Buyer Debi Greenberg scours the globe to find the in fashion for men and women alike. Her Back Bay store is known the world over for its incredible timing, with many design darlings of the fashion press finding their way onto its floors before they hit the big time. The store caters to a wide variety of ages, from street fashion on the ground floor to power suits on the second and third levels, and a mix of women's wear designers from Kiton to Imitation of Christ. There's also an extensive and cutting-edge makeup counter, Salon Mario Russo, and a top-notch restaurant. 234 Berkeley St., Boston, MA louisboston.com/.
We aren't ones to cry over spilt milk, as our floors can attest; our couch has more hair on it than our cat. Without a speck of judgment, the Maids clean up our act month after month, dusting baseboards, degriming showers, and all but eliminating any traces of pet (except for, of course, the pet itself). They're quick, well priced, and unobtrusive: Aside from the preternatural sparkle and neatly triangled toilet paper, you'd never know they'd been there. 179 Boylston St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, .
The sadly standard wedding victuals (banal cheese selections, limp veggie platters) find no place on the menus of MAX Ultimate Food, provider of both impeccable service and outstanding cuisine. The company's repertoire marries the creative with the classic: grilled shrimp with blood orange glaze, roasted duck and caramelized shallot tartlet, and lobster blini tied with chive. There's no taste too exotic, no request too outlandish for the indefatigable crew headed by good veterans Neal Balkowitsch and Dan Mathieu—from tiny weddings to big fat Greek blowouts. 100 Magazine St., Boston, MA maxultimatefood.com/.
This saucy bed-and-breakfast brings a splash of urban charm to the outermost Cape. Rooms are painted bright colors—no staid New England décor here. The food stands out, too: At breakfast, dig into treats like caramelized-onion-and-shiitake clafoutis; by night, mingle with eclectic guests over gratis wine and snacks. 210 Bradford St., Provincetown, MA 02633, rouxprovincetown.com.
On the quieter (i.e., not downtown Gloucester) side of Cape Ann, this erstwhile grange building is home to gourmet sandwiches, salads, a tiny seating area (great for local gossip) and a miniscule garden that will make you forget about the beach entirely. 457 Washington St., Gloucester, MA .
Why flip through book upon book of invitations when you can have something that’s completely, uniquely you? That’s exactly what you’ll get when you commission Samantha Finigan and Whitney Swaffield, of Gus & Ruby, to create custom paper goods for your party. The New Hampshire&ndashbased duo, who launched a long-awaited brick-and-mortar on Beacon Hill last October, demonstrate a particular flair for the unexpected. Exhibit A: their recent Bridgerton-inspired invitation suite, which paired Victorian silhouettes with modern script and gold foil. 99 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, gusandruby.com.
Some might scoff that Matt Murphy's perennially wins this award because, well, there aren't exactly Irish restaurants on every corner of this largely Irish town. That probably just means they haven't tasted the sausage, beans, and mashed potatoes with a hint of anise. Or sipped a perfect pint of Guinness while devouring fish and chips wrapped in the morning paper and accompanied by chunky, homemade ketchup. This Brookline Village hideaway is still an unadorned pub experience: good people (Jason Waddleton is one of the friendliest waiters in the Boston area), live seisiuns, or sessions of traditional Irish music, and food that's proud to call itself—dare we call it—Irish cuisine. 14 Harvard St., Brookline Village, MA mattmurphyspub.com/.
A top-notch brunch spot—on a tarmac? It's long been a reality in Cape Cod, where chef Brian Erskine turns out fluffy lemon-ricotta pancakes and hearty red-flannel hash from a kitchen at the Chatham Municipal Airport. Summer weekends find the place jam-packed, but you can pass the wait time on the second-floor deck watching the biplanes coming and going. 240 George Ryder Rd., Chatham, MA 2633, hangarbcapecod.com.
A local stalwart for more than 40 years, Leather World helps us handle our hauls, supplying a polycarbonate spinner to withstand the perils of the TSA, a leather duffel perfect for that weekend jaunt down to the Cape, and a trim briefcase for the daily commute to and from the office. Plus, all of its locations offer one line of embossing at no additional cost. 30 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA shopleatherworld.com.
As the only waterfront restaurant in town, the Orleans Inn has reason to brag. But humble's the default setting at this 132-year-old spot above Town Cove, which has gone through many an incarnation (boarding house, supply store) to reach its current status as the top place to gaze and graze on the Cape, with a dining room serving up local seafood with stirring vistas. 3 Old Country Rd., Orleans, MA 2653, orleansinn.com.
With its glossy, red shingles and gabled roofs, the Coonamessett Inn is the epitome of old Cape Cod, a perfect setting for high-style weddings and anniversaries alike. But you needn't wait for a special occasion: Sunday brunch features an array of delicious classics, from make-your-own omelets and baked salmon with special weekly sauces like beurre blanc or citrus, melon, and mango, to oversized fruit plates and gorgeous renditions of sweet favorites like chocolate mousse and carrot cake. 311 Gifford St., Falmouth, MA 2540, capecodrestaurants.org.
This gorgeously untarnished world of sweeping dunes and fresh Atlantic air is about as idyllic as nature gets. That may seem to be true of many Cape shorelines, but this one stands out from others for its spectacular and endless stretches of perfectly undisturbed white sand. With nary a touch of human architecture for miles, this slip of coast also provides a view of the sunrise that approaches the sublime. Rte. 6, Truro, MA .
Manhattan meets Cape Cod at this trendy Hyannis bistro and raw bar. The oysters—prepared naked or topped with a hint of cocktail sauce, a splash of Absolut Peppar vodka, or sour cream and caviar—are beyond divine. The littleneck clams are tiny tastes of the sea. And the melt-in-your-mouth beef carpaccio appetizer and a host of tempting desserts round out a fun, fresh menu. 20 Independence Dr., Hyannis, MA nakedoyster.com/.
Front Street's bar (260 Berkeley St., Boston) is a quiet, secure haven, protected by Horgan. A five-year veteran of the bartending wars of Boston and Cape Cod, Horgan knows his regulars and what they drink, and he protects their privacy. "This isn't a pickup bar," Horgan says. "People come here to relax. Single women come in by themselves and trust me to see they're left alone. People know that no one will bother them here." Front Street, 260 Berkely St., Boston, MA .
Sipping wine on a blanket by the cranberry bogs is so much more relaxing than sitting in traffic on the Bourne Bridge, isn’t it? With three restaurants, easy access to two golf courses, and a spa, the South Shore’s version of a turreted French manor is a welcome respite before the Cape Cod fray. plymouth.mirbeau.com.