Thursday, October 2, 2014

Main Street

My day began with a terrible experience at Floyd's on Route 40 where I had gone in hope of getting a long-overdue haircut. Assured that the wait would be fifteen minutes, my daughter and I took a seat. We were still there over a half an hour later and in that time no one spoke to us, no one made eye contact, and I'm not sure anyone noticed when we walked out. They were not busy, by the way. It was just weird.

So off we went, and I decided to pop on over to Old Ellicott City to take a look into Green Row Books, which was having their soft opening yesterday. As disappointing as my first experience of the day had been, the Ellicott City experience was equally rewarding. We easily found parking, noodled around in Vintage Bliss (sadly moving out) chatted up the owner of the new bookstore, and had a delicious lunch at Portalli's.

Day rescued. Although I do still need a haircut.

Later I attended the HoCoCivil blog party at Seasons 52. A joint venture of both The Howard County Libraries and the local blogging community, it was a celebratory kick off for this year's Choose Civility Week. Their signature event is listed here. The happy hour event was held on the outdoor sidewalk-patio space. And the weather must have been pre-arranged as well. It was perfect.

In comparison to the history, architectural detail, and funky off-beat charm of Old Ellicott City, the Mall has felt rather soulless to me at times. If it is what we call our Main Street in Columbia, is there any "there" there?

Well, last night was a lively and uplifting night for our suburban Main Street. The evening was mild, the party was hopping with a great mix of both blogger and library types. Seasons 52 was a wonderful host. Drinks were easy to get, and the food kept on coming. And all this in combination with their regular dinner crowd and a fundraiser for Terri Hill.

I've made light of the description of the new open area plaza at the Mall as a "lifestyle space". But no matter what you call it, the combination of fountain, walkway, sculptures, and outdoor dining works together to give our rather cooky-cutter, homogenized mall experience a more idiosyncratic, hometown feel.

Columbia-centric blogger Kirsten Litkowski-Coombs described her blog to a new acquaintance like this: "I live over there."

"Over there?" A puzzled look.

"Yes, right there! In those townhouses, right there. And I've been waiting and waiting for this (she gestured around her) to happen."

It felt good.



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