Enchanting Ellicott City

The five block historic district is lined with 50+ boutiques and bistros with fun and fabulous offerings for every season and every budget. Featured as a shoppers’ haven in the New York Times and Southern Living, and a foodies’ heaven in the Washintonian, Ellicott City is becoming a must-see destination in the mid-Atlantic. Ellicott City, located in Howard County, Maryland, was also ranked second in MONEY magazine’s “Top 100 Best Places to Live in America” as announced by Matt Lauer live on the TODAY show. Those same community amenities and attractions that make Ellicott City such an enchanting place to live, make Ellicott City a delightful place to weekend in every season. So escape to centuries ago, indulge Ellicott City’s old world and bohemian charms and find everything your heart and home desires.


Ellicott City’s First Fridays (April –December)
Boutiques, salons, antiques, art galleries and more will open their doors and welcome residents and visitors for a unique evening shopping experience in the Historic District of Ellicott City. Look for musical entertainment around town & special offers in some shops! When: The first Friday of each month April through December! Where: The Ellicott City Historic District. What: Shoppes open until 8:00PM; Entertainment.

Ellicott City’s Second Sundays (at Tonge Row parking lot D)
The lovingly restored shops of Tonge Row invite local farmers, growers and artisans for a special Farmer’s Market the Second Sunday of the Month seasonally. Fresh baked old world bread, local honey, fresh cut flowers and hand-made jewelry are just some of the treasures you’ll find!
Call 410-465-3673

Third Thursday Girl’s Night Out!
Shop-Sip-Shop-Nibble-Shop Shop Shop-Girl’s Night Out meets the 3rd Thursday of the Month in Historic Downtown Ellicott City from 5-9p. The party starts off at The Wine Bin between 5-7 p.m. Receive a complimentary wine sampling and collect a free tote bag which entitles you to a 20% off one item at participating merchants. The journey then begins down eclectic Main Street where you enjoy free snacks, drinks and desserts at each shop. There will be special dining and drink options at the end of the evening at multiple restaurants. Come join us for another evening of fun!
Info at 410-465-8330

The Arts

Outdoor Shakespeare
‘To Be or Not To Be’ isn’t the question, its to BE experiencing the Bard’s best works perched above historic Ellicott City in the stabilized ruins of a Victorian school for girls in your flip-flops and NOT TO BE a theatre in a tux and tails! The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company does plays that people like, and performs them in innovative and intimate ways that intensify the connection between audiences and artists. They know that’s what makes Shakespeare so great and so timeless, so pack a picnic and enjoy!
www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com or 410.313.8874

Paint It: Ellicott City, A Juried Plein Air
The Howard County Arts Council and Howard County Tourism & Promotion invite you to a weekend of watching artists work amongst the heritage sites, delightful shops, gorgeous gardens and handsome homes of historic Ellicott City in July. En plein air, meaning “in the open air,” is the technique of painting outdoors, directly from life, without the aid of photography. Often, groups of plein air artists will gather within stated boundaries of a scenic area for what is called a “paint-out.” For this event, artists will be invited to paint in historic Ellicott City over three days (two nights.) The weekend begins with an artists welcome reception, 3-day paint-out throughout town, and final gallery reception and sale. The paintings from this weekend will be exhibited in the Art Council’s Gallery I.

Tours With a Twist

Literary Pub Crawl
1st Thursday of each month. 7:00PM
Come discover what famous historical characters visited Ellicott City. Participants will listen to stories by and about certain historical characters such as: Washington Irving, H. L. Mencken, Henry Clay, Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps, Davy Crockett, Robert E. Lee and others. $10.00 per person (drinks not included in price of ticket). 21 and older only; Tours begin at Diamondback Tavern. Payment on the night of the tour, cash or check made payable to ECRF. Reservation required
, Questions? presx2@ecrestoration.org

Historic Walking Tour of Ellicott City
2nd Saturday of each month, 2:00PM
Travel along Main Street as part of an imaginary railroad…participate in a 1800s-style bucket brigade to put out an imaginary fire…learn how the rock formations along the road were blown up before dynamite…explore one of the mystifying alleyways of Tongue Row and experience the sounds of Main Street during the 1700s. The second Saturday of each month, April through November at 2:00pm. Reservations strongly recommended.
410-313-1900/1-800-288-8747, www.visithowardcounty.com/ghost-tours/historic-walking-tours-of-ellicott-city

The Spirits of Ellicott City
Second Thursdays
Join one of Howard County Tourism’s Ghosts Guides on the second Thursday of each month at 8pm for a tasteful tour of town ghosts and their favorite haunts. Visit at least 4 of Ellicott City’s haunted locales. At each stop you will have the option of purchasing a drink. One stop, The Wine Bin, offers 4 one ounce samples of wine at no cost. Tours last 2 hours. 21 and over only. $20 per person, drinks and gratuities additional. Reservations required.

B&O Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station

Civil War 150th Anniversary – The War Came By Train
Ellicott City Station, America’s oldest railroad station, will host a satellite exhibit of The War Came by Train that will present living history demonstrations and exhibits highlighting the effect of the railroad during the Civil War on small town life, residents and troops that came through.
www.ecborail.org 410-461-1945

Holiday Festival of Trains
Enjoy the museum’s annual holiday celebration of toy trains and model railroading. Bring the family to see Ellicott City Station’s Holiday Festival of Trains featuring a miniature Thomas the Tank Engine G-scale model layout and a brand new custom-built, multi-level O-scale model train layout. Santa and Frosty the Snowman appearances too!
www.ecborail.org 410-461-1945


Ellicott City Fall Festival
(third weekend in September)
Ellicott City’s retailers and restaurateurs warmly welcome visitors and residents for a lovely fall afternoon of Music, Light Fare, Beer Garden, Sidewalk Sales, Kids Activities, History & many other fun surprises!

Halloween Trick or Treat on Main Street
(annually on the evening of Halloween 4:00 to 6:00 PM)
Young Ghouls & Goblins visit the merchants in the Historic District for Halloween treats.

Midnight Madness – (6:00PM – 12:00AM)
(First Friday in December)
For one night, the unique, locally-owned stores, restaurants and cafes on Historic Main Street will be open until midnight. There will be a tree lighting, carolers and lots of good cheer.

Ellicott City… Who Were the Ellicotts?

In 1772, the Quaker brothers, John, Andrew and Joseph Ellicott of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, chose the picturesque wilderness upstream from Elk Ridge Landing to establish a flour mill. The brothers helped revolutionize farming in this area by persuading farmers to plant wheat instead of tobacco, and by introducing fertilizer to revitalize the depleted soil. Charles Carroll was one of the first and the most influential converts from tobacco to wheat. It was to Carroll’s estate that the Ellicott brothers built the first part of a road that was later to become the National Road, America’s first interstate highway.

The Ellicotts made significant contributions to the area and the era. They helped create Ellicott’s Mills, one of the greatest milling and manufacturing towns in the east at that time. They built roads, bridges and a wharf in Baltimore, introduced the wagon brake and championed plaster as a fertilizer, erected iron works, a furnace, rolling mills, schools, a meeting house, shops and beautiful granite houses.

In 1791, Andrew Ellicott was commissioned to survey the boundaries for the nation’s new capital, Washington, D. C. Benjamin Banneker, an African American scientist and friend of the family, joined him in his work. Banneker maintained notes for Ellicott, made calculations as required and used astronomical instruments to establish base survey points.