You may not have a Vineyard abode to call home, but a stay at this family-oriented hotel will make you feel like you own the place. Situated just steps from South Beach, Winnetu offers both kitchenette-equipped suites and weekly house rentals, including four new cottages outfitted with all the comforts of home. For those in the mood to eat out, the hotel's restaurant, Lure Grill, offers excellent seafood with a side of ocean views. And for the kids, there are basketball and tennis courts, day camps, and evening clambakes. 31 Dunes Road, Edgartown, MA 2539, winnetu.com.
For music nerds, the neighborhood record store used to be a home away from home, and its disappearance in recent years has left us distraught. So it was with sweet relief that we welcomed Somerville Grooves to the scene two years ago. The store focuses mainly on vinyl, and doesn't offer a huge selection, but owner David Plunkett makes up for that with a carefully curated inventory and a friendly vibe. 26 Union Sq., Somerville, MA .
It's unusual to find a hairdresser who can cut curly hair without reducing one's twisty, tangling locks to a frizzy puffball. James can handle both of these challenges. Even more unusual, before he turned to his current career, he worked as an auto mechanic and a construction worker. And he rides a Harley. So you can get your hair cut and discuss your carburetor all at once. Alexanders, 163 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Fanatical loyalty to one's local diner isn't based on food alone: It's the atmosphere, stupid. At the Deluxe, which cooks up solid fare with a twist (e.g., sweet-potato pancakes), we're completely won over by the charming bedlam of the place, with its clattering plates, sizzling grills, bustling waitstaff, and din of dozens of conversations at once. It's no surprise that come the weekend, the lines stretch halfway back to Cambridge. 627 Mount Auburn St., Watertown, MA 2472, .
How many ways can you say blond? By our count, Graham’s lexicon has a few extra pages, given her way with color. For years, Graham has garnered accolades for the way she paints her high and low tones on tresses. Here’s one more: Blond is way more fun when she’s the one who got you there. 115 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, megangrahambeauty.com.
The Combat Zone has a number of good ones, but the best is to be seen on Newbury Street. Each afternoon, the occupant of a fourth-floor apartment near the Ritz disrobes, then cleans house. We applaud her lack of inhibition . . . and shades. Newbury St., Boston, MA .
No surprise this Venetian wine bar’s popular prix-fixe option made such a (small-s) seamless transition to takeout. The family-style “Arsenale”—a multicourse, shareable feast featuring Italian delights such as wild mushroom conserva, roasted peach stracciatella, and pork-shoulder rigatoni—always felt more like eating a fine-chef-prepped dinner in someone’s home. The only difference: That home is now yours. 569 Columbus Ave., Boston, MA 02118, srvboston.com.
Last December, the Boston Marathoner went to the Globe with a sob story about how evil Bank of Boston was foreclosing on his happy Dover home to settle a bank loan to Rodgers's running-goods store. Lo and behold, four months later, Rodgers announced that the bank had given him a fair price on his home and had signed him to a personal-services contract. Hmmm.
This sneakily vegetarian chainlet may have brick-and-mortar locations everywhere from Brookline Village to Burlington, but it got its start as one of the first important food trucks in the Boston area. And Clover’s fleet of six restaurants on wheels is still a leader when it comes to truck-side fare done right—easy-to-eat, inspired, and (bonus!) relatively healthy creations like the sabich-inspired egg-and-eggplant sandwich, rosemary-scented fries, and one of the finest breakfast sandwiches around. Various locations, cloverfoodlab.com.
With the real estate market showing few signs of slowing, the only way to find your dream home is to have a great broker by your side. Ellen Brockman specializes in Cambridge real estate—she knows every property, every building, every transaction that occurs. For buyers, she's a quick study on your likes and dislikes, and her instincts are dead-on when it comes time to make an offer. For sellers, she offers tried-and-true advice for showing your home at its best and getting the right potential buyers in the door. 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA .
Whatever your car's sexual orientation, it may find its home away from home at Chicago Auto, which started out serving the lesbian community, but has some of the mechanics in town. Founded by Boomer Kennedy in 1984, Chicago Auto is committed to helping women and men understand their cars. Customers praise the individual attention and the honest, upfront communication about what their repair and maintenance options are. Another perk: Loaner cars are free. 35 Tudor St., Cambridge, MA .
Squirreled away in an unassuming Harvard Square breezeway, the Cambridge institution boosted its profile this year with a renovation that's also made it an attractive option for birthdays, rehearsal dinners, and other special occasions. The new private dining room, a denlike space big enough for 70, looks out over an intimate courtyard and is situated right behind the kitchen for easy access. Factor in chef Mary Dumont's seasonal menu, a glass of wine, and a roaring fireplace, and it adds up to an elegant home away from home. 44 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 2138, harvestcambridge.com.
Calling all plant lovers: This sweet Salem boutique has everything you need to transform your home into a garden oasis you’ll (really!) never want to leave. The best part? You can order its birds-of-paradise, philodendrons, and ferns online—as well as gorgeous planters to keep your new additions happy—then safely pick up curbside. And if you’re not sure your thumb is green enough, the shop also stocks home goods such as cheeky throw pillows and hand-poured candles to liven up your space. 143 Washington St., Salem, MA 01970, oakandmoss.com.
Among Cantabrigians' best-kept secrets is America Dural, hidden on a quiet street in Observatory Hill. An unfussy storefront conceals treasures from every period: midcentury Bertoia chrome chairs, ornate Georgian mahogany chests, a refreshing selection of contemporary art. Only a pro could set up such an enticing array of home furnishings—and, in fact, the showroom is part of Phillip Miller's interior design business. You could buy a single piece, but then again, why not just engage Miller to bring his cultivated eye to your entire home? 143 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA americadural.com.
Louis Boston is fast becoming the Tom Hanks of one-stop shopping. In a category with increasingly stiff competition, Louis returns year after year to win the prize, thanks to its superior selection, variety, and (okay, occasionally snooty) service. Where else can you find the perfect pair of shoes, killer dress, and new lipstick while having your nails done—all in one afternoon? Men can find a full range of suits, casual wear, shoes, and even tuxes, all ready to be tailored at a moment's notice. With Debi Greenburg mixing cutting-edge designers from Dries van Noten to Anait Bian with tried-and-true labels like Prada, the competition doesn't stand a chance. 234 Berkeley St., Boston, MA louisboston.com/.