Surrender your soles to Kathy for a luxurious and relaxing pampering. One of her secrets: she wraps your toes in saran before you slip on your shoes so as not to disturb the polish—your pedicure will last for weeks. 115 Newbury St., Suite 301, Boston, MA .
Another in the emergence of Chinese cooking on the Charles. You can order a half-duck as well as a whole one here. 323 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA .
If you want blinking neon welcome signs, uninspiring neutral furnishings, and tasteless room service in an anonymous structure, don't come here. The four-star Eliot is an intimate and cozy home away from home (we should all live so well) with a decidedly European flair. Its beautifully furnished one- and two-bedroom suites, featuring living rooms and private pantries, are the perfect respire following a day exploring the Back Bay or simply as an urban retreat with your honey. And right downstairs is the nationally acclaimed restaurant Clio. 370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA .
Try as we did, we couldn't find another plait of challah that came close. We always buy two at a time, one for scarfing in the car, another to eat more ceremoniously at home. 1010 W. Roxbury Parkway, Putterham Circle, Brookline, MA .
We had one complaint from a year ago about the Sailing Center. But after checking it out, we found it didn't hold any water. 54 Lewis Wharf, Boston, MA .
Successfully designing city dwellings essentially boils down to one thing: creative use of space. And architect Jeremy Jih, the master of scale and proportion behind Boston-based J.Roc Design, has demonstrated his unique solutions for building in tight confines time and time again. One recent standout? A South End loft made roomier and airier thanks to a dramatic — yet space-saving — 20-foot spiral staircase that connects the home’s main level to a rooftop garden. 27 Wareham St., Boston, MA 02118, jrocdesign.com.
A baby boutique, home décor haven, and antiques shop rolled into one and tied with a fetching French bow, La Petite Maison spans gift-giving needs with élan. Highlights include luxury linens from Lulu DK by Matouk, Luckson crib toys, and one-of-a-kind vintage china pieces that owner Nanette Walsh collects on her annual visits to Paris (thereby saving the rest of us the airfare). 142 North St., Hingham, MA 2043, .
Long lauded as one of the country's best summer stages, the Williamstown Theatre Festival attracts rapt audiences and first-class talent; past performers include Gwyneth Paltrow and David Hyde Pierce. Since assuming the role of artistic director last year, Tony Award-winning British actor Roger Rees has become one of the Berkshires' favorite sons. 1000 Main St., Williamstown, MA 1267, wtfestival.org.
The bad news: Bookstores dedicated solely to children are increasingly rare. The good news: The best one you’ll find anywhere has been in Brookline Village for almost 40 years. From board books to young-adult lit, the Children’s Book Shop offers nearly 30,000 choice volumes. Staffers are well versed in buzzy tomes and timeless classics alike, and the store regularly hosts poetry contests and authors to teach young ones that reading can be a communal experience. 237 Washington St., Brookline, MA 2445, thechildrensbookshop.net.
When a guest needed his clothes laundered late one night, Capone took them home to his apartment in the South End and washed them himself. The Westin Hotel-Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA .
The Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop is still unpacking from its move up the block. Even so, there's a comfortable slovenliness in the remaining unopened boxes, a librarian's jumble that reminds you not to hurry past that sleeping treasure on the untouched shelf. Classics, history, 1950s sci-fi magazines—the aisles are silent feasts, and the selection is for gluttons. A self-described "outpost of civilization," perhaps the store is better dubbed the Black Hole of Newbury Street, because once you walk in, it's almost impossible to extract yourself. 353 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
One of our favorite pastimes has been a movie at the Kendall chased by a chilled espresso martini and one of Rachel Sundet's home-style desserts at Hungry Mother's bar. Sadly, the restaurant will be closing July 3, but until the team opens its new concept in the same space, you can enjoy Sundet's grasshopper panna cotta, Funfetti layer cake, and "chocolate-covered snacky goodness" at Hungry Mother's sister restaurant, State Park. 1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge, MA 02141, statepark.is.
Don't take Giordano to the racetrack. In one year, he has championed the campaigns of Rosaria Salerno for mayor, Janet Jeghelian for Senate, and Joe Kennedy for governor. Let's hope Al doesn't pick the Patriots in the AFC East.
Ona cold winter's day, when the city crowds wear at your nerves and your psyche cries out for stillness, slip into this serene cafe and order a lemon scone and a "pot of hot chocolate." 85 Newbury Street, Boston, MA .
This Central Square institution has been providing the Boston Japanese (and other tofu freaks) with the ingredients for their home cooking for years. Yoshinoya's endless variety of fish, nori (edible seaweed), fresh fish, and all the snacks and sweets one could wish for make this the place to begin the preparations for any good Japanese meal. 36 Prospect St., Cambridge, MA .