With its whimsical presentation and extraordinary attention to detail, Calla Lilly reinvents hors d'oeuvres. You'll find the usual suspects (crab cakes and California rolls), but the twist is in the remoulades and dipping sauces. Portobella mushroom quesadillas, mini-popovers, and lobster cakes with citrus salsa are served on platters with exotic floral arrangements. 92 Krikland St., Cambridge, MA .
Since he took over, three years ago, Cordon Bleu-trained Tom Brooks has remade the company and its bill of fare from scratch—including an Italian cheese torta that is never forgotten by those who taste it. 120 Washington Street, Somerville, MA .
The initials stand for East Meets West, and this caterer melds the best cooking of both worlds. Boston and Nantucket, MA
Sure, the food's great. But most important, these guys really know how to throw a party! 508 Medford St., Somerville, MA .
Merely stepping inside this Dominican restaurant's tropical-hued interior is enough to banish all thoughts of dreary New England weather. Tuck into a platter of tostones, and the illusion is complete. 160 Blue Hill Ave., Roxbury, MA 02125, merenguerestaurant.com.
Those looking to tear things up at their next soiree would do well to hit this paper-goods purveyor first. The Beacon Hill shop is packed with party-throwing and -going essentials: irresistible invites, stylish gift wrap, gracious thank-yous. For non-shindig-related business, there's stationery in an assortment of styles and a cache of embossing powder and stamps. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, ruggroadpaper.com.
Mediocre meals are a mainstay at weddings: As long as it's edible, goes the conventional wisdom, no one will complain. That doesn't fly with Stephen Barck, chef and co-owner of Tables of Content. He wants every morsel to be memorable in both flavor and presentation. After a private tasting at the outlet's new Roslindale facility, you won't want to work with anyone else. 2 McCraw St., Roslindale, MA tablesofcontent.com/.
This charming shop offers a jaw-dropping array of card stocks and designs for every occasion, from receptions to rehearsal dinners. You'll also find photo albums, rubber stamps, and embossing tools for scrapbooking—all of which will preserve the memories of your big day beautifully. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, ruggroadpaper.com.
Engagement announcements, invitations, programs: Set the tone you want with a little help from Rugg Road. At this Beacon Hill boutique, you'll find a staggering selection—traditional Crane's, contemporary letterpress, or custom creations—inspiring samples, and an amicable staff to guide you should you decide to stray from the standard black-on-ivory motif. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA ruggroadpaper.com/.
Sure, there's the cake and the pretty dresses. But really, what would a wedding be without the invitations? Stationery gets top billing at Rugg Road, where style options run from classic and contemporary to just plain beautiful. With more than 500 kinds of paper (Japanese silkscreen, natural fiber, and hand-pressed floral, to name a few), it's easy to be overwhelmed. But don't be—the staff's sage advice and helpful guidebooks will be there every step of the way. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA ruggroadpaper.com/.
For custom wedding invitations, stationery, and an excellent if overwhelming selection of fine papers from across the globe, this Beacon Hill shop is unparalleled. There are more than 600 papers to choose from and a savvy, helpful staff that gives each customer special attention. Classes are offered seasonally in the arts of bookbinding, origami, and candlemaking, to name a few. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA .
Whether you're looking for a gift or for your own personal use, no other store is more fun to browse in for writing, wrapping, and special occasion papers. Rugg Road carries an unusual and beautiful selection— sold by the sheet or by the box— that is a nice departure from the ubiquitous Crane's stationary, and great for customized invitations. Its heavy stock writing paper is email's most valiant enemy. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA .
The granddaddy of rail trails, this 20-plus-mile paved pathway stretching from Yarmouth to Wellfleet offers no shortage of things to see and do en route. Zip past cranberry bogs, cool off in Seymour Pond, and reward yourself after an exhilarating ride with an ice cream cone or ice-cold beer (why not both?) right along the trail. mass.gov/locations/cape-cod-rail-trail.
A touch of the South End opened in Gloucester last fall, and it's been packed ever since. And no wonder. You could become addicted to the meatloaf, and can make an evening out of a couple of appetizers, a few glasses of wine, and the surprisingly fruitful people-watching. 118 Main St., Gloucester, MA franklincafe.com/.
The resort itself may feel a bit stuck in the '70s, but the Cape Codder's spa has surely caught up with the times. Such treatments as cranberry-enzyme facial peels and detoxifying seaweed-clay masques and massages are always perfectly performed. And after you're done being pampered, your kids can frolic in the hotel's oceanlike indoor pool, which boasts two big water slides and two-and-a-half-foot waves. 1225 Iyannough Rd. (Rte. 132), Hyannis, MA capecodderresort.com/.