Readers' Poll

tune-up, bring it by for some TLC. Musicians on tour stop by for a looksee—it’s that big a deal. Best Place To Buy Vinyl Recycled Records 604 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey (831) 375-5454, Buy, sell and trade all things music here, but a clear penchant for vinyl emerges as one browses and schmoozes some. Not only CDs and discs, but sound equipment as well. Steinbeck once observed that as a man ages he has less tolerance for all things new, even if they seem better. But there’s a flipside: The young often like to rediscover things from the past. Nowhere else is that more true in the musical lexicon and in Monterey music retail than at Recycled Records. Best Furniture Store Mum's Place Furniture 246 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove (831) 372-6250, We all want a comfortable couch, a cloud-like bed—or even curtain rods for Sam and Mrs. Malloy’s old boiler—and for our homes to be a refuge. Mum’s design team is an online and showroom destination when it’s time to upgrade interior living spaces, or to start from scratch. Their services include design, delivery and installation to match your vision and to help the overall aesthetic stand the test of time. Mum’s specializes in coastal living style, which takes inspiration from California beaches and blends that with Mediterranean and nautical themes. Best Dive Shop Aquarius Dive Shop 2040 Del Monte Ave., Monterey (831) 375-1933, It’s sometimes easy for locals to take the majesty of our coast for granted—we live here. But in Monterey Bay, which is part of a national marine sanctuary named after it, is a worldclass destination for marine life. Ed Ricketts, a pioneering marine scientist who was one of John Steinbeck’s best friends, understood that. His seminal 1939 book, Between Pacific Tides, created waves that continue to resonate through the field today. But there is much amazing marine life you can’t see on the shore; you must submerge. To that end, Aquarius Dive Shop has you covered at every angle—they’ve got dive courses to get certified, all the equipment one needs, whether to rent or buy, and they lead guided dives through to the good stuff. Best Toy Store Thinker Toys 7th and San Carlos, Carmel (831) 624-0441, What sets Thinker Toys apart? Diane Breen, the store’s longtime manager, thinks more than anything it’s the customer service—it’s not a big-box shop, it’s a place that invites you to walk in, tell a staffer what you’re looking for and get prescribed just the right thing, whether the toy’s recipient is a 2-year-old or a grown-up. “We know our products,” Breen says, “and we can make the best recommendations. Customers are going to go home with something they’re really going to be happy with.” And she’s not talking about kinetic (non-thinking games) like Hungry Hungry Hippos (which remains an awesome game, decades since its creation); she’s talking about games or books that will engage the mind, and hopefully, help it grow. Thinker Toys also gets bonus points for stocking toys made from rubber trees in Thailand and Malaysia that have been sapped of all their latex—it’s a toy store that thinks about the bigger picture. Best Bike Shop Work Horse Bicycles 486 Washington St., Monterey (831) 375-2144, It seems fitting that the bike shop closest to the Simoneau Plaza, the alternative transit hub on the Monterey Peninsula, would win in this category. Location matters, especially for those who get around on bikes—you need bike lanes, and preferably no major hills to climb. Work Horse is right there in the center of the bustle, and offers anything a cyclist might need, whether it’s a bike (or gear) to buy, trade in, rent or get repaired. Bonus shopping and services BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 59 Thank You Weekly Readers! Best Electrician ’18 ’19 ’20 ’21 ’22 We know there are many electricians in Monterey County to choose from— Proud to be your #1 choice since 1984! Serving the entire Monterey Peninsula for: • Commdercial/Residential • Landscaping • Panel Repairs •Service Calls …and more! (831) 915-2005 ’23