To say Capital Teas? founders, Manelle and Peter Martino, know tea might be a bit of an understatement. Fifth-generation tea merchant Manelle?s great-great-grandfather, Francis Van Reyk, was a Dutch tea planter who immigrated in the 1870s to present-day Sri Lanka, where he planted and managed the Diyagama Tea Estate, from which the Martinos now source their Great Grandfather?s tea. Manelle?s family has been in the tea trade ever since, a tradition she has carried to her own specialty tea business, which has boutique locations throughout the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland area. Additionally, Peter has become a popular speaker at World Tea Expos, where he frequently educates and inspires the tea world.
In addition to tea from Sri Lanka, Capital Teas carries more than 200 loose teas and herbal infusions from 18 countries including India, China, Japan, Malawi, and Kenya. A sniffing wall dispenses wafts of black, oolong, and green teas, and knowledgeable employees drift around the store?s tasting stations to explain each flavor?s nuances.
Capital Teas also pairs customers with accompaniments such as teapots, infusers, treats, and artisanal honey. In-store patrons may sample free tea samples?which are brewed fresh daily?while online purchasers receive a free sample with every order.
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
Nordstrom Rack houses a dizzying array of high-fashion brands—some of it from the Nordstrom shelves and some of it straight from top-tier designers—that it sells for as much as 70% off retail prices. Every store stocks an average of 25,000 pairs of shoes, a foot-feast featuring hundreds of designer brands. Gals can suit up for slick, soggy streets with a duo of Report 'Louise' faux suede convertible boots ($46.90), while guys can stylishly saunter in a pair of suede-overlaid New Balance retro running shoes ($39.90). Nordstrom Rack's extensive collection of designer jeans keep wayward legs from impersonating arms, and with a bevy of items for women, men, juniors, and children, Nordstrom Rack's expansive stock is sure to please the palate of any hanger-hungry wardrobe.
The garment-charmers at Lipstick Lounge coax their stylish selection of new and gently loved attire and jewelry from local artists, name-brand designer depots, and their clientele's own closets to create a unique fashion potpourri. Designer brands pop up like couture whack-a-moles, and the latest ethereal crop ranges from C&C summer tops ($18) to chic Prada sunglasses ($140) for customers with dangerously bright futures. Match a Lily Pulitzer skirt ($30) with a summery top from Nanette Lepore ($28), and accessorize the snazzy look with a Coach purse ($60) or costume jewelry (under $25). The Lipstick Lounge accepts clothing by appointment only, and requires items to be clean, hole-free, and house-trained before finding them a new owner.
Theodora’s Beautiful Beads, also known as Bead Attitudes, is a quaint shop bursting with quality beads and stringing supplies. A cascading collection of Czech and old German glass (ranging from $2 to $35 per strand) lines the colorful walls, along with a panoply of seed beads and freshwater pearls ($10–$15). Also available is a large selection of specialty beads and art glass, as distinguished and intriguing as a rogue gun-slinging butler. Supplies are neatly assembled to inspire interesting compositions and exquisite designs. Beaders also can feast their fingers on an extensive collection of stringing materials, as well as a treasure trove of chain, sterling, silver plate, and copper (ranging from $1.25 to $30 per foot). The staff at Theodora’s is dedicated to bead-craft and is more than happy to offer advice about project difficulties and expound on the benefits of a bead-based economy.
Clover culls clothing from top designer brands with the intent to provide both casual and upscale apparel and accessories that run the gamut from jeans and T-shirts to designer dresses and handbags. Build a fashionable and sawdust-free foundation with comfy undergarments from Hanky Panky ($16) before sliding into an equally comfortable solid-color tank from James Perse ($44). Naked wrists are endowed with a bit of kai perfume ($44) before being encircled by a bauble from the rotating selection of jewelry ($55+) or complemented by a boldly colored leather Hobo wallet ($75). Designer jeans ($154+) go with almost any upper-body garment, and a Tolani scarf ($85) adds a bit of warmth to prolonged hunts for ice cream after impulse-buying a walk-in freezer.