Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Historic Ellicott City, Maryland

Located a short drive from Baltimore is historic Ellicott City. This picturesque town is set on the banks of the Patapsco River and bordered by large exposed granite rock faces. Architecturally diverse buildings date back to the late 1700’s to early 1800’s and house restaurants and boutique shops which draw locals and tourists to the town. This city was on the “do-not-miss” list from a New Orleans connection (Greg Anderson from the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas) and we are really glad we followed his recommendation. Thanks Greg!

Downtown Historic Ellicott City.
The city’s roots trace back to the Ellicott brothers who settled in the area in the late 1700’s. The Ellicott’s were Quaker’s who brought their milling trade to the area. As the town grew, the need for moving goods became ever apparent and the road system provided many challenges. The brothers were instrumental in creating the Baltimore and Frederick Turnpike, dubbed one of the most scenic byways in Maryland and has been designated a Historic National Road. The arrival of the B&O Railroad in the 1830’s provided the vital transportation link that dramatically decreased the time and cost of shipping goods. The B&O’s Ellicott City station became an important hub for people and goods moving to and from Baltimore and helped spur the city’s growth.

B&O Railroad Station.
Still standing is the original B&O Railroad station that now houses a museum that honors the city’s past and the importance. We were reluctant to visit the museum since we had recently visited the Railroad Museum in Wilmington. But when we saw the attractive granite building and a sign that read “the oldest railroad station in America,” we knew we had to go. The five dollar admission was well worth the price and we spent an hour learning about the history and importance of the station and viewing exhibits, including our favorite – the red caboose.

The railroad station.

The ticket and telegraph room inside the railroad station.

Another fun thing to see is the Ellicott City Firehouse Museum,which served as the first fire station in the county. The late 1800’s fire station now houses firefighting memorabilia and sits beautifully perched on a hillside. The hours are sporadic, so check to make sure it is open.
The First County Fire Station perched on the hillside.
While in Ellicott City, don’t miss the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company. The brewery prides itself on creating eight local brews using authentic brewing techniques and has an extensive menu for your culinary enjoyment. I tried the sampler, which gave me four satisfying tastes and Betsy settled in on a pint of Jack Frost Double Bock. Seldom does she drink beer but sure didn’t want to miss tasting one of their special microbrews. The restaurant scene in Ellicott City is highly diverse, with more than 19 restaurants ranging from a Victorian tea room to an authentic French restaurant with owners that hail from the country itself.

We were lucky because we just happened on Ellicott City’s Cherrybration Celebration which supports breast cancer so all of the stores were decked out with pink flowers, pink cookies and cupcakes for their visitors and pink everything else. There was even a Run Pink 5K that day when many of the runners wore pink. Musicians performed along the streets as we walked in and out of stores.
Musical acts lined Main Street during the Cherrybration celebration.

One of the Main Street shops showing it's pink pride.
If you come to Baltimore and have the time to venture outside of the city, Ellicott City is a great place to visit. Plan on spending a half to a whole day in Ellicott City depending on your interest in shopping and sightseeing.

More pictures below.
Ellicott Country Store which is the oldest duplex in the country.

Shopping in Ellicott City.

The "Freight Agents Living Quarters" display in the B&O Railroad Station Museum.
Inside the caboose which housed the kitchen, beds, bathroom, and work space for rail workers.
"The Pioneer" one of the first passenger rail cars that was pulled along tracks by horses.

Inside the Ellicott City Firehouse Museum.

Ellicott Mills Brewing Company.

1 comment:

  1. I could scream - you are so close to home... Just head north a couple of states lol... Beautiful day and you can feel the vibe of spring soon to be summer - gosh I have hitch itch bad - 11 days!!



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