The B&O Railroad Museum, Ellicott City Station, is closed on Thanksgiving Day but opens on Friday, Nov. 23, with its annual Holiday Festival of Trains. This exhibit will run until Jan. 27 from Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This exhibit has been a must-see for many years — each year's display is different. The museum has something really different in the works this year — a custom-built, 360-degree Lego model train layout created by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Lego Train Club.

This will be an interactive display, fun for children of all ages. Pushed buttons will activate lights, motors and sounds.

In addition, other set-ups include a G-scale Thomas the Tank Engine, a small N-gauge display in the telegraph office and a push-button children's layout in the main waiting room.

Through Dec. 16, if you bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation to Toys for Tots, you will receive 50 percent off the price of admission.

Oh, and "Railroad Santa" will be on hand to greet you from Friday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 25, and again on Dec. 2 and 9.

Holiday House Tour

Get your tickets now for the 36th annual Holiday House Tour, sponsored by the Howard County Historical Society. This year's tour is on Dec. 7, and buses leave from the parking lot of the Miller Library at 1 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased by mailing a check made out to the Howard County Historical Society to PO Box 109, Ellicott City, MD 21041. Admission for the general public is $50, and includes a one-year membership in the Society.

Tickets can also be purchased at the Miller Library at any time, including the day of the event. This year's tour includes MacAlpine, Bethany Chapel, the Waldner-Heinemann House, Search Enclosed, the Wayside Inn and the B&O Museum, Ellicott City Station. Proceeds benefit the programs of the Society.

Holiday Mart

I will be joining some other Ellicott City authors for a book signing at the Holiday Mart at the Gary Arthur Community Center in Glenwood on Saturday, Dec. 1.

My writing partner Vickie Goeller and I will be signing books from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. along with Martha Clark of Clark's Elioak Farm and Lee Preston, who has written a book about the archeological digs he has been overseeing at the Patapsco Female Institute for many years. Hope we see you there.

Mural

The mural on the side of the building at the corner of Main Street and Old Columbia Pike has been a fixture for decades — so long that no one can remember who painted it and why.

The Ellicott City Restoration Foundation is spearheading a campaign to refresh or repaint the mural but would like to know more about the existing one.

If you could provide information about this — like contact information on the artist or who commissioned it — please call 410-303-2959 or email ecrfpres@aol.com.

Civil War Exhibit

Howard County Tourism and Promotion is currently offering a display of artifacts found around the state that are related to the Civil War at the Welcome Center.

Rob Laluna and Bjorn Moreau of Finders Seekers travel throughout the state and country with their metal detectors and they are generously sharing some of the items they have found in Maryland.

Camp Essex, on the grounds of Claremont in Elkridge, was the site where a solid cannonball was located.

Other items in the display include numerous bullets and musket balls, knapsack hooks, harmonica pieces, union eagle buttons and an eagle breastplate.

The Welcome Center is at 8267 Main St. in historic Ellicott City. This is the location of the former U. S. Post Office. The center is open Monday through Thursday from 10am to 5pm, Friday and Saturday from 10am to 8:30pm and Sundays from noon to 5pm.

For questions or additional information, call Ed Lilley, Tourism's Welcome Center manager, at 410-313-1900.

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope that, like me, you are able to share this special day with family and friends.

My husband Tom and I are delighted to be hosting our older son, Dave, who will be visiting with his fiancée Kristen from Brooklyn, NY.

Our younger son Rob will skip the turkey and pile on the veggies, as usual, and our friend Frank, a Jesuit living in Southern Maryland will stop by to discuss wedding plans with Dave and Kristen.

We are thankful to have these wonderful people in our lives.