Picture Perfect Pets
More kindergarten teacher than drill sergeant, Bette Yip can teach pooches to do anything—sit; stay; scoop their own poop (we can dream, can't we?). If Rover can't make group classes—or hasn't yet learned to play well with others—sign him up in advance for private lessons. After a few one-on-one sessions with Yip, he'll be ready to fetch the paper and roll over like a pro. 9C Dudley Street Pl., Arlington, MA 2476, betteyip.com.
Met Back Bay
In a sea of nondescript restaurants catering to shoppers and office workers, Met Back Bay consistently impresses with its comfort-food-with-a-twist fare (think: rotisserie jerk chicken and head-on trout with shaved zucchini). Then there's the ham-and-cheese bar, where a multitude of potential pairings—prosciutto with Great Hill Blue, or hickory-smoked ham with Cabot clothbound cheddar?—support lingering at the bar with a glass of rosé. 279 Dartmouth St., Boston, MA 2116, metbackbay.com.
Lighting makes a room, and the selection at Wolfers can give any home a welcoming glow. The Allston gallery has fixtures for every space—indoor and out. It caters to a variety of styles and budgets with fixtures including ornate chandeliers and funky kitchen pendants. The savvy salespeople can always shed light on any illumination problem, whether you need help changing a bulb or lighting an antique barn. 103 N. Beacon St., Allston, MA wolfers.com.
Boston Public Library
The gurgle of the cast-bronze fountain in the Italianate open-air courtyard. The glow of the green glass lamps on Bates Hall’s long reading tables. Set the scene for your own epic love story at the BPL. With an array of dramatic party spaces and creative, personalized cuisine from the Catered Affair, the Renaissance Revival treasure is less library and more fairy-tale romance in the making. bpl.org; thecateredaffair.com/bpl. 700 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
Sault New England
Owner Philip Saul (pictured) will bring sartorially salty New England cred to your closet. Pick up a button-down, available in a variety of fabrics, from the store's eponymous label, made in Fall River. Or go for a trusty selection of familiar brands like Jack Purcell, Penfield, and Jack Spade—with surprising twists, like vintage leather brogues to pair with Unbranded Japanese selvage tapered denim jeans. Naturally, you'll want to grab some beer soap or beard oil on your way out. 577 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02118, saultne.com.
Fort Point Italian restaurant Pastoral gets points for a prime location (blocks from the Boston Children's Museum) and an excellent parking situation (get a $5 validation for the nearby Farnsworth Garage). There's ample stroller parking in the takeout area, and tables are widely spaced so antsy children can roam free. The kids' menu, meanwhile, offers thoughtful touches like gluten-free pizza; paper and crayons arrive while you wait. 345 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210, pastoralfortpoint.com.
This beachfront resort is located just a short bike ride away from Edgartown. Not that you'll ever need to trek into town. The family-friendly property offers myriad accommodation options to suit everyone from couples to cousins, and has a bevy of amenities—tennis, yoga, pools—to keep the crew happy all day long. The Dunes, the Winnetu's restaurant, caters to a diverse crowd, including the kiddos. 31 Dunes Rd., Edgartown, MA 02539, winnetu.com.
Warning: This is not the type of corner café you can turn into a makeshift office. Instead, the dual-use space, shared with Downtown Crossing’s Graffito SP, caters to serious coffee fiends. Presiding over the Modbar espresso machine are former Coffee Trike barista San Bellino and his team, who dole out the best cortados around using nuanced beans from partner Patrick Barter’s central Massachusetts roastery. That attention to detail also extends to the eats, with cheddar-chive-bacon biscuits and molasses scones prepared daily by Townsman pastry wiz Meghan Thompson. 108 Lincoln St., Boston, MA 02111, gracenotecoffee.com.
You'll wish you had more occasions to wear girlie dresses after you visit this starry-eyed Beacon Hill boutique. The small space is filled to the brim with trendy threads and accessories, but the collection of flirty dresses, skirts, and petal-soft cotton Ts merits special attention. The selection is comfortably eclectic—think Trina Turk, Ella Moss, Tibi, Susana Monaco, Paper Denim & Cloth, Velvet, How & Wen, and Shoshanna, just for starters. You're bound to find yourself circling the racks, spying new must-haves with every pass. 49 Charles St., Boston, MA wishboston.wordpress.com.
After teaching spinning at workout meccas like Equinox and Crunch, D'Andrea opened his own 5,000-square-foot fitness studio last year to cater to his considerable following. (He claims a 70 percent retention rate among his clients.) Free advice: "For weight training, dumbbells give far better results than machines. And forget weight belts. Last I heard, cavemen didn't wear weight belts, and they were in better shape than some of the people working out now." 55 Charles St., Needham, MA 2494, .
Arthur & Pat's
Arthur & Pat's, in the words of one sage local, "doesn't cater to the fancy-pants crowd." And indeed, the restaurant's worn exterior, wooden signs, and random rock soundtrack are unabashedly down-home. But if those details create a misperception of slapdash management, it's immediately cleared up by the glorious grub. We're talking fluffy pancakes with piles of berries; eggs Benedict with real crab; crispy, greaseless fried clams; bottomless cups of strong, hot coffee. After your meal, you may feel tempted to undo your belt—and given the easygoing air, it'd almost be acceptable to do so. 239 Ocean St., Marshfield, MA 2050, .
With heavy hitters like Lenovo, Apple, and Sony to call upon, the sole Bay State outpost of Ohio-based Micro Center stocks the best personal computers on the market, along with a bevy of cameras, scanners, monitors, and other peripherals. But what really gets local tech-heads powered up is the vast BYOPC (Build Your Own PC) section, replete with all the components needed to pimp that desktop—or build one from scratch. Free in-store clinics on such topics as VoIP and network security further cater to IT acolytes who aspire to true geekdom. 730 Memorial Dr., Cambridge, MA 2139, microcenter.com.
Gazillion-thread-count sheets aside, a hotel is really only as good as its bar. And chichi steakhouse KO Prime has admirably elevated the one at downtown's Nine Zero Hotel over the past year. Adjacent to the restaurant's sweeping dining room, the loungelike space caters to an in-town audience as well as trysters and overnight guests with a smart by-the-glass wine list and wowza cocktails such as the green tea-calamansi gimlet (chilled with liquid nitrogen!). For travelers with work to attend to, the combination of wireless Internet and tush-pleasing seating banishes the memory of sterile hotel business centers. 90 Tremont St., Boston, MA 2108, .
The increasingly popular sit-down service is good, too (especially for Saturday and Sunday brunch), but it's the takeout that sets this Newton Highlands institution apart. The friendly staff will wrap up anything to go, from a cup of coffee to a multicourse gourmet dinner for as many guests as you can gather. Big orders like those require one day's notice, but Baker's Best makes it easy with a quiet catering office and a convenient check-off menu. There are also freezers full of ready-to-cook meal components in the main store, from hors d'oeuvres to entrées. And that food—it really is the best. 27 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, MA bakersbestcatering.com.
The Beach Plum Restaurant
Technically, the Beach Plum Inn’s harborfront restaurant has been in business since the 1980s. But we’d argue that all the changes made here in 2013—from the installation of chef Chris Fischer (who sources ingredients from his nearby Beetlebung Farm) to the revamped, dressed-down-but-still-smart interior (with butcher-paper place mats and crayons for grownup doodles)—have rendered the Beach Plum an entirely new culinary animal, indeed. In sum? It’s a stylish spot that marries the Vineyard’s bounty with a decidedly cool aesthetic. 50 Beach Plum Ln., Menemsha, MA 2552, beachplumrestaurant.com.