Here are your Best of Harford County 2018 winners

Whether you’re a recent transplant or you’ve lived here for decades, consider this list your go-to resource for local living. In this year’s readers’ poll, more than 15,000 voters cast their vote for the county’s best of the best – people and organizations that locals trust and admire. Here are your favorites:


Art studio/gallery: Amazing Glaze


Honorable mentions:

The Liriodendron Foundation gallery


Harford Artists Gallery

Arts by the Bay

Annual event/festival: Maryland State BBQ Bash

Honorable mentions:


Harford County Farm Fair

Bel Air Festival for the Arts

Saint Margaret Fall Festival

Charity/nonprofit: The Humane Society of Harford County

Honorable mentions:

SARC (Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center)

Boys & Girls Club of Harford County

Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna

Elected official (in office in 2018): County Executive Barry Glassman

Honorable mentions:

Havre de Grace Mayor William T. Martin

Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler

County Councilman Chad R. Shrodes

Kids’ activity: The Arena Club

Honorable mentions:

Jump On It Fun Center

Harford Gymnastics

That Bouncy Place

Museum: Steppingstone Farm Museum

Honorable mentions:

Havre De Grace Decoy Museum

The Liriodendron Foundation

Havre De Grace Maritime Museum

Park/outdoor spot: Ma & Pa Trail

Honorable mentions:

Annie’s Playground

Rocks State Park

Churchville Golf Driving Range

Dyann Mack is principal of Bel Air Elementary School. She is shown with students (left to right) Gregory Garlen, 8; Emory Parrish, 5, Kayla Burger, 11, Kevin Coreas, 11, and Jillian Farmer, 8.
Dyann Mack is principal of Bel Air Elementary School. She is shown with students (left to right) Gregory Garlen, 8; Emory Parrish, 5, Kayla Burger, 11, Kevin Coreas, 11, and Jillian Farmer, 8. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Principal: Dyann R. Mack, Bel Air Elementary School

Bel Air Elementary’s mission is “Believe, Achieve, Empower, Succeed.” It’s a mantra that principal Dyann Mack keeps in mind every day.

“When I first came to Bel Air, we looked at our mission and talked about what we want for each person who walks in the door,” says Mack, who has been at the school for seven years. “We focus on creating opportunities to support each other.”

She attributes the school’s success to a supportive PTA and a team of teachers who come up with creative ideas for the classroom.

“One thing that makes Bel Air a great school and an easy community to lead is that we’re all in it together,” she says. — Kit Waskom Pollard

30 E. Lee St., Bel Air. 410-638-4160. baes.ss18.sharpschool.com

Honorable mentions:

Madeline Hobik, St. Margaret School

Tom Durkin, The John Carroll School

Thomas Smith, Youth’s Benefit Elementary School

Private school: The John Carroll School

Honorable mentions:

St. Margaret School

Harford Day School

St. Joan of Arc School

Rainy-day activity: Horizon Cinemas Fallston

Honorable mentions:

Bel Air Library

The Arena Club

Great Escapes Harford

Special events venue: Rockfield Manor

Honorable mentions:

Mountain Branch

The Liriodendron Foundation

Swan Harbor Farm


Dance lessons: Rage Box Contemporary Dance Center

Honorable mentions:

Dancing With Friends

Dance Conservatory of Maryland

Dance With Me School of Dance

Golf course: Bulle Rock

Honorable mentions:

Mountain Branch Golf Club

Maryland Golf and Country Clubs

Winters Run Golf Club

Gym/fitness center: Bel Air Athletic Club

Honorable mentions:

The Arena Club

Planet Fitness

The Y in Abingdon (Ward)

Martial arts lessons: U.S. Taekwando Academy

Honorable mentions:

Chung’s Martial Arts

Tae Kwon Do Masters

Method MMA

Music lessons: Music Land

Honorable mentions:

Maryland Conservatory of Music

Jim Bowley Guitar Instruction

Jessica Deskin School of Music

Personal trainer: Kim Kellagher, The Arena Club

Honorable mentions:

Kelly Albright, Bootcamps by Kelly

Wendy O’Bryant, The Arena Club

Travis Hash, Hash Fitness

Swim club: The Arena Club

Honorable mentions:

Bel Air Athletic Club

Fountain Green Swim Club

Fallston Club

Heather G. Gagnon, owner of Peace Yoga, stands against the wall during a yoga class. In front at center is Colleen Little of Bel Air.
Heather G. Gagnon, owner of Peace Yoga, stands against the wall during a yoga class. In front at center is Colleen Little of Bel Air. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Yoga classes: Peace Yoga

After seven years of sun salutations on Main Street in Bel Air, Peace Yoga moved to a larger space in Fallston about a year ago. The studio offers something for everyone who wants to practice, from prenatal and mommy-and-me classes to restorative yoga and teacher training. In all classes, teachers emphasize safety and focus on technique.

“It’s not about circus tricks or burning or getting to the pain,” says owner Heather Gagnon. “It’s about staying safe and learning to how to connect the mind to the body to the breath.” — Kit Waskom Pollard

216 Mountain Road, Fallston. 410-937-5026. peaceyogamd.com

Honorable mentions:

Bel Air Athletic Club

The Arena Club

The Y in Abingdon (Ward)


Antiques: The Painted Mill

Honorable mentions:

Belle Patri

Churchville Country Store

Bahoukas Antique Mall

Bridal shop: K&B Bridals

Honorable mentions:

Amanda Ritchey Bridal & Beauty

Pizazz Wedding Boutique

Edel’s Bridal Boutique

Car dealership: Jones Junction

Honorable mentions:

Boyle Buick GMC

Adams Jeep of Maryland

Thompson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

Urban Pearl boutique on Main Street in Bel Air.
Urban Pearl boutique on Main Street in Bel Air. (Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Clothing boutique: Urban Pearl

Honorable mentions:

Stalefish Board Co.

Tiger Lily

The Pink Silhouette

Consignment/resale shop: Uptown Cheapskate

Honorable mentions:

Kid to Kid

Painted Daisy Consignment

Belle Patri

Furniture store: Gardiner Wolf Furniture

Honorable mentions:

Jarrettsville Furniture

Ashley Furniture Home Store

Simply Grande

Gift shop: The Nest on Main

From inspirational quotes on the walls to fun gift items tucked here and there, The Nest on Main is more than just your average gift shop. “From the first day I opened, people said the same thing: I feel like I’m coming into your home,” says owner Kathi Gromacki, who opened the downtown Bel Air shop in October 2017.

She encourages that feeling by emphasizing a no-pressure approach to sales and a laid-back vibe all around.

“We have conversations,” she says. “People like to hang out and wander around because there’s so much to see.” — Kit Waskom Pollard

110 S. Main St., Bel Air. 410-838-5300. thenestonmainbelair.com

Honorable mentions:

Full Heart Soulutions


Blue Heron Gifts & Gourmet

Jeweler: Saxon’s Diamond Centers

Honorable mentions:

Kay Jewelers

Littman Jewelers

Talles Diamonds & Gold


Beer, wine, & liquor stores: Ronnie’s Beverage Warehouse

Honorable mentions:

Wine World Beer & Spirits


Independent Brewing Co.


Bel Air Liquors

Caterer: Sunny Day Cafe

Honorable mentions:

Pairings Bistro

Dean and Brown Catering

Boston Market

Farmers market/stand: Bel Air Farmers Market

Honorable mentions:

Brad’s Produce

Wilson’s Farm Market

Jones Family Farm

Grocery store: Wegmans, Abingdon

Honorable mentions:

ShopRite, Forest Hill

ShopRite, Main Street Bel Air

Safeway, Bel Air

Wines from Harford Vineyard & Winery.
Wines from Harford Vineyard & Winery. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Vineyard/winery: Harford Vineyard & Winery

Set on 4 acres of grapes, Harford Vineyard & Winery is a beautiful spot to visit – and a fun one. About four years ago, owners Kevin and Teresa Mooney opened a new tasting room where they pour their 14 different types of wine. Throughout the year, they host live bands and when you visit, you’re likely to rub shoulders with the Mooneys themselves.

“We’re a small, family-owned vineyard, which makes it a more intimate experience than a big winery,” says their son, Brent Mooney, who also works at the winery. “Chances are, if you come in, my parents or I will be doing the tasting.” — Kit Waskom Pollard

1311 W. Jarrettsville Road, Forest Hill. 443-495-1699. harfordvineyard.com

Honorable mentions:

Fiore Winery & Distillery

Mount Felix Vineyard & Winery

Legends Vineyard (closed)


Animal hospital: Chadwell Animal Hospital

Honorable mentions:

Bel Air Veterinary Hospital

Hickory Veterinary Hospital

Animal Emergency Hospital

Michael Aliberti is a mechanic and state inspector at Forest Hill Automotive.
Michael Aliberti is a mechanic and state inspector at Forest Hill Automotive. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Auto repair: Forest Hill Automotive

Having car trouble is never a fun experience, but it’s less painful when you have a mechanic you can trust. Dave Dolan and Tony Mink, the co-owners of Forest Hill Automotive, understand this and act on it. Trust is the cornerstone of their business and a big part of why it’s been successful for over 16 years.

“We’re customer-oriented. We treat people like you’d want to be treated when you walk into any business,” says Dolan. “We’re straightforward and honest and it’s hard to find that in this kind of business.” — Kit Waskom Pollard

209 E. Jarrettsville Road, Suite D, Forest Hill. 410-399-9977; 6 Colgate Drive, Forest Hill. 410-836-8199; fhautomotive.com

Honorable mentions:

Jones Junction

Dave Serio’s Vehicle Service Plus

Faby’s Auto Repair

Bank/credit union: APG Federal Credit Union

Honorable mentions:

M&T Bank

Freedom Federal Credit Union


Child care: The Goddard School

Honorable mentions:

Stonewall Daycare Center

Celebree Learning Centers

Harford Community College Early Learning Center

Computer repair: Buy Geek Squad

Honorable mentions:

Computer Renaissance of Bel Air

The Computer Marketplace


Doggie day care: Best Friends Fur Ever*

Honorable mentions:

Country Comfort Kennels

BowWag Kennels

PetSmart PetsHotel

Dry cleaner: Zips Dry Cleaners

Honorable mentions:

Kroh’s Cleaners

Sunrise Cleaners

Organic Dry Cleaners

Financial adviser: Harford Financial Group

Honorable mentions:

The Kelly Group

Wells Fargo

Edward Jones

Florist: Richardson’s Flowers & Gifts

Honorable mentions:

Petals ’n Posies

Amanda’s Florist

Flowers by Lucy

Pet groomer: 4 Paws Spa and Training Center

Honorable mentions:


Pawsitively Purrfect

Burlane Cat & Dog Boutique

Real estate agent: Laura Snyder, Keller Williams

Honorable mentions:

Lee Tessier, Tessier Real Estate

Chris Streett, Streett Hopkins Real Estate

Cecil Hill Jr., Coldwell Banker

Tattoo parlor: Flesh Tattoo Co.

Honorable mentions:

Inkslingers Tattoo Studio

Tattoo Dynasty

Daddy Dice Tattoo Co.

Travel agency: AAA Bel Air

Honorable mentions:

Travel Makers

Partners in Travel

Hurley World Travel


Alternative wellness center: Chiropractic Care of Bel Air

Honorable mentions:

Full Heart Soulutions

Ultimate Health

Harford Acupuncture & Associates

Barbershop: Old Line Barbers

Honorable mentions:

Towne Barbers

Brian Bunce Barbers

Axels Barbershop

Chiropractor: Chiropractic Care of Bel Air

Honorable mentions:

Ultimate Health

Dr. Poane’s Chiropractic Center

Spineworks Medical Center

Diane Mueller, an aesthetician at Spa On The Boulevard, brushes on a cooling mask as she gives a facial massage to client Andrea Bendewald of Havre de Grace.
Diane Mueller, an aesthetician at Spa On The Boulevard, brushes on a cooling mask as she gives a facial massage to client Andrea Bendewald of Havre de Grace. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Day spa: Spa on the Boulevard

Amanda Jeffries, CEO of Spa on the Boulevard, knows that it’s the little things that take a spa experience from enjoyable to excellent. “We try to focus on relaxation in every department,” says Jeffries. That means private pedicure booths, luxurious shampoo protocol and warm scented towels.

The spa offers a variety of services, including skin care, massage and nails, and has a steam room and sauna available to clients prior to their services at no charge. One of the most popular services is a 90-minute, full body massage with a foot scrub, aromatherapy and guided meditation. “It’s amazing,” she says. — Kit Waskom Pollard

Boulevard at Box Hill, 3491 Merchant Blvd., Abingdon. 410-569-0100. spaontheboulevard.net

Honorable mentions:

Jordan Thomas Salon & Spa

Lavish Salon & Spa

Massage Envy

Dental practice: Bel Air Smile Partners

Honorable mentions:

Laurel Bush Family Dentistry

Growing Smiles

Abingdon Family Dentistry

Eye care: Wilmer Eye Institute of Bel Air

Honorable mentions:

Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates

Advanced Eye Care

Vision Associates

Hair salon: Jordan Thomas Salon & Spa

Honorable mentions:

Lavish Salon & Spa

NVS Salon & Spa

Visage Salon & Day Spa

OB/GYN practice: Upper Chesapeake Women’s Care

Honorable mentions:

Susquehanna OB/GYN Nurse and Midwifery

Capital Women’s Care

MedStar Women’s Care at Bel Air

Orthodontist: Bel Air Orthodontics

Honorable mentions:

Dr. Joseph LaPonzina Orthodontics

Amanda Gallagher Orthodontics

Nawy, Isaacs, Stern, & Isaacs Orthodontics

Pediatric practice: Pediatric Partners

Honorable mentions:

Bright Oaks Pediatric Centers

MedStar Medical Group Pediatrics at the MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus

North Park Pediatrics

Physical therapist: Agape Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation

Honorable mentions:

ATI Physical Therapy

Drayer Physical Therapy Institute

Gold Medal Physical Therapy

Primary care physician: Harford Primary Care

Honorable mentions:

Plumtree Family Health Care


MedStar Medical Group Smaldore Family Medicine at Old Emmorton Road

Dr. Julie Tinney

Urgent care: Patient First

Honorable mentions:

Express Care

MedStar PromptCare

Total Urgent Care

Ray Marshall is owner of Bel Air Carpet.
Ray Marshall is owner of Bel Air Carpet. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)


Flooring/carpet: Bel Air Carpet

One of the things that Ray Marshall has learned in the 36 years he’s owned Bel Air Carpet is that when it comes to flooring decisions, it pays to be patient. Customers may come into his 5,000 square foot storefront on a Monday looking for carpet samples, only to return on Wednesday having changed their minds, suddenly interested in hardwood.

That is all A-OK with Marshall; he understands how carefully people weigh decisions about their home and how important it is for people to work with companies that are trustworthy. From the estimate (always free) to measuring, installation and even onto the next job, the Bel Air Carpet team, led by Marshall, strives to be just that. — Kit Waskom Pollard

807 Baltimore Pike, Bel Air. 410-879-2080. belaircarpet.net

Honorable mentions:

Top Notch Floors

Carpets & Flooring by Denny Lee

George’s Carpet One

Garden center/nursery: The Mill

Honorable mentions:

Grier Nursery and Greenhouses

Home Depot

Kroh’s Nursery

Home improvement contractor: Bel Air Construction

Honorable mentions:

Krause Companies

Carl’s Door Service

American Design and Build/American Sentry Solar

Home builder: Ryan Homes

Honorable mentions:

Ten Oaks Homes

Richmond American Homes

Bailey Building & Remodeling

Housecleaning service: Merry Maids

Honorable mentions:

Maid to Perfection

Purrfectly Clean

The Cleaning Authority

Interior designer/decorator: Simply Grande

Honorable mentions:

Joy Home Design

Christy Brown Interior Design

Billee Smith Design

Landscaper: Akehurst Landscape Service

Honorable mentions:


Ivy Hill Land Service

Turf Connection

Plumber: Plumb Crazy/Bogan’s Plumbing

Honorable mentions:

Krause Companies

Cobra Plumbing

Grove Plumbing and Heating

Wondering where to eat next? With new restaurants opening regularly and old favorites continuing to up their games, dining out in Harford County has never been better.

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