Ellicott City has been in the news lately for the horrendous flood that took place more than a year ago on its historic Main Street. Many businesses closed and relocated or moved to higher ground, while a few have come back and some new businesses have also set up shop, seemingly undeterred by the possibility of another big flood. Less than 15 miles away from downtown Baltimore, it is a viable stop to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban sights and sounds. Here are the highlights:
Colorful, charming, and historic
Picture-worthy shots of an old town with houses brightly pained in hues of pastel green, yellow, and purple, peppered with red brick facades, it is a sight for sore eyes and it brings on the old-town feel that many may be nostalgic for. Established in the late 1700s as a mill town, it has its share of very old buildings as well as ghosts from the Civil War.
2. Antiques galore
Though you may want to keep a shorter rein on the kids when you enter an antique store, even if you are not a picker, just browsing and gazing at the various memorabilia on display and sifting through the vinyl collections can be an enjoyable experience. With kids, show them the “old school” toys and stop by one of the toy stores that dot Main Street as a reward for good behavior.
3. B & O Ellicott City Station Museum
No December visit is complete without a meet-and-greet with Santa at the B & O Railroad Museum. On specific dates, you get a free picture with Santa and a candy cane (while supplies last). After the visit, you get to check out their train displays including one that has Thomas the Train and his friend James. This year, they also have a Lego Hogwarts display
4. St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church
If the festive atmosphere is making you reflect on the reason for the season, St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church sits right on top of the hill. You can catch the Saturday at 5 p.m. mass or just relish being in a church that was founded in 1838 and where Babe Ruth married his first wife, Helen Woodford. It remains to be “the oldest active parish between Baltimore and Pittsburgh.” For kids, they have a basement play area where you can also listen and watch the service without fear of the kids disrupting the mass for others.
5. Eats and Treats
Dinner time on Main Street is not just a culinary experience but a people-watching event as well. Sit by the window as you view the many shoppers and revelers walking down the street. The choices include sandwich and coffee shops, sushi, Tex-Mex, bar food, French country, baked goods, and ice cream treats.
As you get out of Main Street down Old Columbia Pike, and back to “modern civilization” you may come across the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Station on Rte. 103 where they have an even more elaborate train display. With your donation of an unopened toy, you can view the trains whiz through the many Christmas villages set up for this holiday event. They even have one area for superheroes including a Daily Planet building which Superman patrols from the sky, and Batman’s bat cave and batmobile.
More holiday trains garden can be found throughout the state. Check out the sidebar for more dates.