We love the aptly named EcoClean in part because its proprietary supplies are made from sustainable materials, keeping things green, safe, and pleasantly unscented. But we also love them because they arrive on time and get to work in a whirlwind of efficiency. They might even surprise youone day we came home to find our balcony swept of a winter’s worth of debris. Nice touch. ecocleanboston.com.
Don't dig up that lady's slipper! Come to the annual June plant sale at Garden in the Woods for wildflowers you can take home without fear of eradicating an endangered species. While the June sale is the largest, wildflowers are always available for purchase at the Garden, as well as books and other items in the charming gift store. But don't leave without a tour of the Garden itself, one of New England's unique treasures. Hemenway Road, North Framingham, MA .
So you're a little lazy. Or overworked. Or simply a really, really bad cook. No one has to know—not with Gonson around cover your tracks. Armed with fresh ingredients culled from local growers and farmers' markets, the Cambridge-based chef swoops into homes throughout the Hub, leaving a week's worth of healthy meals in her wake. And she's not afraid to share her tricks, offering kitchen and pantry organization and private gourmet-grocery shopping, too.
How would you like your blowout today: sleek and long or Barbarella-style bouncy? Of all the stylists we visited, this was the only one to ask our preference. But that's not all. The B&D staffers really tease out the pampering experience; never do you feel hurried as the friendly folks shepherd you from shampoo station (where they give some of the finest scalp rubs in town) to massage chair. Best of all, each client leaves with a mane that looks as sexy as a supermodel's for three whole days. 77 Newbury St, Boston, MA 2116, bradleyanddiegel.com.
If lobster was exclusively meant to be served boiled and dunked in butter, God would not have created ginger and scallions. One mouthful of the crustacean at this Chinatown gem, and you'll rethink the wisdom of the clambake. Equally transcendent are the whole, crispy fish; the jumbo shrimp netted live from an in-house tank and fried in a spicy orange sauce; and the (yes, delightful) Seafood Delight. 5 Hudson St., Boston, MA 2111, jumboseafoodrestaurant.com.
No bivalve hut worth its sea salt is pretentious. So don't expect glamour when you push through the swinging screen door. At $35 per person, the Clambak—a bucket of thick chowder, a half pound each of steamers and mussels, corn, potatoes, a whole lobster, and melted butter (optional, and just as well, since everything tastes ridiculously good as-is)—is one of the sweetest bargains going. 99 Washington St., Nantucket, MA 2554, .
As if life on picturesque Duxbury Harbor wasn't sweet enough, French Memories steps in with a cadre of top-notch carbs to up the ante. On hand are tiny petits fours and crunchy baguettes that would hold their own anywhere along the Seine. But the standouts are the truly irresistible almond croissants. Their crispy, buttery layers and dense, nutty filling condense into one cakelike bite. 459 Washington St., Duxbury, MA frenchmemories.com/.
It's dark in here. That's one of the reasons couples come in to snuggle up. The other is what amounts to a cross-country tour of American cuisine. We suggest sticking close to home with local seafood and cornmeal polenta, or venturing into the West for hangar steaks and Humboldt Fog goat cheese. Whatever you choose—from here, there, or everywhere—you'll get thoughtfully prepared, seasonal food that's somehow also very sexy. 80 Centre St., Nantucket, MA americanseasons.com/.
This Somerville hangout's cuisine is probably better described as "global southern" than "down-home." The menu, after all, features coconut-curried goat stew and pork-belly tacos alongside classic grilled pork short ribs and grits, catfish po' boys, and fully loaded jambalaya with cornbread. One bite of the Buffalo fried Brussels sprouts, though, and you'll be more than willing to cast semantics aside. 150 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA highlandkitchen.com.
Down-home, classic southern food is what pulls locals through Tupelo's doors, and the rustic charm and hospitality are what keep them at the table—downing andouille-and-okra-flecked gumbo and plates of fried oysters. Oh, and those folks wandering in after 9 p.m. looking for crispy grits and locally produced brews? Ain't no thang; this is one joint where that kind of behavior is encouraged. 1193 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 2139, tupelo02139.com.
It's hard to place the exact ingredients that make up the house signature sauce—an addictive barbecue-onion mixture that has led generations to this off-the-beaten-track hot dog stand with its siren call. What is clear is that it tastes damn good on a hot dog, especially on the small and skinny, slightly crunchy ones grilled up without ceremony at this shack behind Worcester's airport. Order three dogs for less than five bucks, and ask for some extra sauce to take home. 244 Paxton St., Leicester, MA 1524, .
The latest addition to Brian O'Neill's growing empire, this new Good Life is perfectly suited to its Central Square location. The decor is, as in other Good Lifes, remarkably similar to your parents' den, only wings this good and spicy were probably not served at home. Wash 'em down with one of many beers on tap, or a tasty cosmopolitan (the bartenders seem to have a flair for this drink du jour). 720 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA goodlifebar.com.
The golden whole-belly fried clams are worth an impromptu day trip. Add in the Buzzards Bay and Back River vistas, the newly built bar stocked with local brews, and the overstuffed lobster roll served on buttery brioche (yes, brioche), and what you've got is, quite simply, one of the Cape's best casual seafood joints. 290 Shore Road, Bourne, MA 2532, lobstertrap.net.
in which he dramatically recounted how he always wanted to become a dairy farmer.
Set in bucolic West Stockbridge, the Williamsville Inn boasts everything a home away from home should: superb service, snowy linens, and cut flowers. Husband-and-wife team Erhard and Kandy Wendt have transformed this once dilapidated 18th-century inn into a modern country guesthouse complete with blond hardwood floors and quaint touches. Erhard also acts as the inn's chief chef, and his German-inspired fare is some of the finest in the county. 286 Great Barrington Rd. (Rte. 41), West Stockbridge, MA williamsvilleinn.com/.