Utilizing 17 years of plant-rearing expertise, Farmhouse Flowers & Plants thrills discerning nostrils with an olfactory smorgasbord of locally grown blossoms, perennials, bedding plants, and herbs. Peruse one of the farm's four booths at area farmers' markets, and encounter year-round and seasonal offerings dazzling enough to brighten the day of the Harlem Globetrotters' perpetually doomed opponents. Seventy-five varieties of plants clamor for your green thumb's attention, from zinnias ($0.75/stem) to sunflowers ($1.50 each) and lilies ($4/stem). A mid-May peony harvest ($4 each) peppers chlorophyll-based arrangements with the kaleidoscopic buds, and potted rosemary ($3.75/4" pot) and basil ($2.75/3" pot) add a professional touch to home cooking without the hair-flattening effects of a chef's toque.
The Fair Hill shopping center doesn't look like wine country from the outside, but judging by the steady stream of freshly corked bottles that pass through The Winery at Olney's doors, looks are certainly deceiving. Despite its unorthodox location, the winery maintains close ties with global winemaking hot spots; instead of growing its own grapes in spare tanning beds, the staff sources varietals from locations as far away as California, Chile, and France. The winemakers take over from there and ferment the juice, rack the barrels, and bottle more than 25 different wines onsite.
Thanks to this exhaustive work, The Winery at Olney has a bottle for virtually every palate. The chardonnay's tropical and citrusy notes give way to an oak-tinged finished, and the zinfandel's hints of spice add balance to the luscious flavors of ripe blackberries. In addition to these single-varietal options, the winery also blends complementary fruits into some of its wines to form hybrid creations, including green-apple riesling and cranberry shiraz.
With all of these options to consider, the task of choosing the right wine might seem daunting. The Winery at Olney’s staffers help beginners define their palates with the store’s U-Vint section. With the helpful guidance of a winery expert, visitors can make their own wine by selecting a varietal and then adding water and yeast to the grapes. The mix then spends 30–40 days fermenting and settling while the winery's team helps by racking and filtering the juice. Customers then return to apply custom labels and foil capsules to 28–30 bottles of their personalized wine.
The expert staff at Highland Wine & Spirits hopes to instill a sense of trust in each customer that roams their aisles. For what it lacks in square footage, the store certainly makes up in volume, filling the space it does have with inventory that changes week-by-week, season-by-season. Across the shelves, premium producers such as Turnbull and Paul Hobbs parade alongside industry standards, such as Beringer and Sterling. Exclusive imports and boutique wines beckon more seasoned tastes, and if a customer is unable to find what they're looking for, the store's staff stands by to place special orders.
Before Comfort One Shoes' sole experts are allowed to fit a single shoe to a customer's foot, they must graduate from Comfort One University and undergo a mentorship process. It's only then that they can help shoppers find their desired footwear, whether it be lace-up Ziera boots, On running shoes with CloudTec technology, or Thierry Rabotin shoes, handmade without uncomfortable, rigid components. Alongside men's and women's footwear, the shop stocks an assortment of bags and accessories such as colorful iPhone cases from Triple C Designs that protect phone exteriors and conceal scratches from the last time you transformed into a werewolf.
Comfort One Shoes also seeks to better the world through creative philanthropic efforts, such as collecting 25,000 shoes for those without and offering their employees half their pay and time off to volunteer in the community. Perhaps such initiatives are part of the reason Comfort One Shoes earned the National Shoe Retailers Association’s Retailer of the Year Award in 2011.
The readers of Washingtonian magazine voted the family-owned Princess Jewelers "Best Jewelry Store" in 2008, winning the company well-deserved notice for the careful, custom craftsmanship of its talented, certified jewelers. Two elegant showrooms display engagement and wedding rings set with diamonds or semiprecious stones, as well as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and cufflinks that make a glittery gift for significant others or surprised trick-or-treaters. The company imports a large inventory of loose gemstones and diamonds, which may be fashioned into original designs or replicas of pieces in photographs, and jewelers can also restore damaged pieces to their previous beauty and wearability. On-site graduates of the Gemological Institute of America are capable of identifying legitimate gemstones by scent alone, using their bling-based expertise to appraise customers' new and antique jewelry and assist them through each step in the selection of a quality showpiece.
At Eyeland Eyecare Center and Luxoptics, friendly optical experts sharpen fields of vision and protect precious eye parts with thorough examinations and an arsenal of contacts, sunglasses, and traditional frames. Frames from labels such as Prada and Burberry add a touch of stylish class to pupils, and the store’s sophisticated software precalculates benefits from nearly all available insurance plans. After working alongside his brother at Eyeland for more than three decades, Robert Bojarski founded Luxoptics, a newly christened sister store built around the concept of outfitting clientele with modern, high-end eyewear and making the monocle popular again. Frames from Bulgari and Ray Ban grace faces with fresh designs, and selections from Persol complement patients’ heads with styles that blend old and new. Luxoptic’s sunny, high-ceilinged studio welcomes visitors with pristine white decor, and the in-house lab grinds lenses to computer-calculated specifications.