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Old 09-06-2009, 08:33 PM
98 posts, read 192,504 times
Reputation: 49


We have moved to temporary housing in Baltimore while I start my job in Columbia and my husband at Hopkins. The traffic around Baltimore is a bit worse than expected so we are looking farther west to buy a house to better split the commute.

We visited Ellicott City today and were a little disappointed so I am looking for some guidance. We moved from Center City Philadelphia so are used to (and like) city living but are looking for a house with some land, and good schools, for our 3 year old daughter. We sort of randomly drove around, walked down Main Street, and drove by a few homes in our price range (up to $500k). Here are my issues -

1. Housing. In this price range it looks like we'd be looking at a townhouse with no yard, a pretty nondescript 1950's style rancher, or a house in a subdivision with a brick front and vinyl siding. Is there anything more interesting out there?

2. "Suburban-ness". While driving around I saw grocery stores, a Target, and other chains, but no interesting shopping areas, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. Does Ellicott City have any and if so where are they? Also I did not see a Whole Foods around but is there another, similar grocery around?

3. Schools. What would you consider the best elementary, middle, and high schools in the area?

I am not trying to put the place down, actually I really want to like it because geographically it may be the best area for us. We just need some direction from the locals. Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:10 AM
Location: Meridian
138 posts, read 309,642 times
Reputation: 97
I moved here from Florida about a year ago. I have 3 yr. old twins. Have you looked at neighborhoods off rt. 40? The schools here are supposed to be very good, but we haven't started to check them out yet. Downtown EC is interesting, but nothing like Center City. Sykesville's main street is cute, but also small. I used to live in DC a long time ago, where I could walk everywhere, but it is not like that here. PM me if you have other questions or want to do a playdate. I'll be out of town next week, but maybe after that.
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Old 09-10-2009, 02:18 PM
Location: Maryland - Howard County
195 posts, read 683,656 times
Reputation: 60
1. Housing - you can certainly find a single family home in the $500Ks. Not necessarily a new home but an older home, in an established neighborhood, that has had updates completed in the home.

2. Shopping - Old Ellicott City may be as "unique" as it gets in Ellicott City. However, there are some great restaurants and shops in the area. Almost every restaurant in Ellicott City is a non-chain and is independently owned. If you want little coffee shops you can venture over to Columbia or into Waverly Woods - both of which are close to Ellicott City. Catonsville (through Old Ellicott City) also offers some nice little shops. Woodbine/Glenelg - about 20 minutes from Ellicott City offer some nice restaurants and coffee shops. Howard County (comprised of Columbia, Elkridge, Ellicott City, Clarksville, Woodbine, Glenelg, Marriottsville, Jessup, Fulton, and parts of Laurel) as a whole really does offer a lot; from independently owned restaurants to chains.

Fulton / Maple Lawn - about 15 minutes from Ellicott City offers newer non-chain restaurants and some little boutique shops (they have been changing up every so often).

In regards to "Whole-Foods-esque" stores...there is a Harris Teeter in Columbia and another one coming up in Columbia (both offer an organic section and a lot of variety in produce and imported items). Giant has an organic section. There is MOMS Organic Market in Jessup. There is ROOTS in Clarksville which neighbors an organic Dog Food place, clothing store, and a GREAT vegetarian restaurant called Great Sage. There is a Wegmans coming to town as well.

The point is that even though Ellicott City may not have everything you are looking for, in regards to shopping, it is only minutes away from everything that you will need. Howard County as a whole seems to have what you may be looking for.

By law I cannot comment on schools but here is the Howard County Maryland school website: Howard County Public School System You can find test scores and other various school information.
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