A family whose love for flora spans three generations, the Stadlers started their plant-growing endeavors back in 1932 when Paul Stadler began gardening for clients in Georgetown after emigrating from Switzerland. Soon, they opened up a small landscaping-and-gardening center, and today—more than 75 years later—Stadler Nurseries has grown to populate 340 acres of fertile land where they propagate native plants, landscaping shrubs, trees, roses, and more than 700 varieties of perennials. A staff of horticulturists and enthusiastic green thumbs helps visitors navigate the vast greenhouses and outdoor gardens, offering tips on how to prune leaves, fertilize soil, and teach plants how to roll over on command.
At High Points Farm, warriors duck and weave through rainbow-colored obstacles, huge wooden spools, and thickets of trees, all to evade opposing players shooting at them with high-powered paint markers. The farm grounds transform into Torrid Paintball Sports' battlefield, where players engage in scenario games and tournaments with the latest markers and gear.
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.
When one of the cofounders of Easy Balance Wellness Center and Spa was diagnosed with cancer in her 30s, her doctor put her on the most aggressive chemo and radiation therapies available. As her immune system fought the cancer, her body absorbed the side effects. A longtime friend recommended acupuncture to counteract the suffering; though she was initially skeptical of the holistic procedure, she agreed to give it a try. After just one appointment, she felt her senses awaken. Further treatments permanently changed the way she looked at health care, making her feel like a brand-new person and convincing her to share her discoveries with as many people as she could.
At Easy Balance Wellness Center and Spa, she does just that, combining venerated Eastern wisdom with professional spa products to deliver healing massages and rejuvenating facials. Within earth-toned treatment rooms draped with russet curtains, massage therapists ease muscle tension and redirect chi—the energy that regulates the body’s functions and suppresses its natural appetite for hangnails—with focused acupressure techniques. Thalgo facials employ marine botanicals, such as regenerative algae, to nourish and hydrate complexions.
BGR The Burger Joint’s burgers start with high-quality ingredients—most importantly, all-natural beef from grain-fed cattle, free to run in the fields and given zero hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. The prime beef is dry-aged, blended, and ground fresh to form patties that are grilled over an open flame, and then placed atop buttery, locally made brioche buns delivered fresh each day. The menu focuses on the Legendary Burger, which includes gourmet toppings such as avocado, applewood bacon, and grilled jalapenos. For nonbeef eaters, the menu's selection of burgers also includes turkey and veggie varieties, as well as The Greek, a seasoned lamb patty topped with tzatziki and feta. Burgers are also available in a lettuce wrap or on a salad in a healthy salad bowl.
Diners can request all of BGR The Burger Joint's freshly made fries—from thick-cut yukon gold potatoes to asparagus fries—be topped with parmesan, rosemary, roasted garlic, or a tiny tiara. The staff hand-spins shakes with Gifford's or Breyers ice cream to create extra-thick treats for finishing off meals, and some shops curate their own selection of bottled vintage sodas and offer beer and wine.
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.