Seven thousand yards of championship golfing, nestled in 170 acres of sweet-smelling pine forest: The 72-par Dennis Pines is a course to be reckoned with. With water at four of the holes, enough trees to test anyone's accuracy, and the notorious par-5 twelfth, the course is arguably the toughest—and certainly one of the most beautiful—on Cape Cod. Amenities are plentiful, including an expansive driving range and practice green, a nice little lounge, and a well-stocked pro shop. Rte. 134, East Dennis, MA dennisgolf.com/.
A modest watering hole that islanders depend on after the day’s work is done and the summer crowds have evacuated to the mainland, this institution, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, has acquired the patina of legend. If it’s a dive, it’s one that argues there’s more to the designation than peeling paint and a well-worn bar. Located next to the shinier, chicer bars that now line Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, the rough exterior might scare off the faint of heart. And while the aura is arguably friendly, it’s also a bit reckless, hinting at a long history of spirited delights: It wasn’t unheard of, for instance, for regulars to throw a fake wedding at a moment’s notice. Read more 4 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs, MA theritzmv.com.
You'd expect to find a kindly gardener and art collector holed up in Belmont. But a jet-setting hair- and fashion-industry giant? In Leon de Magistris, they're one and the same. Between chopping models' locks in Italy (where the revered Tocco Magico has named deMagistris its U.S. artistic director) and jaunts to New York to teach other stylists the latest cuts, de Magistris still finds time to keep everyone in his quiet, close-knit suburb trimmed and styled to perfection. 84 Leonard St., Belmont, MA leonandco.com/.
Five floors house an Italian bistro, a formal dining room, a glitzy dance club, and prime people watching. 295 Franklin St., Boston, MA .
Don't write off Olé for its unremarkable exterior. Inside you'll find a peppy atmosphere and Boston's most bona fide Mexican fare: In place of sloppy enchiladas, chef Erwin Ramos serves up inventive plates including tacos de cangrejo, crabmeat tacos with crème fraîche and baby spinach, and costillas de puerco, pork ribs cooked in banana leaves with a chili ancho peanut glaze, which go down even better when accompanied by pitchers of the potent house sangria and bowls of fresh guacamole prepared tableside by friendly waiters. 11 Springfield St., Cambridge, MA 2139, olegrill.com.
The only variety to be found at a lot of Mexican places is in what gets stuffed into the chimichangas and enchiladas. Not so at Ole, where chef Erwin Ramos has expanded his menu to make room for authentic ingredients like ancho chilies and mild cotija cheese, and Oaxacan- and Veracruzan-derived dishes like jicama-blood orange salad and sirloin steeped in poblano chili. As the hordes of happy diners attest, Ole even takes standards like guacamole to a higher level, preparing it tableside in the brightly tiled dining room. 11 Springfield St., Cambridge, MA olegrill.com.
Hope at last for those who've tolerated the bland psuedo Tex-Mex prevalent in Boston. A warm yellow-and-orange dining room (in the Inman Square location) with Mexican tiled tales and a tin ceiling takes you away from New England. The tamales are wonderfully tender and steamy in their banana-leaf wrapping and mole sauce, and the Tacos al Carbon are fabulous. 11 Springfield St., Cambridge, MA .
In the quest for great Mexican, of which Boston has little (relative to, say, El Paso or San Diego), much recent praise has been heaped on the champions of 'authentic' cuisine, and on pre-Hispanic recipes like cuitlacoche crepes. But you know what? Sometimes we don't want to munch fried grasshoppers. Sometimes we want enchiladas with damn good rice and beans. And so we've rediscovered our love for Olé, where chef Erwin Ramos serves mole and pozole as authentic as any out there, but isn't too proud to serve chiles rellenos and shrimp tacos, too. (By the way: The latter, stuffed with pickled cabbage and gently fried camarones, are worth their weight in Spanish gold.) 11 Springfield St., Cambridge, MA 2139, olegrill.com.
Walking into this colorful Inman Square eatery is like entering the dining room of a spirited Oaxacan family. A five-piece mariachi band plays by the bar, and casually dressed waiters chime in with howls. As for the food, executive chef Erqin Ramos turns out the sweetest tomatillo-spiked salsa verde thsi side of the border, plus other lesser-known delicacies like chayote succotash, a traditional side dish made with an indigenous Mexican starchy vegetables that's a cross between a squash and a pear. 11 Springfield Street, Cambridge, MA olerestaurantgroup.com.
A half-mile long and sixty feet deep, with caves for spelunking and clear spring water to drink. Sutton, MA
With a slate of shows that consistently capture the zeitgeist, Company One is the city's most vital and diverse small-theater troupe. The past season was highlighted by Every 28 Hours, a vast project consisting of 80 one-minute plays penned by more than 40 authors, all highlighting the shocking statistic of how often an African-American person is murdered by a vigilante, security guard, or police officer. 539 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116, companyone.org.
Heard of vocal drums? This jazz quintet puts all kinds of throat sounds to such funky good use that listeners break into applause and—better—feel like dancing.
With so many excellent Irish pubs in Boston, it's tough to stand out. The Pig, however, is where to go when you want to feel both at home and 'back home.' Proprietors Sara Cole and Diarmund O'Neal are Irish nationals who honed their barman's craft at local institutions like J. J. Foley's, and after 12 years, their Mission Hill establishment retains a homey charm. Save for the Pig's remarkably good bar food, it's the closest you'll get to a Dublin pub without a plane ticket. 134 Smith St., Boston, MA 2120, .
If the makeshift desk setup in the corner of your bedroom didn’t destroy your neck and back this year, the stress of the pandemic likely did. Not to worry: The Four Seasons One Dalton’s spa has the post-pandemic massage you’ve been patiently waiting for. Like a homing device, the talented therapists’ hands zero in on every knot and trouble spot without needing direction, ensuring you walk out the door feeling looser and more relaxed than you have in a very long time. One Dalton St., Boston, MA 02115, fourseasons.com/onedalton/spa.
Let's get one thing straight: Fringe isn't synonymous with small. In fact, the fringe companies in town are all about big ideas, big risks, and big heart, none more so than Company One Theatre, a long-standing resident of the Boston Center for the Arts. Dedicated to performances you aren't likely to forget (did you see the perfectly perturbed Shockheaded Peter ?), Company One should be celebrated not only for its adventurous theatrical achievements, but also for its efforts to carve out a more diverse, informed, and open-minded city. 539 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116, companyone.org.