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Still time to enjoy holiday windows on Main Street [Mostly Main Street]

Happy New Year! What an amazing year it has been. Shopping during the holidays was a delightful challenge as pedestrians thronged Main Street. My husband Tom and I especially liked the availability of local items we could purchase for out-of-town visitors, like the 1772 Ellicott City coasters we got at EC Pops (along with bags of incredible chocolate sea salt popcorn, of course.) I hope you voted for your favorite decorated window. There is still time—you can vote until Jan. 1 and when you do, you will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 gift card to your favorite store or restaurant in the historic district. Drop your vote off at the Visitor’s Center. I haven’t visited Syriana yet, in the building formerly occupied by Ellicott’s Country Store, but my husband has. He reports that it has some very unusual gift items—he bought a beautifully decorated wooden box—and also some interesting food items. So you can shop and snack in the same place. Across the street is the Artists’ Gallery at Taylor’s Collective, at the corner of Main Street and Columbia Pike. I talked to gallery manager Cindi Ryland and she tells me that most of the space is now occupied by artists but there are a few spots still available. It is having a holiday show right now, “The Gift of Art,” through Jan. 7. This show includes wooden objects, cards, ceramics, jewelry, paintings and photographs—treat yourself!

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And speaking of art, local artist Wiley Purkey has just published a book about his painting life called “Painter of Ellicott City History.” He has art on sale at the gift shop at the B&O Museum, Ellicott City Station. He is also offering monthly wine and paint classes at the museum. The classes will feature different historical sites around town. The first class will be on Thursday, Jan. 4, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The subject will be Castle Angelo, the imposing white castle-like building on the hill over the town—you can best see it driving west on Main Street over the Patapsco River bridge. The class is open to students over the age of 21, and is $35, which includes all of the materials you need to make your painting. Wine will be available at an extra charge. For information about the book, and to register for the class, call 410-313-2922. The holiday model-train exhibit continues at the Ellicott City Station through Jan. 28. The crowds should be less in January, and these days admission is free, so don’t miss it.

The Howard County Historical Society is offering its next with Lunch Date with History at its Museum of Howard County History on Court Avenue on Friday, Jan. 5. The topic is “Flags of Maryland,” presented by society board member Richard Clark. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the lecture begins at noon. Tickets are $5, free to Society members with a reservation. Call 410-480-3250 to reserve. Also, mark your calendar for the society meeting on Sunday, Feb. 18 at the Miller Branch, starting at 1 p.m. Guest speaker will be William Armstrong, author of “Maryland in World War I.”

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Nathan Sowers has been serving up his delicious thin crust pizza out of a portable beehive oven to rave reviews at local farmers markets and the courtyard at Tonge Row for several years. On Dec. 15 he opened his first restaurant, River House Pizza, at 10039 Baltimore National Pike—across from the original Enchanted Forest. I visited soon after and am pleased to report that the pizza is as fantastic as ever. It is a thin-crusted New York-style pizza with fresh ingredients and it is very reasonably priced. The oven here is very stylish—a gorgeous copper clad wood-fired oven. It was fun to eat it at a window-side table and watch the traffic go by on the Pike. Of course, carryout is available as well.

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