Best Public Restroom
We know. Bay Weekly readers like being pampered. Theyre somebody, and thats how they like being treated. So when theyve got to go, they like a comfort station thats, well, comfortable. First, its got to be where you can find it, quick. Second, its got to be functional, nothing missing, broken or backed up. Third, its got to be clean, immaculate. Fourth, if its decorated like a place youd like to be, not need to be, so much the better. Men, women and families? Thatll do, too.
So Bay Weekly readers say, I gotta go. Lets go to Nordstrom. And while were there, lets just wander through the shoes.
Worst Public Restroom
City Dock, Annapolis
Make sure to go before you leave home. Otherwise you may wind up at one of downtown Annnapolis restaurants for a second lunch and a pit stop.
Calvert Cliffs State Park
Built with an all-volunteer workforce over 100 strong, this playground is not only a romp in the park but a prime example of how old tires and telephone poles recycle into fun.
The ground itself is funky to walk on, as its layered in chipped-up rubber tires to soften the impact for falling kids. In this flubberesque base swims a half-sunken Chessie the Sea Monster, a creature wrought of tractor tires and sprouting a tongue of treads. On the opposite end from her towers the bow of some great ship. From its 12-foot-high deck you can survey all the playground, from the zip line to the slide to the swings to a triangular weird bouncy tire swing thingy to a kid-sized wooden playhouse to the ropes and ladders and metal climbing poles. Its enough to keep kids playing happy for hours - as soon as you stop hogging everything.
Best Antique Store
Nice and Fleazy
Antique stores come and go. Nice and Fleazy endures. Dale Thomas abandoned a Hill career in DC to set up shop in North Beach back in the 1970s, so you can take a lesson in town history while youre browsing through his museum of American decorative arts.
Whether its history, philosophy or gossip, conversation is no doubt one of the features that earned Nice and Fleazy its honored place in Bay Weekly readers hearts.
But lets not downgrade the materialistic pleasure of treasure hunting. Weve browsed our way through Nice and Fleazy many a time, finding rewards ranging from a Mission china cabinet to a silver teapot. Whether its crockery, furniture, textiles or collectibles that you covet, youll find plenty to desire here.
Whats more, if youve come to Calvert County sharks tooth hunting and been disappointed, you can buy the big one you didnt find at Nice and Fleazy.
Best Gift Shop
As their motto suggests, Sentimental Fools is a gift shop dedicated to giving that warm, fuzzy feeling. Romance and nostalgia abound in 10 themed rooms that lure basket connoisseurs, candle lovers, gardeners and anyone else looking for hand-crafted gifts and decorations. The Chesapeake Room offers gifts for the nautically-minded. Village candles, locally made pottery and stained glass and Camille Becman hand cream are just a few specialties offered. Hungry? Step into the country cupboard for gourmet foods and candy to fill your specially picked basket with yummy gifts. The latest addition, the Boyds Bears room, is chock full of, you guessed it, Boyds Bears collectibles. Plenty of cards and gift bags will make any present complete.
Barnes & Noble
Who says people dont read? Barnes & Noble proves that books will sell as surely as designer latte if you make them a destination.
By which, our readers tell us, they mean a place thats someplace. They like big chairs to sit in, a café to gather in and goodies to eat and drink while reading. They like a place to take their kids for storytime and a place to meet their friends, bookclub or Scrabble society. They like meeting authors, and they like shopping for literary accessories.
And dont forget the books.
Browsing Barnes & Noble, readers tell us, is an occasion. Thats why they named it the Best Bookstore on the Bay.
Best Record Store
Within Tower Records lies the deepest music library for sale around these parts. On the shelves, youll find a range from local favorites, like Them Eastport Oyster Boys, to Japanese kodo drumming to Lenny Kravitz to the Insane Clown Posse. Off the main room is a sealed-off sanctum for fans of jazz, classical and Sinatra. Mix in listening stations, a helpful crew of pierced teens and good prices, and youve got the favorite store of Bay Country audiophiles.
Best Toy Store
It takes something special to knock down a giant like Toys R Us, but Bay Weekly readers appreciate the David in the independently owned Be Beep Toy Stores. With two locations, Festival at Riva and Severna Park Piaza, Be Beep won our readers with its wide and imaginative selection of toys, books and specialty items that are sure to make any child smile.
Unlike larger franchises, Be Beep offers a warm and inviting atmosphere with merchandise that favors wood and creativity, not plastic and run-of-the-mill. Sales staff work this job because they love it, so theyre glad to help you make the right choice. Then, at no extra charge, theyll gift wrap it for you.
Best Place to Get a Tattoo
Whether being rebellious, indulging in a happy fugue or commissioning fine art for your epidermal canvas, finding a good tattoo parlor is a must. After all, it could be the difference between a flaming skull and a weeping clown permanently inked on your left buttock.
Prince Fredericks Red Octopus shines in this vote, thriving in a small county where many tattoo parlors have suffered lick-and-stick lifespans (there are three parlors in Calvert County). Far from the dark-hole-in-the-wall stereotype, this busy parlor is a bright, roomy place with a professional crew and an appreciation for hygiene. That and a vast library of tattoos for the choosing make this the voters favorite body art stop of the Bay.
Alexanders of Annapolis
When it comes to pampering, the full service salon has become a sanctuary for both physical and mental rejuvenation. Readers, particularly our female voters, expressed devoted loyalty to their salon of choice.
Alexanders of Annapolis, in the Festival at Riva Shopping Center, won out as readers choice for Best Salon. Offering everything from manicures, pedicures and full-body massage to hair styling and coloring, Alexanders has created a retreat where both ladies and gentlemen escape the rigors of daily life. True to their mission, Alexanders has created a physical space that helps set the mood for relaxation. The spa side is subdued and tranquil with soft lighting, sleepy music and hushed tones. On the hair-styling side, the energy and noise levels are equally elevated.
For keeping their clients happy, looking good and feeling great, Alexanders of Annapolis wins the Best of the Bay.
Best Tanning Salon
A Perfect Tan
A Perfect Tan owners Kristen Harris and Pedroe Brooks keep this hot spot fit for a queen. Open for just over one year, A Perfect Tan offers clean beds and friendly service. Walk-ins are welcome here. Purchase a package of sessions that never expires. Bay Weekly readers say they lose their tan lines at A Perfect Tan.
Grant Nissan, Muddy Creek Animal Hospital
It may cost less nowadays to keep your kids healthy than your pets. Which is why you want your vet to be very sweet as well as very smart. Nobody does that better, Bay Weekly readers agree, than Dr. Grant Nissan, of Muddy Creek Animal Hospital in West River.
Dr. Nissan and many other vets at Muddy Creek have gotten down on the floor to cuddle around with Bay Weeklys beloved Max. Our readers tell us the doctors werent just playing favorites.
Best Car Wash
Annapolis Car Wash
When it comes to selecting Bay Countrys favorite car wash, the voting was muddy. But when the final tally was added, Annapolis Car Wash in Crownsville outshone the rest. Its not the easiest to find, but voters willing to search said they appreciated the large, clean lobby, well-equipped indoor kids play are, and pleasant customer service. Of course, the soft-cloth sparkle ultimately made readers smile.