The Baltimore Sun’s readers and staff have weighed in on what’s the best in the region from art galleries to urgent care.
First, you’ll find critics’ picks from The Sun’s editorial team.
Then, you’ll see what readers think; the readers’ choice winners received the most votes during an online poll in March.
(Winners of the Readers’ Choice ballot were selected by readers.)
Find more categories at baltimoresun.com/best.
Best gift wrapping
The Ivy Bookshop
Great presentation can transform an ordinary gift into a thoughtful token of appreciation. But doing it well can be a chore — get the right paper for the occasion (no Christmas paper on birthdays), locate the tape from its hiding place deep in the recesses of the junk drawer, then find the scissors. That’s why we appreciate the Ivy Bookshop, where complimentary gift wrapping includes a ribbon and a seal. It just screams: “I made an effort.” Even if you didn’t.
6080 Falls Road, Mt. Washington. 410-377-2966. theivybookshop.com
Best jewelry repair
Bijoux Jewels does a little bit of everything: string pearls, fix clasps, restore the polish to your great aunt’s engagement ring. The Roland Park shop — the name means jewels or small treasure in French — also sells some gorgeous vintage bling, including Art Deco rings and bracelets that are hard to find anyplace else.
316 Wyndhurst Station, Roland Park. 443-948-5938. Bijouxjewels.com
The Well: Community Acupuncture and Wellness
For some folks, there’s nothing more relaxing than a well-placed needle. Acupuncture, the alternative medical practice from China, has been used to treat everything from migraines to fertility issues. The Well in Federal Hill regularly earns high marks from clients. In addition to one-on-one sessions, the clinic also offers $30 community acupuncture sessions, where you relax (with needles in place) in a group setting.
42 E Cross St., Federal Hill. 443-600-4329. thewellacu.com
Cupping made a splash during the 2016 Olympics, when swimmer Michael Phelps and other athletes appeared in the water bearing purple dots on their backs and shoulders. But the technique, which involves placing heated glass cups on the skin, is more than a passing trend at Woodberry Wellness. Practitioners here offer the treatment as part of a roster of other services that include alternative therapies like acupuncture, Reiki healing and myofascial release.
2000 Girard Ave., Woodberry. 410-878-0857. woodberrywellness.com
[ Michael Phelps puts cupping therapy in the spotlight ]
Clean Rite Center
Sure, you can sit and watch your duds spin round and round. Or you can watch TV, use the free Wi-Fi, have a snack and a soda or relax in one of the three massage chairs for customers at this spotless laundromat that opened in 2019.
“We focus on cleanliness and customer service,” assistant manager Laisha Best says of Clean Rite Center, which boasts 70 machines and offers free use of dryers for up to 60 minutes, depending on one’s wash load. The staff will also wash, dry and fold your clothes for 69 cents a pound.
7017 Liberty Road. 443-551-3748. cleanritecenter.com
Tochterman’s Fishing Tackle
The wooden floors creak and the walls would talk, if you could find them behind the forest of rods, tackle and maze of fishing gear crammed into this hoary building, a sanctum for wily anglers and beginners alike for 104 years. Baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams shopped here, as have Arab sheikhs and little 6-year-olds. The staff ascribes to a timeworn tenet, says Tony Tochterman, 70, grandson of the founder:
“Treat everyone like he’s the only customer you have, and your best friend, and your grandmother.”
1925 Eastern Ave. 410-327-6942. tochtermansfishingtackle.com
[ From the archives: Tochterman's Fishing Tackle celebrates its 100th birthday ]
Security Public Storage
Aptly named, the 2,000-unit facility boasts a security alarm on every bay and more than 40 on-site cameras.
“Everyone has extra stuff,” says manager Jason Giordano. Units are filled with everything from food to bedroom sets to a taxidermy collection. Storage spaces run the gamut, from 3 by 5 feet to commercial size, but most are 10 by 10 and accessible by driving into the air-conditioned building right up to your alcove — a luxury in hot or rainy weather.
3500 Pulaski Highway. 410-698-6480. securitypublicstorage.com
Seven years ago, Roscoe Tarnove left his management gig, trading a white-collar post for a dog-collar job. Now he owns Canton Canine, with nearly 100 clients and a staff of 20 to stroll your pups around Fells Point and beyond. Want Fido walked between noon and 2 p.m.? Guaranteed, or your money back. Most dogs get a brisk 30-minute jaunt —about 1¼ miles — in their neighborhoods, after which owners receive an email posting the route, distance and duration of the outing.
“They [dogs] do it with tongues a-dragging and tails a-wagging,” says Tarnove, whose maxim is: Rain, sleet or snow, they’ve gotta go.
Scrub Nail Boutique
Whether it’s a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with girlfriends, owner Jasmine Simms is aiming to be more than a run-of-the mill nail salon. Simms’ salon prides itself on offering a gentle and more conscious experience than a typical nail salon. That means their scrubs, masques, and moisturizers are all natural. Many of them are mixed in-house. The salon also offers an Unlimited Manicure club, where customers can receive an unlimited number of basic manicures for a month. The basic manicure option starts at $49 per month. Scrub also offers services for children starting at 5 years old.
722 S Broadway, Suite 200, Fells Point, 888-872-7961, scrubnailboutique.com
This watery jewel at the mouth of the Susquehanna River is a favorite of sail and power boat owners alike. Clean and eco-friendly, with a fuel dock, discount marine store and award-winning service department, it boasts 158 freshwater slips (less corrosion than salt) and dry storage for 129 vessels in a warehouse.
“Boats tend to age more gracefully here,” says general manager Jeff Andrews, named one of Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s 2018 Dockmasters of the Year. And if you tie up here and choose to explore the town, Tidewater will drive you there or loan you a car.
100 Bourbon St., Havre de Grace. 410-939-0950. tidewatermarina.com
March Funeral Homes
The buildings are bright and airy, with skylights, fountains and greenery. The hearses are not black but a stylish champagne-gold and burgundy.
“There’s nothing drab here,” says Victor March, Sr., CEO of the seven March Funeral Homes. “It’s all about the celebration of life.”
That resonates with a largely African-American clientele. For 44 years, the family business — which started in 1957 in the parlor of a North Avenue rowhouse — has performed more than 2,000 services a year, including that of the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings.
4300 Wabash Ave., West Baltimore. 410-542-2400. marchfh.com
— Mike Klingaman, Christina Tkacik and John-John Williams IV
Readers’ choice winners
Audiology at GBMC
Hollenshade’s Auto Services
Canton Car Wash
Leaps Ahead Learning Center
Dr. Laura Dover
Stefan’s Leather & Shoe Repair
Dental Designs of White Marsh
Glyndon Lord Baltimore Cleaners
Lorien Health Services
Sachin Kalyani, MD (Kalyani Eye Care)
Williams Asset Management
The Modest Florist
GBMC HealthCare - Greater Baltimore Medical Center
Baltimore Lock & Hardware Inc.
Capital Women’s Care
Drs. Isaacs, Nawy and Stern Orthodontics
Home Paramount Pest Control
Tecla’s K-9 Academy
Pet day care
Tecla’s K-9 Academy
One Gentle Touch
Lorien Health Services
Good Shepherd Summer Camp
Glyndon Lord Baltimore Cleaners
Bowman & Company, CPA, PC
The Cruise Lady Inc.
Northwind Animal Hospital