A true hidden gem in Maryland, the Howard County Conservancy is an easy family-friendly tract of trails. Dotting the trails close to the main entrance are cages of fowls and feathers. They also have goats if you like the four-legged kind. Another nice surprise is a little playground area made up of stumps where children can try to jump from short stump to another. They can also try their hand making music using some chimes. A good introduction for kids to hiking, the trails are carpeted with bits of short grass rather than the usual dirt trail that you would find on the bigger park trails. These are clearly marked with names like Grassland Trail or Tulip Poplar Trail. Along the trails are birdhouses where birds flit in and out of. Bird songs and bee buzzes add melody as the breeze rustles against the leaves. It is a true nature sanctuary in the midst of the hustle and bustle of nearby Ellicott City. Don’t forget to check out Mt. Pleasant. Built in 1692, this is the original home of the Browns, early settlers in Howard County. You can view the original log cabin through this window. No hike is ever the same as you allow yourself to wander the trails. The only wish is that the nearby upcoming developments do not detract from the natural views from the Conservancy.