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Category Archives: Howard County

Shopping Small

Tonight is Girl’s Night Out in old town Ellicott City. Here is the link to what you can find if you head out there between 5-9 pm. Many businesses have re-opened and are participating in the event.

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If you start at the Wine Bin and get your mason jar mug, you can sip the lemonade available at many of the shops.

This is just the first of many ways we can show continued support to small businesses. By shopping at the mom and pop stores, eating at the locally owned restaurants and using locally owned services.

One. Perfect. Weekend.

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I don’t know where to begin. Maybe it’s the fact that weekends like this one are the reason we don’t move south. Those absolutely breathtaking weekends, with foliage, crisp temperatures, sunshine and beautiful places to visit.

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My weekend began out at Sharp’s Farm, for a Conservancy sponsored event. Denise Sharp, who is absolutely amazing and passionate about her farm, and farming in general, led 43 people on a tour of the farm. It was an event we asked her to create and lead.

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It’s the third time that I know of, where the Conservancy sponsored an off site event. This time, the premier event showcasing Howard County farms. It also was created to use the off site due to the construction at Mt. Pleasant.

I had the pleasure of partnering with Denise, setting things up and leading the scavenger hunt. Denise, she got the fun job. Taking them on a hayride through the farm, including a creek crossing.

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Off they go, to tour the property.

My favorite part of Saturday morning, watching the children feed the animals.

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They fed the goats, the chickens, the cows and the bunnies. And they loved it.

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So did the farm animals. All that attention and extra food.

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After all, when was the last time you got to pet a cow.

This weekend was the last one at the farm. Just like Larriland, who closed today. And, I believe, Clark’s. It’s the end of the season, except for the local wineries. That’s the other thing we did on this perfect weekend. Headed out to Black Ankle to pick up wine.

Along with hundreds of others, we sat outside and enjoyed the view and the wine. Didn’t even take the camera. It was just a lazy afternoon surrounded by fall foliage.

Every year this early November lovely weather, accompanied by the changing leaves, makes us love the state of Maryland even more.

The Turn House

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A new owner in an old space. Making it a locally sourced farm to table restaurant at a golf course. We had the pleasure of attending a local bloggers’ party there last night.

Many years ago (OK, a couple of decades ago) we hung out at Coho Grill every Friday night. We lived right up the road. A local bar with decent crab cakes. Passable salmon dinner. Nice drinks. Affordable wine. Then, in the early years of the new century we discovered Iron Bridge and abandoned Coho. Mainly because it was OK. Not great. Not that welcoming anymore for those who didn’t play golf.

I am happy to report that I really love the renovation. The expansion of outdoor space that magnifies the lovely view, particularly now that the foliage is peaking.

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We no longer have to dine in Howard County while checking out the parking lots or the storm management ponds (OK, yes, there are a few other places with great al fresco sites, but most are pretty dismal). This site has a large comfortable dining area overlooking the course. The good thing. The food is as good if not better than the view.

We tried a number of bites. Using many of the small plate elements. The tartare. The pork belly. The oysters. And more.

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For the bloggers, the small bites were complimentary. The cash bar had some specialty cocktails, a nice selection of craft beers and a good choice of a “house” pinot noir and chardonnay.

We had the opportunity to talk to the executive chef, Thomas Zipelli, a native Howard Countian. His family. This is a family owned business, who care about local sourcing. My kind of people.

We will be back. It’s a great addition to the dining scene. Not a chain. Definitely worth checking out.

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Check out their menu.

Food Insecurity

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The harvest season is coming to an end. Those of us who work to provide fresh produce to our local food bank are taking out the last vegetables in the garden.

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This is the time of the year when we get slammed with greens, and not much else. The cabbages are winding down.

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Once you harvest a large head of cabbage, it tries to make more but you get mostly cabbage leaves. You can still harvest them, and make soup, but this is the beginning of the end.

We only have carrots, beets, collards, lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard left to harvest. Just about a month until we finish. Then, the fresh produce dwindles down at the Food Bank. In November and December many people donate, but those long months after the holidays are pretty grim. The gardens and local farms donate between the months of May and November. After that, it’s mostly canned goods.

I get an immense satisfaction in harvesting for our local food bank. They are about to move into much larger space, where they can process more fresh foods and hold them. That is good for the gardeners, the farmers and the local CSAs, like mine. Our site host wants to give more to the food bank but the limited storage and the limited days to accept non-perishables has hindered us in the past.

Every week when we drop off our community garden bags, we ask when they will be moving. Hopefully, it will be soon.

In the meantime, if you can, be sure to help by donating. Head over to the bulk stores and pick up some staples. Beans and canned proteins like tuna are always welcome.

Here’s the link to our local food bank. Take a few minutes and find yours.

Dennis Lane

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Traffic made me miss the dedication of Dennis Lane, a private road on Merriweather Post Pavilion Land, named in honor of one of the well loved members of the Columbia/Howard County blogging community. I was stuck on I-97 and then on 100, trying to get back on Wednesday afternoon. I did see that many, many people made it to the dedication. All the friends who loved to read Dennis’ writings about life in Columbia and Ellicott City. Or, who were family and friends.

Dennis was special to us. We miss his wit, wisdom and his way with words. Three plus years since we lost him. Tragically, but we lost him. Nice to know he will be remembered by the developing community of which he was a large part.

Dennis scooped the Whole Foods thing. In his blog. Which thankfully is still there for us to find and read about our home.

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Dennis just knew everyone. His love of Columbia and Ellicott City was obvious.

So, this year, when you head out to Symphony of Lights, which is back as a fundraiser for the hospital, see if you can find Dennis Lane as you drive around.

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It’s a brown sign. A privately maintained road. And, in the spirit of sharing trivial information about where we live, like Dennis was so good at doing, did you know, green signs are county roads, blue signs are Columbia (CPRA) roads, red signs are old town Historic District Ellicott City roads, and brown signs are private roads.

The Local Restaurant Scene

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Things have been pretty crazy around here, and I haven’t blogged much the past few weeks. Finally, the contractors are about done and I can take back my basement rec room, without smelling paint fumes from the door painting, or shivering because the door is open for hours a day.

I need a new restaurant fix. I keep hoping the two newest ones in our area would open soon, but until then, I can at least try out the Turn House, with my friends the HoCoBloggers. Another blog party on the 2nd of November, to showcase the talent of Thomas Zippelli. Local farms will be providing quite a bit of the protein and veggies on the menu. This restaurant used to be the Coho Grill, in Hobbits Glen. One of our old “watering holes”, back before we moved out to west county.

Out here, changes have been seen also. The Town Grill in Lisbon is moving to West Friendship (if they ever get there). Every month we hear a new date for opening. When the Citgo was sold, we thought it would be fairly quick for them to be relocated. They are going into the old Foster’s General Store site, next to the Pink Cabbage antique store. Frederick Rd and Triadelphia. I absolutely love their smoked salmon BLT and their breakfast offerings are awesome. Hopefully, they will continue to offer ribs every Saturday. I like the fact that they are on my route to and from the Conservancy, where I have my community garden plot, and where I volunteer.

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As for the other close by new offering, I have no other information except for a paper sign on the window at the old Bistro Blanc location in Glenelg. The new place will be called Dandelion Bistro and Bakery. Supposedly, opening mid October (which is right now, but it’s not open yet). No web site, or page, to let us know what is coming. I am just glad the bad rumors of a Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins aren’t true. We welcome small family businesses, but aren’t keen about chains. They also seem to be adding a heated area to their patio, one of the features of the site.

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Out west farther from us, another new place. Bolder, in Mt. Airy. The Howard County part of Mt. Airy, on Frederick Rd near Watersville. It used to be Drover’s Inn. Opened October 11th. Small plates, and more.

I obviously need to get out more.

Fall Festivals

‘Tis the season. October. When everyone decides to host a fall festival. My favorite. Which is attended by hundreds of kindred spirits in Howard County.

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The one at the Howard County Conservancy this Sunday the 2nd of October. It’s $10 a car. A bargain for all you get to experience. It mixes history with agriculture with children’s activities with good food, and so much more. 11-3. The weather should clear up before Sunday. Come out and have a relaxing fun Sunday afternoon.