When you are driving through the state of Maryland, the atmosphere can change on a dime. You can pass through rolling country hills, small Main St gems, huge cityscapes, and waterfront promenades while barely adding to the odometer. And while we often tout the tourist attractions in big cities like Baltimore, Annapolis, and Frederick, these cross-state adventures have made us appreciate the little guy.
Whether it’s a hippie town outside of DC, a horse-country haven with amazing artisanal cider, or a teeny waterfront town known as the “crab capital of the world,” we’ve got plenty of small towns to choose from. Here are nine where you should spend more time.
Why it’s so great: Any place that’s rumored to be haunted gets definite “must visit” points. And then you throw in beautiful stone mill buildings, vintage-inspired shopping, a brewpub with standout food, and a bar with an unrivaled whiskey selection, and it’s on. In between Baltimore and DC is historic Ellicott City, which was the original station of the first 13 miles of commercial railroad in the country. So much of that historic charm remains, and again, because it can’t be overstated, you should be imbibing at the venerable Judge’s Bench with more than 250 varieties of whiskey.
Must-eat foods: A charcuterie plate at Pure Wine Cafe, wood-fired pizza (try the spring green with pesto) at River House, or go off Main St for amazing Korean barbecue at Shin Chon Garden.