Cycling enthusiasts from across the country— including three-time winner Greg La-Mond— pedal to Wheelworks for its competitive prices and great service. Customization doesn't get better than this: Three-time Olympian John Allis, a partner in the store, helps fit you to a bike or builds you one from scratch. You can even test ride the large selection on a nearby off-road course. Around the corner, Wheelworks Too offers closeouts, older models, and used bicycles at lower prices. 480 Trapelo Rd., Belmont, MA .
The Beagle opened its doors in Coolidge Corner last November to considerable enthusiasm—it is, after all, one of only a few finer-dining destinations in a sea of casual ethnic joints. But the tiny gastropub quickly proved it had the culinary know-how to back up the buzz, rewarding loyal patrons with comfort food like Gorgonzola-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates; tender lamb chops with pomegranate syrup; and scallops with summer-corn risotto and pancetta, all served in an atmosphere that feels cozy and chic. 308 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 2446, thebeaglebrookline.com.
Reality-show appearances? Nope. Cookbooks? Not yet. Restaurants? Just one. In the era of the celebrity chef, Tony Maws is the rare example of a guy who just wants to cook. On any given day at Craigie on Main, you'll likely spot the award-winning chef garnishing plates, checking up on his staff, and running food to tables, much to the delight of his customers. 653 Main St., Cambridge, MA 2139, craigieonmain.com.
Chef Frank McClelland's celebrated dining room offers not one, but two extravagant tasting options. There's the "Seasonal Degustation"—a six-course meal headlined by dishes like Hudson Valley foie gras (take that, California!) with angelica and oatmeal-nut tuile, or lamb alongside roasted figs and caramelized fennel, both featuring ingredients sourced from the chef's own Essex farm. Not lavish enough for you? Then choose the $200 "Chef's Tasting Journey," and you'll be treated to an hours-long repast replete with caviar and truffles. 774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2199, lespalier.com.
We've been known, on those perfect 72-degree days, to work an "emergency" business lunch at Sam's into our schedule. Neither Newbury Street's sidewalk cafés nor Cambridge's funky hidden patios can match the scenic respite from the daily grind that this Seaport gem delivers. And considering the crowds on the huge, sun-drenched deck—noshing on polished yet unfussy fare (like the tomato-marmalade BLT)—it seems we're not the only ones who've caught on. 60 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 2110, samsatlouis.com.
Every evening, somewhere around midnight, a magical—if vaguely treacherous—moment occurs in Boston. High up onto the back bar of one of the city's most beloved restaurants clambers an employee who, teetering precariously, writes the late-night specials onto a gargantuan mirror. The items differ—flatiron steak with bérnaise, or maybe a Cubano with house spicy mustard—but what remains constant is the anticipation generated, and the rush of orders that inevitably follows. 528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, easternstandardboston.com.
Nothing sinks the heart of a Korean food aficionado more than seeing steamed broccoli as one of the panchan side dishes of a restaurant's every meal. That won't happen at Yasu, where the kimchi and all variations thereof are abundant and flavorful. Order up beef to grill at the tabl—the kalbi and bulgogi are juicy and tender—plus a hearty, spicy tofu stew to go with it, and your palate will want for nothing. 1366 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 2446, yasuboston.com.
Back during the NCAA basketball tournament, we spent an afternoon at the Remy's near Fenway. It almost broke our head. It wasn't just that there were a zillion TVs, but that the two biggest ones over the bar were 11 feet long. (That's, like, two Dustin Pedroias!) With an exceptional beer list and more-than-good-enough food, there's no place better to spend NFL Sunday, college football Saturday, or, really, any day. 1265 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2215, jerryremys.com.
Your very own castle overlooking the sea. It's a reality at Ipswich's Crane Estate, a 2,100-acre tribute to natural beauty and manmade opulence that showcases water panoramas and one very regal Stuart-style manor. While several party spots are available, the showstopper is the Great House's rolling lawn leading to the Atlantic. 290 Argilla Rd., Ipswich, MA 01938, thetrustees.org/crane-estate.
Perusing Jan Gleysteen’s portfolio, one word repeatedly comes to mind: timeless. With nearly four decades of experience under his belt, the Wellesley architect knows his way around traditionalism, dreaming up classic abodes—such as a grand suburban homestead with coffered ceilings and dramatic archway—that are built to last. 888 Worcester St., Wellesley, MA 02482, jangleysteeninc.com.
Drop the guilt along with your little one at Tartt’s. The fourth-generation owners have perfected a curriculum that balances cognitive development (sign language, Spanish) with serious fun (like Urbanity Dance–taught “baby groove” lessons). 477 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118, tartts.com.
Books are alive and well at this charming Brookline shop, where owner Terri Schmitz helps kids of all ages find the perfect rainy-day escape, sans batteries. Catch her when the little ones are fully engaged and reminisce about all the authors you loved as a child. 237 Washington St., Brookline, MA 2445, thechildrensbookshop.net.
No one demystifies the buying process like Isis, where the "Stroller School" guarantees you'll choose the perfect wheels. Unsure about the Bugaboo Donkey's double-seat configurations or the difference between the Boppy breastfeeding pillow and My Brest Friend? Staffers here will steer you in the right direction. 800 Boylston st., Boston, MA 2116, isisparenting.com.
Economic downturn bedamned. This boutique is still standing tall, thanks to a rocking inventory that keeps the well-heeled masses coming. Find handmade Chelsea boots by Albert Fasciani, a one-of-a-kind Imp of the Perverse jacket with handpainted lining, and surface-dyed charcoal jeans from Boris Bidjan Saberi. 34 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, alanbilzerian.com.
The majority of this store's lines are stylish and durable, designed for kids who like to stand out from the crowd without standing still. The sales staff is always willing to search for a size or offer helpful suggestions and—of all—is sweet and patient with little ones of all temperaments. 69 Charles St., Boston, MA theredwagon.com/.