Re-Imagining The Rest Stop

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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. 

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Renderings: ASG/Chesapeake House (Opening Summer 2014)

The Future of Travel

British Airways may have introduced the flat-bed. But Air New-Zealand is going a step further and unveiling the “SkyCouch.” We think it will revolutionize the travel industry for economy passengers. The leg rests fold up to create room for the second person to lie down and can hold up to 300 pounds. Set to be launched later this year.

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The Rundown

The Rundown…a compilation of what we’re following.

Dining: The British sandwich chain Pret A Manger will open a second location in DC on F street. Anticipated opening date of mid-may. Global jetsetting restaurant, Buddhar Bar, will open its doors on May 10th. Here’s a preview of the latter. Nando’s Peri Peri continues with its own expansion plan into Silver Spring and Annapolis, MD.

Travel: OpenSkies, an all business-class airline, started service from its base at Paris-Orly to Washington Dulles.

Culture: Embassies from the European Union will host an open-house day on Saturday, May 8th.

Overseas: Chipotle will open its first outlet in London’s this month.