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New parking offers more opportunities to shop and dine [Mostly Main Street]

The historic district got an early and most welcome holiday gift recently—a new parking lot! This lot, G, with 57 spaces, is behind Lot F—the one behind the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin. The lot is in the spot where the original Roger Carter Center was located. I know parking can be a challenge, especially at this time of year, but don’t forget the Court House lot as well. It’s an easy walk down the stairs from there to the back of the Ellicott City Brewing Co.. And, all parking is free, with a two-hour limit on Main Street. Once you are in town and on foot, check out the decorated windows up and down the street. Proprietors have outdone themselves in making such attractive displays. And you can show your appreciation by voting for your favorite. Ballots can be turned in to the Howard County Welcome Center on Main Street up until Jan. 1. This year there are two categories to vote in: “People’s Choice” and “Small Window.” When you vote, you are automatically entered in a drawing. The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to the shop or restaurant of their choice. Come on down!

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The LEGO Train Garden at the B&O Ellicott City Station Museum is a delight—and it’s free so don’t miss it. If you are down there on Dec. 16, Classic Plastic Bricks is hosting a LEGO Christmas ornament building class from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The class is free; there is a small charge if you want to take the ornament home.

On Dec. 16, the Howard County Historical Society is hosting the next in its Music at the Museum Concert Series with the Columbia Jazz Band, featuring guest conductor and soloist Jim McFalls, from 6 to 8 p.m. at its Museum of Howard County History on Court Avenue. This popular group plays a diverse mix of jazz, from big band through contemporary. Tickets are $12, free to Society members with an advance reservation. You are welcome to bring your own beverages — if you buy wine at the Wine Bin before the event and mention it, you will receive a 15 percent discount. On Dec. 21 the Society is offering a Spirits Pub Tour. This is for guests ages 21 and over. It begins at the Wine Bin. The Bin is offering a 15 percent discount on wine bought before the event—you should get there by 7:30 p.m. if you plan to make a purchase. The tour, which costs $20, begins at 8 p.m. Also, planning ahead in 2018, the Society plans to offer a Year of Old-Fashioned Fun with children’s programs monthly at the Museum on the first Saturday of each month. On Jan. 6 , the topic is “A Child’s Life in a Mill Town.” The sessions run from 10 a.m. until noon and are suitable for children ages 5 to 12. Tuition is $5. Register at hchsmd.org. or call 410-480-3250 for all of these events.

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Take a breather from all of the holiday activities and treat yourself to Christmas Eve dinner at Tersiguel’s French Country Restaurant. Chef Michel has planned a delightful four-course meal that you can savor slowly with friends and family. The price is $75 for adults, $30 for children under 10. For reservations call 410-465-4004. Also, the great news is that Portalli’s has now reopened on Main Street. I saw the ribbon-cutting last week — there were a lot of very happy people there. I can’t wait to try it. And that reminds me: if you enjoy giving people experiences rather than gifts at the holidays, why not get them gift cards to historic district restaurants. There are so many great choices right now.

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