Operating for more than a decade, Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin Patch both hosts Halloween outings and brings autumnal revelry to you. The expansive pumpkin patch and halloween store sell 15 types of pumpkins, as well as fall essentials such as gourds, masks, spider webs, and multicolored Indian corn. A harrowing haunted house tests visitors’ adrenal glands with dark corners, spooky sounds, and a befuddling maze. In addition to supplying frights, the staff also constructs pumpkin patches off site, redecorating homes and offices with pumpkins, straw bales, and house-trained scarecrows.
For more than 40 years, the family of experienced bouquet designers at J. Miller Flowers and Gifts has trussed blushing blossoms into works of botanical art. The store's hand-arranged, dew-fresh cut-flower arrangements nestle up against blooming and green plants, imported vases, chocolates, and gardening gnomes for hire waiting along the back wall. Pick up the bestselling How Sweet It Is bouquet, ablaze with fiery orange roses and hot-pink carnations ($34.95 standard), or cheer up a lonely table with the Be Happy arrangement, nodding with yellow roses and gregarious daisies in a happy-face mug ($35 standard). Nature-loving bouquets, such as the live-plant Violets and Butterflies basket ($32.95), provide perennial smiles, and the minimalist-chic of the Zen Artistry orchid arrangement ($42.95 standard) packs maximum beauty into one simple setting. For thoughtful reparations that say "Sorry I sold your cat online" better than words ever could, try the red roses in the Always On My Mind bouquet ($57.95 standard).
With more than 3,000 titles in the store, Issues contains enough information to finally put the smug Dewey Decimal System to shame. Brush up on foreign policy with the latest issue of the Monocle ($10), ruminate on the cultural impact of food (especially the beautifully photographed variety) in Gastronomica ($13), or challenge your love of corporations with some anti-corporate critical thinkery with Adbusters ($8.95). While browsing, don't hesitate to tap the friendly staff's deep knowledge of the store's catalog, which can be accessed either by asking them or by rubbing their magical bellies.
Broadway Terrace Nursery shelters a large collection of colorful flora for green-thumbed fauna to decorate their homes and gardens. Trees, houseplants, vegetables, and succulents line this blossoming boutique alongside a variety of orchids ($19.99–$49.99) such as the oncidium orchid ($49.99), a species known for its long, graceful stem and deep baritone singing voice. With many indoor and outdoor specimens hand-selected weekly from growers in Half Moon Bay, prices and selection change often, but recent examples of inventory include bright 4-inch perennials ($4.99) and sturdy 5-gallon shrubs ($29.99–$39.99). Gardening accessories allow harvesters to appease hungry greenery with a bag of organic fertilizer, trim petals for school pictures with Felco pruning shears ($19.99), or keep insect populations at bay with pest controls.
The staff at Good Vibrations aren't salespeople—they're SESAs, or Sex Educator-Sales Associates. The title was invented by the store to reflect not only the rigorous training that the employees go through, but also the open and empowering attitude that they project. They encourage questions about the stock of adult toys and romantic accouterments, and dispense safe, respectful advice on enhancing erotic play. For the SESAs, knowledge is a stepping stone to pleasure. They've even employed the same sexologist and historian—Dr. Carol Queen—for more than 20 years to host a regular "Ask the Doctors" class and tours at the Polk Street store's Antique Vibrator Museum.
Above all, the staff keeps a bright and welcoming shop—a characteristic that automatically distinguished Good Vibrations from its counterparts when it opened in 1977, an era when most adult shops were dimly lit and guarded by demons. The goal is that folks feel comfortable perusing the wide range of massagers for individuals and couples, many from premium brands such as Jimmyjane and LELO. To further ease guests' minds, each phthalate-free product is thoroughly vetted for quality. Extending the positive, forward-thinking ethos beyond the shop's walls, the company has committed to environmentally friendly wares with its Ecorotic collection—a group of natural lubricants and rechargeable toys—as well as eco-friendly packaging.
The Tulip Grove nurtures an educated support community of local moms for new and expecting mothers with professionally led classes and a comprehensive supply of safe baby gear, clothing, and toys. The resource center's workshops fill parents' noggins with know-how in breastfeeding, postpartum and newborn care, and infant massage for babies stressed by their new surroundings and piles of postbirth paperwork. In addition, The Tulip Grove gathers new and expecting parents for peer support groups and provides a lending library for nursery necessities. With daily classes available at each location, parents continually learn childcare skills such as proper nutrition, infant and child CPR, baby sign language, and how to win arguments with babies in sign language.