Visitors guide is not just for the county's out-of-town guests

You don't have to be from out of town to take advantage of the newest Visitor's Guide to Howard County, produced by Howard County Tourism and available at their Welcome Center in the former Main Street Post Office, as well as other venues around the county

This interesting guide features local shopping — at the Mill (Savage), the Mall (Columbia), and Main Street (the historic district of Ellicott City.) Among many useful features the guide includes a map of the historic district that can be used for a walking tour of the areas sites, as well as the locations of parking lots, which tend to be tucked away and a challenge to find. Get yourself a free copy today.

Mural restoration

I recently visited the Enchanted Forest Post Office to mail a package and ran into an old Main Street friend, Linda, who was our personable postal employee at the Main Street branch for a few years before it closed. We were always on a first name basis — I don't think I ever knew her last name.

She told me that she had heard about the fine renovation of the post office space, making the new Welcome Center for Tourism, and she was eager to get down and see it. Well, it's nice now, but if Tourism has its way, it's going to be even nicer.

Back in the 1940s, an artist named Petro Paul DeAnna painted murals on the walls as commissioned by the Works Progress Administration. These murals, depicting the history of Ellicott's Mills, have become dark over time and most of the detail has been obscured. Now, an effort is underway to clean and restore the murals. Seeing them in their original state would certainly make the Welcome Center a tourist destination itself. I'll keep you informed.

Mardi Gras

Let the good times roll! You just got the wreath off the front door, kissed your favorite valentine, and now it's time for Mardi Gras, the traditional usher-in of the Lenten season. Thanks to the New Orleans influence, this party is usually associated with rollicking good times.

And the celebration planned at the Rumor Mill in the historic district is no exception. On Sunday, Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., chef Matthew Milani will be cooking up a Cajun storm with a three-course "Big Easy" lunch. Chef Milani is trained in the style of New Orleans's iconic chef Paul Prudhomme so you know the food will be fantastic. Adding to the fun will be live Cajun music by The Cypress Trio.

Tickets are $40, and are available at the Howard County Welcome Center or by calling Ed Lilley at 410-303-2959. Proceeds benefit the Ellicott City Restoration Foundation.

Art Exhibit

The Pure Wine Café, at 8210 Main St., is offering art along with dining options, through April. The exhibit, called "The Project" features artists Chris Brutout, Dan Seward and Charlie Barton.

Evening in the Stacks

The Howard County Library fundraiser "Evening in the Stacks" will be held Feb. 25 from 7:30 to 11:30 in the new Miller Branch Library and Historical Center. What a fabulous place to throw a party. The theme is "Masquerade," with black tie and masks optional.

They will have live music provided by The Natty Beaux (isn't that a great name?), a silent auction, food and an appearance by author Lisa See. Tickets are $125. The event benefits the library's education initiatives. Call 410-313-7750 to reserve.

Bald eagle sighting

A bald eagle has been seen by a few of my friends, soaring in the air over Church Road. All report that this is a truly impressive sight. Look for it.

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