].”

And with an SUV packed to the brim, Jeff Geise of Glen Burnie, Maryland, vowed he’d be returning to the beach even during the off season. But he definitely had to get a trip in before summer came to an end.

“Kids go back to school, nothing but work until Christmas,” said Geise, whose only plans were to “get in the ocean for an entire day, one day,” and then hit a few of his favorite restaurants.

But others headed to the beach took a different view of where things stand with the seasons.

“It’s always summer to us,” said Sarah Rittling of D.C., who is headed to Ocean City with her two daughters. “But yes, we get back into routine now, so it is, I guess,” the end of summer.

“We’re also a big fan of staying on the beach as late as possible,” she said.

Headed across the bridge, but not traveling nearly as far, was Patty Weisenborne of Clarksville, Maryland. She’ll be spending the weekend “crabbing” with her husband and make sure to “take the dog swimming, that’s it. Easy.”

With an easy, relaxing weekend planned, she was among those not ready to see the summer come to an end.

“Just give us another few weeks, that would be great,” said Weisenborne.

But not all of us are so lucky to get a summer.

“I’m a professional, so I don’t really get a summer, so, I don’t think it ends for me,” said Chad Smith of Baltimore. “It never starts, either.”

By Tuesday even the kids will realize summer isn’t forever, and they’ll be in the classrooms, but Rittling said she wasn’t quite ready to send them off.

“I would stay in summer mode as long as possible but it’s good to be back in routine,” she said, conceding she’ll miss her kids when they’re back in school. “I’m ready to keep them, but I go to work too. So, I have to go do that I guess.”

Geise on the other hand, said he “can’t wait” to see his kids back in school.

“Oh yes, absolutely,” echoed Isett. “We are very excited about school starting on Tuesday.” It’s the one silver lining to what’s otherwise an unfortunate end of summer. “It’s bittersweet, right?”

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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