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 .
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/.
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.
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. maids.com.
Refreshingly chic silhouettes from Olian, Ripe, Paper Denim, and Inca Mama are enough to recommend Helena's. So are the racks of nonmaternity styles, which include tees by Johnny Was and trapeze tops by Tulle that can be repurposed by those with baby bumps (instantly dressing up, say, a pair of Gap Maternity stretch pants). What puts Helena's over the top, however, is its location, flanked by like-minded businesses Wild Child (see above) and Isis Maternity. In one fell swoop, moms-to-be can purchase a come-hither cocktail dress, sign up for a prenatal yoga class, and test-drive the stroller of the moment. 397 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA 2474, .
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.
Every beachside community needs a restaurant with a view, a meeting place of sorts where families and friends can gather for birthday celebrations or just to gaze and graze on a sunny afternoon. For the mid-Cape, that place is the Pelham House. After a recent major refresh, a heated roof deck offers unobstructed Nantucket Sound views all around, not to mention a killer menu featuring plenty of fresh seafood. As for the apré-dinner scene? Multiple fire pits surrounding the sea-level dining area are perfect for cocktails and moonlit ocean views. 14 Sea St., Dennis Port, MA 02639, pelhamhouseresort.com.
Bostonians are only the Bourne Bridge away from a summertime escape to the Cape. But when you want to feel transported to more-tropical climes, travel to the tiki-bar-style setup at Shore Leave in the South End. It's the perfect place for cooling off with fruity yet finessed rum-soaked drinks and Pacific Rim–inspired snacks such as okonomiyaki tater tots swimming in jalapeño cheese with katsu sauce and bonito. 11 William E Mullins Way, Boston, MA 02118, shoreleaveboston.com.