Best Antique Store
Nice and Fleazy
Chesapeake County is full of antique stores. Where ever you go, youll find one. Whatever your taste in things old, youre likely to match it. Still, its for good reason that Bay Weekly readers have once again chosen Nice and Fleazy the best antique store on the Bay.
Antiquity is one. Like the things it sells, Nice and Fleazy has been around. Its stood on the northern entrance corner to North Beach for four decades and in two centuries. So long that its part of our Chesapeake County landscape, a kind of lighthouse assuring us that something is stable in an ocean of flux. Longevity also means that, when youve finally saved the money to buy that grandfather clock, the place you saw it will still be there if not the clock.
Which leads us to another and not the least reason Bayfolk appreciate Nice and Fleazy: Owner Dale Thomas. Thomas turned from policy and politics in D.C. to the antique business in North Beach because he liked people at least as much as he liked old things. Thats still true. Most days Thomas still works his store, enjoying his customers and getting to know their tastes. Hes as open to talking about the meaning of life as about the value of an old chair. For many of us, a visit to Nice and Fleazy is a visit to an old friend. And a friend you can count on to find a piece youve been looking for or to hold that clock as you buy it on installments.
Which is not to mention the amazing array of things both Nice and Fleazy youll find here and likely bring home.
Barnes and Noble
Spend the morning browsing through books. Snuggle up with a good read in an easy chair. Take the kids out for books and a treat. Sip a frappacino while you wile away the words. Whatever their motive, bibliophiles of Chesapeake County pick Barnes and Nobles for their reading pleasure.
Connect there with your book group. Meet an author. Bring the kids to story hour and mingle with moms over coffee and cookies. Read your own poetry or listen to anothers prose.
Mmm. Books, chocolate, coffee and time. Need we say more?
Best Coffee House
Think BUZZ. Remember the days when coffee was light-brown, coffee-flavored water? Let somebody try to put that swill in front of you now. Where oh where would we be in our hectic lives without dark-roast beans and strong coffee, which Starbucks has perfected? The Seattle-based company also had the good sense to revive the coffee house concept that died with the Beat Generation. The combination of strong, potent coffee and a cool place to drink it has won over many folks, including our readers who chose Starbucks there are two in Annapolis as the finest java spot in Chesapeake Country.
Best Gift Shop
Warm and fuzzy is Sentimental Fools. On the outside is an adorable cottage with a tidy front porch adorned with country knickknacks, all for sale. Inside, 10 themed rooms abound with gifts many hand-crafted locally that will please kids, moms, gardeners, candle connoisseurs, basket lovers and anyone else looking for a cozy gift.
Boyd's Bears collectors will enjoy a room dedicated to Boyd's stuffed animals and collectibles. Choose a basket to stuff with gourmet candies, concoctions or cookbooks, a Village Candle, a piece of pottery or stained glass or Camille Beckman hand cream. Even the occasional hand-painted, country cupboard shows up in this eclectic shop. Sentimental Fools makes gift-shopping a one-stop mission: baskets, wrapping paper, gift bags and cards complete every package.
Best Place to Buy Produce
Fresh mangoes, papayas and juicy peaches, a rainbow assortment of berries, tomatoes in every size and shape and a city block of greens of nearly every variety known to humans thats what makes Fresh Fields Market our first choice for produce for two years in a row.
What other market carries such an organic delight to sight and smell than Fresh Fields produce section? Its enough to make a grownup cry for joy.
Their pesticide-free edibles are blemish-free, plump and juicy, ripe and robust, in any season. For the conscientious consumer, Fresh Fields supports small, local farmers, avoids the middleman, and brings fresher produce to the store. Fresh Fields, where its always summer, is the next best thing to picking it off your own vine.
Best Record Store
Tower Records remains the favorite of Bay Weekly audiophiles.
Say Bay Weekly readers, the music library at Tower is the deepest in Chesapeake Country. On the shelves, youll find a range of local favorites, from Tom Wisner to Them Eastport Oyster Boys, exotic pearls like Japanese kodo drumming, cult figures like Sonic Youth and household names like Outkast. Off the main room is a sealed-off sanctum for fans of jazz, classical and Sinatra.
Alexander's of Annapolis Salon & Day Spa
Need an escape from the rigors of life? Want to be pampered, painted or styled? For the second year in a row, Bay Weekly readers have voted Alexander's of Annapolis in Festival at Riva the place to go for beautification and rejuvenation. The winning formula for Alexander's salon includes a full-service spa offering manicure, pedicure, facial and massage in conjunction with a hair studio staffed with 15 stylists eager to coif the do of your dreams. With an extensive menu, you can go basic with a hair trim or extravagant with a full day of beauty including lunch in a lush private dining room. Alexander's of Annapolis, Bay Weekly readers say, brings it all together with exceptional customer service, attractive surroundings and skilled artisans.
Grant Nissan, Muddy Creek Animal Hospital
Framed on a wall at Muddy Creek Animal Hospital is a poster that reads, Acquiring a dog is the closest a human being ever comes to choosing a relative. That may be why Grant Nissan was chosen Best Vet once again this year. At Muddy Creek, your pet is part of their family and that includes us humans.
Happy Harbor Inn
Were talking bottom line. A bar is the place you go to sit and drink, and thats Happy Harbor. From the crack of dawn until the coming of the next day, Happy Harbors horseshoe bar is reliably ready for you. You dont have to dress up, you just have to be there. As long as youre behaving yourself and sitting upright, youre welcome to stay. Bartenders often women, including the legendary JR and Best Bartender on the Bay for the second year Karen Sturgell soften the edges of a hangout whose walls and ceilings are dark with years of cigarette smoke. Theres music, darts, snacks and on many occasions serious bar feeds. What more do you need in a bar than cold beer, and thats plentifully here. Just dont order a Cosmopolitan.
Karen Sturgell, Happy Harbor
Even before becoming her own boss, Karen Sturgell has been at home behind the bar at Deale's Happy Harbor Inn. When she was 13, she began working as a busgirl at the landmark bar and restaurant, and as soon as she was able, she was working behind the wrap-around bar.
I just had my 20-year high school reunion, Sturgell says. In my high school yearbook, I had said that my goal was to own Happy Harbor. I was proud telling everyone that I'd achieved my goal. But just because I own the place doesn't mean that my personality's going to change.
Karen's friendly personality and consistency behind the bar have paid off, as Bay Weekly readers raised their glasses to toast her as the Bay's Best Bartender for a second year in a row.
I'm incredibly lucky, Sturgell said. I have a good crew. My closest friends are my co-workers. And of course I have to thank my mother since she did make my dream come true.
Best Place to Get a Tattoo
Red Octopus Tattoos, named for an old Jefferson Starship album say employees, urges you to make a statement without saying a word. "Let your body express yourself. If you choose to do so, you may have 15,000 designs to pick from or you may have yours custom-designed. Postage-size self-expression will cost you about $50 and 20 minutes. Learn more on their web site www.redoctopustattoos.com but note the warning, "not suitable for persons under age of 18.
Happy clients who voted this Best of the Bay pick find that self-expression isn't a problem at the decade-old Prince Frederick parlor.
Best Place to Stay Fit
Olympus Gym, Dunkirk
Ever since Olympus Gym opened in Dunkirk, Calvert Countians have been looking better and living longer, proving you dont have to live in the city to stay fit. Personal trainers are a special bonus, readers tell us, teaching you how to make your workout work best for you.
Best Public Restroom
Nordstrom, Annapolis Mall
Service is what Nordstrom is all about, and that goes for the restrooms too. Theyre clean, well-stocked with toilet paper and paper towels and include a restroom for families. An electronic eye at the faucets keeps things a little neater. Theres also art work and sofas at the entryway, helping you forget youre visiting a public restroom. Bay Weekly readers appreciate those touches, voting Nordstrom the best public restroom for the second year.
Worst Public Restroom
City Dock, Annapolis
Dont even go there.
Practice holding your breath before you leave home.
No toilet paper and no paper towels, but plenty of flies.