It’s long been noted that historic places have power because they’re real — they’re authentic. Ellicott City is an example of a place that exudes authenticity. It is real and unadulterated. It has been traipsed over by Civil War soldiers, saturated by muddy floodwaters and stained with the sooty coal smoke of locomotives. The result is a place that beckons visitors, because it is unlike any other area. Here, the sameness of the interstate is replaced by the uniqueness of granite outcroppings and stone buildings built to last.Ellicott City dates to 1772, and takes great pride in its past. Locals make good use of the historic downtown area, filled with art galleries, antique shops, cafes, bookstores, wine bars and more. There’s a popular railroad museum, located in the country’s oldest surviving passenger depot — a structure first used in 1830.One reasonEllicott City continues to make the top lists of where to live in the US is its school system, which is combined with adjacent Columbia, serving 57,000 students and boasting high graduation rates as well as great socioeconomic and racial diversity.Ellicott City’s other enticements include the 337-acre Centennial Park, movie theaters, community centers, public pools, farmers markets — plus nearby Patapsco Valley State Park, whose 200 miles of trails offer hiking, biking, and other recreational offerings.
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