With narrow roads and speeding tourists (no, not you), riding a bike on the Vineyard isn’t quite as relaxing as you might envision. But the State Forest boasts a network of well-maintained hiking and mountain-biking trails that will not only get you off the road, but away from people altogether. If you want to tack on some sightseeing along the way, swing by Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown, then swoop through town and along the Beach Road path into Oak Bluffs. If you get tired, you can always catch the bus home. Edgartown, MA 02539, mass.gov/locations/manuel-f-correllus-state-forest.
When’s the last time you upgraded your linen closet? If you can’t remember, it might be time to pay a visit to this high-end textile haven. Owner Lynne Wolverton’s stacks of locally made Matouk bedding, elegant Sferra tablecloths, and soft Yves Delorme bath towels (a godsend for rough, over-washed hands) make staying cozy at home as easy as wash, dry, and repeat. 52 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, linensonthehill.com/.
From-scratch sambusa wrappers stuffed and fried to a hot, flaky crisp, followed by tangled piles of spaghetti sauced with a velvety stew of fragrantly spiced braised goat: Such soul-warming Somali comfort food certainly takes the edge off these anxiety-ridden times. Bonus points for bottles of signature hot sauce available for enlivening humdrum home cooking with East African herbs. 389 Maverick St., Boston, MA 02128, tawakalfoods.co.
Opened in 2018, this Nantucket newcomer first charmed us with its well-designed guest rooms, complete with local artwork, smart pops of color, and beds dressed with Fall River–made Matouk linens. But Hotel Pippa, the brainchild of longtime islanders Christopher and Asta Skehel, is much more than a pretty face: Set on the cobblestones of downtown Chestnut Street, it’s also an undeniably lush home base for a weekend spent exploring nearby restaurants, art galleries, and (of course) miles and miles of pristine beaches. hotelpippa.com/.
Sure, you could stop by for a quickie body scrub or facial at this recently relocated Back Bay spa, but we wouldn’t recommend it—not when you can spend the whole day pampering yourself between treatments in the flotation pod and salt cave. After 25 years in the relaxation biz, G2O knows exactly what its clients want, and that’s as many blissful ways as possible to escape the chaos outside. 33 Exeter St., Boston, MA g2ospasalon.com.
If hyperfresh seafood is the sole requirement, Legal and McCormick can deliver the same still-quivering quality for a few clams less. It takes a hypertalented chef like B&G's Barbara Lynch, however, to gussy it up with refined flavors and textures that accentuate without stealing the show. That intense focus on pristine ingredients is evident throughout the small, cleanly constructed menu. The cult-spawning lobster BLT is a study in restraint, and a sauteed halibut rings sweet above grassy artichoke, tangy tomato, and briny black-olive consomme. 550 Tremont St., Boston, MA bandgoysters.com.
Real women appreciate good beer and know how to cut loose when the music starts. That's why so many of them frequent the Midway. Thanks to an event calendar of crowd-pleasers like Queeraoke, the bar's dance floor quakes seven nights a week to a soundtrack spanning R&B to death metal; the anti-decor is underscored by neon beer signs and sprinklings of Americana. And while definitely a home base for the girl-meets-girl crowd, this J.P. joint welcomes good-timers of all persuasions. 3496 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, MA midwaycafe.com.
Jewelry can be a lot like relationships: Sometimes it's forever, but other times it's only a fling. For those seeking tonight-only bling, the So Good store in Downtown Crossing never disappoints. Two stories filled floor to ceiling with necklaces, earrings, and other eye candy offer maximum flash for minimal cash. This may not be the kind of stuff you take home to Mom, but hey, it'll be fun while it lasts. 443 Washington St., Boston, MA 2108, .
East Coast Alpine boasts the broadest inventory of winter toys in the area, encompassing top brands (Völkl, Atomic, Ride, Mountain Hardware) and the latest technology. Rent skis and snowboards for your kids; snag new boots, poles, and helmets; or bring older equipment in for an evaluation and tune-up. You'll leave fully prepped, be it for black diamonds or bunny slopes. 860 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA eastcoastalpine.com.
Fear not, budget-minded brides: You can have your Vera Wang without having to cut the guest list in half. This outlet has high-end designer gowns at wholesale prices—50 to 70 percent off retail. Better still, you don't have to worry about being caught in a stampede or hoping the dress will fit. Vows takes appointments and has plenty of dressing room space. 334 Watertown St., Newton, MA bridepower.com/.
The Queen of Seventh Avenue has expanded her empire to Newbury Street. The diffusion line from Donna Karan finally has a home of its own. The clothing for men and women is a little edgy without being too extreme, has definite street credibility, and is moderately priced. The store carries the entire range of DKNY products, including shoes and accessories. 37 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Run your hand across the wall of hanging fabric and imagine it transforming your home: a swath of creamy silk; a swag of blended cotton or crinkly linen. Resident textiles expert Chloe Sachs gets a dreamy look when she describes how draperies can divide spaces. And you'll discover she's not too far off base when Luxe turns your boxy bedroom into a filmy-walled boudoir. 81 Arlington St., Boston, MA .
You can't walk by without looking twice. The cascade of color beckons from the pavement, and spontaneity pays. For the romantic gesture of the moment, or a few blooms to grace your dinner table, pick a few posies by the stem or grab a tiny basket of flowering plants and vines. The whole shopfront reeks of romance and fresh beauty from the wrought-iron filigree to the lush sidewalk display. 164 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Parents, face the facts: Bics and Trapper Keepers are way over; your kids wouldn't be caught dead with them. Today's junior scholars want Cross's ultracool chrome-plated Tech3 pens, vividly colored goatskin envelopes, and canvas totes in groovy blue-wave, pink-swirl, or neutral-flower patterns. The bright side: The last two items at least still hold a lot of homework assignments. Zero Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 2138, cross.com.
The question is not what they have for sale at Needham's trusted Harvey's; it's what they don't have on the shelves. More of an "everything" store in the old-fashioned sense of what a hardware store should be, Harvey' stocks an astonishing assortment of home wares, from gas grills to bread briskers. Of course, the usual screwdrivers and hammers are on display too. Prices aren't the lowest, but the service has a sense of humor and the kids get lollipops—it's that kind of place. 1004 Great Plain Avenue, Needham, MA .