Story Ideas

Our Towns


Ellicott City founded in 1772 by three Quaker brothers, is in the midst of a renaissance and becoming a must see destination while in the mid-Atlantic. Ellicott City’s five block historic district is lined with over fifty shopping and dining destinations. In Ellicott City we have everything your heart and home desires such as scrumptious restaurants, trendy brew pub, friendly wine bar, soothing day spas, pet boutiques, chic antiques and upscale home décor stores. Ellicott City is also home to the oldest railroad terminus in the US, the last operating grist mill in Maryland and earliest part of the Historic National Road (first federally funded highway.) Recently “discovered” by The New York Times’ Friday Escapes and Southern Living magazine, Ellicott City has become a media darling often featured as a wonderful weekend getaway and even broadcast internationally during the MISS USA 2005 telecast. Nestled in the scenic hills above the Patapsco river, surrounded by charming steeples, fabulous Colonial, Federal, Victorian and even Art Deco architecture, Ellicott City tempts visitors to escape to centuries ago with its old world and bohemian charms all within an hours drive of Baltimore and Washington, DC.


Columbia, Maryland, began with the simplest yet boldest of ideas: that a city could enhance its residents’ quality of life. Columbia was planned and developed by The Rouse Company, led by its founder James Rouse. Beginning with an idea and the purchase of more than 14,000 acres in the mid-1960s, it has reached its original population projection and in almost every other way has met the goals put forth in its original proposal and advertising. James Rouse recruited nationally known experts in a wide array of disciplines to look at the possibilities – the optimum way to develop a community that would work best for the people who were to live there. This process produced a determination of the most vital social and institutional components of the new city and how they might best be reflected in a physical environment. Rouse believed strongly that “there should be a strong infusion of nature throughout a network of towns; that people should be able to feel the spaces of nature as part of their everyday life. He also believed “the ultimate test of civilization is whether or not it contributes to the growth — the improvement of mankind. Does it uplift, inspire, stimulate and develop the best in man? The most successful community would be that which contributed the most by its physical form, its institutions, and its operation to the growth of people.”

The Outdoors


Merriweather was designed by the world renowned architect Frank Gehry, who is best known for defying architectural conventions. In the early 1960’s, he accepted the challenge of developing a design that would least disturb the natural topography of the Merriweather site. He succeeded and the pavilion opened in 1967. Its acoustics were considered by many in the industry to be the best among outdoor venues. Conveniently located in the Baltimore/Washington corridor off Route 29 in Columbia, Maryland, Merriweather is nestled within the 40 preserved acres known as Symphony Woods. The natural, outdoor concert setting is one that simply can’t be matched. For more than 40 years, Merriweather has hosted a diverse range of artists and events, offering the area’s absolute best in contemporary entertainment such as Grammy award-winning artists such Santana, Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift , Norah Jones, Sarah McLachlan, Capital JazzFest, Virgin Mobile Free Fest the list goes on. Merriweather is visited by over 250,000 concertgoers per year. The venue is managed by owners of I.M.P., the independent concert promotion company that runs the immensely popular 9:30 Club in DC.


Ideal for nature viewing, our woodland & wetland ecosystems are home to wonderful wildlife. Gorgeous great blue herons, white cattle egrets and little green herons stalk minnows among reeds. Dazzling swallows, osprey and hawks soar overhead, while kingfishers dive into lakes for fish. Turtles sun themselves on logs and rocks. Cottontail rabbits nibble on grass at dawn and dusk. Red fox and raccoon scamper by while a beaver family builds a lodge. Colorful monarch and swallowtail butterflies and dragonflies dance among the flora. Spectacular songbirds serenade you at sunrise and sunset. Enjoy nature viewing along well-worn trails in the wooded river valley of the Patapsco Valley State Park and see scenic waterfalls, wildflowers & wildlife! Howard County has 40 lakes & ponds, natural open space areas, 30,000+ acre park and open space system, two state of the art Nature Centers all interlaced by more than 100 miles of pathways for walking, biking and jogging.



Of the hundreds Civil War bugle signs in Maryland, Howard County has nine new interpreted sites detailing the significance of Howard County during the war. At the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin, for example, visitors will learn how children reacted to, and acted out, the conflict going on all about them. Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps, director of the prestigious Patapsco Female Institute, encouraged her students from the north and south to develop friendships and use their influence at home to mitigate increasing animosities. Other signs include: the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station, Ellicott City Colored School, Restored, all in Ellicott City; Oakland Manor in Columbia; Elkridge Furnace Inn and Thomas Viaduct; Savage Mill; and site of the skirmish of Cooksville.


Discover “DC’s Route 66″ that connects the Chesapeake Bay to the Mississippi River right in Howard County, Maryland! During the course of making their business more profitable, the entrepreneurial Ellicott brothers (John, Andrew and Joseph) created one of the most picturesque scenic byways in Maryland – the Historic National Road. Dubbed the “road that built the nation,” it opened new land to exploration during the country’s time of Westward Expansion and also facilitated the movement of people, goods and livestock both east and westbound.In 1772 the Ellicott brothers established a mill along the banks of the Patapsco River. The town founders then built a road to connect Ellicott’s Mills with the bustling seaport of Baltimore. Needing more raw materials for their mill, the three men persuaded local farmers to switch from planting tobacco to wheat. They also constructed the Frederick Turnpike in an effort to ease the transport of wheat from outlying farms to their flour mill. In time, taverns, inns, wagon yards and barns were constructed to service people and livestock using the turnpike. Lisbon in western Howard County was one such stop. Today’s visitors to Howard County can trace the route using The Historic National Road: The Road that Built the Nation map and guide. The brochure identifies the location of wayside markers at key locations along the byway including the B&O Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station, Thomas Isaac Log Cabin and the Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum. In the spirit of 18th century travelers, today’s visitors are also encouraged to explore nearby restaurants, shops and boutiques.