Frederick of Maryland
Forget Rodeo Drive, Paris, Tysons Corner and those other tired shopping meccas -- there's a serious chain-free shop op just a few miles up Interstate 270: Frederick.
On a recent scouting weekend, I was astonished to find an impressive selection of shops unique to the town -- from shoe and outdoor to antiques and home decor. Sure, you'll find plenty of "Fredneck" T-shirts on the main strip, but overall the small-town shopping is stellar. Plus, the Downtown Frederick Partnership caters to shoppers with monthly events.
I went on the advice of a friend, Traci, who has lived in downtown Frederick for a few years. "It's a really artsy and musical town," she said. "I would have never known it until I moved here." In warm months, there are often parades and such festivals as Mayfest and the Baker Park summer concert series.
-- Melanie D.G. Kaplan
Most of the shops are concentrated in the historic downtown area along Market and Patrick streets, easy to cover in a quick weekend. Here are a few standouts, as well as eating, sleeping and other diversions:
· Always wanted to brew your own but don't have a spare bathtub? The Flying Barrel (103 S. Carroll St., 301-663-4491, http:/
· For bold and beautiful limited-edition Adidas and Nike sneakers that you won't find on the feet of every other kid on the block, stop in Social Study (201 N. Market St., 301-695-5671, http:/
· You may not be mad for vintage, but it's worth a trip to Venus on the Half Shell (151 N. Market St., 301-662-6213) just to see all the other-era clothes and the owner's teasing price tags. "This will be sure to perk up his night," is scrawled on the tag of a vintage cheerleading skirt. Rah-rah-rah-voom!
· Frederick is all about the dogs. Many shops are pooch-friendly (check for a paw sticker on the door), and Two Paws Up! (15 S. Carroll St., 301-668-7704, http:/
· Looking for stick-on sideburns or a Last Supper lunchbox? CineGraphic Studios (117 N. Market St., 301-228-3620, http:/
· Serious decor buyers from across the country have cottoned to Great Stuff by Paul (two locations: 10 N. Carroll St., 301-631-0004; 257 E. Sixth St., 301-631-5340; http:/
· What's shopping for art without a free glass of Chablis in your hand? The first Saturday of every month brings the Downtown Frederick Partnership's Gallery Walk (on and around Patrick and Market streets, including Everedy Square and Shab Row, 301-698-8118, http:/
· If you prefer spookier strolls, follow a costumed guide through city streets and spooky alleys on the 90-minute Candlelight Ghost Tour, held each Saturday from June to November. Tours start at 8:15 p.m. in front of Brewer's Alley Restaurant (124 N. Market St., 301-668-8922, http:/
BEYOND THE SHOPS
· Shoppers have to eat -- and drink. They can do both well in Frederick. Start out the weekend with Friday happy hour at Isabella's Taverna & Tapas Bar (44 N. Market St., 301-698-8922, http:/
· If you're staying over, you won't find many lodging options in the historic downtown. But there's Hill House Bed & Breakfast (12 W. Third St., 301-682-4111, http:/