Happy Valentine's Day. Having this special day at the beginning of the President's Day holiday weekend creates what my old friend Ken Lurie, formerly of Tersiguel's and current owner of Bud's at Silver Run, called a perfect storm for the restaurant business.
Nothing short of a major snow storm will keep people from flocking to their favorite restaurants to celebrate all weekend. And I think it's important to remember that the celebration will continue all weekend — no need to get jostled in the crowds just on Friday.
In fact, I've been getting emails from savvy restaurants assuring that special menus will be available all weekend, not just one day. So, relax and enjoy. Oh, and I'd like to congratulate Ken on his recent wedding to the lovely Brooke. Much happiness!
Several interesting events will be presented this weekend, and with the Monday holiday being President's Day you should have plenty of time to take advantage of them.
First, the B&O Railroad Museum, Ellicott City Station, is featuring Civil War historian and author Daniel Toomey on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 1 p.m. discussing "Forgotten Warriors," Maryland's black regiments during the Civil War. Toomey is the museum's guest curator of their exhibit "The War Came by Train" in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free throughout this month to members of the Baltimore Zoo.
On Sunday, Feb. 16, the Howard County Historical Society is hosting guest speaker Philip Merrill at 2:30 p.m. at the Miller Library. Merrill is an expert on African-American memorabilia and culture and is an appraiser with the Maryland Public Television show "Chesapeake Collectibles." Registration is required. Call 410-313-1950.
Sunday also marks the return of the popular "Winter Soup Cook-off" at the Little French Market Café, from noon to 3 p.m. This fourth annual event encourages participants to compete in several categories — best overall, most daring and most comforting. Entry forms are available at the Café, and the entrance fee of $15 will be divided among the winners. Come on down and enjoy the delicious task of declaring a winner. Deadline for entry is February 14. Ongoing at the Café is the Winter Baker's Market, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday through March 30.
On Friday, Feb. 21, the Wine Bin will host a bourbon and cocktail tasting from 7 to 9 p.m. The cost is $30 per person, including a $10 credit toward a $40 purchase. For reservations call 410-465-7802.
Clean and Green
The Ellicott City Historic District Partnership is looking for new members for their Clean, Green and Safe Committee (the ECHDP Green Committee). This group is leading green initiatives in the historic district through promotion of sustainable practices and environmental responsibility. They are looking for community involvement.
First, they are looking for participants. The committee meets the first Tuesday of each month at 5:15 p.m. in the historic district. Email committee chairman Lori Lilly at email@example.com for meeting location and further information.
Another project — install a whiskey barrel to collect rainwater. The committee is giving away retrofitted rain barrels in early spring. Contact Lori Lilly for this as well.
Old Ellicott City Clean-Up meets once a month to clean parking lots in the historic district. Or, you could choose to Adopt-A-Spot and keep it clean. Contact Peter Edelen at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for these.
Adopt a Piece of History involves adopting a garden or pocket park in the historic district and taking care of it. Contact Shawnte Berry at email@example.com. for that.
My friends at Historic Ellicott City Inc. tell me that the search is on for Decorator Show House 2014. If you have a home you would like to have considered, contact the group at 410-461-6908. Proceeds from these annual popular events support the group's mission of preservation, education and restoration in the historic district.