Practice makes perfect, and Gail Ann has been baking more than 20 varieties of fresh doughnuts daily for 45 years, since the shop was opened by its French immigrant founder. Still independently owned, it's a rare counterpoint to the conglomerate doughnut chains, and Gail Ann's big, soft, fluffy doughnuts are not greasy or heavy. 10 Medford St., Arlington, MA .
This course, now more than a decade old, is worth the haul to Devens: It has the wide-open, lush fairways and sloping sand traps that are typically found in the Southwest—but amid stunning New England foliage. That kind of beauty doesn't come cheap (expect to drop $99 for a weekend round during peak season), but at least you can reserve your tee time online. 15 Bulge Rd., Devens, MA redtailgolf.net.
For a generation, this minimal-frills North End eatery at the water’s edge has attracted a legion of fans with its herb-y, unpretentious, preposterously thick take on the New England staple. To wit: Each overflowing mug comes loaded with fresh, tender clams and, in an unusual but welcome twist, a handful of chopped dill. There are few chowders in Boston this rich, and none this good. 80 Atlantic Ave., Boston, MA 02110, thebostonsailloft.com.
Opened by three young entrepreneurs in 2012, this area hot spot almost single-handedly revitalized Hudson's now-booming Main Street, and the fire is still burning bright in the pizza oven today. Neighborhood types gather at the string-lit bar for pints of Notch black lager and Wormtown IPA, while families pack the dining room for creative, pillowy flatbreads you won't find anywhere else (don't miss the lamb confit layered with caramelized onions, artichokes, feta, and beet-pomegranate pur̩e) and fun, eclectic apps (Thai tempura Brussels sprouts, red-eye poutine). 33 Main St., Hudson, MA 1749, railtrailflatbread.com.
Once you and your sweetheart have strolled the beach and sailed at sunset, your next romantic rendezvous should be dinner at the Sweet Life Café. This upscale eatery serves fresh fare such as chévre ravioli in curry sauce and roasted halibut with eggplant purée. Don't miss dessert—the blueberry— brown butter tart is divine—in the candlelit garden. 63 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs, MA sweetlifemv.com/.
Formerly the Nail Studio, this salon has an intimate atmosphere and good-quality service, giving owner Tom Green a devoted clientele. Try the hot protein treatment. 164 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
The perfect brownie is the simplest of pleasures. Chocolate frosting, chocolate chips, walnuts, and so forth are wonderful and delicious additions, but brownie heaven is found in that space between fudge and cake. There should be a firm, even crunchy surface and a chewy-chocolate inside. Rebecca's Bakery (not to be confused with Rebecca's Cafe) has the rich brownie nailed, unadorned and unaided. 70 Charles St., Boston, MA .
This is the place to go for sculptures, masks, textiles, beadwork and jewelry. The prices can be high, but layways are accepted. 2164 Washington Street, Roxbury, MA .
Finally—equal access to tickets for the rest of us! The charming Graham-Gund-designed booth at Copley Square allows residents and office workers in the Back Bay to compete for discount tickets with the tourists roaming Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Here's to a 16-year-old Boston-based for-profit company so successful with its touring theatrical productions for junior and senior high school students that it is now able to be a corporate sponsor and support other local arts organizations.
Creative programs and financial support. 110 Broad St., Boston, MA .
The most art for the least money. Weather leaves a bit to be desired, though.
Stella served as a reminder that art is made by artists.
Arts on the Line's Porter Square installation.