You could get a less expensive manicure at any of the walk-in salons that line Newbury Street, but will it last a blissful, chip-free week? A manicure at Bella Santé will, and that, combined with the friendly service, exceptional cleanliness, and immaculate attention to detail (excess polish is erased with a tiny paintbrush), makes the service worth the (slightly higher) price. The staff here can create a flawless French manicure and recommend a regular maintenance program to keep nails strong and healthy. An added bonus: the extensive collection of O.P.I. and Essie polishes to keep you looking fashion-magazine fresh. 38 Newbury St., Boston, MA bellasante.com.
Unlike that other island, the Vineyard isn't all about donning your D&G. Still, after a hard day at the beach, even the most casual among us may crave a little luxury. And that's certainly what you'll find at Bouclé, a tidy two-story spa in the heart of Edgartown. Its spa manicure is a professional buff and polish (you can let your nails dry in the blooming patio garden); its lymphatic massage, a detoxifying dream. The cedar-shingle retreat has a full-service hair salon, too, just in case an unpretentious party invite arrives in your mailbox. 12 N. Water St., Edgartown, MA 2539, .
There's very little on the cutting edge of hairstyling that hasn't made its way up north, thanks to Interlocks. This full-service salon and day spa may have a small-town feel, but it boasts a pool of stylists and colorists straight from the Back Bay and beyond. Specialty services include strand-by-strand hair extensions, thermal straightening, and imaging software consultations so you can see your hair in any color, style, and length before you take the plunge. Once you're properly coiffed, head over to one of the massaging thrones in the nail salon for a "Margarita Mango" pedicure. 58 Merrimac St., Newburyport, MA interlockssalon.com/.
A shabby space, but innovative exhibits. 364 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA .
Bill Arning at MIT's List Visual Arts Center bulks up his reputation as a champion of the arts by scouting new talent, nurturing young artists, and breathing fresh life into the city's art scene.
Known for its upholstery class, the school also offers lessons on underappreciated skills like carving longbows. 24 Eliot St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, eliotschool.org.
Other festivals may showcase art, but they probably don’t turn you into the one making it. Come July, the local edition of this global arts event lets you sculpt, jam, act, and more. boston.figmentproject.org.
As overused as the word “curated” may be in the retail industry, there’s simply no other way to describe the one-of-a-kind fine art, clothing, accessories, and jewelry hand-selected by owner Mikel Hunter, a veteran of both the fashion and gallery worlds. Small-batch designer duds? Check. Paintings by collectible emerging artists? Check. Everything and anything unexpected? Double check. 11 Winter St., Edgartown, MA 02539, mikelhunter.com.
Partnering with Berklee, the second BAMS Fest at Franklin Park boasted killer acts such as Eric Roberson and Cliff Notez jamming on its two stages. Roxbury, MA bamsfest.org.
About every eight weeks, from September to June, the LVAC shows innovative, provocative contemporary work in all media by established and emerging artists, including the likes of Kiki Smith and Louise Borugeois. There are a total of three gallery spaces—more than 4,600 square feet—in this grid-patterned building, designed by MIT alumnus I. M. Pei in 1985. And the atrium, where a giant, colorful Kenneth Nolan painting sprawls across an entire wall, is by far one of Boston's most beautiful sanctuaries. 20 Ames St., Cambridge, MA .
955 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
Part storied dramaturgical institution and part experimental funhouse, ART delivers on its mission to bring cutting-edge theater to Cambridge. americanrepertorytheater.org.
Bronson Alcott's utopia here failed, but the idyllic setting won't fail to please.
Let's face it: Sooner or later someone's going to invite you to go sailing, and if you don't know what you're doing, you're going to get clocked in the head with the boom. To avoid humiliation and possible injury, sign up for bargain-basement sailing lessons at this nonprofit boathouse just across from the Charles-MGH T-stop. With your $195 membership, you get an unlimited number of lessons—and as soon as you pass the rigging test, learn the meaning of "luffing" and "halyward" at Shore School, and take a quick quiz, you can sail the Charles with anyone who'll take you. Community Boating also offers kayak and windsurfing lessons. The deal is unbeatable if you don't mind hanging out with the eccentric and sometimes testy volunteer staff. 21 Embankment Road, Boston, MA .
Louis Boston is fast becoming the Tom Hanks of one-stop shopping. In a category with increasingly stiff competition, Louis returns year after year to win the prize, thanks to its superior selection, variety, and (okay, occasionally snooty) service. Where else can you find the perfect pair of shoes, killer dress, and new lipstick while having your nails done—all in one afternoon? Men can find a full range of suits, casual wear, shoes, and even tuxes, all ready to be tailored at a moment's notice. With Debi Greenburg mixing cutting-edge designers from Dries van Noten to Anait Bian with tried-and-true labels like Prada, the competition doesn't stand a chance. 234 Berkeley St., Boston, MA louisboston.com/.