Daytrippin’: Downtown Sykesville The charming Main Street offers a sweet escape.

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This month, my pup and I spent a rainy Saturday wandering along Sykesville Main Street. A state- and nationally designated Historic Main Street Community, the railroad town packs a lot of charm into its small stretch of shops and restaurants.

The whimsical building exteriors are as eye-catching as the colorful mansions that line the hills behind them. Even on a quiet, gray day, the town felt fresh and vibrant. Like many East Coast communities where everyone knows your name, the camaraderie was evident as passersby stopped to greet each other on the sidewalk and smiled at me as if I were a local, rather than a visitor.

As I made my way in and out of boutiques and the bookstore (cleverly called A Likely Story – it’s fabulous), I relaxed into the ease of having nowhere to be, and it seemed like everyone else did too. Tea drinkers admired my pup through the window, as I drooled over the stack of goodies three trays high before them. I imagine a sunny day would have brought the whole cast of Sykesville characters out and about, catching up on the week’s gossip. But on this wettest of Saturdays, the crowds were sparse.

It’s no surprise that Sykesville was voted America’s Coolest Small Town in 2016. It’s a community that’s worked hard to preserve its past, and offers a pleasant escape for visitors like myself. Part of what I’ve grown to love about Baltimore is the abundance of small town pleasures that surround it. You don’t have to go far to get a taste of the simple life, where a rainy-day stroll is the answer to all your troubles.

So pick a day and explore Sykesville. If you’re feeling ambitious, combine it with a hike at Patapsco Valley State Park, a short drive away!

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