The old clock is in a museum. There will be a new one in its place. Stores on Main Street continue to re-open almost one year after the horrific flood that devastated Old Ellicott City. Some new stores are opening. Some old ones will not be back.
I visited the Ellicott City Old Town Market Saturday. It's in the parking lot of the Wine Bin. I had never been before but I was going to be getting my hair cut nearby when a social media post from a friend reminded me I needed more Neat Nick preserves. (No, I am not an official sponsor, I'm just a devoted fan.)
As I headed down Ellicott Mills Drive to Main Street I wondered at all the on-street parking spaces that didn't seem to have any connection to residences or businesses. What was the purpose of painting all of those? As I got closer to my destination those spaces were almost filled. I parked in Lot E and walked over to the Market. There were lots of folks out and about, and more continuing to arrive by car.
It turns out that it wasn't just a regular Saturday on Main Street, but also the day of the annual "Paint It!" event. Take a look here to see what was going on. It made my heart glad to see this kind of activity in a place that has struggled so much over the last year.
The market by the Wine Bin is small and friendly. I picked up two jars of jelly, some fresh produce, and some of Umami's delicious baba ghanouj. As I was noodling around surveying the variety of vendors I came across two gentlemen selling coupon books. The sign on their table caught my eye:
benefits Ellicott City Partnership. I opened my wallet.
For twenty dollars you get a book of over 125 coupons to local businesses. Yes, really local, not just the usual chains but many independent mom-and-pop establishments. The coupon for Lucky's in Oakland Mills convinced me they were serious about the "local" claim. For every twenty dollars of the purchase price, ten goes to EC Partnership.
So if you want to help out Old Ellicott City and support local businesses at the same time, this is a great choice. If you are not sure you're going to use a lot of coupons, you could donate that same $20.00 directly to the One EC Recovery Project. Or, take your twenty dollars and go spend it on Main Street.
On my trip home, retracing my original route, I noticed that nearly all of those on-street parking spots I had wondered at earlier were filled. Folks were parking, hopping out, and heading down to enjoy the day.
Have you been to Old Ellicott City lately? What's your favorite thing to do while you are there?
Comments are welcome here:
The Grace McComas Memorial Scholarship Fund has received over $1,250.00 in donations since Friday's post. Thank you so much for your donations and sharing the story! If you have ideas on other ways to continue raising funds for this project, message me through the blog or comment on the blog's Facebook page. (Link above.)