Hosted by the Howard County Historical Society, the Howard County portion of the 2012 Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage will be held on Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with proceeds going to help underwrite the Society's expenses for moving their archives and research library to the Miller Branch Library and Historical Center.

This event is a wonderful opportunity to get an inside look at some of the most fabulous homes in Howard County, for a good cause.

I did the tour about 10 years ago with Frank DiPietro of Mumbles and Squeaks, his mom and her friend. We covered a lot of territory in one day and were happily exhausted at the end. I highly recommend it.

The sites include Waverly Mansion, home of Maryland's 25th governor, George Howard. Oakdale was built in 1838 and has 23 rooms, including six bathrooms. The Shrine of St. Anthony is on land once owned by Charles Carroll of Carrolton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.


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Lunch will be available at the Shrine between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The cost is $8 for the lunch and reservations can be made by calling 410-531-2800.

Richland Farm has remained in the Worthington family for almost 300 years. It started out as a log home and is now a stately eight-bedroom manor.

White Hall Manor, in Ellicott City, was Historic Ellicott City, Inc.'s Decorator Show House in 1998 and was built in the early 19th century. Spring Hill is a fine brick house on Montgomery Road which has had numerous additions over the years and retains part of the original log construction. Spring Hill Quarters is east of the main house and once housed the workers on the property. The garden here is particularly beautiful.

Advance tickets are $30 and can be purchased online at http://www.mhgp.org. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the tour at your first stop for $35.

Historic sites open

Sites in the historic district are now open on weekends. These include the Ellicott City Colored School, Restored, which offers tours at 3 p.m. The Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park offers tours at 1:30 p.m. The Firehouse Museum and the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin are open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All are free. For more information, call 410-313-5131.

Whipps Garden Cemetery

The Whipps Garden Cemetery is having a plant sale on Friday, May 4 from 3 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, May 5 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the First Lutheran Church on the corner of Frederick Road and Chatham Road. The proceeds benefit the Cemetery, which it maintained by volunteers.

Cherrybration

The Cherrybration Celebration, Blossoms of Hope, is finally here, to benefit the Claudia Meyer Cancer Resource Center. On Friday, April 27 the Lanterns of Hope Luminary parade will originate at the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park. Activities will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the parade starting at dusk, around 8 p.m. Let your light shine on this lovely procession, which winds through the historic district and ends across the bridge in Oella.

On Saturday, April 28, the Spring Celebration, sponsored by the Ellicott City Business Association and Howard County Tourism, will be going strong all day, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There will be children's activities, including a hula hoop contest and a scavenger hunt, street performers and live music. There will also be a spring charity festival wine tasting at The Wine Bin, benefiting Voices for Children and the Blossoms of Hope. The Ellicott City Brewing Co. will be offering a seasonal Spring Blossom Ale. Bring the whole family for a day of fun.

Happy 25th for us!

I am delighted to report that my family is celebrating 25 years of living in and loving Ellicott City on Sunday, April 29. When we moved to Gray Rock Farm in 1987 there was farmland behind our house, and a small pond next door where we watched muskrats playing. A fox had a den out back, and we planted corn. Our nearest neighbors on each side were four houses away and we had straw for a lawn.

A lot has changed since then. The baby I was expecting is now 24 years old. The 6-year-old is getting married soon. Tom and I have decided to "age in place" and so are currently in the throes of remodeling two bathrooms. But, we couldn't love our home, our neighbors or our neighborhood more. Here's to 25 more.