Friends and shops are reminders of our small town-ness [Mostly Main Street]

I hope everyone has a great new year. The holidays came upon us so fast this year, what with Thanksgiving being so late. And the weather has been so strange — ice and snow before winter officially started, then on the shortest day of the year people were actually walking around in shorts and flip flops.

My husband Tom and I celebrated Christmas twice — the weekend before, when our son Dave and his wife Kristen came down from New York, and then again on the actual day. When we drove along Main Street to take them back to the train station, Dave was not at all surprised to see someone he knew walking down the street. Always happens.


The best was a couple of visits ago when we all went to the Second Sunday Farmers Market and he ran into thirteen people he knew in the space of about a half-hour. We love our small town.

I paid a visit to Enalee Bounds at Ellicott's Country Store just before Christmas to buy some stocking stuffers. That store is so interesting. I always end up buying a lot more than I went in for. In this case I did buy old-fashioned candy for the stockings, but also some really pretty candles.

Then, as I was going out the door I found a tin of peanuts from Virginia open for sampling and I ended up buying that too. Enalee is typical of the shopkeepers in the historic district — if you don't know her when you walk in, you will by the time you leave. Support our wonderful small businesses.

Comings and Goings

There have been some significant changes in the historic district this year. The Obladi hotel closed. Frank DiPietro and Ed Williams sold Mumbles and Squeaks and moved to Florida. Craig Coyne jewelers moved up the street and took over that space. Joetta Cramm, who led wonderful tours of the district and also taught local history at Howard Community College, died.

We also lost Ron Hogg, who was the unofficial captain of the marina that never happened on the Patapsco but was fun to talk about. Vicki Goodman, the executive director of the "Blossoms of Hope" initiative that planted scores of cherry trees around the county in support of breast cancer awareness recently resigned that position and left the office in the Tourism Welcome Center for a job at the Howard County Library.

A special shout-out fond farewell goes to Ed Lilley, who has left Main Street after a 44-year run. Ed started working on Main Street after college in his father's insurance company. After his father retired Ed realized a long-held dream and opened the Christmas Company in that same space.

After closing that store, Ed became the office manager for the Welcome Center. He also served as president of the Ellicott City Restoration Foundation for many years, until it was dissolved last summer. Ed assured me that while he will no longer be working on Main Street, he will still stay on the board of the Ellicott City Historic District Partnership as chairman of their Fundraising Committee and on the Greens Committee. He is also an advisor for Historic Ellicott City Inc.

Window Contest

The Judge's choice for the best dressed window in the historic district went to Sweet Elizabeth Jane, at 8125 Main St. Country Crafters came in at number two, and honorary mention went to Tea on the Tiber, Randy and Steve's and a Journey From Junk.

Jan. 2 is the last day you can vote for the People's Choice. Submitting a vote gets you entered into a contest to win a $75 gift certificate to the shop or restaurant of your choice in the historic district so take the opportunity to stop by today and vote. Ballots are available all over town and can be dropped off at the Welcome Center.

Restaurant Weeks

Restaurant weeks are coming up in Howard County from January 13 to 27. I love restaurant weeks. The participating restaurants will be charging anywhere from $10.14 to $40.14 for their lunch and dinner specials and they recommend that you make reservations and that you be adventurous and try something new.

Each participating restaurant has different offerings and specials so you need to check with each you'd like to visit. Lots of restaurants are participating this year, including Tersiguel's in the historic district.