Friday, January 14, 2022

Enjoying the Blocks of Shops in Sykesville Maryland

The small town of Sykesville is located 20 miles west of Baltimore.

Maryland is a fun destination and one about which I often write. I've described the beautiful scenery at Rock Hall, the charm of Inner Harbor, and the incredible Ward museum of Waterfowl Art in Salisbury, but until now I haven't taken the time to write about a little enclave called Sykesville.

The small town of Sykesville lies just 20 miles west of Baltimore and 40 miles north of Washington D.C. and has been named "The Coolest Small Town in America" by Budget Travel.

When I visited the downtown late this fall, I was surprised at how small it was. A stroll around may take you an hour or so.

Our first stop was a family restaurant by the name of E.W. Becks  where we enjoyed a scrumptious lunch. I especially liked their onion soup and a seasonal drink called the "Apple Ciderita." My husband said his Italian sandwich was quite good also.

The "Hot Italian"

The Apple Ciderita was tasty.

E.W. Becks must be doing something right because they've been in the restaurant business for 28 years and I hear that people come from miles around. When we arrived for lunch on a Saturday the place was packed, so I couldn't get many good pictures without annoying people unfortunately. 

E.W. Becks

We were seated in one of the back rooms and I looked up to see playing cards on the ceiling, which was puzzling. The cards seem to have names on them, like Tonia and Melody on one and Vep Wog on another... I'm sure an employee would know the meaning of it all, but I neglected to ask.

If you decide to visit the area in the summer, you can take advantage of E.W. Becks outside seating on the patio.
Outside seating at E.W. Becks 

Around the corner from E.W. Becks are boutique shops selling everything from apparel, to candles at Unwined Candles and even crystals at Be Blends Collective and Gypsy Systers

Unwined Candles features a large selection of soy candles made with recycled glass.

For cute little beanbag pumpkins, or other attractive home decor items, there's Revive and Company located just a short walk from E.W. Becks.  

Revive and Company
Revive and Company displays colorful beanbag pumpkins.

Further on down the road is the Patapsco Distilling Company located in an historic 4,000 square foot building. Their lineup includes vodka, gin, bourbon and rye whiskey made with 100 percent locally grown Maryland grains.

Patapsco Distilling Company

As  you come to the end of the blocks of shops, you'll see the historic Sykesville Station restaurant. In 1831, the B&O Railroad extended its main line through the as yet unnamed town and called the waypoint "Horse Train Stop." In 1883, this "Sykesville Station" of the B&O Railroad was designed and built by E. Francis Baldwin, a famous architect from Baltimore. It opened to its first passengers in 1884 and today is home to a restaurant with an eclectic menu. Among the dishes are burgers, shrimp and grits, Nashville Hot Chicken, Drunken Noodles and Rabbit and Dumplings.

Sykesville Station restaurant.

A glimpse inside the Sykesville Station.

As we headed back to our car, I was tempted to take a peek inside a coffee shop painted in a bright blue hue, but decided to skip it because we were on our way to another interesting town, which I'll be writing up in a future blog post. Ellicott City deserves its own entry.

I later learned that the coffee shop (pictured below) is called the "French Twist Cafe." Owner Helene Taylor hails from France and decided to bring a taste of her culture to downtown Sykesville. Visitors can enjoy a large selection of sweet and savory crepes paired with their favorite coffee drink. She serves macchiatos, espressos, lattes cappuccinos and more. And for those who prefer tea, she sells a selection of that as well.

The French Twist Cafe for coffee, crepes and conversation

We found the family owned Turf Valley Resort to be not only comfortable, but convenient to both Sykesville and Ellicott City.

Shots of the interior at Turf Valley Resort

The resort features an indoor pool, a full-service spa and a fitness center. During warmer weather, guests can take advantage of golf courses, tennis courts and an outdoor pool.

The onsite restaurant is pretty pricey, so we skipped dining at Alexandra's American Fusion and chose instead to eat dinner at nearby Facci at Turf Valley, which I recommend highly.

I hope this sheds a little more light on the Sykesville area. I also understand that Piney Run Park is a great place to hike, fish and kayak when the weather warms.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what the small town of Sykesville is like. Because of its convenient location, it's easy to make it a morning or afternoon stop on the way to Ellicott City.