While most antiques stores are satisfied to offer the customer all manner of metal lunch boxes, dated political buttons, incomplete sets of china, and old movie and music posters, Bobby V's means business. Sure, there's a few of those outdated doodads here and there, but most of the store is given over to antiquated furnishings. Here you'll find dressers, armoires, and headboards, without all the machine-made trim on the tables and chairs you'd find at Rooms to Go. One oaken armoire dates back to the turn of the century. A chest appears to be Edwardian, while another might be Victorian, and several other pieces look as if they could be named after English royalty as well. The faint of heart, or perhaps more accurately, the faint of wallet, may want to stay away, but if you yearn for the sort of quality craftsmanship that just can't be found in today's assembly-required world, Bobby has got the furnishings for you. Just keep your grubby mitts off that tan globe in the cherry-wood setting with the stylishly old-world map on it. We've got dibs on that, as soon as we save up a paycheck or three.
Easy Rider has know-how, not attitude. And it wants to share. For the mechanically impaired novice cyclist, that's critical. The shop will sell you a bike rack and take the time to show you how to fit your bike into it -- several times, if necessary. Or explain how to make sure the wheel of your ten-speed is clamped into the bike frame correctly. Tires a little flat? Need a gel pack for your seat? Tips on cycling aerodynamics? They'll give it up. Every Saturday at 7 a.m. the shop organizes a 35-mile bike ride to Weston and back. Some speed the distance; others take it at a more leisurely pace.
What makes the Adult Video Warehouse stand out from the puerile pack of porn purveyors? It's an adult playground stocked with all the nifty little toys that the inventive minds in Hong Kong and Germany could dream up. A huge section is devoted to videos and DVDs, exploring every sexual subgenre imaginable, including amateur, antique, big boobs, interracial, fetish, foreign, gay, transsexual, spanking, girl/girl, and the ever-popular four-hour marathon compilation. For those who prefer to turn sticky pages instead of hitting the fast-forward button, magazines run the gamut from the local Pynk Pages to swingers rags to the lovingly photographed European coffeetable tomes. The selection of toys is massive and diverse. One room is devoted to instruments of bondage, with enough gadgets to stock a medieval dungeon to any marquis' or slave's contentment. No fewer than ten types of riding crops are available as well as some furniture that can never be displayed in the front parlor. For the ladies, lingerie, gowns, candles, cards, potions, and lotions are spread out in the well-lighted, clean, and airy showroom. The floor is carpeted, the atmosphere pleasant, the neighborhood safe, and the parking not only convenient but discreet. The staff is knowledgeable, and most appear to be enthusiastic users of most of the stuff on display. A couple can spend an evening wandering through the 'House in shocked delight, moving from one section to another as they repeatedly discover new ways to explore their sexuality.
Although its record section has been a bit stingy lately, what with all of the "no store credit for this CD" stickers on all the good stuff, the book section of this shop remains a bastion of hard-to-find literature. One recent foray revealed a 1950s edition of Machiavelli's The Prince, with a forward that compared Machiavellian politics to the spread of Communism. And if Red Scare literature isn't your thing, something else is bound to catch your eye. This used-book store has nearly as many topics as your local library -- gardening, cooking, travel, and many others. While some of the sections may be a bit thin (What's this? Only half of one shelf dedicated to astronomy? What would Carl Sagan say?), the more popular areas, such as sci-fi, sprawl from shelf to shelf, and rare is the book that costs more than a couple of bucks. Such a cheap way to wile away a few hours -- and haven't you already watched enough TV?
If you haven't met a bead fanatic yet, you likely soon will, because beading is a pastime/avocation/addiction that's sweeping America like t'ai chi did in the 1990s. These aficionados eschew the jewelry and handbags offered by chain outlets and now fashion their own originals. Many of the young women who've taken up beading -- and Best Beads offers an array of classes -- contend it's a type of craftwork they were never exposed to while growing up because their working mothers had neither the time for it nor interest in it. It's also a sign of the times, judging by the explosive growth of Bead Need, which claims to possess the largest inventory of bugle, stone, pony, seed, and crystal beads in South Florida. After the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., droves of newbies began showing up at the store to buy red, white, and blue beads to fashion American-flag brooches and pins. Many became devotees.

Murder on the Beach Bookstore
Here's a mystery for you: What is it about South Florida that seems to sprout mystery writers? Do they come here as poets and experimental novelists and turn to the mystery-and-murder genre after hearing of bodies wrenched from the muck of the Everglades or loads of cocaine or human cargo found in the belly of cargo ships? Or is it the heat of the climate that makes for murderous thoughts? It's interesting that one of the few independent bookstores to survive the Bordering and Barnes-and-Nobling of the book business is a niche store specializing in mysteries and suspense. Owner Joanne Sinchuck, who moved Murder on the Beach from South Beach to Delray Beach in December 2002, stocks a wealth of Florida mystery writers, including Edna Buchanan, John Lantigua, and Carolina Garcia-Aguilera. And the store hosts weekly discussions, author signings, and such.
Nestled in a most unlikely place a couple blocks north of downtown, Lauderdale Lumber is a time warp back to the days before cavernous megastores. The store is notable for what it doesn't have: dozens of aisles of patio furniture, lawn equipment, houseplants, commodes, appliances, and a glut of other items that have nothing to do with a modest building project. Instead, 20 paces into Lauderdale Lumber, you're looking at boards. Open boxes of screws and bolts are stacked according to size along a few rows. Forget prepackaged cartons that contain superfluous amounts; if you need only one 9-cent bolt, that's all you have to buy. Same with nails, which are sold in bulk out of old-fashioned sheet-metal bins. Even the building is anachronistic, a hoary brick affair with exposed wood rafters. Like that other bygone institution, the neighborhood hardware store, Lauderdale Lumber also offers a basic array of home improvement tools, door hardware, glues, and molding. Your pappy would be right at home.
All right, kids, get your minds out of the gutter! Crystal Visions creates handmade glasswares, not low-budget porn. Their 2,000-degree oven, known as the Glory Hole (hey, that's enough outta you!), heats and reheats all the prospective pieces. As one of South Florida's only glass-blowing studios, it caters to an array of customers. From stylish ashtrays and elegant dishes to stained-glass windows, this one-stop glass studio delivers speedy service at reasonable prices.

Museum of Discovery and Science
Need toys? Why visit a colossal chain store that practically requires a map to navigate (we're talking three aisles just for Barbie's shoes) when there's a cool little place like the Explorer Store? The shop, located in the Museum of Discovery & Science, sells all sorts of creative games, toys, and gadgets designed to provide challenging fun. The Build Your Own Volcano kit ($15) helps kids create actual eruptions using baking soda and vinegar. Another kit teaches children to build clocks out of vegetables. Then there's the always-popular Make Your Own Slime kit. "Kids really love that kind of thing because it's green, messy, and gross," says the store's Carol Villaverde. "And because they get to eat it." Speaking of which, the astronaut ice cream ($2.50) is rather tasty; it comes freeze-fried in a foil pouch, in napoleon and ice cream-sandwich flavors. You'll also find sea monkeys (actually brine shrimp), stuffed manatees and sea turtles, dinosaurs, books, puzzles, and the like. The shop, located across from the atrium at the museum's entrance, also sells toys that complement whatever IMAX film is showing at the time, as well as DVDs and videos of the film. The Explorer Store sees about 300 kids a day, all visiting on school field trips. But why should your child have to wait until then?
The name pretty much says it all. This store sells one thing and one thing only: bridal headpieces. Whether you favor a comb, tiara, or headband and want it beaded, jeweled or filigreed, you'll find it here. Think your mind is spinning with wedding details already? Just wait until the ridiculously patient salespeople painstakingly assess your head shape, hair style, face shape, and veil predilections to determine exactly whether you're the high ornate crown or simple barrette type. Just grin, bear it, and keep telling yourself you have to do this only once.

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