Almost all of us have played the game Monopoly or at least have heard about it. We have built houses, motels and well, among others, purchased railroad stations too. Recalling the game’s American version, remember B&O railroad station? Of course we do. We may not know that this B&O (Baltimore and Ohio) railroad station is the oldest surviving station in the country today and has a museum in its name but thanks to Monopoly, at least name of this station has become immortal. Or is it?
Track this station on Google maps, our best bet to get just anywhere, and you’ll find that it nestles in Maryland’s Historic Ellicott City. Explore more and you’ll find that the city is home to not just this but more museums like the Firehouse museum that contains firefighters memorabilia, uniforms, a real hand drawn two-wheeled hose cart. Besides these, the city has galleries, art, culture, food and shopping options abound.
Where museums and history may be extraneous to many of us, shopping may be an extra joy to some. So among the massive Walmarts, Home Depots and Targets of the city, there perches a not-so-little Historic Ellicott City teeming with little boutique shops of antiques and quaint artifacts. Hold your vintage curiosity as it’s easy to visit the past here while hunting for the treasured collectibles. Quaint enough that you wouldn’t get to see the same, for example furniture, that you bought anywhere else, at least not in your relative’s house (Doesn’t that hurt when you see the same centre table you got from Ikea in your friend’s overlooking the same TV table? Ouch! That does.) Hey but no complaining whatsoever. But one thing is for sure, shell out a bit extra, and you’re home to some great looking stuff. Some old, some antique, some designer and some straight from the hands of the craftsmen –grandfather clock, 1960s typewriters, gramophones, to list a few.
And if shopping is not your thing, absorbing the quiet ambience taking a leisurely walk down the street by only looking around can be quite an exhilarating experience. Interesting architecture that’s more of European with a hint of American, buildings and the sidewalks create patchworks that catch the fancy of many alike. Strolling through, you may get lucky watching the artists paint a pretty picture in the open.
And when you want to seek respite from the streets’ many shops, there’s much tucked in the nooks to fill your appetite. Sip coffee with a pastry at the very European style sidewalk café, the Little French Market, enjoying a great outside view. Or walk upto the local coffee shop, Bean Hollow, for some great coffee like my fav Frozen Explosion and equally other great savories. Take home home-made chocolates from Sweet Cascades where well everything is chocolate. If you’ve had enough of chocolate covered strawberries then try their chocolate covered bananas. Grab a beer at Johnny’s Bistro on Main or enjoy a Mediterranean fare at Pure Wine Café with a bottle of wine.
Fine, the street may sleep early around six in the evening with only the restaurants open till late but their fun nights like the midnight madness nights, girls’ night out, among others, keep the street buzzing and perked up. I mean it’s not as happening as Georgetown of D.C and nowhere close to Times Square of NYC, but it has its own old world charm. It grows on you. Move at your own pace and you will start liking it.