Savage Mill has worn many hats. It was once a bustling textile mill, the home of a Christmas ornament company and a short-lived year-round Christmas village. Oh — and a circus even came to Savage Mill.

After becoming an antiques mall, artists and small businesses began to move in as the mill went under an extensive renovation for several years.

Savage Mill is both said to be haunted and is on the list of the National Register of Historic places. It is also pet-friendly (I saw two four-legged pals on my visit).

The Bollman Iron Truss Bridge outside Savage Mill in Howard County on Feb. 7, 2024. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

I had never been to Savage Mill before this past week. I had heard about some of the shops from friends, but never realized how much there was in these historic buildings, including a fencing club, food stalls, and a pottery studio.

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On June 15, the mill is hosting the Savage Bluegrass Festival. From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. there will be plenty of bluegrass performances. Tickets are $20; kids under 8 years old are free.

Here are some gems I found while wandering around Savage Mill recently.

Cherie Sustainable Bridal

Cherie Sustainable Bridal in Savage Mill sells pre-owned wedding dresses. (Jess Nocera)

One of the places I’m very familiar with is Cherie Sustainable Bridal. Two of my very good friends found their wedding dresses here.

As the shop’s name suggests, all wedding dresses at Cherie are preworn. Also, all profits benefit Success In Style, a volunteer organization that helps people seeking employment.

I asked my friends how they choose to find their dresses for their big days at Cherie. Both said cost played a factor in purchasing a secondhand dress. It allowed them both to stretch their wedding budgets elsewhere.

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Also, by purchasing preworn dresses, my friends felt they were making more environmentally sustainable decisions.

“Cherie’s business model helped me feel like I was doing something good for the planet on my big day,” my friend, Meredith Soule said.

After Meredith purchased her dress, Cherie gave her a coupon for Dive Bar & Grille, another Mill spot. She toasted with champagne and enjoyed lunch with her family after finding her dress.

Dive Bar & Grille

Dive Bar & Grille, located in Savage Mill, offers elevated bar fare and plenty of cocktails.

I recently had lunch at the Dive Bar & Grille. The extensive menu includes burgers, mac and cheeses, hoagies and tacos.

I decided on the ahi tuna bites appetizer and the grilled chicken Caesar wrap. Other appetizers that jumped out to me were the fried pickles, zucchini fries and pizza rolls.

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The cocktail menu features a dedicated martini section. While martini’s are not my drink of choice, if they’re yours try out the chocolate pretzel or peach passion.

As I enjoyed my lunch, early aughts music was coming through the bar’s speakers and the restaurant started to fill up.

Bearing Gifts

Bearing Gifts, located in the New Weave Building in Savage Mill, has one-of-a-kind collectibles and dolls. (Jess Nocera)

During my first walkthrough of Savage Mill, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw Bearing Gifts. Well, I first saw the display of vintage Barbie Dolls in the window before seeing the name of the store. I love all things vintage, so I immediately beelined into Bearing Gifts.

When I walked in, I had no idea where to begin. The store is stuffed to the brim with nostalgia. I spied retired Vera Bradley patterns, Hess Trucks, Life magazines from the mid 1960s, Cabbage Patch Kids, so many teddy bears and vintage dishware.

There were so many dolls. Barbies spanned the decades, and I found some I had as a little girl. There were also plenty of Madame Alexander dolls and larger porcelain dolls.

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I will definitely be back to shop.

Artcraft

Artcraft, which features art and furniture designed by American artisans, is located in the New Weave Building in Savage Mill. (Jess Nocera)

Bursts of color welcome in visitors to Artcraft. A stained glass butterfly hangs in the window. Fun, bright colorful clocks , including a cat, standing mixer, sewing machine, and a teacup ticked softly on one the walls. Quirky planters including a whale, dachshund, snail, rooster and turtle are on display.

Bright and colorful are the themes at Artcraft. Even the furniture, such as dining tables, small round tables and baby armoires are painted with eccentric designs and colors.

Artcraft prides itself on having handcrafted furniture, wood, fiber jewelry, metal, ceramics, glass and more.

Brewing Good Coffee Company

Brewing Good Coffee Co. is all vegan coffee bar located in the Cotton Shed building in Savage Mill.

Brewing Good Coffee Company is a great spot for an afternoon pick-me-up in Savage Mill. Tucked away in the Cotton Shed building, this vegan coffee bar offers plenty of coffee and tea drinks and house-made sweet and savory treats and breakfast sandwiches. Sweet treats include lemon cake and blueberry lavender scones.

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I ordered an iced London Fog tea latte, pulled out my laptop and began working on an upcoming story.

The indoor seating area has a board games cabinet, a little library and plenty of seating, from a comfy blue couch to small tables and benches.

There is also outdoor seating. Brewing Good Coffee Co. is dog-friendly for both indoor and outdoor seating.

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