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.
Founder-director Isabel Benemelis grew up in Cuba, surrounded by the mambo tunes and Afro-Cuban rhythms that earned the country its reputation as a musical hot spot. At age 4 she took up the piano, and by 7 she found herself "mesmerized by the music of Beethoven, Chopin, and Bach" whenever it hit her ears. This immersion in multiple genres influenced Benemelis when she built her school from oboe reeds in 1995: faculty members specialize in classical music, but ably veer into jazz and Latin scores if students have an interest. During one-on-one, 30-minute lessons, they teach adults and children older than age 4 to play piano, guitar, saxophone, bongos, and a host of other instruments. In keeping with the school’s multidisciplinary roots, many instructors are also fluent in English and Spanish.
Outfitted with a slew of fixtures from American Standard, Porcher, and Jado, Bath & Idea Center's spacious show room boasts a variety of full-size displays to help homeowners envision the kitchen or bathroom of their dreams. The American Standard Standard Collection kitchen faucet comes equipped with durable ceramic disc valves, porcelain lever handles, and a limited lifetime warranty on function and finish ($199), and the heavy-duty liquid-soap dispenser ($100) can dole out soap, detergent, or hand lotion in one swift pump. An American Standard three-function showerhead ($120) shoots a variable spray of water, ranging from a conventional or aerated flow to a gentle massage action similar to taking a bath in your hot tub. Meanwhile, the American Standard EverClean toilet seat ($55) guards against the growth of stain- and odor-causing bacteria, and can be used as a flotation device in the event of unexpected bathroom floods. Groupon holders can also schedule an appointment with one of the show room's knowledgeable consultants to discuss plans for a kitchen or bath remodel or pick out the appropriate finish and style for fixtures.
Owned by deft de-stainers boasting more than four decades of combined experience, Merrifield Tailor & Dry Cleaning and Ann's Tailor have been serving the garb-gussying and thread-mending needs of Virginia residents for generations. Extract sloppy stains from a man's dress shirt ($1) or suit ($9), or get suit pants shortened ($12 without lining) in anticipation of this spring’s loafers and lederhosen craze. Adjust the hem of a summer skirt ($16–$25) or bring in the waist on a pair of women's pants ($16–$20) to show off a newly fit frame. Both tailoring shops guarantee all cleaning and sewing work, and unsatisfied customers are invited to drag their duds back to the store within five days for an apologetic re-cleaning or re-fusing.
Listed in the Washingtonian as one of DC's top tile providers, Architectural Ceramics employs trained design consultants to flesh out customers' skeletal designs, creating individualized bathrooms, kitchen back-splashes, fireplaces, and more. Stop by to browse through 25,000 samples with tiles ranging in price from $5 to $40 per square foot, depending on the collection. Oceanside Glasstile ranges from $30 to $40 per square foot, and Sonoma Tilemakers from $20 to $30. Architectural Ceramics's showrooms also feature green options, created by artisans using natural and recycled materials whenever possible. Its consultants stand by to develop prospective redecorators' ideas with conceptual drawings and work hard to make design dreams come true, except for those that involve live bear-skin rugs.
A regular fixture on the top-50 running-stores list published annually by Running Insight, Potomac River Running is a family-owned business of running enthusiasts and professional coaches who aim to spread a joy of running and walking around the Washington, DC, area. Focused on providing a fun and welcoming environment for people of all fitness levels, Potomac offers brand-name footwear and apparel for feet and the bodies attached to them. The custom shoe-fitting process begins with an iStep foot scan and a video gait analysis to analyze your step and the shoe that would best complement it. Once toe-holders have been measured and monitored, slide them into a pair of running or walking shoes ($80–$180), and then top off your lower half with running shorts ($25–$40) or cloak your supra-belt region in a shirt ($20–$120).