Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Real Charm City

Every time Paul and I travel to BWI (Baltimore-Washington International Airport), we pass Ellicott City.

On one of our journeys, I said, "We should go there sometime--I hear it's cute."

"Where did you hear that?" he asked. "What makes it cuter, than say...Glen Burnie or Shady Grove or Greenbelt?"

"Well," I answered, "It has the word "City" in it, which makes it automatically quaint and inviting."

He laughed. "By that logic, Ocean City is a charming little beach town."

"It all depends on your idea of charming," I retorted. "Some people find tattoo parlors and wax museums extremely charming. You get plenty of both in Ocean City."

"Hmmmph," he responded.

Yesterday, as the boys began another rollicking morning of Ultimate Fighting: Home Edition, Paul turned to me and said, "We've gotta get out of here. Let's go to Ellicott City."

Sweet. Not only did I get to fulfill another lifelong dream, I now have fodder for this week's Sundays in My City. (Thanks, as always to the lovely and talented Unknown Mami for hosting!)

Unknown Mami
An hour and a half later, fueled by provisions from WaWa, we arrived at Ellicott City's historic downtown. And guess what? It's charming. If Ellicott City was your boyfriend, your mother would let him sleep over. His teachers would extend the due dates of all of his assignments. Managers would comp his meals. It's that charming.

Ellicott City is built into a valley, so the homes hang precipitously. It reminded me of the mining towns in Arizona. I like this picture because it seems as if the trees are going feral, returning the home to its verdant roots:

 The city is full of antique stores and eye-catching boutiques. Additionally, there are homemade signs selling local apples. How's that for charming? 

I am a firm believer that a state should have a cool flag. Both Arizona and Maryland have met this expectation.

Owen got to know some of the local residents, and then we walked down the big hill to the train museum. If you have sons, you will learn a lot about trains. Accept it. Live it. Love it. Trains are the counterpoint to Barbies.  They are exactly the same, except one runs on steam, and one has an eating disorder.

We came at just the right time because we were able to see the Christmas model train display, minus the CROWDS! NOISE! WEEPING! CHAOS! (And all the other things that go along with Good Family Holiday Fun.)

And yes, train purists, I know that Sir Topham Hat and the other inhabitants of Sodor are historically inaccurate.Tell that to the Thomas-obsessed toddlers, not to mention their parents and their pocketbooks.

A highlight was going into an actual caboose.  Because I am 12, the entire time I was there, I kept thinking, "Heh, heh. B.O. Heh." (It actually stands for Baltimore and Ohio, I'm guessing. One would think I would know this, having just been to a museum on this very topic. One would think.)

Owen was very, very happy. Joel isn't in very many pictures because he was obsessed with going up and down the ramps and stairs.
To round out the morning, we went to a chocolate shop, a first for Owen. A world that makes chocolate-covered marshmallows with RAINBOW SPRINKLES? Life just gets better and better...

...not only for Owen, but for all of us.


Peterson Family said...

What a great post! I love all the pics! It looks like an amazing place to visit!

Unknown Mami said...

That city puts the charm in charming. I love the last picture of the boys.

B.O. Hehe.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Just stopped over from Unknown Mami's to saY hello.

I love your comparison... "If Ellicott City was your boyfriend, your mother would let him sleep over." That's great and so is the city!

All your pics are wonderful and the kids are gorgeous!

Thanks for sharing!


adrienzgirl said...

Now I know what I will think of next time I play Monopoly and collect the railroads! :D

Sonya said...

Loved the post and pictures..espically the last one:)

Bekah said...

Love your writing and your initiative to go visit a nearby city "just cuz"!

Anonymous said...

What a neat place. Yes. Trains are a fact of life, and are the subject of a perfect read before nap time.

Kristin said...

I'm with Mami. SO charming. I wish I'd visited when I lived in the area!

Tricia said...

Sounds like such a fun outing!

Corrie Howe said...

Nice feature. I've never really walked around Ellicott City, just driven there.