Male wine collector and female wine collector meet and fall in love. The result? A marriage of private wine cellars that would send any oenophile to the nearest singles bar. The Stonehedge Inn is the lucky home to such a cellar, cultivated by Dawn and Levent Bozkurt. The wine list is an insane document—clearly the work of people who live and breathe the world of wine. There are 15 years of Chateau Latour, including a 1945 bottle for about three thousand dollars. You probably won't find bargains here; what you will find is that wonderful, rare wine you never thought you'd drink in your life. 1160 Pawtucket Blvd., Tygnsboro, MA .
Most anyone who's lived on the South Shore has broken bread (or crust) at Lynwood—and given this little pizza joint's out-of-the-way location and nearly microscopic sign, that's saying something. As for the décor, think 1950s Tennessee: Formica tables with stainless-steel napkin dispensers, employees sitting on the back porch smoking Winstons. But the dough is the pizza equivalent of al dente, the sauce is tangy, and the cheese literally slides off the crust. It might be enough to turn you into a true devotee; folks have been known to fly back home from California just for a taste. 320 Center St., Randolph, MA .
For 33 years, Dava Muramatsu held court on Newbury Street at her beloved apparel and home-accessories boutique, Matsu. After a seven-year hiatus, she’s back, this time in a dark-forest-green-painted, incense-burning, music-flowing space on Charles Street, and her signature multi-sensory style is stronger than ever. Treat yourself to perfectly distressed jeans, ethereal tutus, and diaphanous cashmere sweaters from designers like Louiza Babouryan and Ottotredici. Among the bounty is also her own jewelry line, Nymph Jewels, a gemstone-rich collection including citrine chokers and pink sapphire earrings. Welcome back, indeed. 76 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, davamuramatsu.com.
The pandemic deeply challenged the future of Boston’s foremost Black-owned bookstore, with owners Leonard Egerton and Clarrissa Cropper holding online fundraisers to maintain not only their business focused on Black authors and subjects, but also their mission to encourage literacy in kids and adults. We’re so thankful they’ve managed to persevere: After all, where else would we find a wide range of children’s literature, Afrofuturistic sci-fi, memoirs, and local and national history, all lovingly curated by two people who grew up in Boston? 57 Warren St., Roxbury, MA 02119, frugalbookstore.net.
There’s a lot of talk about eating less meat right now, but the reality is that committed carnivores aren’t going anywhere — well, except to this boutique street-corner butcher in the South End, which also offers monthly meat shares delivered on dry ice for sizzling at home. Not only are you getting valedictorian-grade grass-fed beef and pasture-raised pork, chicken, and lamb (plus pescatarian-pleasing wild-caught fish), but it’s all raised by small Northeast farms, supporting the region’s agriculture industry and giving us more richly flavorful, special-treat-level meat. 316 A Shawmut Ave., South End, MA 02118, waldenlocalmeat.com.
Look like you’ve been to the tropics without leaving your living room: That’s the goal of Abby Reid’s mobile spray-tan unit. Step into her van (or a portable tent in your home) and let the glow master work her magic from head to toe with a hand-sprayed solution made of sugar, food coloring, and no preservatives. Having worked in the beauty industry for years, Reid will put you at ease while applying a wish-you-were-here tan that’s anything but orange. MA suntanvan.me.
When you’re ready to escape to the Cape sans beach toys and boogie boards, book a stay at this 170-year-old former sea captain’s home. Overflowing with New England charm, the retreat is open only to guests 16 and over, and that’s just the way we like it. Tuck into a gratis breakfast, made fresh every morning with veggies grown right on the property, in the breezy sunroom; savor a meditative moment on the tree swing in the perennial garden; or just snuggle into the crisp Matouk sheets. If the goal is to break away from the daily grind, there’s no place better to do so. 364 Old Harbor Rd., Chatham, MA 02633, chathamgablesinn.com.
With snuggle-worthy robes and Frette linens in each room and suite, a stay at the cozy Nantucket Hotel + Resort feels just like kicking back in the comfort of your own home—assuming, that is, that your humble abode also happens to have two outdoor pools, a restaurant, and a covered front porch where musicians post up to entertain you each Thursday and Friday. The hotel's clutch downtown location puts you within walking distance of shops and, of course, the beach—just don't forget to snag a book from the collection in your room. 77 Easton St., Nantucket, MA 2554, thenantuckethotel.com.
In a time when Hollywood seems to have lost its way (Mortdecai, anyone?), places like the Brattle Theatre stand as beacons of hope. Rather than subject you to Let's Be Cops on three screens, the Brattle offers area premieres of independent films, Charlie Chaplin's 100th birthday celebration, the annual Boston LGBT Film Festival, a week of avant-garde Polish cinema, and a newly restored print of Jaws. All of this, plus the warm feeling you get from supporting a local nonprofit theater, and the additional warmth provided by the local beer and wine available at the concession stand. 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138, brattlefilm.org.
Just before self-isolation drove all of us into home-baker mode, the sugar-speckled sage behind Boston’s Flour Bakery + Café empire released her latest tome (and with it, scored her most recent James Beard Award nomination). Its 125 recipes, accompanied by brief journal-like backstories, cover everything from caramel popcorn cookies to s’mores pie to orange-almond pudding cake. Each helped us experiment beyond simple sourdough and, during socially distant times, felt like a loving hug from a local dining legend. flourbakery.com/books.
If you had told us that the pizza that would wow us most this year a) was the brainchild of the former Letters to Cleo bassist and b) came out of a food truck, we wouldn't have believed you. But owner Scott Riebling means business when it comes to his pies, which boast a chewy, charred crust. He's also taught us the value of adding Buffalo sauce to every kind of pizza topping (chicken, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower). The classics, like a crumbly take on pepperoni and a crispy basil-topped margherita, hold their own, too. stokedpizzaco.com.
When we need support, we wade through the beige and white underthings at Intimacy and Nordstrom, where polite ladies wielding measuring tapes thoughtfully correct our ignorance in thinking we were a B cup. When we need lingerie, however (the kind of thing that revs our engine, and hopefully yours, too, hot stuff), we head to Agent Provocateur. New this year on Newbury Street, the British retailer deals in flashy-not-trashy revisions of boudoir basics: satin corsets, push-up bras in tartan plaids, tasseled pasties...okay, maybe not too trashy. 123 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 2116, agentprovocateur.com.
When he wasn't behind bars, Irish writer and nationalist Brendan Behan was usually bellied up to a bar. Odds are, he would've felt right at home in the Jamaica Plain pub named for him. Small and smoky, the Behan is everything a pub should be: buzzing with a friendly mixed clientele of tattoos and suits, all there for the good conversation and, of course, some top-notch Guinness. Occasional Irish seisuns and other entertainment—including play readings and storytelling—make this an even more ideal place to lose yourself for a few hours. Certainly worlds better than an English prison. 378 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA brendanbehanpub.com/.
It's not surprising that a restaurant as charming as the Nightingale should occupy a space that has been home to some of the South End's most charmed restaurants (Hamersley's Bistro and Geoffrey's, to name just two). With its apple-green walls, candlelit tables, and bistro menu, this cozy new restaurant-row entry, from the team behind the South End hipster haunt Delux Café, is a welcome addition. And the price is right. Entrées such as stuffed roasted chicken with fingerling potatoes, braised monkfish with littleneck clams, and roasted tomatoes on orecchiette pasta hover below $20, which makes a three-course meal for two an affordable indulgence. 578 Tremont St., Boston, MA .
A good rule of thumb for determining whether or not a restaurant serves authentic Mexican cuisine is to scan its menu for ceviche, pozole, flan, and café de olla. Casa Romero, tucked into a tiny Back Bay alleyway, has all four, as well as nicely executed traditional main courses such as enchiladas, verde or poblano; chicken mole; and tenderloin of pork marinated in orange and smoked chipotle peppers. The margaritas are tasty; the service is, well, serviceable enough; and the atmosphere, mellow and intimate. Hit Casa Romero during summer and you can dine in its lovely courtyard. 30 Gloucester St., Boston, MA casaromero.com/.