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Columbia Inspired

Travel is Back!

Jun 28, 2021 02:08PM ● By Katrina Hall
Photography Credit:
Pam Long Photography

Howard County residents know there is no shortage of things to experience in our community. However, the tourism industry all but halted during the COVID 19 pandemic, changing the way we look at vacations: Enter the ‘Staycation’. The idea of a close-to-home get-away is not new, but has surged in popularity as we cautiously emerge from a year of lock down measures. Eric Teisch, Sales and Membership Director of Visit Howard County, has  seen  a rising trend of regional travel for both business and leisure since the Spring of 2021.  Tourists from D.C., Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and the Carolinas make up the majority of visitors to Howard County. As the transition to remote work is unlikely to change in some industries, travel for leisure outpaces business travel, with most people opting for outdoor locations.

“Once the Governor started relaxing some of the quarantine mandates, there’s been an increase in calls and people looking to get out.” says Teisch, of the upward trend in traveling to Howard County this summer. Sporting events, the return of open air concerts, and what finally feels like the chance at a real summer vacation adds up to endless experiences in our own backyard, “Travel is coming back in a big way,” shares Teisch. He encourages everyone that, when they are ready to travel again, there is something for all comfort levels.  

Businesses have had to change the way they operate on a day to day basis and could use a little kindness from the community right now. A majority of businesses are still working to rebuild their staff while working hard to bring you wonderful service. However, meeting the influx of demand can be challenging, so let's all be patient and supportive! Please don't hesitate to head over to for ideas. 

Below we have listed some of the Visit Howard County’s Hidden Gems below:

  • African Art Museum of Maryland: Columbia’s first planned museum and remains as one of only three national museums focused on showcasing African Art and is the only such museum founded by an African American, Doris Lignon. AAMM celebrated its 40th year last fall, and is open Thursday through Saturday, 11am - 4pm. Please visit the website for occupancy limits and times.

  • Clark’s Elioak Farm: This local legend has been bringing the barnyard to our community since 1797!  Clark's Elioak Farm is open, with hours to accommodate after-school school schedules and weekend trips. Patrons can enjoy a family friendly atmosphere while visiting the animals in the Petting Farm (Read: baby goats!), purchase farm fresh produce, and visit the fantastical Enchanted Forest. Visit the link above to verify mask guidelines.

  • Columbia Art Center: The Columbia Art Center is a multi-functional artistic space that offers art classes, studio spaces, and ever-changing exhibitions featuring local artists. Visitors are encouraged to check the website for up to date guidelines regarding visiting times, mask requirements, and registration. 

  • DoodleHATCH:  The revitalization of the Long Reach Village Center has been focused on bringing the arts to the area. Enter: DoodleHATCH, a large interactive art fantasy playground for all ages. This family friendly venue features projects the whole family can work on and experience together! For more on DoodleHATCH, check out the article from our May Issue here.

  • Historic Ellicott City: HEC is an eclectic blend of old and new, combining outdoor spaces and natural beauty with intimate dining experiences, historical sites, and shops.

  • Historic Savage Mill: Once a water powered textile mill, the Historic Savage Mill is now home to wonderful restaurants and unique shops.  Not only do they offer wonderful dining and shopping experiences, Savage Mill is equipped to host your next event in their charming banquet facilities.   

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