Adore all things retro? More “I Love Lucy” than “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”? Kensington, Md., incorporated in 1894, and just north of the Capital Beltway, caters to the retro-loving, antiquing crowd. If this is your tribe, put Kensington on your to-do list. Howard Avenue is loaded with shops. It’s easy to make a day of a visit to the town, where there’s also an art gallery, a garden center and dining. Here’s a sample.
10313 Kensington Pkwy.
It smells like the air after a spring rain all the time at this family-run garden center, which started in 1933 and now has three area locations. The Kensington store opened in 1985. Its year-round outdoor section becomes a winter wonderland during the holidays. All of the greens are from local nurseries. “The farthest we go is Pennsyl-vania,” says general manager Marta Caruso.
3730 Howard Ave.
This shop (the second of two locations) houses an impeccable collection of Danish mid-century modern seating and dining room sets from makers
such as Niels Otto Moller and Hans Wegner. “It’s
an investment,” owner Douglas Meyers says of his
furniture. “Pieces are already 30 to 40 years old, and if you take care of them they’ll last another 30 to 60 years.”
4229 Howard Ave.
This home goods and design shop is in the West Howard antique district, a strip of warehouses frequented by interior designers. “About 90 percent of business is the trade,” says Cris Barrett, the shop’s buyer. But that shouldn’t stop you from cruising the 5,000-square-foot space. A rotating inventory means you should buy that tree stump stool, because it might not be here next week.
10417 Armory Ave.
What started as a pizza oven hitched to owner Frank Linn’s car in 2011 has grown into one of Kensington’s most popular restaurants. Linn has made his mark: He designed the tiny 40-seat space and renovated with his family’s help; bacon and sausage are made in-house; and dough is prepared daily. Linn uses an adaptation of his mother’s marinara for sauce, and pies are cooked in an oak-burning oven. “They’re not always round, but they’ve always got a good char on them,” Linn says.
3766 Howard Ave.
Tucked away inside the Antique Village business park, this two-level art space offers modern paintings, sculptures and other contemporary works. The gallery is a maze of rooms filled with art, including pencil sculptures by Jessica Drenk and illustrations by Matt Corrado. “Part of my mission is to convey a love of art to the next generation,” says owner Adah Rose, who worked as a lawyer before opening the gallery in 2011.