Country Rambles in Carroll County
Four towns in Carroll County belong to Maryland’s Main Street initiative. That means Mount Airy, Sykesville, Taneytown and Westminster all meet the program’s goals of a lively downtown with locally owned shops and restaurants, as well as cultural attractions worth exploring.
Carroll County was carved out of neighboring Baltimore and Frederick counties in 1837 and named for Charles Carroll, one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence.
With its rolling hills, museums celebrating agrarian roots and towns rich with history and charming architecture, the region offers a respite from urban life.
Mount Airy’s visitor center is located in a renovated 1920s caboose. Named the coolest small town by Budget Travel, the former railroad hub of Sykesville displays historic train cars downtown. A renovated Art Deco theater in Westminster houses the Carroll County Arts Council, with a 263-seat theater, galleries, art classrooms and gift shop. Spend the night in Taneytown’s Antrim 1844, a restaurant and luxury inn that ranks among the most prestigious in the country.
Westminster is also home to the Carroll County Farm Museum and the Union Mills Homestead, both featuring exhibits on farm life in the 19th century. Follow Carroll County’s Barn Quilt Trail by visiting all 31 8-foot-square quilts displayed at area farms, courtesy of the farm museum and county’s arts council.
Set aside time to visit one or all of the region’s four wineries, including two in Westminster—Serpent Ridge Vineyard and Old Westminster Winery and Vineyard. Old Westminster, owned by three siblings, practices sustainable farming to produce its award-winning whites and reds. Drive 30 minutes west to Detour Vineyard and Winery to sample fruit wines and ice wines. Or head 20 minutes northeast to Galloping Goose Vineyards and Winery, which hosts scavenger hunts, discounts on certain bottles and other events the 2nd Saturday of each month.
Here’s a list of things to see and do in Carroll County. —Julekha Dash
Serpent Ridge Vineyard
2962 Nicodemus Road, Westminster
Cabernet sauvignon, albarino and vidal blanc are among the varietals on offer at this bucolic winery’s tasting room.
Old Westminster Winery and Vineyard
1550 Old Westminster Road, Westminster
The family-owned winery was named one of the 101 Best Wineries in America by The Daily Meal. Visit Friday nights and Saturdays for free live music.
Galloping Goose Vineyards
4326 Maple Grove Road, Hampstead
Tucked away in the countryside, Galloping Goose is named after the family farm that once had horses and grew corn. Today you can sip petite verdot, chambourcin and cabernet sauvignon in the country setting.
Detour Vineyard & Winery
7933 Forest Stream Club Road, Detour
Enjoy the wines in the quaint tasting room or at one of the many outdoor tables.
Ruhlman Brewing Company
2300 Harvey Gummel Road, Hampstead
This 36-acre family farm raises hops for its beer and offers brewery tours and disc golf.
Pub Dog Brewing Company
1203 New Windsor Road, Westminster
Offering whimsically named brews as Unleashed IPA, Hoppy Dog and Thirsty Ale, this canine-themed brewery and tap room is open Thursday-Saturday. The beer is also available at Pub Dog’s restaurants in Baltimore and Columbia.
The County Cork Wine Pub
1716 Liberty Road, Eldersburg
Using locally sourced vegetables, meats and cheeses, the restaurant makes everything in-house, including desserts.
Johanssons Dining House
4 West Main Street, Westminster
The English-style tavern brews its beer on site. Sip a pale ale or amber in one of the restaurant’s four dining rooms, including one with a view of downtown Westminster.
7618 Main Street, Sykesville
Located in a repurposed freight train station, Baldwin’s setting is as splendid as the food. The locally sourced menu includes Maryland crab cakes and black Angus beef.
7540 Main Street, Sykesville
Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the tavern, then pick up Salazon chocolate, Toto’s Blue Crab Salsa and other Maryland-made food items in the market.
Carroll County Farm Museum
500 South Center Street, Westminster
The museum’s farmhouse and living history center depict agriculture life on a family farm in the 1880s. Founded in 1966, it claims to have one of the most extensive farm exhibits in the midAtlantic.
The Carroll County Arts Center
91 West Main Street, Westminster
The arts hub hosts concerts, movies and exhibits in its three galleries. The gift shop features handcrafted items by regional artists.
The Union Mills Homestead
3311 Littlestown Pike, Westminster
The museum preserves the history of a family farm and mill, which produces corn meal, wheat and flour that can be purchased on site.
30 Travanion Road, Taneytown
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 24-acre estate is rife with historic details, including period antiques and intricate woodwork. The equally impressive restaurant boasts more than 20,000 bottles of wine.
Solace The Bed & Breakfast
1705 Bachmans Valley Road, Westminster
Sit on one of Solace’s two porches to gaze at the goats, horses and cow.
Westminster Antique Mall
433 Hahn Road, Westminster
Browse for antique and vintage dishes, home decor, jewelry and toys at one of Maryland’s largest antique malls.
Ballard Bunting Boutique
77 East Main Street, Westminster
The eclectic collection here is not, as its name suggests, merely bunting. Find baby gifts, painted furniture, handbags and pillows.
The Maryland Store
2200 Sykesville Road, Westminster
Show your Maryland pride by picking up locally made food items, apparel, mugs and souvenirs.
A Likely Story Bookstore
7566 Main Street, Sykesville
Selling new and used books as well as cards, games puzzles and other gifts, this downtown Sykesville bookstore hosts well-known authors year-round.
The Olde Liberty Shop
39 Liberty Street, Westminster
An 1869 home (with another location in Sykesville) proffers everything from jewelry to home and garden decor to candles.