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Haunted Ellicott City

Published: October 15, 2015

It is no surprise that a town that displays so much of its history might still have some of the past lingering around. Ellicott City is claimed to be one of the country’s most haunted cities. It was named in Trip Advisor’s Top 10 Spooky American Getaways. This week we are going to explore some of Ellicott City’s most haunted spots.

The Hayden House

The old Hayden House, or Oak Lawn, is a small stone house that was built back in the early 1800′s by Edwin Parson Hayden, the first county clerk in Ellicott City. It is now part of the Howard County Courthouse offices.

Clerks and secretaries have reported lights turning on and off by themselves, a coffee pot that would heat up even when it was unplugged, the sounds of footsteps in unoccupied parts of the building, a rocking chair that moved by itself and of a staff member who came to work early one morning and saw a man through the glass panes of the front door.

The most commonly reported strange events were the smells of soup, bacon and eggs that would waft through the building during the day and into the night. Soon, the ghost was dubbed the “cooking ghost.”


Lilburn Mansion

Lilburn was built in 1857 by Henry Richard Hazelhurst, a prosperous business owner. As the years passed, a series of tragedies struck the family as Hazelhurst lost his wife and several children. One of them, a daughter, was said to have died in childbirth at Lilburn.

Reports of paranormal activity started in the 1920s when the Maginnis family heard footsteps and other unexplainable noises. That year a fire broke out and much of the mansion was ruined. It was completely restored except for one minor change: Maginnis replaced the gothic peaks in the tower with stone battlements.  Apparently, this change did not sit well with the ghosts of Lilburn, because paranormal activity began to increase, leading many to wonder if Henry Hazelhurst himself might still be lingering behind.

Since then, several of the families who lived there have reported paranormal encounters, including phantom footsteps, a family dog refusing to go in a certain room on the second floor,  a heavy chandelier in the dining room swinging back and forth, the sounds of a child crying, the smells of a cigar and the sight of the shadowy figures of a man and a girl in a chiffon dress walking down the hall. The windows in the tower have been known to open on their own, even after a resident tried to tie them shut with rope.

Patapsco Female Institute

The Patapsco Female Institute was one of the first female institutes in the south. Life at the institute could be tough, as the building was made of stone and got bitterly cold in the winter. Colds and sickness spread among the girls during the wet and cool months and a number of girls even died from influenza and croup.

One in particular was said to be Annie Van Derlot, the daughter of a rich southern planter. She resented being sent to the school, and  she sent a number of letters home which protested her”incarceration” and spoke badly of the school.  She died from pneumonia during her first winter at the school and her ghost is said to still linger there, roaming the ruins where her classrooms and dormitory used to be.

There have been several sightings of Annie’s ghost in the historic park. A few years ago, a girl who found herself separated from a group of visitors saw a young woman in a long gown walk out of the front doors, down the stone steps and across the lawn, where she abruptly vanished.


Mt. Ida

Historic Mt. Ida is currently the visitor center and office for the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park. In the 1850s Judge John Snowden Tyson purchased the mansion. His daughter, “Miss Ida” Tyson, was the last of the family to live here, and it is rumored that her ghost still watches over her home. In life, Miss Ida kept a ring of keys with her at all times, and witnesses say they hear her keys jingling as her ghost walks through the house.

The Judge’s Bench

The pub is haunted by the ghost of Mary, a young woman who hung herself on the third floor of the building that now houses the bar. She is credited with making sounds around the building, including flushing toilets and stomping around.

The Diamondback Tavern

Previously Tiber River Tavern, employees here have noticed things occasionally moved around in the bar area, and guests have heard unexplained voices.

Old Firehouse

The firehouse is said to be haunted by a few of the fireman who used to work there. There have been reports of doors slamming, phantom footsteps and even a possible ghost sighting.

As one of the most haunted small towns, Ellicott City has many locations to explore. If you’re feeling brave, some of these locations and many more can be seen on an Ellicott City Ghost Tour.

Live an Active Lifestyle at Patapsco Valley State Park

Published: September 22, 2015

Dorsey Family Homes’ Carver Estates community is just steps away from Patapsco Valley State Park, ones of Maryland’s largest parks that spans over 14,000 acres along 32 miles of the Patapsco River. With campsites, hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and swimming areas, Patapsco Valley State Park offers plenty of opportunity to live an active lifestyle in Howard County, MD.


McKeldin Area

The most northern part of the park spanning into Carroll County, McKeldin area has miles of multi-use trails for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. There is also an 18-hole disc golf course, pavilions, a youth group camping area and plenty of wide open space to explore.

Daniels Area

Daniels area is perfect for paddlers, with a canoe put-in/take-out. Anglers will also enjoy a display about fish spawning activity in the river, and can find smallmouth bass year round and Rainbow and Brown Trout in the spring.


Hollofield Area

Hollofield area is the closest to Carver Estates, and also the park headquarters. Here you’ll find one of the two campgrounds in the park. This area offers some of the most stunning river views in the park, especially when combined with the colored leaves in the fall. There are several hiking trails and picnic areas.

Pickall Area

The Pickall area is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and is perfect for family reunions and other large events, offering 11 large shelters with grills, two playgrounds, a basketball court, and lots of open play fields.


Hilton Area

The Hilton area in Catonsville is the perfect spot for families to get active and learn about nature. Children will love climbing all over the recycled tire playground. There is a nature center that offers seasonal programs, as well as Junior Rangers and Little Sprouts programs. This area also has Sawmill Branch Trail, which takes you boulder hopping in the stream.


Avalon/Glen Artney/Orange Grove Areas

These areas are at the southern part of the park. They offer large picnic shelters, playgrounds, a swinging bridge and multi-use trails that take hikers through beautiful views of the river and waterfalls.

Patapsco Valley State Park is a great slice of wilderness just minutes away from the city. There are opportunities for the whole family to get active and enjoy nature right next to home.

Living in Ellicott City

Published: August 8, 2015

If you are searching for a new home in Howard County, consider Ellicott City and check out our “Welcome to Ellicott City” series.

Ellicott City: Location, Location, Location

Located in the Baltimore-Washington corridor in central Maryland, Ellicott City offers a historic, small town feel close to big city conveniences. Ellicott City has been named to  MONEY Magazine’s Best Places to Live four times in the last 10 years, ranking at number 6 last year. There are great jobs nearby, several schools ranked in Newsweek’s list of America’s Top High Schools, and plenty of green space helping to land it on the list of the Top 10 Places for Dog Lovers by U.S. News and World Report.

Historic Ellicott City

Ellicott City has a rich history, and much of its history is still displayed today around Ellicott City’s Historic Main Street. Some of the most popular historic sites include the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station, the oldest surviving railroad station in America; Thomas Isaac Log Cabin, built around 1780 by one of the first settlers of Ellicott Mills and restored as a historic visitor’s center; and the Patapsco Female Institute, a former girls’ boarding school, now a historical park.

Ellicott City: Main Street USA

Main Street offers an eclectic mix of unique restaurants and quirky shops, including pubs, coffee shops, antique stores and toy shops. There are also several recurring events on Main Street including First Fridays, Girl’s Night Out, and the Main Street Music Festival which will be in its fifth year on September 26.

Haunted Ellicott City

Named to Trip Advisor’s Top 10 Spooky American Getaways, Ellicott City is claimed to be one of the country’s most haunted small towns. Visit spooky sites, such as historic mansions claimed to be haunted by their old residents, pubs on Main Street whose guests have heard strange noises and more.

Thanks for taking the time to learn about why Ellicott City is such a great place to live! For more information about our available homes in Ellicott City, check out Scarborough Estates and Carver Estates.

Ellicott City: Main Street USA

Published: July 22, 2015

Historic Ellicott City’s Main Street offers an eclectic mix of unique restaurants and quirky shops. Come for a stroll and explore all that Main Street has to offer!

Ellicott_City_Main St


Bean Hollow
A family-run cafe featuring in-house roasted coffee, tea, smoothies, bagels, pastries and delicious desserts.

Judge’s Bench Pub
With 17 rotating taps of craft beer, even more craft beer bottles and nearly 240 whiskies, you’ll never have to try the same thing twice here.

Phoenix Emporium
An old fashioned pub with large picture windows overlooking the heart of the town, Phoenix Emporium has over 160 bottled microbrews and imported beers from all around the world.

Pure Wine Cafe
Pure Wine Cafe serves small plates of fresh, locally sourced ingredients paired with a wine list that represents a wide variety of styles with a focus on gems from unlikely places.


All Time Toys
Children and toy collectors of all ages will love to explore the vintage and modern toys, including Lego, Star Wars and Marvel.

Antique Depot
An antiques and collectibles mall with over 80 dealers, Antique Depot has four floors of antiques and collectibles to explore.

Forget Me Not Factory
This shop’s three floors are filled with whimsical gifts, handmade items and fantasy-related items. If the weather is nice, stop by on the weekend to visit Barry the Bubbleman of Ellicott City!

Sweet Elizabeth Jane
Sweet Elizabeth Jane is a vintage-inspired lifestyle store with clothing, accessories, gifts and home décor.


First Fridays
The first Friday of each month, shops will stay open until 9pm or later with specials, sidewalk sales and late night dining. Live music is featured from 5-8 p.m. in front of the B&O Railroad. And bring your dog along to a wine tasting at Yappy Hour at The Wine Bin!

Girl’s Night Out
The third Thursday of each month, grab a group of girls and head out to Main Street for treats and discounts. Start at The Wine Bin for a goodie bag and then head to the participating businesses with a pink flag out front. Learn more here.

Main Street Music Festival
Maryland’s first unsigned emerging artist music festival, this event features food and drink, family activities such as crafts, storytellers and games like cornhole and football toss, and is free to the public.

Last year’s festival, in its fourth year, had over 5,000 applications, so expect this year’s festival on Saturday, September 26th to be bigger than ever. Get more info here.

Check out these fun events, plus many more!

Historic Ellicott City

Published: July 13, 2015

Ellicott City is a town that is proud of its rich history. After searching for an area where they could grow wheat and harness water power for a mill, brothers John, Andrew and Joseph Ellicott founded Ellicott Mills in 1772. In 1867, a city charter was secured and the name was changed to Ellicott City. Take a stroll down historic Ellicott City Main Street and the surrounding areas, and you will see many remnants from the past.

Here is a list of just some of the historic sites in Ellicott City:

Ellicott_City_Station_1970 (1)

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station

Ellicott City Station was completed by the B&O Railroad in 1830, and is the oldest surviving railroad station in America. It is now a national historical landmark. The train station was restored as a museum and today living historians tell the story of the development of the railroad and its impact on Ellicott City.

Thomas Isaac Log Cabin

This cabin was built around 1780 by one of the first settlers of Ellicott Mills. It was reconstructed in the late 20th century as a historical spot where visitors can learn about the settlement of development of the region from authentically costumed historians.

Heritage Orientation Center

Located behind Thomas Isaac Log Cabin in the city’s first courthouse, the orientation center has exhibits and information about the floods and fires of Ellicott Mills, 18th and 19th century milling techniques and the Ellicott family.

Ellicott City Firehouse Museum

This museum is located in the county’s first firehouse constructed in 1889. Now a museum, the firehouse displays fire apparatus, model toys, and a visual history of Howard County’s Volunteer Fire Department.

Ellicott City Colored School

The one-room schoolhouse was built in 1880 as the first public school for black children in Howard County, and was used as a school until the early 1950’s. It was restored in 1995 and now houses a  genealogical resource center and a museum chronicling the history of African Americans in Howard County.

Patapsco_Female_Institute,_Church_Road,_Berg_Alnwick,_Ellicott_City_(Howard_County,_Maryland) (1)

Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park

The Patapsco Female Institute was founded in 1837 as a boarding school for girls. Now, the stabilized ruins are open for tours and serve as a setting for special events including weddings, receptions, camps, and open-air theatre.

Whether it is your first time here, or you have had a home in Ellicott City for years, there is always more to explore about the town’s past and rich historical presence. Click here for more information and visiting hours for each of these historic sites.

Ellicott City: Location, Location, Location

Published: July 6, 2015

Located in the Baltimore-Washington corridor in central Maryland, Ellicott City offers a historic, small town feel close to big city conveniences. Here are a few of the many reasons why Ellicott City is such a great place to live.

Ellicott City, MD Best Place to Live

Money Magazine Best Places to Live

Ellicott City has appeared in the top 10 of Money Magazine’s list of America’s Best Places to Live four times in the last 10 years. Last year, Ellicott City and neighboring Columbia ranked as the 6th best place to live. The listing referenced Ellicott City’s quaint older homes, charming downtown, good jobs and outstanding school district.


Easily accessible to both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Ellicott City offers endless employment options with a manageable commute. But for those who prefer a shorter commute, there are options right at home in Ellicott City. Some local companies currently hiring include:

  • Lorien Health Systems
  • Sheppard Pratt Health Systems
  • Turf Valley Resort


There are many great schools in the area that are part of the Howard County Public School system. Last year, five Howard County public schools were among the Newsweek list of America’s Top High Schools. Ellicott City-based Centennial High School ranked in at #18! There are also several private schools in the area.  For more information about the schools in Ellicott City, check out SchoolDigger.

Pet Friendly

Ellicott City was named one of the Top 10 Places for Dog Lovers by U.S. News and World Report for its four square miles of green space and mild weather. There are several parks in Ellicott City, including Worthington Dog Park.

Historic Downtown

Ellicott City’s Main Street offers an eclectic variety of shops and restaurants, as well as a glimpse into the history of Ellicott City. Stay tuned as we explore these topics in the coming weeks!

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