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.
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.
Trade your mimosas for margaritas at this brunch hot spot, which serves up creative Mexican cuisine with a Cape twist (see: the quahog rellenos and chipotle-laced lobster bisque). Dine beneath a centuries-old weeping beech tree at the Hyannis outpost, or sit back and people-watch, Paloma in hand, from the Falmouth location’s patio — either way, you’ll find a fun atmosphere that makes every Sunday feel like a party. Multiple locations. anejo.cc.
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, however—housed in an 1897 former lifesaving station—was 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.
Just as hot dogs are a Fenway favorite, it would be silly to skip clams on Cape Cod. And among the dozens of small shacks, Arnold's remains a standout. This quality-conscious spot now has a dining room and screened-in patio—as well as lengthy lines (it's worth the wait, though). Prepare to get messy while scarfing Wellfleet oysters, lobster rolls, and, of course, the famous Arnold's fried clams. 3580 State Hwy. (Rte. 6), Eastham, MA arnoldsrestaurant.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/.
Massages and facials are delightful—until they cut into your precious sun time, that is. Thankfully, the Spa at the Chatham Bars Inn offers the best of both worlds. The facility's outdoor plunge pool, surrounded by lush gardens, is a tranquil way to take in the beauty of the Cape after an aah-inducing rubdown. Al fresco treatments in private cabanas, meanwhile, maximize the therapeutic benefits of the great outdoors. 297 Shore Road, Chatham, MA 2633, chathambarsinn.com.
We’ve been there countless times: We want one last cuddle with Fido before leaving for vacation, but instead he wriggles out of our hands like an eager camper, more than ready to sniff butts and play with his buddies. These are the moments when pet parenting can be slightly heartbreaking (My puppy! He’s all grown up!). When Urban Hound is hosting him for the weekend, however, that goodbye is a little easier to handle: The luxury accommodations at the pet hotel and daycare facility—which features two indoor play parks and 1,000 square feet of outdoor space—are matched only by the fantastic trainers and staff, who are more than qualified to play in loco petrentis. 129 Malden St., Boston, MA 2118, urbanhounds.com.
Save the formal service and immaculate silverware for your power lunches in the city. On the Cape, you want to grab something fast and friendly—and then head right back outside. At Blue Willow, the ingredients are fresh, the sandwiches inventive, and the baked goods all made from scratch. Our superlative midday meal: the signature grilled chicken and Brie panini followed by a fudgy, walnut-studded 'outrageous' brownie. 1426 Route 6, Wellfleet, MA 2663, .
The long lines don't lie: Arnold's serves fried clams at their messy best alongside the fluffiest, tastiest onion rings we've ever eaten. The location doesn't hurt either: It's right on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, with picnic tables in the shade of tall pines where you can pitch your kickstand and enjoy surprisingly reasonably priced seafood on a cafeteria-style tray. As a gesture to gourmets, there's even a raw bar. But stick to the specialties: fried clams, steamers, lobster, and corn on the cob. Rte. 6, Eastham, MA arnoldsrestaurant.com/.
This tiny bakery makes breads, sandwiches, and European-style pastries worth searching out—plus unbelievable muffins, pies, and wedding cakes. But what puts it over the top is its inelegant-sounding "dirt bomb," a dense, indulgent breakfast pasty dusted with cinnamon and sugar. It's a sweet way to jump-start any Cape Cod morning. 5 Cottage St., Orleans, MA cottagestreetbakery.com/.
This half-mile stretch cuts a sandy swath into the rocky terrain of Cape Ann's coastline, giving picnickers plenty of sheltered space to spread out and dig in. Nearby, the Kitchen Witch makes packing the basket effortless with gourmet sandwiches, pints of pasta salad, and homemade cookies. Work off your lunch with a romp in the invigorating tide pools, or let your repast settle as you lie back and wallow in the view. Beach Street; the Kitchen Witch, 4C Summer St., Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 1944, .