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 .
Nestled inside a former textile factory, this alluring Pioneer Valley venue offers everything you’ll need for a killer party: a talented catering team to prepare your wedding feast, access to scenic outdoor areas for endless photo ops, and a much-needed bridal suite for when you need a break from schmoozing with guests. Dress up either of the Boylston Rooms’ function spaces with your choice of décor, or simply let the celebration spots speak for themselves: Effortlessly cool with swaths of white-painted brick and oversize windows, the high-ceilinged rooms are already rich in character. 122 Pleasant St., Easthampton, MA boylstonroom.com.
This is where to go after you've checked that shiny new Rolex (which Royal doesn't carry) off your wish list and are ready to start building a collection around more-exotic lines. Since 1948, the family-run business has catered to aficionados with hundreds of models from top brands like Ulysse Nardin and Vacheron Constantin—both exclusive to Royal in the Boston area—and an in-house repair service. Plus, the excellent salespeople don't work on commission, so feel free to take your sweet time. 58 Main St., Andover, MA 1810, royaljewelers.com.
Call it whatever you want—the Puppy Palace, the Kitty Kastle—no euphemism will ever fool pets into believing a kennel is as good as their own bed (or yours). But when you just can't bring them along on the family trip to Cabo, this is the next best thing. Indoor and outdoor play spaces, trained staffers, and stimuli aplenty make for boarding that's almost fun; at-home visits cater to the finicky, moody, or antisocial. Plus, the DogScoop's handy pickup/drop-off service makes coaxing Cupcake into the car or crate their problem, not yours. 216 Webster St., Newton, MA 2465, thedogscoop.com.
Anatomy of a Winner: Contained on a paper-lined tray (and scattered on the reclaimed wood table) is barbecue bliss, as follows. 1. A variety of house-made hot sauces lets you dress your meat as you please. 2. Fist-size biscuits are sinfully buttery and flaky. 3. Thirst-quenching cocktails come in a mason jar. 4. The crunchy "farm salad" provides welcome relief from the richness of the meat—and from the 5. cheesy, crumb-topped broccoli casserole. 6. The main event, the pork ribs, are smoky and tender. 7. Old-school accoutrements include pickles, shaved white onion, and squishy white bread, all of which balance the heat. 1381 Boylston St., Boston, MA sweetcheeksq.com.
Even in the dead of winter, this South End French-Vietnamese restaurant is as steamy as a night in Saigon. With its red-tinted walls, decorations imported straight from Southeast Asia, and sexy cocktails cheekily served in bamboo-etched tumblers under paper umbrellas, Pho Republique is a passport to revelry. Thanks to the generous reservations policy, parties large and small can reserve long tables perfect for sharing steamed bowls of aromatic pho or the must-have tuna spring rolls. The waitstaff handles such groups with Zen-like aplomb, keeping drinks fresh, plates full, and every diner happy. 1415 Washington Ave., Boston, MA .
Don’t ask Cape Ann’s well-coiffed denizens about Heather Murray’s Gloucester salon, a modern space that belies its charming Victorian exterior. Everyone wants to keep the seasoned hairstylist’s magic hands (and scissors) to themselves. Cuts are sharp without being too trendy, and color is natural, not forced, just like Kyla Salon’s atmosphere. 33 Pleasant St., Gloucester, MA 01930, kylasalon.com.
Come for the view, stay for the vibe, order the seafood. That’s all you need to know to enjoy an evening at Fishermen’s View, situated on the canal in Sandwich. Opened in 2016 by brothers and fishermen Bob and Denny Colbert, the menu emphasizes fresh, local catch, most of it unloaded at the docks below the restaurant. An inviting atmosphere awaits on the patio in the warmer months with live music and an outdoor bar, but sunsets over the canal (accompanied by stuffed Cape Cod cherrystones or a lobster "knuckle" sandwich) are sweet any month of the year. 20 Freezer Rd., Sandwich, MA 02563, fishermensview.com.
When President John F. Kennedy established the Cape Cod National Seashore in 1961, he effectively curbed future development in the area. The preexisting Beachcomber, howeverhoused in an 1897 former lifesaving stationwas allowed to keep one of the few commercial permits available on the Atlantic-facing coast. So the next time you’re slurping Wellfleets, enjoying live music, or sipping a piña colada at this popular spot, toast JFK for the special setting and views of the open ocean. 1120 Cahoon Hollow Rd., Wellfleet, MA 2667, thebeachcomber.com.
Sundae School started as a mom-and-pop operation—and a reason for founders Paul and Andrea Endres, then living in Milton, to spend their summers on the Cape. Three decades and three stores later, it's a full-time family affair (at some point, each of the Endreses' five kids has worked behind the counter). The shop's celebrated ice cream is made fresh, and in limited amounts; among the most heavenly flavors are sweet cream, ginger, créme de menthe chip, and any of the berry blends. 606 Main St., Route 28, Harwich Port, MA 2646, sundaeschoolicecream.com.
Just as hot dogs are a Fenway favorite, it would be silly to skip clams on Cape Cod. And among the dozens of small shacks, Arnold's remains a standout. This quality-conscious spot now has a dining room and screened-in patio—as well as lengthy lines (it's worth the wait, though). Prepare to get messy while scarfing Wellfleet oysters, lobster rolls, and, of course, the famous Arnold's fried clams. 3580 State Hwy. (Rte. 6), Eastham, MA arnoldsrestaurant.com/.