Nestled between the major cities of Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C., Howard County is one of the top three places in the country to raise a family. This affluent Maryland county is rapidly expanding with new construction of homes such as large, four or five bedroom colonial style estate homes, luxury townhomes and garden style condominium homes. Older homes in the area range in a variety of styles from small two bedroom bungalow cottages of the 1930s and 1940s to larger more contemporary homes from the 1970s.
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Howard County's cities all come with distinct characteristics and personalities. The county seat, Ellicott City, starts in the heart of the county with an historic riverfront main street lined with antique shops, specialty stores and restaurants. Then, the city spreads out to include newer subdivisions and large parcels of stately farm properties. The Rouse Company's planned community of Columbia is neatly organized into smaller neighborhoods that include a large range of amenities like pools, parks, walking paths, community centers and the sprawling Columbia Mall. Historic Elkridge hugs the old Washington Boulevard trucking route and contains the refuge of the Patapsco State Park. Jessup, on the southern side of the county, is filled with motels, industry and company headquarters that cater to many businesses. Out west, the wealthy neighborhoods of Glenelg and Clarksville give residents rolling hills, farmland and large tracts of unspoiled land. Throughout the county, residents enjoy the many different recreational activities that the area provides.
Jobs in Howard County are plentiful, either within the county or further afield. The largest employer is the award-winning Howard County Public Schools system. Another large employer in the education sector is Columbia's Howard Community College. The second largest employer in this area is the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, located in North Laurel. The rest of Howard County's top employers come from various fields such as retail, healthcare and finance. Many people in this part of Maryland commute to either Washington, D.C. or the Baltimore area for even more employment opportunities.