When I moved to Baltimore in 1996 from South Carolina, I knew little of the City or, frankly, Maryland in general. I had visited twice for a weekend visit to explore Baltimore and consider whether or not I wanted to move to Charm City. For many years, due to a demanding work schedule at the “Baltimore Sun” and little desire to move outside of my comfort zone, I rarely left the confines of Baltimore City, sans for an occasional trip to Towson Mall or taking in a movie in the suburbs.
This all changed when I bought my first home and settled on the affordable and conveniently located city of Perry Hall in Baltimore County. Soon I discovered all the amenities available in White Marsh (IKEA!) and began exploring beyond Baltimore City, while still commuting to “The Sun” every day. While I did return to Baltimore City a few years later to purchase a home, I had realized that I had experienced little of what Maryland had to offer and started making weekend and day trips to the Eastern Shore, Southern Maryland, Annapolis, Frederick and more.
When we launched I95 BUSINESS six years ago this month (Happy Birthday to Us!), I began acquainting myself with Harford County, an area I knew little about. What I discovered was a County that had everything from top-notch military operations, picturesque waterfront, tranquil farmland and burgeoning cities like Bel Air. In this issue, we focus particularly on the economy in Harford County. The Arts and Entertainment district in Bel Air has had a profound economic impact on the area, as a multitude of special events bring residents and tourists alike to downtown Bel Air to not only attend a festival or movie night, but also shop at local boutiques and sample some of Bel Air’s local restaurants. There is a reason why many of Baltimore’s popular restaurants, such as Looney’s Pub, Alchemy and MaGerk’s, decided to open outposts in Bel Air – they recognized that the city was growing and residents wanted more dining options.
Havre de Grace is one of my favorite places, with its charming downtown and unparalleled views of the Chesapeake Bay. (One of my goals it to take our sailboat up there this year for a weekend.) Havre de Grace is investing in its downtown with a new Opera House, infrastructure improvements, park renovations and more – while doing so in a sustainable manner, led by Mayor Bill Martin. Definitely keep an eye on this town. To our readers and advertisers, thank you for your support for the past six years, and look for more exciting developments as we continue to grow I95 BUSINESS.