Happy New Year! Here’s wishing everyone a year filled with promise and joy. I also want to wish a very happy birthday to my grandson, Henry, who turns 5 years old in a few days.
Now that holiday festivities are over, it’s time to hunker down and enjoy the best that winter has to offer. With all of the uncertainty of the current pandemic it may be a good idea to concentrate on outdoor activities, which are less likely to be canceled and can be participated in safely.
To that end, I would recommend the Howard County Conservancy’s “Winter Challenge.” This event is sponsored by the Patapsco Heritage Greenway to raise money to keep the conservancy free and open to all. For a donation of $40 for single registrants or $60 per family, participants receive limited-edition owl masks (while supplies last) and a free guided hike of the conservancy on Saturday, Jan. 15 (weather permitting.) Register at the conservancy’s website, howardnature.org, to be eligible for raffle prizes, and then complete several tasks between Jan. 14 and Feb. 10. Walk, run or hike 50 miles of trails for the activity challenge, complete a Winter Challenge game board and raise funds for the conservancy. For every $500 raised on Facebook for the conservancy, you win a prize. All winners will be announced Feb. 16.
The Howard County Arts Council is hosting several new shows at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road. One is Abstraction-Contraption, featuring local artists Stanley Wenocur and Andrew Flanders, through Feb. 5. A free public reception will be held at the center from 6 to 8 p.m., Jan. 28. Another exhibit is the Howard County Open 2022, also running through Feb. 5. Both exhibits are also available virtually, at hocoarts.org. For more information call 410-313-2787.
Warm up on Main Street at the Winter on Main show and sale at the Artists’ Gallery, 8197 Main St. This exhibit and sale will run through Feb. 27. Call 443-325-5936 to learn more. The gallery also announced its 2022 Juried Show, scheduled for March 1-27. Artists ages 18 and older living in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C, are welcome to submit original art, in 2-D and 3-D, for consideration. Works must be submitted by Feb. 6. Details are available at the gallery’s website artistsgalleryec.com.
The Howard County Historical Society is offering several walking tours this winter. On Jan. 13, you can be part of the Spirits Pub Tour, starting at the Wine Bin. On Saturday mornings, the society offers Historic Walking Tours, originating at Mt. Ida. Tours cost $15. Call 410-480-3250 for reservations and details.
Restaurant and Craft Beverages Weeks are coming up from Jan. 17-30. This is a great chance to try out the best that chefs have to offer both at familiar restaurants and new. Those participating in Ellicott City include Alexandra’s American Fusion in Turf Valley, Han Joon Kwan and The White Oak Tavern on Baltimore National Pike, and the Manor Hill Tavern on Old Columbia Pike in the historic district.
Mark your calendar — the Howard County Library has announced that its next gala fundraiser Evening in the Stacks, Across Africa, will be held 7-11 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 26, at the East Columbia Branch. Details are available at hclibrary.org.