The passionate bike enthusiasts at Bikenetic are biased and they know it. They love bicycles, considering them to be the most efficient mode of transportation on the planet, and work painstakingly to connect each customer with the right ride. Carrying a host of name-brand bikes, staff members point customers to available models that match one's riding style, size, and propensity to wear clown shoes. Customers can take bikes for a test ride, then bring their feedback to sales reps who can make adjustments and send bikers out to test the bike again or to pick up some snacks. Any bike bought at Bikenetic also falls under the protective umbrella of the shop's free lifetime-maintenance policy, which covers services such as brake adjustments, wheel truing, and bearing adjustments. Technicians restore and care for bikes that they haven't sold, as well, offering prompt and expert advice from behind the counter of their shop's service desk. The staff also leads their rallying cry of biker solidarity every Tuesday evening in Wakefield Park, where they lead mountain-biking night rides.
Master Engravers' skilled etchers harness more than 20 years of experience to precisely carve designs and personal messages in more than 130 fonts into glass, crystal, and marble. Chisels immortalize any achievement upon crystal and glass trophies and plaques, or engrave a heartfelt apology for eating a friend's pet rock onto a wine bottle or glass. Alternatively, elegant or playful fonts brand the surface of any gift item, such as coaster sets and wedding presents. Guest can pick up freshly engraved surfaces from the store or have them shipped to their doorsteps.
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.
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.
Brothers and business partners James and Adam Roth fill their store with a cornucopia of curated artisan foods, from cheese and chocolate to wine and beer. A chalkboard outside the shop's modern colonial windows introduces visitors to the featured cheese of the week. As visitors enter, wine racks and displays sprawl before them, cradling more than 500 different bottles from across the world. The shelves of vino lead toward the back of the store, where cases of artisan cheese and meats lie in tantalizing splendor. The selection spans the cheese spectrum. Goat's-milk cheeses give tenderly beneath knives, and the tissue-like bloomy rinds of soft cheese split aromatically. Crimson wax cloaks firm wheels of cheddar studded with mustard seeds or Cajun spices, and the resident cheesemongers also marinate their own sheep-milk feta with herbs.
Salami and p?t?s beg to flesh out cheese plates along with a weekend selection of crusty bread and pastries. An ever-rotating stock of beers generally includes more than 300 varieties of local and international brews. Tartness leaps from lambics, traditional Belgian beers fermented with wild yeasts and aged in barrels, and dark-roasted malt lends a chocolate hue to Duck Rabbit Schwarzbier crafted in North Carolina. On weekends, the tasting room fills with the chatter of patrons learning to detect grassy notes in samples of wine or guess when a sommelier has been rolling around the in the grass.