A Shopper's Getaway

Destination :Westminster

Carroll County town got its start as a merchants' center, so it's no surprise that its downtown is full of delightful shops

August 16, 2008|By Joanna Brenner | Joanna Brenner,Special to The Sun

If you're looking to take a break from the hustle of the city or flee the sameness of suburbia, historic downtown Westminster is the perfect place to spend a day dining and shopping. The town in Carroll County began as a hub for merchants in the early 1800s, when the Baltimore-Reisterstown turnpike was created to promote trade between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The growth continued with the creation of the Western Maryland Railroad, which was built around the time of the Civil War. And today, downtown Westminster is filled with shops featuring unique clothing and home-decor items and places for family fun.

So grab your walking shoes and get ready for some good, old-fashioned fun.

1 11 A.M.


Start the day off at a shop with something for everyone. Margo Miller opened Hidden Pearl (named after her grandmother) with her mother, Dawn, in November, and their boutique offers all kinds of apparel, ranging from size 2 to 24. Whether you're looking for dresses, suits, pants or even medical scrubs, you'll be sure to find something that fits your style, as well as your shape.

1 Locust Lane



2 11:30 A.M.


Shop for jewelry, accessories, home decor and apparel at this boutique, which opened in January. "We try to have a lot of fun clothing," says owner Nikki Ratti. The brands at the boutique are uncommon, and some of the graphic T-shirts feature designs by local artists. Artworks & Apparel also offers the popular Brighton jewelry brand.

29 E. Main St.





If the weather is nice, enjoy a casual lunch outside on Rafael's newly expanded deck. Try a Main Street panini - blackened chicken with fried onions and bleu cheese - or a Railroad panini - fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil. You can also choose from a variety of seafood appetizers, including bacon-wrapped scallops and clams casino.

32 W. Main St.



4 1 P.M.


Don't forget to treat yourself to dessert after lunch. This cute corner bakery has been a fixture in Westminster since 1972. Yvonne England, the owner's sister, says stop in and try a piece of the peach cake, which is a special this time of year.

42 W. Main St.


5 1:15 P.M.


This independently owned bookstore has books for every interest. Also, be sure not to miss the gifts and accessories throughout the store, and the splendid children's section toward the back of the store.

9 E. Main St.


6 1:30 P.M.


If you or anyone you know has an appetite for Vera Bradley, this is the store for you. This shop, which specializes in "gifts for the home and you," features the entire fall lineup of this popular brand - everything from purses and travel bags to ties and pajama pants. But Hickory Stick offers more than meets the eye - be sure to check around the corners in each room for the store's fabulous shoe selections, home decor, candles, jewelry and other fashionable accessories.

28 Liberty St.



7 1:45 P.M.


Take a break from shopping to paint some pottery. Choose from a wide variety of pre-made materials, including plates, bowls and even animals. Select your colors from the design center, then start creating. When you're done, employees at the Pottery Loft will glaze your painted pottery, and you can pick it up in seven days. The loft also offers summer camps, workshops and discount nights.

25 E. Main St.



8 2:45 P.M.


Still feeling artsy? Exercise your musical side by testing keyboards or one of the many guitars at this instrument store. "People come in just to jam sometimes," said manager Greg Crouse. You can also pick up instructional and sheet-music compilation books for the variety of instruments available, including woodwinds and brass. Coffey Music also offers lessons and rentals.

31 E. Main St.



9 3:15 P.M.


The beach is not the only place to play dress-up for old-time photos. You can get your picture taken and enjoy a cup of tea, as well, at this shop. Don't forget to pick up some information about party packages and costume rentals while you're there.

185 E. Main St.


10 4 P.M.


If you need a pick-me-up for the ride home, grab a coffee and take a load off at this fun, laid-back coffee shop/cafe, which also features sweet treats and light meals. Check out the back room, which displays photographs of Westminster taken by Robert Haas.

233 E. Main St.



See an interactive map of Westminster shopping venues at


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