Place to board your pet: Pampered Pets
Runner-up: The Dogg House
Honorable mention: All Things Pawssible
It’s normally an unpleasant experience to be treated like a dog. Unless that dog is at Pampered Pets, in which case it is perhaps the best thing ever. Once again chosen as a local favorite, the 30-year-old establishment continues to give pets the kind of treatment only read about in high-end style magazines. Organic treats, climate-controlled living spaces, and all the cuddling an animal could want are just a few of the perks the lucky guests of this pet haven enjoy. Not far behind is The Dogg House on Berkmar Drive, another pet-loving facility that will spoil your canine rotten with its own array of doggy indulgences.
Veterinarian: Georgetown Veterinary Hospital
Runner-up: Old Dominion Animal Hospital
Honorable mention: Airport Animal Clinic
If you were a dog about to face the terrifying reality of a neutering, you’d want to make sure that the best surgeons around were the ones handling the job. This year, the best reside at Georgetown Veterinary Hospital. With half a century of collective experience under their belts, these pet doctors are prepared for whatever emergencies arise. Following closely behind is Old Dominion Animal Hospital, a local favorite whose hi-tech labs and facilities provide the best care for all of Fluffy’s medical needs.
Real estate agent: Jamie White
Runner-up: Sasha Farmer
Honorable mention: Dawn Cromer
The charming smile that rests amid the gallant features of Jamie White’s face is probably not the reason he was this year’s choice for top real estate agent (although we’re sure it didn’t hurt). It may have had more to do with the fact that he possesses a special skill so desired in a man (and a realtor!): he listens. He listens intently, and then turns what he hears into the homes of his clients’ dreams. That’s not to say that Sasha Farmer and her team are without charm. Their gorgeous smiles and talent speak for themselves.
Homebuilder: Craig Builders
Runner-up: Abbott & Co.
Honorable mention: Southern Development
City living doesn’t have to be cement and skyscrapers. Craig Builders, this year’s top pick, is devoted to maintaining a vibrant community by designing its homes with nature in mind. With developments nestled in a variety of locations, Craig residences are full of earthy Central Virginia spirit. Also contributing to the beauty of Charlottesville is runner-up Abbott & Company, a firm responsible for renovations and new construction in both the county and the city.
Home repair/handyman: Curtis Snow (Snow’s Handyman Service)
Runner-up: Advantage Handyman
Honorable mention: Charlottesville Handyman
Everyone loves a go-getter. Maybe that’s why Curtis Snow nabbed the spot for this year’s best handyman. Touting a “there’s no job too small” slogan along with his hammer, Snow has won over the public with exceptional work, whether building your summer deck or helping to make sense of those mind-boggling directions packaged in your IKEA box. He slips just ahead of Advantage Handyman, another local favorite known for fair pricing and dedication to customer service.
Lawn and garden care: Snow’s Garden Center
Runner-up: Nigel Wood Tree Service
Honorable mention: Meriwether Mowing Service
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Snow’s Garden Center is this year’s choice for best landscaping. The company’s been around for over 100 years, so it must be doing something right. That something is probably related to its ability to transform a yard full of monkey grass into a lush, green field of beauty. And of course there are also the flowers. Snow’s vast garden center offers enough varieties of floral joy to make even the blackest of thumbs turn green. But age isn’t everything, as this year’s runner-up Nigel Wood Tree Service proves. The services of the young company match the quality of any seasoned pro in the business.
Place to get your car repaired: Bob’s Wheel Alignment
Runner-up: Airport Road Auto Center
Honorable mention: Settle Tire Co.
Bob’s Wheel Alignment gives the people what they want: a gimmick-free auto experience. For years, these rotation wizards have relied on the quality of their service to bring home the bacon, and it’s worked, since Bob’s wins once again for best auto repair. In second place is Airport Road Auto Center, another high-quality shop that brings a bit of pampering to the party with an extremely cozy waiting room and delicious goodies to be munched while you wait.
Preschool or daycare: Bright Beginnings
Runner-up: Charlottesville Day School
Honorable mention: ACAC Preschool
You want to see a miracle? Go to any preschool and witness the order that is somehow established over chaos. It’s a true wonder of the modern world, and again this year, nobody’s doing it better than Bright Beginnings. The enthusiastic team does far more than divvy up snacks and comfort children. Their routines are subtly embedded with learning, so that while the young’uns are happy at play, those tiny brains are also getting a workout. It’s a trick that runner-up Charlottesville Day School also employs, pumping its well-crafted curriculum full of fun-filled activities to keep smiles on the faces of their tiny tykes.
Private school: St. Anne’s-Belfield School
Runner-up: Tandem Friends School
Honorable mention: The Covenant School
When choosing a private school, parents are barraged with an endless stream of worthy institutions touting various merits. Come here for art! Come here for sports! Come here for discipline! No, says St. Anne’s. Come to us, and get it all. The Ivy Road school makes no compromises in its programs, which is precisely why it’s our readers’ top pick for private education. In second place is Tandem Friends School, another academic environment that grasps tightly every area of education. Partnering with local businesses, the students at Tandem get the opportunity to actually explore the world they are to enter. Talk about living and learning!
Hotel, inn, or B&B: Clifton Inn
Runner-up: Keswick Hall
Honorable mention: Boar’s Head Inn
Charlottesville certainly likes a bit of comfy to go with its class. Perhaps that’s why Clifton’s luxurious and plush beds are this year’s choice for the best place to rest your head and enjoy a bit of old-fashioned hospitality. And with 18 soft mattresses graced with thick down comforters to sink into, who could resist? In second place, Keswick has a to-die-for view to match its 48-room mansion.
Wedding planner: Dickie Morris (Just A Little Ditty)
Runner-up: Cody Grannis (Amore Events)
Honorable mention: Barbara Lundgren (Barb Wired)
Even a clueless groom can realize why Dickie Morris is this year’s choice for best wedding planner. Her business combines two of life’s best things: weddings and handbags. Besides handling all the nightmare details that send bridezillas screaming, Morris also touts her own line of handmade ditty bags to carry the essentials for that special day. Of course, you may need more than a drawstring to tie the knot in style. The many happy clients of runner-up Cody Grannis can attest to that. Her services offer access to a vast collection of pieces to decorate your day.
Wedding photographer: Jen Fariello
Runner-up: Sarah Cramer Shields
Honorable mention: Robert Radifera
In a world where the awkward selfie has become a scary standard for photography, it’s nice to see that Charlottesville can recognize true talent behind the still frame. Jen Fariello’s breathtaking work needs no witty captions. For years, she’s been capturing the best moments of your most important day, which is why she is this year’s pick as best wedding photographer. Fariello isn’t the only local with skill behind the lens. Sarah Cramer Shields also produces eye-pleasing pictures that go beyond a shutter button click. Thank you, ladies, for reminding us which pictures are worth a thousand words.
Hairstylist: Rachel Smith (Bristles Hair Design & Day Spa)
Runner-up: Gena Mills (At Last)
Honorable mention: Claibourne Reppert (The Honeycomb)
The Smiths’ vocalist, Morrissey, once said, “If your hair is wrong, your entire life is wrong.” There must be some truth to that, considering the furious hell storm that sometimes erupts when those bangs just will not cooperate. Fortunately for you (and, let’s be honest, anyone who happens to cross your path), Bristles’ Rachel Smith is there to style your strands. On Millmont Street, Gena Mills takes the runner-up spot. Well done, ladies. Well done.
Spa: Bristles Hair Design & Day Spa
Runner-up: Oasis Day Spa
Honorable mention: Spa at The Boar’s Head
Work hard, relax harder. According to our readers, there’s no better place for that than Bristles Hair Design & Day Spa. Maybe your long-time devotion to the place has something to do with its to-die-for Fountain of Youth Facial and Swedish Massage. We can’t say we blame you. Coming in at a close second this year is Oasis Day Spa, where you can relax with a one-hour Flash package, or stay all day to attain Body Bliss.