This event has understandably garnered plenty of press—it's the perfect combination of art, music, wine, and singles ranging in age from 20 to 50. While some patrons can't tell the difference between a deKooning and a Degas, the crowd is friendly and warm. Favorite line heard here: "Normally, I only approach women who look approachable and are smiling. You fit neither criteria, but I just had to talk to you." 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA mfa.org.
Art-punk heroes and alterna-rock granddaddies Mission of Burma, whose original 1979-83 run influenced R.E.M. and the Pixies, roared back with a handful of high-decibel concerts that proved their jittery, angular poetry had not been dimmed by 19 years in hibernation. Bassist Clint Conley called the reunion "a full-blown midlife crisis," but these fortysomethings played with the same verve as when they were pups.
Homer Simpson's bowling alley it's not. First, the food is actually good: pizza from Bella Luna, not greasy hot dogs that spin around and around under a heat lamp all day long. Second, there's funky art on display. And this Jamaica Plain hot spot also has a lounge, where you can shoot pool, jam to live bands, or dance a little salsa on Saturdays. Oh, and the lanes. They're dimly lit, lined with Christmas lights, and as cool as disco. 403 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA milkywayjp.com/.
For those who prefer to spend most of their days in the kitchen, Yale is nothing less than the source of all life on earth. For the rest of us, it's simply a fabulous resource where state-of-the-art electric walls flank Sub-Zero wine fridges. From contemporary to American rustic to stainless steel, it's all functional, cutting edge, and stylish enough to make just about anyone stay in the kitchen. 296 Freeport St., Dorchester, MA yaleappliance.com/.
When you're over hipster onesies and cheeky monogrammed totes, venture to Nomad for rare objects that will remind your favorite dinner-party host of travels to exotic lands. The quiet two-story shop stocks folk art from Mexico, lanterns from India, jewels from Morocco, and other international treasures that change regularly. 1741 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140, nomadcambridge.com.
It's all about craftsmanship for Sophie Hughes, who uses recycled precious metals and reclaimed diamonds to fashion each of her masterpieces by hand. The MassArt grad, whose boutique also proffers work from other local artisans, continues to win us over with her moon-shaped earrings, pared-down necklaces, and graceful bangles. 80 Dartmouth St., Boston, MA 02116, sophiehughes.com.
Memories fade, but photographs last forever. Thankfully, you can trust Cambria Grace to be everywhere you are and everywhere you can’t be on your wedding day. The Boston shutterbug’s camera is like an invited friend, bringing unparalleled intimacy to every teary-eyed gaze and loving embrace it captures. These aren’t stiffly posed portraits; they’re art prints meant to be framed, hung, and cherished for a lifetime. cambriagrace.com.
At Moody’s, even the bologna sandwiches are on another level. That’s because owner Joshua Smith crafts everything in house—salumi and sausages, sure, but also the pickled peppers, pimiento cheese, and swipe of herb mayo on your Pullman loaf. And this year, the tireless chef is expanding his meaty empire with a state-of-the-art curing facility down the road, meaning his New England Charcuterie cold cuts will not only be more readily available in Boston—they’ll also be hitting the national stage. 468 Moody St., Waltham, MA 02453, moodyswaltham.com.
This shop is welcoming enough to embrace all varieties of weirdo, informed enough to impress every type of nerd, and just strange enough to ward off the squares. With a huge stock that spans the musical universe, from way-out folk to cassette-punk and art-rap—not to mention every hyper-hyphenated subgenre in between—Deep Thoughts is an essential day trip for the city's music obsessives. 138B South St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, deepthoughtsjp.com.
The august ensemble approaches its bicentennial season in peak shape, with an artistic director, Harry Christophers, who understands that early music should be not just "authentic" but also, you know, musical. With excellent guest conductors like Scott Metcalfe and Richard Egarrand programming that last year ranged from Purcell’s The Indian Queen to Beethoven’s Seventh to Christmas music by four different Bachsit’s not only the oldest continuously performing arts group in America, it’s also one of the best. handelandhaydn.org.
Whether it’s tackling stories about immigration or staging resident playwright Kirsten Greenidge’s vision in a Back Bay school, Company One will take you places you never expected, but are better for having been. Think, for example, of this season’s rom-com Vietgone: A collaboration with Pao Arts Center, the perspective-shifting, often hilarious look at the Vietnamese refugee experience from Marvel Studios writer Qui Nguyen skewered, subverted, and surprised the whole way through. 539 Tremont St., Boston, MA companyone.org.
Opened in 2018, this Nantucket newcomer first charmed us with its well-designed guest rooms, complete with local artwork, smart pops of color, and beds dressed with Fall River–made Matouk linens. But Hotel Pippa, the brainchild of longtime islanders Christopher and Asta Skehel, is much more than a pretty face: Set on the cobblestones of downtown Chestnut Street, it’s also an undeniably lush home base for a weekend spent exploring nearby restaurants, art galleries, and (of course) miles and miles of pristine beaches. hotelpippa.com/.
The Northern Avenue store is half the size of the old Newbury digs, but it's a far better representation of Debi Greenberg's style vision. Eveningwear by Peter Pilotto, Roland Mouret, and Jason Wu doubles as art, though just as impressive are casual offerings from Jeffrey Monteiro, the Row, and Opening Ceremony. Irresistible shoes and accessories bear names of favorites both old (Marni, Balenciaga) and new (Melissa Odabash, Georgina Goodman). 60 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 2110, louisboston.com.
Its stock of denim is unrivaled: 7 for All Mankind, Kasil, 1921, we could go on—and on—but we don't want to turn the rest of this write-up into a laundry list. Suffice it to say Jean Therapy has a fit for every man, with honest opinions about what he's lacking (in our case, a butt) and how best to deal with it. The only other place where the art of accentuating the positive is so consistently taught is the shrink's office. 524 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, jean-therapy.com.
There is an art to dressing down, but most people usually head to the nearest Gap or Banana Republic. Throw the flair back into casual Fridays with a visit to agnes b. The place is a gold mine for fashionable yet fuss-free clothing. Signature pieces like fleece cardigans with snaps, well-cut t-shirts and simple dresses, pants and skirts fit nicely into a working girl's wardrobe and her budget. 172 Newbury St., Boston, MA .