An orchid among daisies, Winston Flowers has all but cornered the market west of Boston. Whether you're after luscious greens, blazing blossoms, or aromatic herbs, the colors and intricate designs here are irresistible. And with the freshest stems in town, it's no wonder Winston's blossoms hold their perfect petals higher than your average posy. 31 Central St. at Rte. 9, Wellesley, Newton, MA winstonflowers.com/.
A little outdoor lunch in order? Your best bet is the secluded hilltop field next to the Museum of Transportation. This public plot has all the grass and trees to spread out on, but lacks the crowds that the Esplanade is known for. Pick a warm weekend day, stretch out on the lush lawn with a basket of goodies, and take in all the kites filling the sky. You'll come home invigorated. 15 Newton Street, Brookline, MA .
The continuous path alongside the Riverway and the Jamaicaway is so quiet and scenic it's hard to believe the city lies just beyond the trees. As the path winds across Route 9, it grows even more picturesque, veering through the woods for a few short stretches before ending at Jamaica Pond. A loop around the pond with the local dog walkers and baby strollers adds a mile and a half to the run, and the whole uncrowded trip offers a welcome reprieve from drivers, bladers, and bicyclists. MA
Yard work becomes a whole lot more like play time after a visit to Winston's sprawling garden center, where three greenhouses shelter rows of ferns, ficus, and other hard-to-kill plants. Seeds, fertilizers, potted flora, and walls and walls of reference books make for a retail experience sure to satisfy wizened landscaping pros, as well as novice green thumbs seeking advice on how to nurture their seedlings into window boxes that will be the envy of the neighborhood. 11 Florence St., Newton, MA winstonflowers.com.
Defending his $1,000-a-month contract with the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), Jesser, an unpaid adviser to Mayor Tom Menino, insisted that he had never lobbied the mayor on behalf of the Authority. Asked about Jesser's duties in regard to the mayor, however, MCCA director Franny Joyce was quoted as saying, "I hope he's whispering in his ear good things about the Authority."
What happens when an adventure-seeking photographer and a florist with an eye for design join forces? They create a charming boutique filled with small-batch wares, cheeky greeting cards, and locally made confections that make every day sweeter. In addition to stocking their shop with covetable home goods and gifts (leather-wrapped salad spoons, adorable baby onesies), pals Sarah Landry and Katie Rocheford have been spreading “good vibes” during the pandemic with their oh-so-popular flower and balloon bars. Bring on the celebrations, please. 10 Pleasant St., Newburyport, MA 01950, saltandgrove.com.
Those hoping to impress long-awaited houseguests with perfectly stirred martinis or mai-tai-filled ceramic tiki mugs need only visit this cozy boutique. With inventory ranging from highball glasses and stainless steel bar spoons to absinthe fountains and jugs shaped like shark heads, the shop’s whimsical wares are perfect for getting the party started — no matter your tastes or how many people you’re hosting. 69 Holland St., Somerville, MA 02144, thebostonshaker.com.
Where can you score a bold yet balanced cup of coffee, mouthwatering pastries, and the perfect background tunes for sipping your java back at home? This quick-stop shop, which represents the collaborative entrepreneurship that is the future of Boston’s food world: Baker Kelsey Munger and bean roaster Javier Amador-Peña met at a farmers’ market, opened Monumental together, and tapped local Light of Day Records to stock the space with new and (cheap!) vintage vinyls. Blueberry muffins, cold brew, and David Bowie — yes, please. 36 South St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, monumentalmarket.com.
Want a classic chignon with loose tendrils? Or how about soft waves that’ll hold their shape from ceremony to reception? Demiche’s team of stylists specializes in elegant, swept-back looks that perfectly frame and highlight your features. And with a flair for constructing braided bridesmaid styles, Demiche has your A-team covered, too. 7 Lincoln St., Wakefield, MA 01880, demiche.com.
From the Emerald Necklace to Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted’s iconic work can be viewed close to home and all over the country. But did you know you can also sneak a peek at the place where the "father of landscape architecture" dreamed up his stunning designs right here in Brookline? Step inside his green-and-red Colonial to get a prime view of Olmsted’s offices, drafting tables, and the original machinery he used for making blueprints. 99 Warren St., Brookline, MA 02445, nps.gov/frla.
Boston may be home to Gillette's world shaving headquarters, but it's hard to beat a straight razor wielded by the skilled hand of barber Rich Firicano. His family-owned operation, located just a few doors from Paul Revere's old digs in the North End and entering its 20th year in business, offers a superlative shave for just $15, without all the pageantry you'll find at higher-end salons. The only frill: piping-hot towels that smell faintly of limoncello. 240 North St., Boston, MA 02113, firicanosbarbershop.com.
Boston has its fair share of both floral shops and high-end designers, but Orly Khon Floral Boutique gives us the best of both worlds. Khon's portfolio—which includes everything from holiday bashes to corporate events—is packed with installations and decorations that have us pining to plan a party, stat. But if you're just looking for a few blooms for your home or desk, her inviting boutique inside Restoration Hardware is worth the trip. 234 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116, orlykhon.com.
Throwing all of the rules out the window doesn't take talent, but getting away with it sure does. For their latest local hot spot, chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette (Toro, Coppa) have created a thrilling whirlwind of flavors, textures, and cooking styles. Shareable small plates—from matzo-ball ramen and halibut biryani to farro-kimchi fried rice—superbly meld high- and low-brow influences from around the world, making this destination restaurant feel right at home in diverse Central Square. 505 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, littledonkeybos.com.
On step 10, you’re teeming with enthusiasm. On step 90, your thigh muscles begin to sting. On step 160, your heart is pounding and your lungs are begging for mercy. On step 225, a Zen-like trance washes over you. And then the gleaming beacon of hope, step 294, comes into focus. The end has arrived—you’re atop Bunker Hill Monument. Now soak in the endless city views and brace for the walk down. Monument Square, Charlestown, MA 02129, .
When Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg launched their Boston-based apothecary, they personally wrapped and labeled soaps by hand. More than 20 years later, the Fresh name is synonymous with natural ingredients such as sugar, honey, lotus, and soy (we can’t get enough of the black-tea face masks and hydrating rosewater serums). Amiable staffers spend time with each customer doling out expert product recommendations and samples to treat all manner of epidermal woes, from dry skin to fine lines. 121 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, fresh.com.