Main Street Bridge

Entering Historic Ellicott City from the southeast, the B&O Railroad bridge and stone buildings greet you./Wkimedia

Romance, it’s a state of mind. And, like any other state of mind, it can be enhanced by location. There are some locations that combine a variety of elements enhancing this state. Certainly, a romantic dinner by candlelight at a fancy restaurant, perhaps in a dimly lit nostalgic building by a fireplace with fine cuisine and some flowers, has long been a go-to approach. And then there’s the stroll arm-in-arm with crisp air on the cheeks, walking closely to share some warmth. This fits many venues and is also a nice add-on dimension. For us, visions of nature, old stone buildings, a river pouring over rocks, and quaint shops that capture the imagination are also all welcome additions.

Ahhh, February, the month of love. If you’re in need of an idea this month for a road trip destination with your loved one, look no further than historic Ellicott City! It checks off a ton of boxes on the romance list.

Let’s start with a look at the setting: Founded in 1772, this mill town along the Patapsco River is older than our nation and home to the oldest railroad station in America. This stone building houses a museum depicting the rich history of both the local community and our nation. In fact, the very layout of Washington DC was done in Ellicott City. In the historic district, hundreds of buildings survived wars, floods and the passage of time. Now, preserved in intricate detail, the town houses about a dozen and a half restaurants, numerous art galleries, studios and antique shops — as well as spas and salons.

Checklist for the perfect romantic day:

  • Take a crisp walk along the river
  • Take in the the history at the Baltimore & Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum
  • Visit a spa for a treatment
  • Snag some antiques or art to retain the memories
  • Stroll the streets along the same buildings shoppers passed a quarter of a millennia ago
  • Wrap it all up with a fantastic romantic meal!

All this without even moving your car from its parking spot.

Some of our favorite destinations in Ellicott City are Archive Music and Games, a great place to find some old vinyl and reminisce of music from your college days. Peruse the hand-crafted jewelry at Hi Ho Silver. Check out the Wine Bin where you can see free Saturday movies, enjoy ‘yappy’ hours for dogs and even attend cocktail-making classes. If you go later in the year, as the weather warms up, enjoy some great outdoor dining at several venues. Whether it’s a cup of coffee while listening to the river’s babbling waters, or enjoying pastries among the blossoming foliage, or a fantastic restaurant meal, the outdoor views always provide the charming views of the historic stone buildings. The interiors of many of these buildings still display hewn granite stone walls and fireplaces and even that wavy glass of windows from more than a hundred years ago.

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