Explore Howard County: Active Adults

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From the extraordinary spirit of some of our country’s earliest innovators in transportation and education to apparitions that seem to frequent old mill towns, Howard County is virtually brimming with life.

Peer around the corner. Listen carefully. Be sure to check under the bed. In Howard County, MD, a distinctive spirit-and maybe some shocking phantoms-can be found just about anywhere. Ghost stories aside, the spirit of the County’s founding fathers lives on in its historic towns and modern hubs. Today, residents enjoy a modern, metropolitan location that still bears the now quaint traces of its industrial past.

Just 20 miles north of Washington, D.C. and 10 miles southwest of Baltimore, Howard County offers easy access to the cultural offerings of the surrounding metro areas. The county’s 251 square miles and over 7,000 acres of scenic parkland also provide a comfortable place to call home.

Look to the Past
In both Ellicott City and Savage Mill, the past is said to literally come to life. Both towns feature haunted history tours that provide an interesting insight into the sometimes gruesome history of mill towns.

Even outside its haunted corners, history abounds in Howard County. Currently, the oldest surviving railroad station in America, the Ellicott City B&O Railroad Station was completed in 1830. The station served as the terminus of America’s first 13 miles of commercial track. Fully restored and maintained as a museum, the site now pays homage to the region’s transportation history.

Patapsco Female Institute Historical Park is the site of one of America’s first schools for girls. The ruins have been stabilized and visitors can tour the school grounds. Visitors to Ellicott City can also tour one of its earliest dwellings at the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin.

Howard County also has nine Civil War historic sites (marked by bugle signs) within its border. Arts Centers and Museums throughout the region, including the renowned African Art Museum of Maryland, pay tribute to the region’s diverse history as well.

Experience the Present
Howard County’s towns and cities range from old mill towns to intricately planned communities, but they are all very much alive and well. James Rouse had a vision of a community that would avoid the pitfalls of urban sprawl and congestion when he set out to build Columbia. The result is a modern city with a very comfortable feel, complete with a world-class mall and housing developments catering to a variety of residents.

In both Ellicott City and Savage Mill, visitors can see the regeneration of historic towns that were once home to thriving flour and textile mills. Once a flour mill town, Ellicott City is now home to an eclectic mix of shops, salons, galleries, and restaurants. During the heyday of the textile industry, Savage Mill’s strategic location near the falls of the Little and Middle Patuxent Rivers made it an ideal location for a mill. With the cotton milling industry long gone, Savage Mill has now become as self-proclaimed “shopping mill.”

At Merriweather Post Pavilion, a diverse range of musical artists entertain large crowds. Hosting over 200,000 concertgoers every year, the 40-acre, outdoor concert venue is well known for its unique atmosphere and extraordinary acoustics.

Envision the Future
As more and more individuals discover the appeals of Howard County, the population is burgeoning. The senior population in particular is growing as residents age in place and active adults relocate. County officials and area professionals have answered the demand of this population growth with innovative resources and programs.

Howard County has a nationally recognized and highly developed information and assistance program, known as MAP – Maryland Access Point of Howard County. Through MAP, individuals can explore options during retirement, including volunteer activities, wellness and cognitive health programs, and lifelong learning opportunities.

As needs change, the MAP program can connect seniors and their loved ones with the Office on Aging’s caregiver program, home modification services, Occupational Therapy assistance, other housing options, legal and financial planning assistance and assistance with applying for public benefit programs.

The Howard County Office on Aging sponsors nine senior centers. Here you can explore your interest in the arts, exercise, health and wellness, and lifelong learning. The new Glenwood Senior Center, which will open in October, will house an exercise studio, dance and aerobics rooms, a 16,000 square foot gymnasium with a walking track, and crafts and educational spaces.

From the extraordinary spirit of some of our country’s earliest innovators in transportation and education to apparitions that seem to frequent old mill towns, this area is virtually brimming with life. Howard County’s residents and visitors enjoy a region replete with historical significance and cosmopolitan spaces-a place where a historic spirit meets a new attitude.

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