Harford Magazine

Best of Harford County 2023

Need a plumber or a pediatrician? Looking to buy a house and need a real estate agent? What about a new tattoo?

The Best of Harford County can help with a little guidance from our readers. More than 114,000 votes were cast in this year’s readers’ poll, culling a list of the 83 top people to know, places to go and things to do.


Editor’s note: Winners and honorable mentions (listed alphabetically) were determined by popular vote. Readers were invited to nominate and vote online in October, November and December. The results are generated solely by readers’ votes. The Baltimore Sun does not take responsibility for the services offered or advertised by those listed.

Out & About

Annual festival/event


Winner: Bel Air Festival of the Arts

Honorable mentions:

BBQ Bash

Harford County Wine Festival

Upper Chesapeake Bay Pride Festival

Art studio/gallery

Winner: Amazing Glaze

Honorable mentions:


Board & Brush Creative Studio

The Liriodendron Mansion

Made Me Mine


Winner: The Humane Society of Harford County

Honorable mentions:



Harford Family House


Kids activity

Winner: Raise The Barre - Studio of Dance

Honorable mentions:


Annie’s Playground

The Playroom

Ripken Baseball

Museum: Jerusalem Mill

Tom Koluch and Bridget Graff, volunteer blacksmiths at Jerusalem Mill, create pieces of art from steel during the Harvest Day in October.

2813 Jerusalem Rd., Kingsville. 410-877-3560.


Go back in time at the restored 18th and 19th century village, complete with a general store, smokehouse, blacksmith shop, springhouse and grist mill. Living history interpreters dressed in period garb recreate the times and what they were like for residents of the early Quaker settlement, established before the American Revolution. Here, men do leatherwork, women cook on open hearths, and visitors gape as they look back to the everyday lives of a bygone era.

“For many, history is ho-hum boring, just dates in a book, but we make it tangible,” said Betsy Keithley, president of Friends of Jerusalem Mill, which maintains the site. “We put history in a completely different light — and make it relevant.”

The venue also hosts summer concerts, jousting tournaments and seasonal festivals. This year, for the first time, children who explore the museum can do so wearing outer garments of the era — long hunting shirts for boys and vintage dresses for girls — hand-sewn by volunteers.

Honorable mentions:

Havre De Grace Decoy Museum

The Liriodendron Mansion


Steppingstone Farm Museum

Park/outdoor sport

Winner: Annie’s Playground

Honorable mentions:

Ladew Topiary Gardens

Millard Tydings Memorial Park


Rocks State Park

Private school

Winner: The John Carroll School

Honorable mentions:

Harford Christian School

The Highlands School


St. Margaret School

Rainy-day activity

Winner: Horizon Cinemas

Honorable mentions:

Harford County Public Library

Independent Brewing Company


The Playroom

Special events venue

Winner: Rockfield Manor

Honorable mentions:

The Liriodendron Mansion

Vandiver Inn


Vignon Manor Farm

Theater company

Winner: Tidewater Players

Honorable mentions:

Phoenix Festival Theater

Scottfield Theatre Company


Starlight Theatricals

Food & Drink

Beer, wine and/or liquor store

Winner: Bel Air Liquors

Honorable mentions:

Friendship Wine & Liquor

Rocks Liquors


Wine World Beer & Spirits

Caterer: Pairings Bistro

Jon Kohler, owner of Pairings Bistro, says catering has always been an integral piece of the Pairings Bistro business.

2105 Laurel Bush Rd., Suite 108, Bel Air. 410-569-5006.

Catering has always been an integral piece of the Pairings Bistro business — so much so that owner Jon Kohler delayed the restaurant’s grand opening by a day to make space on the calendar for a catered event.

Back in 2009, when he first opened Pairings Bistro in Bel Air, the restaurant had room for just a couple dozen seats and was how “we could reach out to our guests in another way,” Kohler said. “It didn’t matter if we only had 25 seats — we were able to do these catering events, and because of that I think the catering over the past 14 years has really helped us be able to grow.”

The restaurant has since expanded, tripling its seating in 2012 and adding another 2,000 square feet last year, to make room for a local market, cafe and larger bar area.

The catering side is still going strong, too. Kohler and his staff specialize in cocktail parties and special events like birthdays and anniversaries, serving hors d’oeuvres like brioche sandwiches, cream of crab shooters and cheese and charcuterie boards. Pairings also recently added a food truck catering option for more casual fare, such as tacos, sliders and fries.


Pairings is known for its on-site dining, too: the restaurant was named Harford Magazine’s Best Restaurant in 2022. But Kohler said he’ll always have a soft spot for the catering business.

“In the restaurant you don’t know who’s coming in day-to-day,” he said, “but a catering event is planned. I like it because you know what to expect.”

Honorable mentions:

The Local

Maison Intimate Catering


Mission BBQ

Farmers market/stand

Winner: Bel Air Farmers’ Market

Honorable mentions:

Brad’s Farm Market

Broom’s Bloom Dairy


Havre de Grace Farmers’ Market

Grocery store

Winner: Wegmans

Honorable mentions:


Redners Market



Place to buy seafood

Winner: Richard’s Fish & Crabs

Honorable mentions:

Conrad’s Crabs and Seafood Market- Bel Air, MD

The Crab Truck and Seafood Stop


Water Street Seafood


Winner: Harford Vineyard & Winery

Honorable mention:

Fiore Winery & Distillery

Mount Felix Vineyard & Winery


The Vineyard Wine Bar



Winner: The Painted Mill

Honorable mentions:

Belle Patri



Seneca Cannery Antiques

Bridal shop

Winner: K&B Bridals

Honorable mention:

Edel’s Bridal Boutique

Car dealership


Winner: Jones Junction

Honorable mentions:

Boyle Buick GMC

Heritage Honda

Plaza Ford

Clothing boutique


Winner: Apricot Lane Boutique

Honorable mentions:

Bray & Em Boutique

Joseph’s Department Store

Consignment shop/resale shop

Winner: Belle Patri


Honorable mentions:

The Mannequin On Main, LLC

Olivia’s Shop Inc.

Tabitha’s House

Furniture store: Belle Patri

Jennifer Lane owns Belle Patri, a Jarrettsville design store that sells both new and consignment home décor.

3725 Federal Hill Rd., Jarrettsville. 410-692-5341.

From farmhouse style to modern and midcentury, Belle Patri does it all.


The Jarrettsville design store sells both new and consignment home décor, and lots of it. The 9,000-square-foot shop has hundreds of thousands of pieces in stock, spanning furniture to “little knickknacks,” says owner Jennifer Lane.

Lane started the business 15 years ago as a “fun way to have a creative outlet and do what I enjoy, which is decorating.”

Since then, it’s grown to include a second location in Columbia as well as a roster of services like furniture painting classes and design help. Lane has also pulled her family into the business: her husband takes care of tech for Belle Patri, her son runs deliveries and her daughter manages the Columbia store.

The past few years have been busy. The pandemic brought a renewed interest from customers in home décor, and Lane had plenty of consignment furniture in stock while other stores had monthslong waiting lists.

“As people have gone through the pandemic, they’re at home more,” Lane says. “They’re actually enjoying their homes and refreshing them.”


Honorable mentions:

Aberdeen ReStore

Farmhouse On Main

Jarrettsville Furniture

Gift shop

Winner: The Nest on Main


Honorable mentions:

Blue Heron Gifts & Boutique

Full Heart SouLutions

Log Cabin Candies


Winner: Saxon’s Diamond Centers


Honorable mentions:

Blue Heron Gifts & Boutique

F & L Jewelers Inc.

Moon & Sea Creations



Winner: JPS Electrical Services


Honorable mentions:

Benfield Electric Co Inc.

DeLuca Electric

Krause Companies

Flooring and carpeting

Winner: Bel Air Carpet


Honorable mentions:

Carpets By Denny Lee

Jason Brown Wood Floors

Top Notch Flooring America

Garden center/nursery

Winner: The Mill of Bel Air


Honorable mentions:

Brad’s Farm Market

Griers Nursery & Greenhouses

Kroh’s Nursery

Home improvement contractor

Winner: Tar Heel Construction Group LLC


Honorable mentions:

First Impressions Contracting

Mark Gaddis Home Repair LLC

TP Contractors - Steve Smith


Winner: Bob Ward Trademark Homes


Honorable mentions:

Huskins Builders Inc.

Pinnacle Design Development - Craig Falanga

Ten Oaks Homes

Housecleaning service: The Clean Castle

Edy Stec, center, owner, and team members of Clean Castle, which was named best housecleaning service in Harford County.


How much do clients believe in these cleaners? Cancer patients on chemotherapy trust them to clean their homes. For 10 years, owner Edy Stec and her staff at The Clean Castle have swept, mopped and scoured local residences, from one-bedroom apartments to 12,000-square-foot estates. Now, they’ve begun spiffing up businesses, too.


“A lot of people are overwhelmed; I know how it is,” said Stec, 39, who is married, with two kids and two dogs. “Creating clean environments is my true heart; it is something I love.”

A Polish immigrant, Stec started the business when her husband, a police officer, was injured at work. Now she has a staff of eight and 150 regular clients, a number of whom have been with her from the start.

“For some, a clean house is a new beginning,” Stec said. “A clean house is important for our physical and mental health.”

Honorable mentions:

Albee Clean


Duraclean Services, LLC

Kelsi’s Cleaning Services

Interior designer/decorator

Winner: Heather Krout, Home with Heather

Honorable mentions:

Farmhouse On Main


Jennifer Lane, Belle Patri

Simply Grande Home Furnishings & Simply Grande Interiors


Winner: Lawnscape, Inc.

Honorable mentions:

HillSide Lawn Service


Lazo Landscaping

Randall’s Lawn Care & Landscaping

Mortgage company

Winner: Har-co Credit Union

Honorable mentions:

APG Federal Credit Union


First Home Mortgage

Harford Bank


Winner: PlumbCrazy

Honorable mentions:

Anytime Plumbing Inc.


Cobra Plumbing Services Inc.

Harford Plumbing & Heating


Winner: Tar Heel Construction Group LLC

Honorable mentions:

Polk Contracting, Inc.


Premier Roofing LLC.

TSW Roofing Solutions Inc.

Waste/recycling company

Winner: Bartenfelder Sanitation Services

Honorable mentions:

Chesapeak Shredding


GFL Environmental

Harford County Trash Services


Dance lessons

Winner: Raise The Barre - Studio of Dance

Honorable mentions:

Dance Conservatory of Maryland


The John Carroll Ballet Academy

Supernova Dance Company

Golf course

Winner: Geneva Farm Golf Course

Honorable mentions:

Bulle Rock Golf Course


Maryland Golf & Country Clubs

Mountain Branch

Gym/fitness center: GameChanger Fitness

Cory Bielatowicz, left, owner of GameChanger Fitness in Bel Air, works on squat technique with client Lisa Dubiansky of Havre de Grace, right.

728 Baltimore Pike #111, Bel Air. 443-265-2377.

If ever a gym can be called cozy, this is it. A one-room studio, the 5-year-old fitness center draws raves from its clients, who relish the small workout classes (6 to 8 people) and the one-on-one training that is sometimes lacking in larger venues.

“We’re the ‘Cheers’ of training centers, a place where everybody knows your name,” owner Cory Bielatowicz said. Absent are the treadmills and stationary bikes common in other gyms. Here, members exercise solely with free weights which, during the pandemic, they could borrow so they could lift at home.

“We treat people like family,” Bielatowicz said. Occasional happy hours (wine and cheese) break the routine. This winter, GameChanger staged a Fat Loss Challenge for members, with a $1,000 grand prize. From time to time, Bielatowicz schedules field trips to the supermarket, where his charges shop for nutritious foods.


“If you go to the grocery store one day and there’s no ground turkey, it’s our fault,” he said.

Honorable mentions:

Alpha Athletics Cheer

The Arena Club

Bel Air Athletic Club


Martial arts classes

Winner: U.S. Taekwondo Academy

Honorable mention:

ATA Martial Arts

Empire Dojo

Music lessons


Winner: Music Land

Honorable mention:

Do-Re-Wee Music Academy

Lashelle Bray

Music & Arts

Swim club


Winner: The Arena Club

Honorable mentions:

The Fallston Club

Fountain Green Swim Club

Rock Spring Swim Club Inc.

Yoga classes


Winner: Yoga Centric

Honorable mentions:

The Arena Club

Love Evolution Studio

True Yoga

Health & Wellness

Addiction counseling


Winner: Klein Family Harford Crisis Center

Honorable mentions:

Ashley Addiction Treatment

Katie Badders

Bel Air Recovery Center

Alternative wellness center


Winner: Salt Works Spa

Honorable mentions:

Be.Well. Bellezza Wellness

Namaste My Day

Serenity salt spa



Winner: Bay Area Audiology

Honorable mention:

Dr. Katherine V. Day, MD

Harmony Hearing & Audiology (Festival at Bel Air)

Hearing Associates Inc.



Winner: Optimal Spine Chiropractic

Honorable mentions:

Robert Poane, Dr. Poane’s Chiropractic Office

Robert J. Reier, Integrative Care of Bel Air

Susquehanna Spine & Rehab

Day spa


Winner: Salt Works Spa

Honorable mentions:

Jordan Thomas Salon & Spa

Serenity Salt Spa

Spa on The Boulevard

Dental practice: Laurel Bush Family Dentistry

Dr. Mary Teddy Wray of Laurel Bush Family Dentistry in Harford County.

2111 Laurel Bush Rd., Bel Air, 443-512-8703.


Since its opening in 2001, Laurel Bush Family Dentistry has established itself as a top resource for general, cosmetic and pediatric dentistry and orthodontics. The company has been nominated Harford’s best dental practice for five years.

“We are thrilled to be named number one again,” said practice owner and CEO Dr. Mary Teddy Wray. “We are grateful to our patients. We really stand out by giving good dentistry to our patients, and we have great professionals using up-to-date technology.”

Although the practice has had great success with their current methods, they are still looking for ways to improve as dentistry evolves, Wray said. One of the latest updates to the practice is the addition of botox and dermal fillers to meet the growing demands, Wray said.

“Dentistry is always changing, and we try to stay on top of all the changes,” Wray said. “If there’s anything new out there, we will try to use that to help our patients.”

Honorable mentions:

Bel Air Smile Partners

Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

Smith & Co. Dental Practitioners


Winner: Enlightened Dispensary - Abingdon

Honorable mention:

Four Green Fields, LLC

RISE Medical Marijuana Dispensary, Joppa

True Wellness, Aberdeen

Eye care

Winner: Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates

Honorable mentions:

Katzen Eye Group


Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine


Winner: Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates

Honorable mentions:

Chesapeake Skin Solutions

Lavish Salon & Spa

Serenity Salt Spa


Winner: Susquehanna OB/GYN and Nurse Midwifery

Honorable mentions:

Capital Women’s Care

MedStar Health: Women’s Health at Bel Air

Upper Chesapeake Women’s Care


Winner: Bel Air Orthodontics

Honorable mentions:

Bel Air Smile Partners

Drs. Isaacs, Nawy, Stern & Isaacs Orthodontics

Dr. Joseph Laponzina, DDS


Winner: Towson Orthopaedic Associates

Honorable mentions:

Dr. Sean Curtin, MedStar Union Memorial Orthopedics

MedStar Health: Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Bel Air

Dr. Raj Yalamanchili

Pediatric dentist

Winner: Growing Smiles

Honorable mentions:

Bel Air Pediatric Dentistry

Fallston Dental Care

Dr. James Schall General Dentistry

Pediatric practice

Winner: Bright Oaks Pediatric Center

Honorable mentions:

MedStar Health: Pediatrics at Bel Air Medical Campus

Pediatric Partners

Towson Pediatrics - Fallston


Winner: CVS Pharmacy

Honorable mentions:

Jarrettsville Pharmacy



Physical therapist

Winner: Agape Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation

Honorable mentions:

FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers Forest Hill

Mc Laughlin Physical Therapy


Speech therapist

Winner: Brain Builders Speech and Language Services LLC

Honorable mention:

Graceful Speech-Language Therapy

Phoenix Speech Therapy (Maryland)

Lauren Walden, Walden Speech Therapy

Urgent care

Winner: Patient First Primary and Urgent Care

Honorable mentions:

ExpressCare Urgent Care Center

MedStar Health: Urgent Care at Bel Air

University of Maryland Urgent Care

Personal services


Winner: DiNatale Accounting & Tax Services, LLC

Honorable mentions:

Bishop & Adkins, PA

Frank Hajek & Associates

Weyrich Cronin & Sorra

Animal hospital

Winner: Chadwell Animal Hospital

Honorable mentions:

Fallston Veterinary Clinic

Greenbrier Veterinary Clinic

Jarrettsville Veterinary Center

Auto repair

Winner: Forest Hill Automotive

Honorable mentions:

Bedell Automotive

Del Haven Services Station

Jones Junction

Bank/credit union

Winner: Har-co Credit Union

Honorable mentions:

APG Federal Credit Union

Freedom Federal Credit Union

Harford Bank


Winner: Old Line Barbers

Honorable mentions:

Axels Barbershop

Box Hill Barbers

Towne Barbers

Child care

Winner: Fallston Child Care Center

Honorable mentions:

The Arena Club

Feldman Family Daycare

HJC Early Learning Center

Doggie day care: Best Friends Fur Ever

Shift leader Morgan Whitt oversees dogs under 30 pounds during outdoor time at Best Friends Fur Ever in Joppa.

1009 Philadelphia Rd., Joppa. 410-671-7529.

Small wonder some dogs balk at leaving here. Where else can a pup pad about on heated floors, enjoy an impromptu massage or take a summertime swim in a bone-shaped pool? The “resort-style” day care pampers 3-pound teacup poodles and 200-pound St. Bernards. It coddles 8-week-old puppies and 21-year-old seniors.

“We love your dogs for a lifetime,” said Kelly Cullum, owner of Best Friends Fur Ever, a mainstay in Joppa for 18 years, with another site in Cockeysville. Its 8,500 clients include those with special-needs: dogs that are blind, deaf and need wheelchairs to get around. Come playtime, dogs are separated by size and temperament. During naps, soothing music is piped into rest areas.

“We challenge dogs both physically and mentally,” said Cullum, 62, of Bel Air. Food puzzles test their mettle, while staffers read stories to pets who may be inclined to perk up their ears.

And when owners come to pick them up?

“We feel a sense of pride when a dog pulls at its leash and wants to come back in.”

Honorable mentions:

Jarrettsville Veterinary Center

Whittington Pet Sitting

Your Pet Au Pair

Dry cleaner

Winner: ZIPS Cleaners

Honorable mentions:

Organic Dry Cleaners

Stella’s Cleaners

Sue’s Alterations

Financial adviser

Winner: Harford Financial Group

Honorable mentions:

Akers Financial Group

The Kelly Group

Ryan Townsley, CFP - Town Capital


Winner: Richardson’s Florist, Gifts & Flower Delivery

Honorable mentions:

Heartfelt Florist (previously Flowers by Lucy)

Petals ‘n Posies at Jonathans

Washday Floral

Hair salon

Winner: Jordan Thomas Salon & Spa

Honorable mentions:

Bella Vita Salon

Charm Studio

NVS Salon & Spa

Pet groomer

Winner: Home Sweet Home Dog Grooming

Honorable mentions:

4 Paws Spa and Training Center

Canine Couture

To Wag For

Real estate agent

Winner: Dan Mcghee, Homeowners Real Estate

Honorable mentions:

Denise Garono Lancelotta, Coldwell Banker Realty

Melody Malczewski, Garceau Realty

Amy Shertzer, American Premier Realty

Senior care

Winner: SYNERGY HomeCare

Honorable mentions:

Forest Hill Heights: Assisted Living & Memory Care In Bel Air

Jacobs Well

Katherine’s Keepers

Tattoo parlor

Winner: Flesh Tattoo Company

Honorable mentions:

Dark Arts Tattoo Studio

Instant History Tattoo & Art Gallery

Legacy Tattoo And Art Gallery

Travel agency

Winner: Marvelous Mouse Travels - Brenda Tackett

Honorable mentions:

Travel Makers

Travelworks International, LLC


Winner: Homeward Bound Veterinary Services

Honorable mentions:

Dr. Keith Gold, Chadwell Animal Hospital

Greenbrier Veterinary Clinic

Hickory Veterinary Hospital



Winner: Wini Roche

Honorable mentions:

Bill Martin

Aimee O’Neil

Linda Willams Addiction Connections Resource

Clergyperson: The Rev. Norman Obenshain, Havre de Grace United Methodist Church

The Rev. Norman Obenshain leads the group gathered for Homeless Persons' Memorial Service and Candle Vigil at Armory Park in Bel Air in a prayer.

101 S Union Ave, Havre De Grace, 410-939-2464;

The Rev. Norman Obenshain, a 65-year-old Cecil County native living in Havre de Grace, graduated from the University of Maryland School of Business and Wesley Theological Seminary. He has served for a combined 30 years in ministry throughout the Maryland area.

Obenshain has work for the church to open its doors to the modern generation. He leads a Reconciling Congregation (affirming of LGBTQ+ persons) and maintain on-line worship that was begun when the COVID pandemic first began.

He also engages his church in the community, serving the Susquehanna Ministerium, Grace Place Food Ministry, the Harford Branch of the NAACP, the Abrahamic Alliance of Harford County, Harford Hope for the Homeless Alliance, Welcome One Shelter, Harford Family House, Anna’s House, Habitat for Humanity, Homecoming Project, Extreme Family Outreach and other local civic and government agencies.

“I strive to serve God in Christ by serving the people of my congregation and the community,” Obenshain said. “The bottom line is showing people, whether in grief, seeking to get married, celebrating the joys of birth, in need or in whatever life circumstance they are, the love of God made known in Jesus Christ. This means listening to their story and reflecting for them where God has been at work in their life.”

Honorable mentions:

Pastor Ben Cacharias, Mountain Christian Church

Msgr. Kevin Schenning, St. Margaret

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman, Harford Chabad

Elected official in office in 2022

Winner: Tony Giangiordano, County Council

Honorable mentions:

Casi Boyer, Havre de Grace City Council

Jeffrey Gahler, Harford County Sheriff

Jim Ringsaker

Personal trainer

Winner: Cory Bielatowicz, GameChanger Fitness

Honorable mentions:

Gina Hormes

Wendy O’Bryant, The Arena Club

Joey Powell, F1

Police officer

Winner: Sgt. Dan Petz, Havre de Grace Police Dept.

Honorable mentions:

Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler

Charles Moore, Bel Air PF

Teresa Walter, City of Havre de Grace Police Chief


Winner: Anna Shanahan, St. Margaret School

Honorable mentions:

Heather Skopak, Bel Air Elementary

Brad Spence, Havre de Grace High

Mark Warfield, Meadowvale Elementary