To many residents of Carroll County, Sykesville is that quaint little town that’s on the side of Rt. 32 that provides a slow alternate route in the event of a traffic backup. Main Street is the road that goes over the railroad tracks. However, if you take a minute to find out what’s there, you may be astonished to find out it is quite interesting.
Sykesville Main Street is affiliated with the Maryland Main Street Program, which seeks to help the economy of the main streets of various towns in Maryland. As such, the Sykesville Main Street Organization works with business owners and others to try to improve and preserve the historic elements and economy of Main Street, Sykesville.
Why should I care about Sykesville Main Street, you ask? Great question! I’m glad you asked. Sykesville has several interesting attractions for all ages.
For people interested in history, Sykesville has plenty to offer. You can visit the Sykesville Gate House Museum of History, which is open on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, which has exhibits about Sykesville’s interesting history. In addition, did you know that Sykesville was involved in the Civil War? The Confederate army destroyed communications lines and bridges near Sykesville to cut General Meade off from Washington. You can learn more about this story, which many Carroll County residents are probably unaware of, in the Sykesville Walking Tour brochure. Sykesville also has a historic one-room colored schoolhouse that has been restored to look like it did in 1904. Yes – colored schoolhouse. This part of Sykesville provides a window into the dark time in American history between Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education. You can find more information about this interesting piece of history on Sykesville’s website. History buffs will also be interested in the historic post office and the various things affiliated with the railroad, but to avoid boring everyone else, we have to cut this part short. Sorry, historians!
Train enthusiasts will be quite interested in the Sykesville & Patapsco Railway. It’s a model railroad (so leave the suitcases at home) housed in a century-old railroad car. The S&P Railway features G, O, HO, and N Scale model railroads and is open the first Sunday of every month from 1 to 5 pm. If you’re in the area and happen to have the afternoon free when it’s open, it’s worth a visit. Their website is unfortunately down (looks like it got hacked), but the page on Sykesville’s website is still up.
Also, we’ll be talking about restaurants later, but you might find it interesting that the Baldwin’s Station restaurant (if you’re driving on Main Street toward the train tracks, it’s on the right as you go over them) is an old B&O Railroad station.
We said all ages, and we weren’t kidding. For children, Sykesville offers the Little Sykes Railway Park. It’s a miniature train that kids can ride for free. Donations are, however, accepted to help keep it running. It’s generally open on Saturdays and is located on Sandosky Rd. Turn off Rt. 32 at the gas station and go down the hill. It’s on the right. You can find more information on Sykesville’s website.
Additionally, Sykesville has several parks, one of which is along Main St. If you look at South Branch Park at this link, you’ll recognize it. It’s on the right as you drive down Main Street and continue past the railroad tracks. A new playground was just recently installed. Fun fact – the large warehouse looking building used to be an apple butter factory.
Let’s say that maybe you aren’t interested in history, or trains, and you don’t have kids. Sykesville still has something for you. Do you like to shop? Sykesville Main Street is full of little shops. As a bonus, by shopping there, you’ll be supporting your local economy rather than a huge business conglomerate. You can buy books at A Likely Story Bookstore, buy clothing at The Olde Liberty Shoppe and even paint pottery at Sykesville Pottery & Art Center. In addition, Tri Sports Junction sells sports equipment. You can buy and sell both old and new games at Time Warp Media Video Games. (If you’re wondering just how old, look at their Facebook page.) A full list of shopping establishments can be found at SykesvilleMainStreet.com/businesses.
So, if you’ve been following along, so far, you’ve learned about Sykesville history, visited a model railroad, taken your kid to the miniature train, and taken a few items off your store list. Now, you’re hungry. Does Sykesville Main Street have anything to eat? Of course. If you want crepes, you can go to The French Twist. If you want a sandwich you can visit the Big Belly Deli or Sweet Simplici-Tea & Bakery (when’s the last time you saw names like that in a mall?). As mentioned before, Baldwin’s Station restaurant is in the old train station and looks quite nice. It was voted the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s Favorite Restaurant in 2012. Yet another popular place to eat is E.W. Beck’s Pub; it’s quite popular for crabcakes.
Let’s say you’re planning a romantic getaway to Sykesville to check out the charm of its Main Street. Is there anywhere to stay? Yes, there is. The Inn at Norwood targets this exact market. They’re a little pricier than your average hotel, but they make it worth your money. The rooms are beautifully decorated (seriously, go look at the pictures. Definitely more beautiful than a hotel room.) and it includes a 3-course breakfast.
Hopefully, from this article, you’ve learned that Sykesville Main Street is a little more than a detour for Rt. 32. Even if you don’t visit, hopefully you’ve learned that Carroll County is more than meets the eye. It’s been around for a long time, and it’s worth learning about the area you live in, so dive in!
If you do visit, we hope this guide is helpful to you. If you have any comments, please send us an email and let us know what you think.