The holidays are just around the corner and Howard County, Maryland is your one stop shop for a variety of holiday shopping events.
If you’re looking for something fun to do this holiday season, or want to shop small in quaint stores to find those precious holiday gifts, look no further than Howard County, MD., just under an hour from Washington, D.C.
Between the Merriweather District, historic Ellicott City, Koreatown and the Savage Mill historic district, there are a host of activities plus great places to shop and stay in the months ahead.
“One of the unique shopping experiences in Howard County is being able to visit the farms and the farm stores that we have,” says Theresa Meeker Pickett, marketing content and communications manager at Visit Howard County. “You can see some farm animals and pick up a one-of-a-kind item that’s made right on the farm. You can even stay overnight at some of our farms.”
For those looking for a day trip, 14 artisan studios are participating in this year’s Countryside Artisans Fall Studio Tour in Western Howard County, Oct. 13-15, including the Breezy Hill Alpacas. This is a perfect was to put the city behind you and see wondrous nature as you shop for one-of-a-kind gifts along the way. Another artisan tour will take place this December 1-3.
In Greater Ellicott City, visitors can discover unique foodie gifts at bakeries and specialty grocery stores in Koreatown. Also, those coming to town on Nov. 25 can take advantage of Shop Small Saturday throughout Ellicott City. And on Dec. 1, the 45th annual Midnight Madness takes place, allowing shoppers to get special deals at more than 80 shops and restaurants, which will be decked out for the holidays.
“Koreatown has a lot of neat shops and a very unique experience and is very well known for its restaurants,” Pickett says. “You can find a lot of foodie gifts and more.”
Savage Mill, a historic cotton mill complex in Savage, offers a variety of boutique shops and restaurants and will be holding several events geared for the holiday season.
“There are so many experiences; you can create your own candle and take part in other fantastic experiential opportunities,” Pickett says.
It hosts a month-long Yuletide Festival, which begins on Nov. 25 with the grand opening of its Holiday Makers Market, performances from local musicians, and special offers from locally-owned shops. A variety of artisans will be set up throughout the Mill on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 24.
A special lighting of Bollman Bridge takes place on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m., followed by a town tree lighting at Baldwin Common.
“The Mill has been a tradition for many, and we are embracing the simplicity of what Christmas used to be like,” says Julie Eurice, director of marketing and communications for Savage Mill. “Our shop and restaurants will have many specials, so it’s a fun and busy time here.”
Columbia is home to DoodleHatch, a creative arts space and clothing store where owner Lee Andersen displays and sells her designs, which range from high-end fashions to casual art clothing. Among the store’s customers are the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Crown Prince of Thailand, and the Queen of Spain.
For those who want to spend the night and make a weekend shopping trip, Howard County offers a plethora of ins, hotels and homey bed and breakfast places to stay. The Inn at Mary’s Land Farm in Clarksville also has a store where they sell their famous beef jerky and plenty of unique gifts. While the Columbia Inn at Peralynna, located in Ellicott City, is walking distance to a host of shops.
“Having a more personal approach when shopping for holiday gifts is an important part of the season,” Pickett said. “When you have unique items, with a story to tell about how you ended up picking something out, makes it that more meaningful and people will enjoy that gift even more.”
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