This is a fun day trip, and it has something for everyone. Ellicott City could even be the destination of this day trip, and be completely
rewarding or take it all the way to Westminster or reverse the route! If you’re of the driving persuasion, and have too much fuel in the tank then I have some extras to make it a quality drive, and discover some hidden gems along the way. A quick word about Ellicott City, when the weather is nice from May-October on the weekends people flock to that town, and it can turn it into a parking lot. Plan your pass through the quaint historic district accordingly.
This route has two legs, and the thing I like about it is it starts off in an oddly pedestrian setting before you find yourself in the woods on a seemingly single lane road that winds downward through windy roads at low speeds, and through historic towns. The route starts out in Catonsville (next door to Ellicott City) in a subdivision and briefly transports you to isolation, a cool bridge (think photo op – no parking signs are posted though), into one of Maryland’s most charming towns, Ellicott City, and finally a Swiss mountain town (Oella Ave in Catonsville) next door before returning you to Ellicott City. Afterwards you can continue on with the longer of the two legs that will take you the distance to Westminster.
You get to the starting point by taking exit 47A from 95 (166) just south of Baltimore or from exit 13 from the Baltimore beltway (144/Frederick Road). Exiting from 95 follow the road until you get to 144 (Approximately 2 miles from I95), and turn left onto 144. Either exit will take you through Catonsville. Once on 144 (Frederick Road) head West until you come to Hilltop Place on the left. Don’t be fooled, it starts out in a subdivision, but soon you are transported to somewhere else.
This day trip is not a loop, so you can scale it to meet your particular needs or combine it with other routes for an extended trip.
Note: The start of the route at Hilltop Place may not be ideal for large convoys (5+) given the narrow roads it opens up after the first road.
Special Caution: If you’re lowered past stock or “stanced” take note there are at least 3-4 speed bumps in the first 1/2 mile. You can rejoin the group when Hilltop “tees” into River Road. There are also speed bumps on Westchester Avenue right off Oella Avenue headed back to downtown Ellicott City.
This route can be easily combined with the Charm City Circuit de Reservoirs’ day trip to make a solid day of fun driving.
Please share your experience with this route. It will be helpful to know what features you’d like as I develop and share more routes. So get out there, have fun, and enjoy the road!
Distance: 41 miles
Estimated Time: 1.5 hours
Twisty Roads: ♦♦
Note: Oella Avenue earns four diamonds for twisties on this section, but these are not to be taken at speed just slow and enjoyable especially over the one lane bridge.
Places of Interest:
Downtown Ellicott City for shopping/dining
B&O Railroad Museum in Ellicott City. At the time of this post the Parks Department of Ellicott City was assuming responsibility of the site from the B&O museum in Baltimore, and they hadn’t created a new website (9/2/17).
Country Corner Store – 425 Oella Avenue at intersection of Oella Avenue and Westchester Avenue. Not just a place to get some ice cream or snacks, but a gathering place for the neighborhood.
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum – Catonsville
Centennial Park – Ellicott City
Clark’s Elioak Farm – Ellicott City
Baugher’s Orchard – Westminster. Pick your own fruits / shop in their farm market/ dine in their family restaurant
Serpent Ridge Vineyards – Westminster. Sure, snake is in the name, but they make wine with grapes.
Old Westminster Winery – Westminster
The Union Mills Homestead – Westminster
BP station approximately 0.2 miles from the Baltimore beltway (695) on 144 or 6 miles from I95 in Catonsville.
High’s of Baltimore approximately 1,056 feet from Westchester Avenue. 64 Frederick Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21043
Shell station 74 W. Main St, Westminster, MD 21157
The Trolley Stop – in Ellicott City
La Palapa Grill & Cantina in Ellicott City
Manor Hill Tavern in Ellicott City
The Judge’s Bench in Ellicott City
The Snowball Stand -1970 Woodstock Rd, Woodstock, MD 21163
The Woodstock Inn in Woodstock
Baugher’s – in Westminster
Johansson’s Dining House – in Westminster
RockSalt Grille – in Westminster
O’Lordan’s – in Westminster