Annabelle and Simon Hunton worked hard to maintain the integrity of their 1908 Arts and Crafts manor when transforming it into the seven-room Nobnocket Boutique Inn, but that doesn't mean they've skimped on the plush amenities: Expect loaner bikes for exploring, croquet (naturally), and one of the island's finest breakfasts, best taken on the veranda. 60 Mount Aldworth Rd., Vineyard Haven, MA 2568, nobnocket.com.
The western ’burbs have no shortage of fine Italian restaurants, none as transportingor as lovelyas this Waltham mainstay. The artfully prepared cuisine (tagliolini with fresh lobster and shrimp, duck-confit-and-fig pizza) and warm, rustic atmosphere (fresh flowers, wooden beams, hanging pots and pans) offer a window to southern Italy by way of Main Street. 504 Main St., Waltham, MA 2452, lacampania.com.
Forget staid Knoll or uptight George Nelson. In Peter Levis's world, midcentury modern is an absolutely exuberant period full of whimsy. Offering everything from Ico Parisi consoles to FontanaArte chandeliers, the mastermind behind this wonderfully chaotic Hingham emporium has inspired a cultlike following among the area's in-the-know designers. 15 Shipyard Dr., Hingham, MA 2043, beyondgorgeosity.com.
With artfully arranged pedestals of bowls, vases, and handcrafted housewares, Simon Pearce comes off more like an MFA gallery than a gift shop. These pieces, made by master potters and glass blowers at the Quechee, Vermont, flagship store, are undeniably luxurious, yet still affordable. 103 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 2116, simonpearce.com.
Novice bikers tend to get intimidated by drivers around here—and for good reason. But the gratis Bike Tours of Cambridge—led by the Cambridge Bicycle Committee and escorted by police—will put worried minds at ease. And where else but the People's Republic would you find themed treks covering everything from string theory to public art?
Browsing in this shop feels less like shopping and more like snooping though a stylish friend’s library—if said friend happened to stock the city’s best collection of art monographs, emerging authors, and stories penned by kids at 826 Boston, that is. 5 Green St., Boston, MA 02130, papercutsjp.com.
The steady stream of folks coming, going, and hanging at this outdoor haven isn’t an accident: It’s because there is truly something here for everyone—from trendy street-level cafés and indie boutiques to a brewery, a comedy studio, and an art gallery. Bow Market Way, Somerville, MA bowmarketsomerville.com.
The love in this fine-art photographer’s wedding shots is palpable—here, a groom dips and kisses his bride on a snowy rooftop; there, a pair holds hands as they traipse through the ferns at a backyard reception. The occasion helps, of course, but it’s also Raznikov’s innate ability to capture couples’ natural beauty and spirit with ease. 638 Delano Rd., Marion, MA 2738, corinnaraznikov.com.
For all its diversification into DVDs, action figures, and Napoleon Dynamite doodads, Newbury Comics maintains an unparalleled selection of obscure art rock, under-the-radar hip-hop, and hard-to-find imports. And, as an unflagging booster of the local music scene, it always gives homegrown records top billing. 332 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2115, newburycomics.com.
Feel like having an interactive bathroom experience? Waterspot recently opened a 4000-square-foot show room featuring state-of-the-art displays and a selection of the most current products available, from Kerns-Wilcheck, Porcher, Grohe, Absolute, American Standard, THG, and others. 71 Worcester Rd., Route 9, Framingham, MA .
Points off for being a dark cavern in the corner of one of the city's ugliest hotels (the Back Bay Sheraton). But the cushy chairs and cozy nooks lend a decadent air to the art of cigaring. The selection is immense— 100 by our last count— and the bar staff is adept at guiding even novices to a satisfying stogie. Sheraton Boston Hotel & Towers, 39 Dalton St., Boston, MA .
If you missed it, you missed a rare chance to see the master's movement from idea to art, as well as, of course, Picasso's undying appreciation of the female form—or, if you believe Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington's hot new biography, Picasso's undying misogyny. The ICA, Boston, MA .
For men and women this is the best selection in town. Belts, bags, and wallets from the likes of Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Bottega Veneta make this the one-stop upscale shop for leather goods. If money is no object, the timeless Barry Kieselstein-Cord bags and belts are works of art commanding prices well into the thousands. 5 Copley Place, Boston, MA .
Greg Mencoff custom mills every frame in his South End studio. The low rent keeps prices down, much to the happiness of local artists, sculptors (who love Mencoff's expertise in Plexiglas and wood construction), interior designers, and the Museum of Fine Arts. 450 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA .
You know you're a true New Englander when you begin recognizing the work of Thos. Moser. Built in Maine and designed in-house, each artful chair and table is crafted from decades-old cherry and walnut trees, which ensures pieces both elegantly thin and impossibly strong. 19 Arlington St., Boston, MA thosmoser.com.