We had Charles Whiteford sand the oak floors in our house. Some were so badly stained that they could not be salvaged and he was honest in his appraisal of their condition. The ones he did do turned out ok but they put satin finish on when I had specified gloss, and there was some roughness. I ended up doing a light sanding myself and putting another coat of poly on rather than deal with them. I might use them again but only if the terms are spelled out in detail lin the contract. They were punctual and pleasant during the job, which is a big plus. Prices were reasonable.
Plymouth Wallpaper in Cockeysville has a huge selection of wallpaper books to peruse. Their prices are good, I think 30% off is standard and some are discounted even more. They stock paper but it's rather boring. The staff is very friendly but they don't offer to help unless you ask, so ask! It tends to be warm in there so dress accordingly because you could be there for an hour or two looking. Book checkout terms are generous.
Mastellone's is a wonderful old style Italian deli run by family. They the BEST fresh mozzarella in town, made daily in the shop. Often they will put out a new batch while you're there. They also have huge wheels of parmesan reggiano and tons of other Italian cheeses, pastas, condiments, sauces--you name it! The shop smells delicious and it's impossible to leave empty handed. The fresh breads are great. Service is friendly and quick. A MUST if you like to eat.
Wells has been around forever and with good reason. They have a huge selection of wines and beer and their service is very good. Recently they offered a discount through email to regular customers (not advertised to the public). You can get some good deals here on good wines. The location is convenient and there is other good shopping nearby making even more worth your while to stop in.
We've bought at least ten major appliances from Cummins over the past 23 years and only once was their service less than stellar (and that one time they dealt very graciously with my complaint). They sell the best brands and offer quick delivery and haul-away of your old appliance for an extra $10, I think. Sales people are very knowledgeable. The location is right off the Beltway and there is good parking.
We've been to the Baltimore Zoo many time but our most memorable visit was after a big snow in the winter. The kids were little and an bored so we went to the zoo and we were the only family there for the first couple of hours! Many of the animals came over to see us at the fence---guess they were bored, too? It was a lot of fun to have the whole place to ourselves. On the way out we saw another family entering.
Ladew Gardens are wonderful at various times fo the year. The only time I've been there when it didn't look so good was during a prolonged dry spell. Every other time it has been lovely. It's a great place to take kids, even small ones, because there are lots of secret paths and little hideaways. Gardeners will find much inpsiration. The gift shop is fun and the restaurant is pretty good if a bit pricey. Great place to just wander around and enjoy the vistas.
We had a large oriental rug cleaned by McDowell's and they did a great job. We put it directly in a container to ship overseas and didn't see it for a month. When we unrolled it, it smelled perfectly fresh. They also repaired a corner that our puppy had chewed (cost: $25---so reasonable!). I would definitely use them again. They are true pros.
I cannot recommend Alex Cooper auctions. They do not disclose damage like most other local auction houses do and I've seen them do some questionable stuff while auctioneering (like running bidders up a notch or two after there are no other bidders left). Their sales are not run efficiently either. It's very much buyer beware and woe to you if you complain.
I have shopped for rugs there in the past and was not impressed with the service or the way they treat their help. We ended up going somewhere else for our rug and were much happier.
I cannot figure this store out. They are in an older building that is a warren of rooms with a strange layout. They have a lot of stuff that looks brand new and that has a very decorator-look (trendy, dramatic). But then they have obviously used stuff, too. It's just an odd mix. Prices are quite high for a consignment shop and turnover is low but you can find some great buys if you are diligent and patient. Expect to get lost in the store on your first visit. It's confusing. I've never consigned to them so can't comment on that.