Columbia Association Welcome Center and Archives, 10221 Wincopin Circle, Columbia, (410) 715-3000.
Howard County Tourism Council, 8267 Main St., Ellicott City, (800) 288-8747, www.visithowardcounty.com.
African Art Museum of Maryland, 5430 Vantage Point Road, Columbia, (410) 730-7105, www.africanartmuseum.org. Dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and preserving the art of Africa and increasing the awareness of African art and culture, this museum offers exhibits plus videos, workshops, and performances.
Cider Mill Farm, 5012 Landing Road, Elkridge, (410) 788-9595, www.farmmd.com. Babies at the petting farm, weekend hayrides and pony rides, and the new Goat World await you at Cider Mill Farm. Don't miss the fresh jams and jellies at the country store. And did we mention Goat World?
Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City, (410) 313-2787. With rotating gallery exhibits, dance and theater performances, crafts, and photography, there is always something going on here.
Howard County Historical Society Museum and Library, 8328 Court Ave., Ellicott City, (410) 461-1050, (410) 750-0370. The people working to keep history engaging at Howard County's Historical Society have a lot of time on their hands--literally. With it they've created exhibits of household items, clothes, weapons, and tools. Also on display are manuscripts, documents, and correspondence that cover generations of Howard County communities.
Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, Mount Ida Visitors Center, 3691 Sarah's Lane, Ellicott City, (410) 465-8500. Overlooking the Patapsco River Valley stands the ruins of what was once an academic institute for the daughters of the cream of Southern society. The Greek-revival structure was built in 1837; the school closed in 1891, and the building had turns as a hotel, a private residence, a hospital during World War I, and a theater up until the '40s. Said to be haunted (naturally), it is now an active archaeological site.
Columbia Festival of the Arts, June 15-30, Columbia, (410) 715-3055. Columbia places 15 days celebrating the arts at your disposal: performance art, workshops, master classes, children's activities, free weekend performances at Lake Kittamaqundi, and a hell of a lot more.
Howard County Fair, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 4-11, Howard County Fairgrounds, 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship, (410) 442-1022. Kids love the 4-H exhibits, and when is the last time you saw a pig all cleaned up and pretty? This country fair also has arts and crafts, entertainment, food on a stick, and contests.
Juneteenth, June 19, Howard County Center of African American Culture, 5434 Vantage Point Road, Columbia, (410) 715-1921, www.hccaac.org. Juneteenth is a day of national recognition of the slave emancipation in Texas on June 19, 1865, and what better place to spend it than HCCAAC? Pick up a copy of Ralph Ellison's Juneteenth from the gift shop.
B&Bs--yes they have a few in Howard County:
Inn at Paternal Gift Farm, 13555 Route 108, Highland, (301) 854-3353.
Inn on Church Road, 3739 Church Road, Ellicott City, (800) 886-9347.
Wayside Inn, 4344 Columbia Road, Ellicott City, (410) 461-4636.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Centennial Park, Columbia, (410) 313-4700, free. This 325-acre park has jogging and hiking trails, and the area around Centennial Lake is perfect for fishing and other water sports. There are sports fields, so bring your bats and balls for a game of baseball or softball. The less ambitious can bring a blanket and some trashy summer reading.
Waverly Woods Golf Club, 2100 Warwick Way, Marriottsville, (410) 313-9182. Baltimore Magazine named this championship golf course Baltimore's best. What do they know? Go find out.
Ballindullagh Barn Antiques, 2410 Woodstream Court, Ellicott City, (410) 988-8002, www.bbpineantiques.com. For something shiny and new, go to that mall in Columbia. For something dusty and old, come here.
Larriland Farm, 2415 Woodbine Road, Woodbine, (410) 442-2605, www.pickyourown.com. Fruits and vegetables don't come any fresher than at a pick-your-own farm such as this.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201