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Daily Archives: April 19, 2012

Nothing to Do? Interesting Discussions.

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Around the hocosphere these past few days has floated a discussion about the lack of activities out here in the hinterlands, far from the big cities.

I have to agree with Barbara Kellner in her comments to Matt, at Lost in Columbia.

I moved here in 1975, when there really wasn’t much to do. I was 22, fresh out of college, with a low paying job, and two roommates. We did lots of free things, mostly picnicing or hiking in the parks, like Patapsco State Park. Ellicott City is where we went for a treat. Or, Laurel. Until we got Roy’s Place Too and JK’s to hang at.

The reason I bring up Laurel was triggered the other night as I flipped the TV on early to catch the news. This did it. Lionel Richie singing a song from my youth.

Why? The Adult Catholic Singles. A club started at the Interfaith Center, where my roomie dragged me to a brunch in 1979. The club went the following Friday for an evening out at Randy’s California Inn (now this really dates me here). At the Sunday brunch I first met a young man who was the host. He was also at Randy’s. He got enough courage to ask me to dance to Three Times A Lady that evening. A year later, we danced to that same song at our wedding.

We did lots of local things that dating year, and during the 1980’s as a young married couple. Lots of inexpensive things, too, while living in Columbia. Racquetball, tennis, swimming pool Sundays. Jogged Lake Elkhorn almost every day. Discovered Centennial Park.

Lots of outdoor things. We eventually found Les Amis du Vin, and learned about wine, although we could only afford the occasional tasting on our budget back then. We did discover more in Ellicott City those days, where tastings were held.

We bought our first place together in 1982, during the 14-16% interest days. Yep, we did get lucky and sold our Howard Homes camp out home (who remembers those days?) for a decent profit to get us the down payment for our new town home.

Yes, we could have bought in Montgomery County where we worked, for lots more money, less space and more traffic. More to do, close to DC, it was a tradeoff.

We had great fun in our town home. Lots of young couples just starting out. We did pot luck dinners, including an annual crab feast, New Year’s Eve Party (great idea, all you had to do was weave your way across the cul de sac), and various other themes. The town houses held a spring and fall clean up day. And, a picnic.

We got into the Howard County Rec and Park hiking programs and walked the length of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. All 42 miles of it, from High Rock to Harper’s Ferry. We did parts of the C&O Canal, too. And, various other hikes. We started these in 1989. They still do many of the same events.

Now, we spend just as much time outdoors, doing the bird walks, volunteering, gardening, walking, star gazing, and visiting the numerous wineries in the area. Friday nights at Black Ankle, for example, are a great evening out, to picnic, listen to music, as is Wine in the Woods and Wine in the Garden. I’ll be at both this year.

What could be better? Lovely locations. Good wine. Friendly people.

What other things can you think of, locally, that you do or did, in and around Howard County?


Twenty Minute Clean Up Day

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Check out Live Green Howard. Today is Twenty Minute Clean Up Day. This is the third year.

Spend twenty minutes doing something, anything that benefits you and your community by cleaning up your little influential circle in Howard County.

I can’t do much with lifting restrictions but I am spending my twenty minutes picking up trash along the guardrail on our road,

and all the paper and stuff that blows around on recycling day and ends up in our bushes. There are cans, bottles and paper all along there, and you can still reach enough of it to make a small difference. The old barbed wire fence that surrounded the horse pasture on the late 19th century farm that preceded our home being built here, is quite the trash catcher.

I also think I will wander across the road from the mailboxes and clean up the stuff people throw out of their cars there. Every little bit of cleaning helps, as we lost our Adopt A Road sponsor years ago.

If you get a chance, take a small bag and pick up the easy stuff around you. You know, the Choose Community thing is a good start.