This is the second in a series of posts that are a tour of Howard County, designed with the idea that people new to the county can learn best by actually driving the roads. Click here for the explanation and other tours. Check out the links below to see my prior posts about restaurants and markets on the route, then take a weekend drive.
Clarksville is suburbs masquerading as countryside. Laurel is suburbs absorbing an established town. The swath south of Rte 32 may not be common driving for people from Columbia, but there are some remnants of life of before the suburbs and some tastes of ethnic food that haven't flourished yet in Howard County. It's also closer than you think. This tour tries to link these sights to places that you probably already know in Columbia or Ellkridge.
Start at the Roots in Clarksville that I mentioned in the prior tour down Rte 108. You'll loop east on Rte 216 and then back along Gorman Road and some other locals roads.
- Start at the Roots organic grocery store on Rte 108 north of Rte 32. This shopping center has this nice organic market and a classy vegetarian restaurant Great Sage. They're both worth checking out -- along with the gift shop, the pet store, and the rock company across the parking lot if you're visiting on a weekday.
- Turn RIGHT on Rte 108 and drive south.
- After you pass over Rte 32, turn right on Ten Oaks Road. After one block, look for Katana Sushi on the right.
- Return to Rte 108 South.
- Look LEFT for Arties in its white stand-alone building and Mimi's Kabob in a little shopping center. You reach Mimi's by turning LEFT at the traffic light, then LEFT again into the parking lot. Arty's is great for a summer ice cream. Mimi's offers Afghan food similar to Maiwand Kabob and pizza.
- Return to Rte 108 South.
- Watch for the traffic light at Rte 216. In the shops on the near right corner is Hidden Treasure, a casual cafe with sandwiches, salads and Moorenko's ice cream.
- On the far right corner is Boarman's -- a country groceries that sells great house-made sausage and crab cakes. Stop for a few slices of bacon or a crab cake to bake tonight. If you were to keep going south, you would run into Olney.
- Turn LEFT on Rte 216. You'll go a little less than three miles past new homes, old farms, churches and a reform synagogue Temple Isaiah. You'll pass through the Fulton crossroads where you'll see a Ledo Pizza, the post office and a gas station. The farm across from the post office is the Maple Lawn turkey farm. (Update: Check out HowICook's comment about the Heyer's orchard stand in Highland. It sounds spectacular.)
- After the farm and then Reservoir High School, look LEFT for the Harris Teeter set to open in October 2009 in the Maple Lawn development. Over the next few miles, you'll go through several new traffic circles.
- Look LEFT again for the main Maple Lawn commercial area. TURN ONTO Maple Lawn Boulevard from the traffic circle on Rte 216.
- On the left are Pizza Fresca and a really busy bar Looney's and a really friendly liquor store i.m. Wines. A new Sidamo Coffee is slated to open next to i.m. Wines very soon. You reach them by turning LEFT after Looney's and circling around behind the stores.
- Circle back to Maple Lawn Boulevard and cross the boulevard towards the BP gas station on the other side. On the LEFT, you'll see Ranazul for tapas. On the RIGHT, you'll see the former home of Oz Chophouse, which is slated to become a new steakhouse by the owners of Ranazul and Jordan's Steakhouse in Ellicott City. But you should also check out the BP's market, which sells sandwiches and offers the trendy sour frozen yogurt with fresh fruit.
- Return to Rte 216 East. Go through the traffic circle with a Bloom.
- Turn RIGHT at the traffic light at Crest Road, then RIGHT in about a block when that ends at Scaggsville Road. Pepperjacks Deli will be on the left, and you can stop for good sandwiches or soft serve ice cream.
- Return to Rte 216 East. Go over I-95. Cross into PG County.
- Turn LEFT at the traffic light for Main Street. Now you're driving through Main Street Laurel.
- Look LEFT for the Laurel Meat Market with giant cows outside. Stop for a few slices of peppered bacon. Check out the steaks, the house-made sausage, and the shrimp that they say is normally wild-caught in the United States. Look RIGHT for the Aladdin Food Mart for Middle Eastern groceries. This is as urban as you'll get near Howard County, and you can take the stop-and-go traffic to explore south on U.S. 1 into Laurel because you'll find a Latin supermarket, Jamaican restaurants, Five Guys hamburgers, and more. That's just a bit too much for a single tour.
- Cross over the southbound lanes of U.S. 1. At the next light, you can see the Laurel MARC station and should turn LEFT onto the northbound lanes of U.S. 1.
- Look LEFT for the sign for Apna Bazar. The Indian grocery is in a shopping center perpendicular to U.S. 1, but the sign is visible a few blocks up on the left.
- Look LEFT for Pupuceria Y Taqueria Los Pinos taco truck in the Roll Rite Tires parking lot at Whiskey Barrel Road. (I have always felt comfortable at the taco truck. Just know that that intersection seems to be the police's favorite spot for prostitution stings (1, 2).) Keep going north on U.S. 1 past the Car Max. If you keep going north on U.S. 1, but that is a separate tour through Savage and Elkridge.
- Turn LEFT at the traffic light at Gorman Road. You're turning west on Gorman. There is a grocery store and shopping center on the left at the intersection.
- Turn RIGHT on Foundry Street. You'll see a cool old bridge there, and the Savage Mill shops are on the left. Turn LEFT into the Savage Mill parking lot. Stop for bread or a French pastry at the Bonaparte Bread bakery. You can also check out the other shops, including the Rams Head Tavern, Bonaparte's lunchtime restaurant (if it re-opens), and stores that sell antiques, pottery, used books, games, and more.
- Return to westbound Gorman Road.
- Look LEFT for the Savage library. Great place to get cookbooks. After you cross over I-95, watch for the intersection when Gorman Road turns right. Literally. You need to turn right because the "straight ahead" becomes Skylark Boulevard. After it turns, Gorman winds through farm fields and past a horse farm.
- Look LEFT where Gorman curves right for the sign for Gorman Produce Farm. They offer a year-long CSA program, but they also sell vegetables.
- As you approach the traffic circle at Rte 29, look for Old Columbia Road on the right. That actually connects to Guilford Road and King's Contrivance Village Center with its Harris Teeter and Rita's.
- As you cross over Rte 29, the road changes name to Johns Hopkins Road. On the far side of Rte 29, look RIGHT for a shopping center with several nice eating choices: Mexican at La Palapa Too, ribs and BBQ at Kloby's, and Japanese hibachi at Ginza of Tokyo.
- Across from that shopping center is Mrs. HowChow's favorite Chik-fil-A.
- Turn RIGHT at the traffic light after the JHU Applied Physics Lab. You're turning onto northbound Sanner Road. If you had turned left, that would have been Maple Lawn Boulevard, which connects you back to Ranazul, Looney's and other tenants in Maple Lawn's commercial area.
- You'll drive along the JHU Applied Physics Lab campus, then you'll drop down a hill and come back up to an intersection with Rte 32. Turn LEFT onto the entrance ramp for Rte 32 West. If you had continued north, Sanner would change name to Cedar Lane. That takes you into the heart of Columbia and past Mad City Coffee. Feel free to head that way.
- Take a RIGHT EXIT onto Rte 108 northbound. Now, you're back at the Roots in Clarksville. The End
Please comment below if I missed anything. I have already revised several times to add places or correct errors. You can use a number (like "15 1/2") to put your suggestion in the right part of the tour.