There are plenty of great day trips available on Cape Cod, from whale watches to dune tours, but no other excursion company offers them as comprehensively as Flyer's, master of everything on or in the water. The company has built a sturdy reputation for its well-kept vessels (from Sunfish to pontoons), reasonable prices, and professional instructors and staff who will bend over backwards to get you what you need—whether it's a seasoned captain for a 13-person cruise to Long Point, a simple kayak to rent, a mid-range power boat, a temporary mooring for the weekend, or a season's worth of sailing lessons. 131A Commercial St., Provincetown, MA flyersboats.com/.
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.
When he took over the storied Casablanca space in Harvard Square, chef Michael Scelfo promised that for his first solo venture, he’d serve fare inspired by the dinners he makes for his family at home. We can’t help but wonder—is the Scelfo clan really supping on briny Woodbury clams coated in a rich pig’s-tail-laced sauce, crunchy chicken-fried rabbit drizzled with chili oil, and cocoa-rubbed lamb sirloin? It’s perhaps unlikely—but if true, then they’re as lucky as we are to experience Scelfo’s inspired, flavor-jammed brand of cooking. 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 2138, aldenharlow.com.
Given his stints at No. 9 Park and Prezza, chef Matt O'Neil knows from high-end. For the Swampscott native's first solo flight, however, he chose to appeal to the rest of us. At his casual American-Mediterranean outpost, there's a juicy blue cheese–stuffed burger for the college kid, quality cuts of swordfish and steak for Mom and Dad, and $6 meal deals with dessert for tykes. Dining out a few times a week here is both an attractive and affordable proposition, making the pull of the Blue Ox strong indeed. 191 Oxford St., Lynn, MA 1901, theblueoxlynn.com.
When the Liberty opened last winter in the old Charles Street jail, following a $150 million building renovation, it was met with the requisite jokes about white-collar inmates and doing time in the Clink (one of the hotel restaurants). Penitentiary puns aside, the 298-room hotel has raised the bar for Boston accommodations: Its 24/7 fitness center, dining, and concierge services are all first-rate, and the rooms—exposed brick walls, Molton Brown toiletries, VoIP phones—are eminently comfortable. The magnificent vaulted lobby is worth a visit in itself. 215 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, libertyhotel.com.
Don't mess around with movers that fail to show up on time or try to hold your belongings hostage until you fork over a wad of cash vastly in excess of the original estimate. Gentle Giant will give you an honest quote, turn up exactly as promised, and call you at work just before coming.Plus, the crew is gentle, like the name says. Another bonus: You can have an intelligent conversation with your movers, who all seem to be hard at work on the Great American Novel. All in all, Gentle Giant belongs in the Haul of Fame. 29 Harding St., Somerville, MA .
The long, winding boardwalks and grassy dunes at Crane Beach can magically readjust the tired mind of even the most citified creature. After sinking your toes into the beach's soft white sand, you may decide to trade in your power suit for a bathing suit—permanently. Bird lovers, bring your binoculars—Crane is home to more than 200 aviary species, including wild turkeys. Getting there a problem? For those without wheels, take the commuter rail to downtown Ipswich, and then bike five miles to the beach. For those who drive: Stop to go antiquing in nearby Essex on the way. For kids of all ages: Don't miss Crane's annual sand-sculpture competition on August 12. Beach amenities: ample parking, refreshments, clean bathhouses, and outside showers. Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA .
It simply isn't summer in Brant Rock without the smell of crab cakes and eggs—and the epic brunch lines it attracts—pouring from Arthur & Pat's. And it isn't Arthur & Pat's without Aerosmith blaring through the salty air, waitresses in tie-dyed shirs slamming groaning plates onto the granite tables, or ridiculous cartoons illustrating the killer daily specials: shrimp florentine omelettes, gloriously crispy fried clams, and the aptly named "Artie's Orgasmic Lobster Roll." 239 Ocean St., Marshfield, MA .
In five short years, Tony Ginewicz's firm has garnered a citywide following with its same-day service and knack for curing what ails all major brands. 66 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, .
An astonishingly mature and profound exploration of female identity from a young artist who committed suicide at the age of 22.
Still feeling stressed from nearly missing the ferry? Have a knot in your neck that needs professional untying? Get yourself to Tresses, where the firm yet gentle hands of well-trained masseurs will work out whatever ails you. Don't be surprised if it becomes the highlight of your island stay 117 Pleasant St., Nantucket, MA nantucketspa.com/.
Ares has been resoling, reheeling, and repolishing Boston's finest leather shoes for more than 70 years and will take extra special care of yours. The expert cobblers in the cozy basement storefront are a serious but likeable bunch who each have years of training behind their knowledge of the craft. That expertise means they can resize, stretch out, clean up, or de-scuff just about anything you bring in—fast, and at a reasonable price. 84 Charles St., Boston, MA .
With its oaky scent, worn wooden shelves, and thousands of bottles, Brookline Liquor Mart is simply an oenophile's delight. This superstore has been doling out educated, accessible wine advice for more than 40 years and boasts an enormous selection from the world's best wine-producing regions. There are varietal tastings every Saturday, an intriguing rare wine room, and monthly sales and specials. For large orders, take advantage of the delivery service or place orders online for future case shipments. Or just come in and browse; everyone from first-time tasters to experienced collectors can find a gem. 1354 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, MA blmwine.com/.
With its relaxing acoustic sound and a new contract from Capitol Records, this upbeat group has a clear shot at the national charts. MA