CAMPTown: There's Still More on Baltimore
|by Marion McGrath|
Last month's stroll down Baltimore Avenue was so jam packed with things to see that there just wasn't time enough to tell you about it all. So we return for another eye-full. This time we started down at the end of the block near Second St. and wandered by Splash (58 Baltimore Ave.). Owner Bill Sievert was out front enjoying the sunshine and a cup of coffee. Co-owner John Theis wasn't around but we took a stroll down memory lane with Bill. The first time we saw Splash was in 1980 when it opened three doors down from Lammas Women's Book Store on Capitol Hill near Eastern Market in Washington. It was a fun-filled place back when those sort of shops were few and far in between. The store expanded and moved into its new space at 22nd and P, keeping its sassy style. But they kept hearing a funny noise that just wouldn't go away.
Turned out it was the Siren Song of the beach and off to Rehoboth they came. In its present incarnation Splash is a clothing store which would get the attention of a lot of men, but there's plenty of things here for women, too. It's definitely a place where almost everything invites you to touch it. There are cozy sherpa tops, cuddly sweaters and butter-soft chenille shirts that make us all glad that winter is almost here. There are home decorations scattered throughout that just may get you in the mood to add a piece or two to your house. Pick up one of the contemporary, lightweight watches and never have an excuse to be late for cocktails again. The jacket section is filled with coats made from microfibers that will stand up to those cold ocean breezes and yet are easy to care for. If you're looking for retro/classic then slip into a double-breasted, four button P-coat and practice what you'll answer to "Hiya Sailor."
Not far down the street is Something Special (46 Baltimore Ave.). Just a glance into this aptly named store's huge glass window and you know it's a place you don't want to pass by. We spotlighted this store in an earlier issue of Letters (June 4 issue) and mention it here again to remind you not to neglect to go in to look at the gorgeous glasswork and one-of-a-kind art pieces. If you think your house just can't take another accessory, then take a tour of the fountain and statue plaza on the outside of the store. We know your yard is bare after this drought-ridden summer and it surely will benefit from decoration. Whether you concentrate on the inside or the outside of your house, owner John Sansone will be pleased to show you around.
No one can enter or leave THE courtyard without noticing Twist (39 Baltimore Ave.) It's the place we all drool over and wish we could have owner Biff Barton as our personal home dcor consultant. Come to think of it, you probably can. Once inside your head will swim with such visions of elegance that you'll be inspired to the greatest heights your decorator genes have ever reached. The entrance steps to the store are graced with a three-level stone fountain that serves as a work of art in its own right. Once inside you may think you are in the Soho section of New York. The chic factor is very high and a testament to good taste. A lot of the floor space is given over to a huge bed draped in down and festooned with pillowsit is truly inviting and it was all we could do to restrain ourselves from snuggling down for a long winter's nap. But there were so many unique things to lust over that we resisted that impulse and moved on to stare in appreciation at the three pedestal candle holders at the foot of the bed. They are graded in size for even more eye appeal and have been created (not just made) from a rough finish fossil stone that will doubtless hold up until 3000.
There are numerous stone and brass lamps and vases and each one beautiful and unusual and all begging you to take them home. In the front of the store is a seemingly endless sectional sofa covered in corduroy that is dying to be put in front of a fireplace, with one of the nearby tables in front of it to rest your brandy snifters on. We spied a black matte finish sculpture that when viewed from behind reminded us of a sort of Henry Moore-ish high heeled #*?#*-me pump! The best selling item in the store is a wall candleholder that measures almost six feet and would hold a 3-4 foot candle. It is made of spiraled aluminum, which terminates by wrapping gracefully around a beautiful rounded stone. That in itself is stunning but pair it with matching wall sconces and people will definitely talk. There is nothing timid about this store, and many of the pieces are larger than life. If you want people to catch their breath and exclaim when they walk into your house, then Twist is the place to start.
If you're thinking more about clubbing than decorating, then stop in at Beach Essentials (33 Baltimore Ave.). This is a store that focuses on upscale clothing for men, the kind of clothes that you wear to be seen and admired in. Luscious body-hugging shirts, satin workout shorts that will definitely show how much your work at the gym this summer has paid off. Tom of Finland muscle shirts will accent your positive. There are great looking house brand jeans in blue, green and khaki to drape over your slender hips. If you're tired of that leather Levi patch on your 501s then the leather starfish logo on the back of these will draw attention to just where it needs to be.
There's a great Aromatherapy section that can awaken any of four different states: relaxing, soothing, uplifting and the sure-fire stimulating. Your inner new ager needs to get out and try one of these treatments. While Beach Essentials wants to make you look your awe-inspiring best they also feature hand carved wooden furniture that would stand up to the most discriminating scrutiny. They have a seemingly endless catalog of items that can be custom ordered in almost any color or finish. The tables, chairs and armoires in the store show the craftsmanship that goes into each piece. Off in one corner is a huge mahogany easel so gracefully and artistically carved that it needs nothing to display. However, we sort of fantasized how great one of Murray Archibald's paintings would look on this. Standing off just to one side as you enter the store is a glorious mahogany curl bench. It looks like the sort of thing that Cleopatra would lounge on while waiting to be hand-fed ripe fruit. Or, you'd look equally seductive on this bench if you were curled up wearing your Tom of Finland shirt. Better hurry into the store and catch their swimwear sale60% off and next summer is just around the corner.
The last stop on our Baltimore itinerary was The Wooden Indian (25 Baltimore Ave.). If we were limited to just one word to describe this store it would have to be "dazzling." Owners Sara Tammany and Carole Levitsky have stocked their shop with probably more Waterford Crystal than you'd find in Dublin. There can be few things more eye pleasing and stunning than Waterford. It is cut with so many facets that it glimmers and you can almost hear it sing. Name the kind of stemware that you'd like to drink from and you'll most likely find it here. Bowls so beautiful you might not want to put anything in them. And there are vases in all sizes and shapes that will hold and grace your last rose of summer or your first spring daffodils. One display case holds little crystal animals and fruits that are accessorized with painted pewter. We discovered the perfect gift for your Rehoboth host/hostess: a crystal clamshell holding a pearl. Present this and you'll surely be invited back next year. It was hard to leave this part of the shop, but there was a lot more to see. We had visions of a round rosewood table covered with Belgium linen and place settings of Spode china. Then we spotted the Limoges china and thought, hmmmm. The great display of Portmeirion English china presented us with a dilemma and we just gave up and moved on. Don't leave without buying a bag of "Scorned Woman" cheese straws.
You can find most anything your heart desires on Baltimore Avenue, and it ends at the ocean, the real reason most of us are here.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 9, No. 14, Oct. 15, 1999