This is just to say that the apology note you left on the fridge didn't quite cut it, and the person whose sweet, cold plums you scarfed down is profoundly annoyed. Next time, put those words of remorse—or thanks, or affection—on something that gives them a bit more weight. At cornucopian paper shop Scribe, choose from scores of distinctive cards (Smudge Ink, B Designs) and refined stationery from the likes of Boatman Geller. If a gift is required, there are fragrant Seda France candles, Heather Moore jewelry, plus purses, pens, and more. (But sorry: no replacement plums.) 84 Washington St., Marblehead, MA 1945, .
Amid a flurry of cleaning services catering to on-the-go urbanites, the Jamaica Plain outpost of this national operation shows an unbeatable blend of polish and professionalism. After setting the appointment and sending an e-mail confirmation, your cleaning team will arrive armed with grime-busting equipment and a dozen sprays, as well as a rigorous 22-step plan for restoring your home's sparkle. The Maids will even pick up and drop off your keys at work—another excellent reason to fork over the $159 fee, which is lowered if you book monthly follow-ups. 179 Boylston St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, .
It's hard to decide what's best about this cozy South End bakery, where the owners have thought of every amenity for busy city dwellers. Is it the a.m. treats? The lunch? The cute tables that overlook Appleton Street? The gourmet take-out options? The catering? When push comes to shove, we choose the scandalousy delicious breakfast goodies: scones to cry over, fruit-studded muffins, old-fashioned sour cream coffee cake, and granola that could put a commune out of business. We could go on, but our trainer says no. 123 Appleton Street, Boston, MA appletoncafe.com/.
Some Sunday mornings require a little time spent catching up with our favorite sister, bloody mary. And the best place to find her in these parts is at the East Coast Grill. The bloody mary bar here goes beyond the traditional to offer tipplers a choice of ingredients—citrus squeezes, herbs, spices, vegetables, and hot sauces—to add to their base of vodka and tomato juice. From there you can get to the next order of business: pulling up to a hearty plate of grilled sausages, tropical fruit pancakes, a fluffy avocado—black bean—salsa omelet, cornbread-crusted French toast, and the Sunday paper. 1271 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA eastcoastgrill.net/.
Before Hingham's 251-acre World's End peninsula became a stunning spot for picnickers, it was the proposed location for both the United Nations headquarters and a nuclear power plant. Luckily, those ideas failed. Today, the reservation property boasts wide fields, native fauna, 4-plus miles of tree-lined walking paths, and panoramic views of the city skyline and Hingham Harbor. Just add paper plates and homemade sandwiches for a dining experience to rival that of any swanky sidewalk café. ($4.50, 8 a.m.-sunset year round.) 250 Martin's Lane, Hingham, MA 2043, thetrustees.org.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
Opened with the money earned from a dish-washing job by a guy who started surfing on the Cape when he was 5, the Pump House has surf attitude. All the salespeople surf, of course; most wear board shorts in the store, whose back wall is stacked with 100 boards ready to throw on top of the VW and take to the nearest beach, five minutes away. The Pump House also offers rentals, repairs, and lessons, and sells apparel, Frisbees, and the wetsuits that are standard gear for any true New England surfer. 9 Cranberry Highway (Rte. 6A), Orleans, MA pumphousesurf.com/.