With 4,500 square feet of equipment and studios, the BHAC could hold its own anywhere. 3 Hancock St., Boston, MA 2114, beaconhillathleticclubs.com.
From design conception and development to installation, Sherwood will work with you to transform a mere garden into a thriving outdoor extension of your home. Ipswich, MA ruesherwood.com.
Relocated from its former home on Boylston Street, Looney Tunes remains as packed with vinyl—and as busy slinging it—as ever.
Home chic from the traditional to the avant-garde, including a notable selection of streamlined European pieces. 133 Lewis Wharf, Boston, MA .
More than twenty styles of boots, plain old Levi's, and a whole lot more no-nonsense outdoor clothing. 292 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
An old-fashioned shop with polish—literally. When they do sole and heel work, they polish your shoes at no extra charge. 239 Faneuil Street, Brighton, MA .
Far enough out of town so you won't get caught. Close enough to get home for dinner. Sheraton Rolling Green, North Andover, MA .
Styling upward of 40 brides per season, Kacie Corbelle is one of the most sought-after makeup artists around—and it’s easy to see why. Her bronzer and highlighter make a bride glow, while neutral-colored eye shadow adds a subtly seductive touch. And whether she’s working with Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Bernie Sanders, or you, she comes prepared: Equipped with foundation for all skin tones, long-lasting lipstick, and false eyelashes, the only thing she’ll ever wing is your eyeliner. 450 Harrison Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, kcbridalbeauty.com.
Only enlightened children need apply. Stellabella, you see, is a completely gun-free shop that specializes in educational toys. But before you start criticizing what political correctness has done to childhood fun, check out the selection: nature projects, musical instruments, colorful science puzzles, and bulk art supplies. Better still, look at what the kids are doing. They're singing songs, painting, listening to stories, riding on oversized stuffed animals: just plain playing. Prices are reasonable, and the staff is beyond helpful. It's like one big PBS special come to life. 1360 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA stellabellatoys.com/.
There was no question that by remaining stubbornly amateur in a sport that had gone professional, the Marathon was dying. Then David D'Alessandro persuaded his employer, the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, to spring for $10 million to sponsor 10 Boston Marathons. A course record, a world-class field, and hundreds of runners later, today's Marathon is again one of the city's—and the country's—preeminent sporting events. "We've got athletes from 30 or 40 countries," said D'Allessandro, a senior vice president at Hancock. "I've got letters on my desk from the agents of guys who wouldn't even look at us last year."
Fleeing the city seems an idyllic notion, until you find yourself bunking down among doily-strewn antiques and overpowering potpourri at a B&B advertising bucolic "charm." A rare exception is the Porches Inn, set in a row of renovated multi-colored Victorians in North Adams. Its 50-odd rooms are done up in modern décor and feature high-speed Internet and smart service. Out back are a pool and sauna; out front, the stylish Mass MoCA complex. Those still craving a little countrification can kick back in one of the dozens of rocking chairs that sit on the inn's verandas. 231 River St., North Adams, MA 2147, porches.com.
Grungy and loaded with undergrads, Allston isn't exactly known for its restaurants. One place we can always count on, though, is Deep Ellum, where a great meal can be had at any time of day. Start out with root-beer-glazed pork belly or soft pretzels dunked in beer-cheese sauce, then progress to bigger plates like pork schnitzel or fried catfish po' boys. Bar too packed? Swing on over to the restaurant's new sibling, the adjacent Lone Star Taco Bar, for killer chili con queso and micheladas. 477 Cambridge St., Allston, MA 2135, deepellum-boston.com.
Charlie, the resident Tibetan terrier, will keep you company as you browse a thoughtfully curated collection of home accents and accessories that includes J.P.-themed silkscreened pillows, artisan jewelry, and elegant leather goods by Hobo. 676 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, oncentrejp.com.
Curated by design duo John Ross and Don Carney, this eclectic home décor and accessories shop is chock-full of treasures, from Miriam Haskell’s beetle-inspired brooches to whimsical Astier de Villatte serveware. 46 Waltham St., Boston, MA 02118, patchnyc.com.
Is it even an art class if they don’t come home with paint all over their arms and legs? This airy SoWa space is a haven for pint-size makers as young as 18 months. 71 Thayer St., Boston, MA 02118, minni.space.