Ellicott City, MD: Best Place to Live in the USA?
Ellicott City, MD is the county seat of Howard County, and has the distinction as the largest unincorporated county seat in the United States, with a population of nearly 66,000.
It's also regarded as one of America's most affluent communities, boosting Howard County to the third wealthiest county in the USA. Since 2005, Ellicott City has been listed by Money and CNNMoney.com in the "20 Best Places to Live in the United States"
Waiting for our arrival was Sheila who lived nearby in Catonsville. Sheila grew up in Ellicott City and agreed to walk us around downtown and tell us about the place.
"It grew around a flour mill", she said, when asked if Ellicott City was originally a mining town. It turned out, it was the first stop along the famed B&O Railroad, which originally ran from Baltimore to the Ohio River.
Sheila points her finger at the railroad bridge crossing over Tiber Creek, showing us where the flood lines have been. "You can see when and how bad the city has been flooded".
When Ellicott City isn't worrying about flooding, locals are learning how to get along with their spiritual citizens. The town is regarded as one of the most haunted on the east coast. There's a ghost tour that takes people to local mansions and buildings where paranormal activity is known to concentrate.
On weekends, the downtown area is under siege by weekend bikers, while during the week locals come out and peruse the latest arrivals at Taylor's Antique Mall, or sip away at Tiber Tea Room.
Sheila recommended more down-to-earth digs at Ellicott Mill Brewing.
A little high on the pricing, I stayed true to my desire to try local fare, opting for the crab cakes with a side order of deep fried rock fish. I found the crab cakes to be true to Maryland form, made mostly with real pieces of crab and minimal breading, quite opposite of what you get in other states. Meanwhile the beer at Ellicott Mill was actually quite good, going a little more heavy on the malt, which is more to my taste.
It turned out we only had a few hours at most to visit Ellicott City, and after eating lunch, browsing the antique shops and buying some loose leaf teas, our time was just about up.
Perhaps when Road Pickle makes another swing back east, Ellicott City might be worth a week's stay.
|Sash and Sheila outside Ellicott Mill Brewery, Ellicott City, MD|
|A view of downtown Ellicott City, MD|
|Tiber Creek runs through Ellicott City, the white pole indicates past high water marks|
|Ahhh! Real Maryland crab cakes, served with pickled red cabbage, at Ellicott Mill Brewery|
|Highway, Sash, and Sheila, in Ellicott City|
|Sash and Tiber Tea Room, Ellicott City|
|Riding through Fort McHenry Tunnel, downtown Baltimore, on our way to Ellicott City|