At a resort, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. But not here, where a personal concierge caters to your whims. That's a welcome addition to the Ocean Edge, which has undergone $50 million in renovations to its villas, mansion rooms, and restaurants. So now you get the coddling you'd expect from a boutique hotel, plus smart touches like a fridge stocked with ice cream and all the fixin's for s'mores if you book a villa. 2907 Main St., Brewster, MA oceanedge.com.
Too often, South Shore diners are stuck in that wasteland between kid-friendly chains and adult-only, white-tablecloth restaurants. Enter Wahlburgers, the brainchild of chef Paul Wahlberg. From classic double cheeseburgers to creative specialty sandwiches (like the "Thanksgiving," with ground turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce), this place caters to kids and more-refined palates alike. Of course, the creamy frappes will gratify all generations. 19 Shipyard Drive, Hingham, MA 2043, wahlburgers.com.
The Four Seasons' lounge caters to both sorts of solo patrons: those who find themselves alone, and those who wish to be left alone. The skilled barkeeps are the city's quickest studies of stag drinkers, able to gauge whether you're up for a chat, a snack, or a stiff drink and silence. And the Bristol's cozy appointments make it perfectly suited to parties of one. 200 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2116, .
This is what you might call seafood in the rough: You stand at the counter, shout your order, eat it, and leave. But paper plates and plastic cutlery aside, there's very little that's actually rough about Woodman's, which offers some of the smoothest fried seafood around. The breading isn't a disguise for a small and salty chunk of meat, as it is at lesser seafood shacks, but a crispy golden complement to the tender bivalves beneath. 121 Main St., Essex, MA woodmans.com/.
We’re so easily seduced by crusty, funky bánh mì sandwiches and fragrant bowls of pho that we often forget how great something far simplerthe Vietnamese summer roll, with its rice-paper skin and delicate, herbaceous fillingcan be. Allow this Super 88 kiosk to remind you with its stellar rendition, which comes with a cup of luscious peanut sauce (ask for the chili sauce, too). As for the bánh mì and pho? Well, they’re excellent here, too. 1095 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, MA 2215, .
This Kenmore Square institution made its name catering to a wide range of dinersSox fans, tourists, restaurant industry types, students, the list goes onand treating them all as if they were the most important people in the room. How do they do it? By taking notes on every diner who comes through the door. Yes, it’s a bit Big Brotheresque, but this kind of close attention ensures that you enjoy your steak frites and whiskey smashes just as much as you did the last time. 528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, easternstandardboston.com.
Why spend nights clicking through hundreds of Etsy shops when you have Fête? Serving as your local connection to the most talented designers, printers, and calligraphers across the country, the team of paper and etiquette experts here will help you choose everything from custom invitations to menus. You'll get the gold foil, embossing, and hand-lettering of your dreams coordinated through one friendly face, saving you the most precious resource of all during wedding planning: time. 345 D St., South Boston, MA 02127, shopfete.com.
Catering to the "thoughtful pet owner" this colorful store functions more like a community hub for animals and their devoted humans than a place to buy supplies. It wouldn’t be unusual to pop in for treats, toys, or food—all of which skew heavily natural—or to wash a dirty pup in the self-serve tubs, and end up chatting with fellow customers about a nontoxic cure for hot spots, a topic that only other pet owners will gladly discuss. 4404 Washington St., Roslindale, MA 02131, thepetcabaret.com.
The essentials for a good night’s sleep don’t change with the trends. Since 1987, this Beacon Hill store has been catering to our restful needs with high-thread-count bedding from established brands like Yves Delorme and Sferra, plush robes from Laurence Tavernier, and silk pajamas from PJ Harlow. And to make your waking hours a little dreamier, it also stocks a selection of scented soaps and soft Egyptian-cotton towels. 52 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, linensonthehill.com.
On the strength of its individual exhibits alone—notably the vast Goya retrospective and Shinique Smith's exuberant showcase—the Museum of Fine Arts is a formidable contender for best museum. But when you consider the institution's past year as a whole, it's a hands-down winner. Diverse offerings revealed a commitment to pushing boundaries. Performance art was regularly integrated into the museum's hallowed gallery spaces; it maintained a consistently edgy and eclectic film program; and then, as a capper, it launched its first-ever mobile app as artwork. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115, mfa.org.
In a town with no shortage of gussied-up patties, we keep returning to the workday-only Wheelhouse burger. The griddle sizzles coffee-crusted breakfast burgers and other beef patties loaded with lunch fixings like jalapeño-beer cheese and bourbon-glazed onions. Wax-paper sleeves barely contain such marvelous hot messes, gobbled at window stools or back in the cubicle. 63 Broad St., Boston, MA wheelhouseboston.com.
The brunch at this record shop/tapas bar caters to savory seekers—and hangover chasers. Here the "put an egg on it" philosophy reigns supreme, evidenced by dinner-menu staples like the lamb bocadillo, which gets the morning-after huevos treatment come brunch. While you're waiting for your table (there will be a wait), browse the back bookshop for fiction, art books, vinyl, and a broad collection of food magazines that will surely whet your appetite. 470 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, tresgatosjp.com.
When it comes to bar pizza on the South Shore, there are important standards to meet. Are the to-go pies placed between two cardboard plates and slid into a brown paper bag? Is the crust hand-pinched in the pan to give it the perfect crunch? Is the joint cash only? And, most important: Do the locals love it? Lynwood checks all the boxes. For bar pizza the way it’s meant to be experienced, commit to the house special, which comes loaded with baked beans (trust us), onions, and salami. 320 Center St., Randolph, MA 2368, lynwoodcafe.com.
The sister property to the iconic White Elephant harborfront hotel, this luxe resort caters to guests’ every whim: Need a ride to dinner? A loaner bike to explore the island? Scoops of ice cream to keep the kids entertained at the pool? Done, done, and done. The circa-2012 inn offers plush rooms and suites, but for a picture-perfectand stress-freefamily getaway, you’ll want to reserve one of the spacious " premier residences," which offer one-, two-, and three-bedroom configurations. 19 N. Water St., Nantucket, MA 2584, whiteelephantvillage.com.