3 miles of style

Reisterstown Road offers shoppers both Old World charm and uptown sophistication.

Focus On Shopping

October 31, 2004|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun Staff

If you zip along Reisterstown Road to get from the county to the city, you may not know that you're passing by a world of shopping.

Make that several worlds. There's the Old World of tradition that reflects the Jewish population of upper Park Heights and Pikesville: the bagel shops, the family-owned variety store, the kosher pizza place, the Russian bookstore. And side by side with those businesses are the high-fashion specialty boutiques that sell what's hot on the streets of Manhattan, along with timeless elegance.

You may have heard of some of the destination boutiques along this stretch, such as high-fashion Octavia (1848 Reisterstown Road), and Vasarri (1636 Reisterstown Road), known for designer clothing and shoes. But many other stores, tucked away from traffic in a series of shopping centers, are easy to miss when you're speeding by. So, here's a guide to some of what's unique along the three miles of Reisterstown Road from the city limits to the north end of the Woodholme Country Club. (You'll want to explore further on your own; there are too many interesting shops and eateries to list them all here.)

The shopping centers have free parking. There are meters along the Reisterstown Road strip in downtown Pikesville, where you can walk to a number of stores.

1. Hats to Hose

Colonial Village

7002 Reisterstown Road

410-484-7467

This shop caters to everyone from African-American church ladies to Orthodox Jewish women hiding their hair to Kendel Ehrlich seeking a topper for the Preakness. There's a play area to occupy the kids, hosiery (much of it discounted) of all colors and sizes and racks of clothes for women and children.

Check out: A leaf-green, wide-brimmed hat with flower for fall by Mr. John Classic. $98.50.

2. East-West Bookstore

1326 Reisterstown Road

410-653-4160

Everything's in Russian at this pleasant bookstore in the heart of Pikesville's downtown, making it an unofficial community center for the immigrants who have settled in this area for years. Some books and videos can be borrowed, and concerts take place regularly.

Check out: The espresso bar, where proprietor Tamara Plotkin says the jolt is strong and the multilingual conversation is lively on many an evening.

3. Fields of Pikesville

1401 Reisterstown Road

410-486-3300

Fields is a Pikesville institution, with everything from windup toys to fine novels, eyeglasses to gifts, candy to cosmetics. The restaurant in back stays busy with regulars.

Check out: A trivet with the message: "I'd rather be Nouveau Riche than never Riche at all." $19.95.

4. Box of Rain

Club Centre

1496 Reisterstown Road

410-415-6100

Tucked away in the Club Centre shopping center is this boutique for women and men. You'll find flirty party dresses from Laundry and BCBG, jeans by Seven and Joe's Jeans, and casual and dress wear for men by Ben Sherman and Penguin.

Check out: T-shirts by Rabbi's Daughter with Yiddish messages like "Chutzpah" (cheeky) and "Bubeleh" (sweetie). $38 to $44.

5. Pet Chic

Centre Court

3755 Old Court Road

410-486-1618

This new boutique says it's OK to shamelessly spoil your four-legged friend, with "buddy wash" for dogs, rhinestone collar studs, plush toys, beds and blankets, and a selection of hats for every pet personality.

Check out: The cheetah print "mini chaise," the ultimate lounger for the pampered feline. $375.

6. Balducci's

Festival at Woodholme

1809 Reisterstown Road

410-484-5501

The former Sutton Place Gourmet has everything required for the fancy larder: A well-stocked candy counter, lots of dry goods, a fantastic selection of cheeses, prepared food to go and beautiful produce.

Check out: The selection of store-brand dried wild mushrooms in handy plastic containers, from chanterelles to porcini. $5.99 to $14.99.

7. ZYZYX!

Festival at Woodholme

1809 Reisterstown Road

410-486-9785

This gallery and gift shop with the unpronounceable name has an eclectic smorgasbord of blown glass, ceramics, handmade furniture, garden art and children's items, along with an extensive collection of Judaica. This is the place for the colorful and unusual.

Check out: A painted celebration table that invites holiday bounty with sayings like "Life is a Banquet." $2,800.

8. Joie de Vivre

Festival at Woodholme

1809 Reisterstown Road

410-580-1994

A beauty lover's utopia, with products from Kevyn Aucoin, Fresh, Tina Earnshaw, Bloom, Creed Fragrances and Davies Babies. The spacious layout, warm beige walls and floor and comfy couches invite you to linger. You can get a facial here, too.

Check out: Ultra-silky and ultra-pricey Sjal Cela Intuitif anti-aging moisturizing cream. $240 for 2 ounces.

9. J.S. Edwards Ltd.

Festival at Woodholme

1809 Reisterstown Road

410-653-2266

Edward Steinberg, who opened this designer clothing store for men more than 20 years ago with his wife, Diane, describes its offerings as "classic" -- not too high fashion, not too traditional. You'll find items here by Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Burberry and Canali, among others.

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