Despite uncertainty, good times in the old town

Howard County Times

My husband Tom and I enjoyed taking out-of-town guests to the historic district during the holidays.

Just before Christmas, we went with our son Dave, daughter-in-law Kristen and almost 2-year-old grandson Henry.

Of course, our first stop was the wonderful train garden exhibit at the B&O Railroad Museum, Ellicott City Station. Henry was enthralled by all of the trains but especially liked Thomas the Tank Engine. He could stand on the conveniently provided chairs and push buttons to make things happen. He really liked the gingerbread house—he could make a gingerbread man appear at the door with a touch of his finger.

We followed that with lunch at The Phoenix Emporium across the street. While probably better known as a bar, The Phoenix is very kid-friendly during the day. It even has a “dependents menu” featuring such favorites as grilled cheese and chicken fingers. Henry enjoyed the chicken while flirting with the girls at the next table.

The Phoenix celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and its future is uncertain as the county ponders the course of flood mitigation, so get there soon.

We also visited the museum with adult friends another time.

This time, I noted that our friends enjoyed the trains but were equally interested in the historic displays that are up all year round. Admission is always free.

For me, I was happy to see so many familiar faces. I talked to Betty Yates Jacobs, the last member of the Yates family to run their grocery store on Main Street, at the museum with her granddaughter. I also greeted Ed Lilley, who currently works at the museum, and said hello to Mark Hemmis, owner of The Phoenix, when we went there. Walking down the street, I ran into Barry Gibson, who owns the Forget-Me-Not Factory. He’s the Bubble Man—everyone’s friend. I asked him if they would be reopening and he said they would. I’m sure you would agree that he, his wife Nancy and their magical shop are greatly missed.

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University program will be offered at Bethany United Methodist Church, 2875 Bethany Lane, on Jan. 10, starting at 7 p.m. To register, contact Tim Ferrell at timferrell@comcast.net or 410-404-1670, or go to bethanyum.org.

Let’s go to the movies!

Did you know that in 1958 a film crew came to Ellicott City to make “The Goddess,” a movie loosely based on the life of Marilyn Monroe? It went on to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1959 and now is available for your viewing pleasure on Jan. 19, when it is a part of Vintage Movie Night at the B&O Railroad Museum, Ellicott City Station.

The show starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free but registration is requested. Call 410-313-2922. It will be fun to try and identify local sites while enjoying the drama.

Future vintage movie nights are planned for Feb. 16 and March 23. The museum is also holding its next Kids Night Out on Jan. 11 from 4 to 9 p.m. This is for children ages 4 to 12 and allows them to have well-supervised fun while their parents can have a kid-free date night. The cost is $15—a babysitting bargain to be sure. Register at 410-313-0419.

The next Rails and Trails preschool story time will be on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 10:30 a.m., at the Railroad Museum and on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the Ellicott City Colored School, Restored. For kids ages 1 ½ to 5, the theme will be African-American History Month. The cost is $3. Call 410-313-7275 to register.

The Artists’ Gallery, at 8197 Main St. in Taylor’s, is offering Art to Warm the Soul from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Feb. 24. Also, Saturday, Jan. 12, is customer appreciation day— with a 10 percent discount on many purchases. Warms me up just thinking about it!

Howard County Restaurant Weeks start on Jan. 21 and run through Feb. 4. This is a great opportunity to try great specials at great local restaurants. Historic district participants include La Palapa, the Manor Hill Tavern and Tersiguel’s. Outside the district in Ellicott City, Mad Chef and Grille 620, both on Resort Road in Turf Valley, are participating. Check websites for menus.

The Lutheran Village at Miller’s Grant is hosting a free concert on Monday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. featuring classical guitarist Charles Makotoff, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Also performing is the string quartet of David Brown and Sheyna Burt on violin, Caroline Brethauer on viola and David Pearl on cello. The event is open to the public.

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