It’s great news that Shoemaker Country is back on Main Street now, having left its temporary home on Cooks Lane. It has settled in at 8334 Main St., the blue building just west of the Phoenix Upper Main, and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday or by appointment. It makes beautiful furniture and also offers a variety of accessories.
I recently came across the column I wrote on July 16, 2015, before the floods and the pandemic. It’s interesting that I wrote about a bunch of new businesses that had recently started up in the historic district. I decided to see how many are still around.
All are still in business, but not all have remained here. The Massage Boutique, Time Warp Media and Pretty Things, Oh My, are still on Main Street and Jehovah Javah is still in the building with the Clayworks on Old Columbia Pike. The Vintage Vault and Gallery moved to Savage Mill after its building was badly damaged in the 2016 flood, and Imperium Woodcraft has moved to the Clipper Mills building in Baltimore.
It was nice to see the picnic tables the county has placed in the Railroad Plaza. What a great spot to sit and enjoy carryout from Georgia Grace across the street and watch the world go by. Up the street, repairs have been made at the former home of Tea on the Tiber. The chimney has been repaired and the mortar addressed. All improvements were made with the approval of the Historic Preservation Commission to preserve as much of its historic nature as possible.
Three and a half months into the coronavirus pandemic, I finally got to go back to the Miller Branch library to pick up books.
When I was last there March 14, I thought I was picking up enough books for the predicted two weeks they would be closed. Well, we all know how that turned out. So, I read all of the books I borrowed, then I read my husband, Tom’s, books, and finally I turned to reading online, which I have always resisted but which turned out to be a saving grace of sorts. I still missed reading actual books, but I could read and enjoy the stories.
Anyway, I was delighted when the library reopened for pickup. The process is very easy. First of all, you will have no trouble getting a parking spot because folk are encouraged to pick up their books and be on their way. When you are notified that you have books to pick up, you contact the library and set up a half-hour window when you can retrieve them. You take turns entering the library one at a time, and sturdy blue bags labeled with your name will be waiting on a table for easy access. Items will already be checked out to you, so there is no contact with library staff.
Of course, I missed the usual high energy of the place, with kids eager to attend their story hours, adults attending classes and going to the movies, and just the general hum of happy people who like to read. Hopefully that will all come back. I was very happy to return 16 books to be put back in circulation!
I was sorry, but relieved, to hear that the Howard County Fair has been canceled for this year. I have many happy memories of attending the fair, first with my young children who loved the rides and the games of chance and later participating in such programs as “Hands on History.” That was a lot of fun, with a variety of historical organizations setting up displays and interacting with visitors. We always had more visitors than you might expect because our building was air conditioned. Also, the fair was the only place (thankfully) where I could get a fried Oreo, an acquired taste best enjoyed only once a year.
Restaurant Weeks and Craft Beverages are back. This great event started in Howard County in 2008, and this year it runs from July 13 to 26. About two dozen restaurants are participating. In Ellicott City, these include Beef Brothers, Kelsey’s and the White Oak Tavern. Now more than ever, these local restaurants need our support and this is a wonderful way to show it by enjoying delicious food and drink.
Paint It, the plein air painting competition that usually takes place around now, has been postponed to Oct. 15 to 19. The application deadline for artists is July 23. This is a wonderful event that brings artists from all over, with a fresh eye to share their views of the historic district. It’s so much fun to watch them create and then enjoy the finished art. For more information, go to hocoarts.org.
Latest Howard County
We are definitely enjoying the garden this year. I have been putting herbs in everything I cook and we have also been drying and freezing them for winter use. The other day, our neighbor Andie Martin brought us a baseball bat-size zucchini. Many people are intimidated by these treasures, but not me! I make a mean batch of zucchini relish that lasts us all year long. My recipe is so old, that when I started making it, I didn’t have a food processor and had to chop all the vegetables by hand. Yikes. Anyway, Andie also kindly shared some homegrown organic kale, which became a lovely kale Caesar salad. We love summer veg!