You’d be forgiven for thinking you had stepped back in time upon entering the old incarnation of the Maryland House rest stop. As a frequent traveller on I-95, I too thought I had warped back to the 80’s. But last month, a gleaming new facility was unveiled to the public. Better food options. Lighter and welcoming spaces. Clean and modern facilities. This is the Maryland House of the future. Operated by Areas, USA and designed by Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore, the new Maryland House is set to capture the public imagination.
It also begs the question; why can’t other rest stops be just as good if not better? Quite a few en route to New-York could do with a face list and Maryland House should serve as an inspiration. The State of Maryland executed a public-private partnership which allowed the rest stops to be upgraded. Commuters need better services and food options when traveling and state governments need to respond to those needs.
Unfortunately, some states such as California have strict laws that prohibit private retailers from operating at rest stops. Such laws were enacted to protect local businesses operating by major highways. Sadly, such laws do not not promote healthy competition. I should not have to drive off the beaten path to find a dining facility. In this day-and-age, people look for convenience. Not headaches.
Renderings: ASG/Chesapeake House (Opening Summer 2014)