Shop, Play, and Primp at Alameda’s Caroline Station
From hair and nails to home and health, the West End has it all.
Photo courtesy of Robert Lupo
Historic Caroline Station sits at the junction of Weber and Central streets. Lore has it the train station was named for Caroline Chipman Dwinelle, original owner of the nearby Encinal Tract. The train no longer stops here, but the resulting commercial center is lively with beauty salons, a bike shop, chiropractic care, community art, and more. Head here for sprucing up your home, having a little for fun, and pampering yourself.
Looking for the perfect shades for your spacious, light-filled loft or quirky Victorian? The Alameda Shade Shop has what you need. The shade specialty store has been locally owned for 60 years, and for the last 35 years owned and operated by the Hayes family. “Quality has always been our focal point,” shared Lydia Bocanegra, who has been part of the team for 14 years, “our shades are meant to last!”
Alameda Shade Shop specializes in custom Victorian roller shades, which are handmade the old-fashioned way. Every scalloped shade is cut and trimmed by hand, and these craftspeople use a hardwood spring roller.
Alameda Shade Shop offers not only roller shades but also a full line of window treatments like shutters, blinds, honeycombs, verticals, solar shades, and more. You’ll also find all of the Hunter Douglas products plus custom drapery, Roman shades, hard and soft valances, and so much more. 914 Central Ave, 510-522-0633, ShadeShop.com.
Celebrate local artists, connect with community, and add to your art collection at Inkblot Gallery. The cozy gallery hosts a monthly rotating exhibit that features a Bay Area artist in a solo show. In addition to viewing the work of the featured artist, visitors can purchase locally made art in the retail store. The space originally housed a soap and honey shop run by local beekeeper Jean Chen. Chen was having a child and wanted to transition the space to a gallery and workspace. Chen, an illustrator, invited Jo Anne Yada, a painter, and Christine Spiegel, a comic artist, to co-found Inkblot Gallery, and the rest is history. During the week, the three resident artists use the space as an art studio, and on weekends open to the public to showcase local art.
Inkblot Gallery fosters community with talks, live music, and interactive events that relate to the season or current exhibit usually on the Alameda Second Friday Art Walk.933 B Central Ave., InkblotGallery.com, Instagram: @inkblotgallery.
Realign your life with the healing hands of Heidi Wroebel, D.C., owner of Feel Good Chiropractic. Formerly Inspired Life Chiropractic on Grand Avenue in Oakland, Wroebel moved her practice to Alameda in March 2018, changing the name to reflect the new start. Her husband was born and raised in Alameda, and they realized they wanted to be closer to family and raise their own kids where he had grown up. Wroebel specializes in a gentle chiropractic style and emphasizes healthy living and a holistic approach to care. Her chiropractic services are available for adults, children, and are safe and recommended for infants. Pregnant women might benefit from Wroebel’s special chiropractic approach to perinatal care while golfers can find realignment, and perhaps an improved swing, under her care.
Feel Good Chiropractic promotes health for the community and offers monthly workshops, many of them free. 928 Central Ave., 510-514-3603, DrHeidiW.com.
Everybody loves a fabulous new look, and The Salon by Robert Lupo can deliver. Owner Robert Lupo opened his flagship salon in Alameda in May, but he’s no stranger to the Bay Area beauty scene. A native, Lupo has wizardly ways with hair. His sleek, new salon offers design, styling, color, and hair treatments by a range of talented hairstylists, including Lupo. 1004 Central Ave., 510-227-5746, TheSalonAlameda.com, Instagram @thesalonbyrobert.
Get rolling on a new set of wheels with a visit to Westside Joe’s Bike Shop. The bike shop is all about finding the right bike for each rider, and it specializes in cargo bikes and rides that are appropriate for urban settings. For Alameda beach folks, there are plenty of retro-style two-wheelers and loads of accessories, such as baskets, baby and child seats, and even dog trailers to make bike life fun and easy. Westside Joe’s also does repairs and tune-ups to keep your travels worry-free.
Next-level nail art is waiting for you at Polished salon. There is no end to the ways to be fabulous, thanks to owner and nail artist Nancy Hua. In addition to manis, pedis, and nail art, the chic boutique salon also offers microblading and eyelash extensions. In 1983, Hua’s father was one of the first people to open a nail salon in the East Bay, and his tradition carries through in his daughter. A nail artist for two decades, Hua celebrated the grand opening of Polished, her own salon, in November 2017. The posh feel of the salon front makes for the perfect pamper-yourself setting with gorgeous peony designs, a sparkling chandelier, and plush waiting area. Get ready for date night or just brighten up your day at Polished. 1002 Central Ave., 510- 263-8303, PolishedAlameda.com.
Set aside some me-time at Me Nail Salon. The pretty pink salon is the perfect place to meet a few friends for an affordably lavish pampering session. Me Nail Salon boasts beautiful copper bowls for pedicures, which purportedly possess health benefits. Soak your feet in organic bath bombs during the pedicures and enjoy organic scrubs and lotions. For anyone who dislikes the massage chairs at many nail salons, Me Nails has cushiony, cute, contemporary chairs that are perfect for lounging in while you soak. Microblading and eyelash extensions are among the services offered. 926 Central Ave., 510-864-8999, me-nail-spa.business.site.
Hair services are happening at Caroline Station. Some Like it Hot, the hair salon owned by Sonia Rodriguez, and Simon Says by Felicia Simon are two Alameda hot spots for chic hairstyles. Both can help you define your signature style or cultivate a whole new look. Simon Says, 933 A Central Ave., 510-387-7816, StyleSeat.com/m/v/simonsays; Some Like It Hot, 924 Central Ave., 510-814-3940.