Take your guests on a grand tour at the Harvard Art Museums, where European allure and venue options are in no short supply. Swap vows in the ivy-adorned courtyard of Adolphus Busch Hall, then head to the museum’s galleries to peruse paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, including masterpieces from the Impressionist era, during cocktail hour. Afterward, you’ll make your official debut in Calderwood Courtyard, the museum’s Renzo Piano–designed atrium. Its glass roof suspends a massive mobile composed of oversize musical triangles—a harmonious backdrop for a dance floor. 32 Quincy St., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, harvardartmuseums.org.
We love underdogs, but lately the MFA has reminded us why it’s the establishment. It has earned its bona fides with shows of trippy hippie fashion, action-packed samurai armor, John Singer Sargent watercolors, and a thematic exploration of the color pink. Its of-the-moment survey of photographs taken by women from Iran and the rest of the Arab world was proof that the august institution does new well, too. After eye-popping 19th-century quilts and a sampler of that sensitive Baroque scoundrel Caravaggio this spring, the Magna Carta, which paved the way for modern democracy, arrived on July 2. The underdogs might wanna get a move on. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2115, mfa.org.
The cache of fabulous handcrafted items, many of them one-of-a-kind, includes everything from fine jewelry to furniture—something for everyone. 36 Copley Place, Boston, MA .
All of Cake Art's babkas are sublime, but we love the chocolate—rich and crumbly—with chocolate through the center and drizzled like lace over the top. This is a babka Seinfeld's Elaine would fight to the death for. 374A South Main St., Sharon, MA .
The Jerry McGuire of the local arts scene, Tucker has been showing us the Monet for the last decade, organizing three spectacular exhibitions for the Museum of Fine Arts—and radically enhancing our appreciation of Boston's favorite French Impressionist. Tucker is also an inspiring teacher.
Lauer picks through junkyards to create the thought-provoking , often humorous window displays at Jasmine and Sola, in Harvard Square, and at North Beach Leather in Copley Place (among other stores). She gets an E for effort and an A for adventurousness.
You make the music, and it makes waiting for the train a harmonious experience. Kendall Square T Station, Cambridge, MA .
Director Dan Corrigan does a great job. 110 Broad St., Boston, MA .
The two statues of former mayor James Michael Curley in Dock Square, near Quincy Market. Brilliant touch.
Vogue named him one of the "most sought after trainers in America": he has a client list peppered with Boston's beautiful people, and his state-of-the-art gym is more Philippe Starke than YMCA grunge. But don't let appearances deceive you: Berke's a task master who realizes people do not want to be sweating their buns off, doing the same old grunts seven days a week. Gym rats addicted to StairMasters, aerobics, and other such standard pursuits be warned: Berke will have you jumping rope, spinning, and taking part in high-intensity weight training. He will also create an individually tailored diet regime, which can include two glasses of red wine a night. $75/hour. Adam Berke Gym, 1260 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
With choices like green eggs and ham and root beer floats, the Art Cliff's menu is a bit like that of a child's tea party. The tastes at this '40s-era diner, however, are pure refinement. Former fine-dining chef Regina Stanley uses ingredients from nearby Morning Glory Farm for her creations; highlights include sweet potato biscuits with maple butter, and asparagus, tomato, and goat cheese frittatas. The pecan-stuffed pancakes alone have brunchies of all ages lining up on the vinyl counter stools seven days a week. 39 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard, MA 2568, .
Boston's foremost art museum has it all: mummies and amphorae, French impressionists, and abstract expressionists. The jaw-dropping highlight, however, is the Arts of the Americas Wing, opened in fall 2010, which has taken many pieces formerly displayed in dark basement galleries and given them space to breathe in a brightly lit, glassed-in viewing area. The galleries themselves are nearly as inspiring as the art they feature. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2115, mfa.org.
Owner Peter Alpers of six-year-old Alpers Fine Art sells paintings on a variety of backdrops (canvas, wood, Plexiglas) by an impressive stable of established artists (Ellen Granter, C. J. Phu) and isn't afraid to take chances on new talent. He also curates diverse shows that include photography, sculpture, and original graphics and encourages visitors to brows—even if they never buy a thing. 2 Main St., Andover, MA 1810, .
It’s the compelling twists on familiar staples that keep the crowds coming to this Vineyard Haven diner on steroids: Biscuits are made with sweet potato, crêpes come loaded with Parmesan, prosciutto, and kale, and crunchy potato pancakes are piled high with Irish bacon and griddled eggs. 39 Beach Rd., Vineyard Haven, MA 2568, .
Brookline Arts Center remains one of the most forward-thinking schools around. Popular offerings include comic-book classes for grade schoolers, a jewelry course for teens, and anything taught by engaging studio coordinator Léonie Little-Lex. Before and during longer classes, kids can shake their sillies on the adjacent playground. 86 Monmouth St., Brookline, MA 02446, brooklineartscenter.com.