Navigating the curving road into the Patapsco Valley, I couldn't help but notice the houses getting older, the architecture more distinct. Finally forced to stop at the Main Street intersection at the bottom of the hill, the quaint downtown took my breath away. I discovered Ellicott City, located outside of Baltimore, only through work, but after driving down Main, I fell a little bit in love. By the time I crossed the Patapsco River and noticed the swiftly moving, rocky water I knew this town had the potential to be something special.
This enclave of Ellicott City embraces its history, honoring the B & O Railroad and Ellicott's Mills for their role in founding and growing the city. Modern day Ellicott is peppered with restaurants, antique shops, a wine bar, local brewery and historical tours. Like any good Stars Hollow wannabe, it also has its share of festivals, ranging from the Fall Arts Festival to the Chesapeake Shakespeare Festival. There is even a cast of enthusiastic residents ready to envelope you into the fold.
Unfortunately, the quaint village I consider Ellicott City is surrounded by Ellicott City proper with all the modern conveniences provided by urban sprawl. Once you escape the valley, you are affronted with any number of big box stores, chain restaurants, and McMansions. Don't get me wrong. I tend to take advantage of these conveniences as much as the next girl. I live in the suburbs of DC. My Stars Hollow...it's the mythical unicorn I seek, and I have every right to continue my quest for that perfect, magical combination.
Still, don't turn your back on Ellicott City. Head to the Spring Wine Festival, wander the ruins of the haunted Patapsco Female Institute and don't leave without sticking your toes in the Patapsco.