Old souls who still prefer old-fashioned card stock to Evites may get carried away when shuffling through the pens, pencils, and paper of every possible type at Bob Slate. For an extra-personal touch, you can work with the store's knowledgeable and creative staff to custom design your own full set of embossed, 100-percent cotton stationery, a move that will have you leaving your calling card all around the city. 1288 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2138, bobslate.com.
When Amy Chase's online selection of '60s-era boots, sequin tops, fur-trimmed coats, and accessories grew too big for Etsy, Chase found herself trolling for vintage trailers. Now she stations her Bellwood camper at outdoor markets, festivals, and parking lots, and books private shopping parties with her movable boutique, the Haberdash Vintage. 138 Green St., Worcester, MA 1604, haberdashvintage.com.
Chances are the jewelry you saw on the pages of a national fashion magazine is under the glass at Royals. Penny Preville, Kisselstein-Cord, SeidenGang, Doris Panos, TechnoMarine, and Philippe Chariol are just some of the designers represented at this family-run business, which has catered to the North Shore area for 50 years. Look for a store face-lift this fall that will add an in-house David Yurman boutique. 58 Main Street, Andover, MA royaljewelers.com/.
Warm sun streams into this Charles Street bakery-cum-café's expansive windows, where the clientele kicks back (sometimes for hours) over high-octane lattes, crumbly slices of walnut bread, and the daily papers. And while you can clearly witness the hustle and bustle outside, it fades as you sink deeper into the shop's meditative momentum. 144 Charles St., Boston, MA panificioboston.com/.
Head west, young man, to Newton Centre. There you'll find Mr. Sid, the shop that caters to classy guys looking to dress to the nines in Armani, Hugo Boss, Zegna, and Corneliani. Helpful, knowledgeable, and courteous salesmen escort customers through the store, which is divided into smaller areas by collections. Tired of shopping? There's an in-store pool table, a hair salon, and a well-stocked bar. 1211 Centre St., Newton Centre, MA mrsid.com/.
Don't be fooled by the faded shabby-chic exterior: Beyond the white wicker sidewalk furniture is a shop stylish enough for any city's streets. Buyer Pamela Fink stocks Gatsbys with premium products including Paper, Denim & Cloth and True Religion denim; Theory tops and trousers; and a rainbow of Petit Bateau T-shirts. There's also a selection of sporty shoes, Cosabella lingerie, Kiehl's products, and Juicy Couture loungewear. 25 Railroad St., Great Barrington, MA .
Although it has expanded its dining area, we love Bakers' Best most for its sophisticated takeout options. Everything comes with detailed reheating directions that will fool your guests into thinking you cooked it yourself. But don't worry: The employees here won't give away your secret. They'll even come over to cater for you. 27 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, MA .
There are flashier lanes in town—theme park-like emporiums with flat-screen TVs and signature cocktails. But the laid-back atmosphere of Sacco's wins it top honors. It's complete throwback awesomeness, from the candlepin setup to the pencil-and-paper mode of scorekeeping. If there's a wait, grab a seat at the bar, order a Flatbread Company pizza and a Pretty Things pint, and kick back. 45 Day St., Somerville, MA 2144, .
It may sound tacky on paper, but in person, Peking Tom's is deliciously campy and cool. With colorfully ironic splashes of Asian pop culture, delightful retro tinges, and plenty of room for lounging, this hidden Downtown Crossing destination with its highly competent service is perfect for parties of 2, 12, or 20. The menu relies on a perfect balance of sweet and sour, fried and juicy, meaty and delicate. Just remember—don't overload on kumquat mojitos before digging into the crispy sweet-chili squid or orange and tamarind-glazed spareribs. 25 Kingston St., Boston, MA .
When Lana Barakat decided to rethink her two Beacon Hill clothing-and-gift boutiques, she envisioned one store catering to home décor and another specializing in apparel and accessories. This divide-and-conquer strategy created more room for something Boston has been sorely lacking: high-end women’s footwear. Handcrafted by European and American designers, Barakat’s collection includes everything from metallic leather boots with an offset heel to cheetah-print loafers to sneakers with a velvet knot tie—perfect for navigating the cobblestones in style as you stroll up Charles to check out what other treasures await at the December Thieves home store. 51 Charles St., Boston, MA decemberthieves.com.
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, .
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 .