Maryland’s Main Streets Spotlight Hometown Charm this Season

Shop local businesses, explore art galleries and revel in holiday experiences in small town Maryland this month


Connie Yingling,
Leslie Cox,


BALTIMORE (December 2, 2014) – From Cambridge to Cumberland and Taneytown to Takoma Park, Maryland’s 28 designated Main Streets are filled with historic architecture, boutique shops, art galleries, and the opportunity for both residents and visitors to experience seasonal events and charm.

"There are so many benefits to shopping on Main Street and purchasing from a locally owned shop. At my store, The Palette & the Page in Elkton, and other Main Street shops across the state, you are supporting local artists, authors, musicians and poets," said Margie Blystone, co-owner, The Palette & The Page. "Main Streets businesses are so much a part of what makes Maryland unique and attractive to visitors and residents alike."

"As you travel across Maryland, there is no shortage of opportunities to visit a Main Street where you’ll find local shops and galleries, cafes and signature holiday experiences,” said Margot A. Amelia, executive director, Maryland Office of Tourism. “With the holidays upon us, December is the perfect time to visit a Maryland Main Street and support our local communities."

Don’t miss these events and happenings along Maryland Main Streets this December:

Western Maryland

Nestled in the mountains of Garrett County, downtown Oakland presents A Great Small Town Christmas Dec. 13. Stores will be open until 8 p.m. while you enjoy music, treat bags, a petting zoo, store specials and free carriage rides from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

One of the state’s newly designated Main Streets, Hagerstown is bustling with the best of history, culture, and specialty shops and dining. Through March 1, 2015, don’t miss the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum’s Trains of Christmas exhibit, open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The show features steam and diesel trains by Lionel, MTH, Williams, Weaver and others.

Head to Frostburg, a college town nestled in the Appalachian Highlands. Enjoy the sharp, witty comedy of the Reduced Shakespeare Company in the The Ultimate Christmas Show at Frostburg State University on Dec.14 at 3 p.m. It’s festive family fun as three irreverent wise guys celebrate favorite winter holiday traditions.

Stroll through downtown Cumberland’s pedestrian mall and adjacent side streets, which offer fine dining, unique shops, stylish living and trend-worthy art, all housed in significant turn-of-the-century architecture. Through Dec. 21, climb aboard the North Pole Express for a 3.5-hour ride to meet jolly Santa at the North Pole (by the Old Frostburg Depot) and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate on the train. The train departs Cumberland at 6 p.m. daily.

Capital Region

Holiday cheer makes its way to Main Street Frederick, beginning Dec. 6. Each Saturday features carriage rides, cocoa, music and live entertainment. More than 80 shops, galleries, and restaurants will be open until 9 p.m. Or check out the self-guided candlelit historic homes tour also on Dec. 6, where visitors will see notable homes in downtown Frederick beautifully decorated for the holidays.

Just north of Frederick, Main Street Thurmont is the "Gateway to the Mountains." Visit the specialty craft shops featuring the work of local artisans or hike through Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park.

Main Street Middletown offers rich architectural history, a variety of specialty shopping and dining experiences and community events including Christmas in the Valley from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 5 and the Museums by Candlelight Tour from the Historical Society on Dec. 13.

Just an hour from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, the Victorian railroad town of Brunswick offers historical sites, beautiful homes, shopping, dining and a truly unique Railroad Museum. This Dec. 6, visitors can attend the first Santa Stroll and Jingle Bell Run from Square Corner Park to City Park. Enjoy holiday songs in the park, a costume contest and holiday music before Santa arrives on a fire engine for the tree lighting.

Main Street Takoma Park is known for being original, unique and quirky. Stay cozy while you shop during the town’s annual early morning Pajamarama on Dec. 7. Shop in your favorite jammies at participating stores for discounts at participating businesses, and don’t forget to wear your fuzzy slippers too.

Central Maryland

Westminster is home to a mix of local retail, service and specialty shops. Through December, Westminster will host holiday events including its Starlight Shopping on Dec. 6, the Annual Gallery of Gifts through Dec. 23, a Holiday House Tour and visits with Santa.

The newest Main Street addition, Ellicott City is situated on the Historic National Road and features more than 200 18th- and 19th-century buildings and numerous historical attractions. On Dec. 5, visitors can sip hot cider, listen to carolers and shop local at more than 50 shops, galleries and artist studios during Ellicott City’s Midnight Madness when stores stay open late.

Every year on the second Saturday in December, the Annapolis Harbor lights up with boats illuminated with thousands of colored lights and crewed by jolly revelers for the Annapolis Lights Parade. Families and friends gather at their favorite viewing spots along the waterfront to see this yearly spectacle and to celebrate the holiday season together.

Bordering both Howard and Carroll Counties, Main Street Sykesville has something for everyone from dining and shopping to the History Museum and a restored One-Room Schoolhouse, along with seasonal events and attractions including 12 Hours of Christmas on Dec. 5 and Merry Main Street on Dec. 6.

One of the oldest towns in Maryland, Taneytown features rich architecture, unique shops and a renowned bed and breakfast, Antrim 1844. Join in the town’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. in front of the Taneytown Police Station, and enjoy holiday singing with Taneytown Elementary and Runnymede Honors Chorus, along with a special surprise guest.

Main Street Mount Airy is centrally located between Frederick and Baltimore, but still retains its small town charm, quaint old buildings, and welcoming atmosphere. Visit Dec. 6 for the town’s Main Street Christmas, which closes the streets from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and includes a tree lighting ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. with vocal music provided by local school groups. A Santa Parade at 7 p.m. will feature Santa on a fire truck.

Spend a few hours shopping and enjoying festive entertainment and food with local artists and authors at the Main Street Bel Air Authors & Artists Unique Holiday Gift Sale 2014 on Dec. 6.

Join the Holiday Hoopla Dec. 6 along Dundalk’s Main Street where lights set the holiday mood. The Center Place Street Fair is filled with activity from the moon bounce, Bubbles the Clown and caricaturists to the Baltimore County Bookmobile and live steel band. The traditional Christmas Parade and Cookie Tour wrap up the Hoopla, while more than 5,000 home-baked treats by the Baking Brigade will go home with local families.

Main Street Havre de Grace comes alive on New Year’s Eve with its annual New Year’s Eve Duck Drop and Fireworks. Begin the countdown to 2015 (on the grounds of the Activity Center and Havre de Grace Middle School) on Dec. 31 at 9 p.m.

Eastern Shore

Sitting at the head waters of the Chesapeake Bay, Main Street Elkton will host its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 5, along with pictures with Santa, carolers and a poinsettia sale.

Gaze in wonder at the 80th Christmas Garden of Trains, open Dec. 1-30 at the Fire and Rescue Company in Cambridge. The Train Garden features little towns, industrial areas, rural areas, scenic areas and several emergency rescue displays. They accept donations for their annual food drive, but admission to the event is free.

Historic Main Street Denton on Dec. 4 kicks off the season with the annual Holiday Parade, followed by the annual Holiday Marketplace Dec. 4-14. Events continue throughout the month including the Toy Train and Model Railroad Exhibit and Santa’s Magic Workshop.

Visit Ocean City for its Light Up Downtown on Dec. 5 at Sunset Park with music, entertainment and horse and carriage rides or stop by its annual Winterfest of Lights to see an award-winning display with more than 1 million lights.

Easton’s First Weekend! on Dec. 5 begins with refreshments, artist talks and demonstrations along the Gallery Walk from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Then, shop Sidewalk Saturday with live music, dine downtown throughout the weekend and stop by the Saturday Farmers’ Market.

Historic Main Street Chestertown kicks off its Winterfest Weekend on Dec. 5-7 with a range of holiday events including a Toy Train and Model Railroad Exhibit, Colonial Crafts for Kids and Cookies with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Get into the holiday spirit at the Salisbury Zoo’s Critter Christmas Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy a day filled with fun holiday activities such as decorating your own gingerbread house, visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus, making ornaments and presents, walking through a craft fair and live music on the zoo stage.

Get creative at the Alexander House Booklover’s B&B during its writers retreat Dec. 12-14. Start or finish that book, get inspired to pen poetry, or enjoy a quiet getaway. Explore the Princess Anne Main Street by getting to know its oldest residents on the Chesapeake Ghost Walk on Dec. 13 and then hurry back to the book-themed inn for hot tea and literary company.

Delight in “Nutcracker Tea” in Centreville on Dec. 13. The Queen Anne’s County Arts Council event features a narrated version of the classic tale, with excerpts of traditional ballet and music from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. Light refreshments including tea sandwiches, sweets, and hot chocolate will be served. Party favor gift bags will be given to all children in attendance.

Join in Berlin’s New Years Eve Celebration when the town transforms into a mini Times Square with dancing in the streets, music, fabulous food, refreshments and plenty of entertainment. Count down the New Year with a ball drop at midnight. Horse and carriage rides will be available for a romantic tour of holiday decorations and lights.


About Maryland Tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $15.4 billion on travel-related expenses in 2013. During 2013, the Maryland tourism industry also generated $2.1 billion in state and local taxes, and provided more than 138,682 jobs for Maryland residents.