Learn to sail in the chaos of Boston Harbor, and you'll be able to sail almost anywhere in the world. Boston Sailing Center has been teaching novices the sport for more than 20 years with instruction from some of the saltiest dogs on the Atlantic seaboard. That includes Scott Ackerman, who teaches beginner and advanced courses at the center and has the keen ability to turn lumpy landlubbers into proficient sailors by the end of the five-week course. The Riverboat at Lewis Wharf, Boston, MA .
The longtime head instructor at the Boston Sailing Center, Carlson—a sailor since age 6—knows the Charles and the harbor inside and out, and has novices jibing and tacking like old hands after just two weekends of instruction. Free advice: "One of the biggest mistakes people make is to overtrim the sails—the boat tends to heel over or stall out. It's more efficient to keep the boat flat, and let the foils on the rudder do their work." Boston Sailing Center, 54 Lewis Wharf, Boston, MA 2110, .
Our nails were ugly. So when we got the tip to see Dolores at Austen's, we were only too happy to test her out. Could our yucky stubs be transformed into beautiful digits? Miraculously, yes. In fact, we can't decide what we liked best: the cheerful yellow walls and big open windows of the cozy salon, the goodies to eat while you wait (orange juice and croissants, cookies, even brie), or the manicure itself, which made our nails look sophisticated, not scary. And Dolores is a sweetheart: If her pleasant demeanor and easy laugh don't win you over, her mean hand massage will. 115 Newbury Street, Boston, MA .
Not much changed when KitchenArts picked up and moved a block down Newbury this spring: Getting into the tiny space is still a squeeze, and getting out without buying anything is still a miracle. Stellar cooking gear beckons everywhere you look, from the heavyweights (Wüsthof knives, Le Creuset Dutch ovens) to the essentials (silicone spatulas, stainless steel measuring cups). Gizmos and thingamabobs are also out in full force, including but hardly limited to gnocchi paddles, collapsible potato mashers, crêpe scrapers, tomato corers, and salt pigs. All in all, it's really just about everything an Iron Chef wannabe needs to, er, set the world on fire. 215 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, kitchenarts.biz.
Take home a few items from KitchenArts and you'll find yourself ordering lots less takeout. KitchenArts features designer cutlery at enticing prices, pots and pans so beautiful you'll hesitate to mess them up with food, and that unusually shaped pie crimper you've been coveting for years. The store's friendly owners are so in-the-know about all things culinary, you'll wish they'd invite you for dinner. 161 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
This family-owned store gets our raves for the chef (or wannabe) looking for the best items to outfit the serious kitchen. Competitive prices on brands such as Calphalon and All-Clad, but beats everyone on price for top-of-the-line cutlery. Nice selection of hard-to-find gadgets as well. 161 Newbury Street, Boston, MA .
Price, but worth every penny. 161 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
It's not just for Sabbath anymore. Knowing a good thing when they saw it, the bakers at Cake Art turned their fabulous challah into a variety of other goodies like onion rolls and hot dog buns. Just make sure that's a kosher dog on that roll. 374 South Main St., Sharon, MA .
Germaphobes, this is your safe haven. From the single-use buffers and nail files to the individually packed, disinfected trimming tools, MiniLuxe feels cleaner than most hospital rooms. But just because the place it practically sterile doesn't mean it lacks artistry: The nail techs scrub and polish till your ragged fingertips gleam like jewels. 296 Newbury St, Boston, MA 2116, miniluxe.com.
Beauty may be only skin deep, but the relaxing effect of a day at Grettacole goes so much deeper. A true spa-goer's spa, Grettacole is staffed by an army of masseuses, aestheticians, and nail technicians—every last one a perfectionist—who can fix a nail as perfectly as they can clean your pores or buff your skin to a high shine. The spa offers not only top-of-the-line services, but also excellent salon and spa products from Kérastase, Bumble & bumble, and Trish McEvoy. 95 Central St., Wellesley, MA grettacole.com/.
Muses nonwithstanding, the Art Store sells everything your magnum opus needs, and at prices that won't leave the artist in you starving. Forget rummaging through piles of 200 pre-stretched canvases to find the size you want; it's all neatly ordered against the wall. Every shade of paint—oil, acrylic, watercolor, you name it—is represented, and the paper selection runs from handmade, violet-embedded sheets to plain foam core. Like to sit while you sketch? There's furniture here too, plus easels and mesh file boxes. Come to think of it, the large, open, and neatly arranged space may just inspire you after all—to organize your studio. 401 Park Dr., Boston, MA .
Stepping into this small Newbury Street shop is more inspiring than a cooking show could ever be. The shelves are crammed with bakeware, pots, pans, appliances, and an envy-inducing selection of knives from makers including Henckels, plus such tempting doodads as neon-colored silicone pot holders. It's easy to imagine whipping up perfect little pastries in those scalloped tartlet pans or hearty, crowd-pleasing casseroles in the brightly colored Le Creuset French ovens. Can't cook? Kitchen Arts has you covered there, too, with a supply of crime-scene tape for use when kitchen exploits go awry. 161 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
You don't have to be a high priestess to shop here. With an intriguing array of crystals, incense, jewelry, and d̩cor, Ritual Arts is welcoming to anyone who appreciates a good Nag Champa. For extra good vibes, end your visit with head scratches for LoveBomb the cat. 153 Harvard Ave., Boston, MA 02134, .
The staff at this low-key, blissfully relaxing spa makes having your nails buffed and polished a special occasion. Manicurists delicately file nails and trim cuticles, throwing in a tension-melting hand massage to boot. And if you're unsure about length, shape, or color (the spa stocks an extensive range of Essie and OPI polishes), they'll offer an expert opinion or just get down to the task at hand while you concentrate on the serious business of unwinding. 38 Newbury St., Boston, MA bellasante.com/.
Kitchen Arts is the Chanel of cooking and baking stores: Its surroundings are simply much more stylish than its competitors'. But there's also substance to back up the finery: Kitchen Arts carries all the important manufacturers that professional chefs recommend using at home, from Le Creuset crockery to Wusthof knives to All-Clad pots and pans. These wares aren't cheap, to be sure, but they last forever—if not, the Kitchen Arts staff has been known to be very helpful in replacing parts of worn equipment. 161 Newbury Street, Boston, MA .