Secreted in the hills of Menemsha overlooking Vineyard Sound, the Beach Plum—and its satellite cottages and houses—is a cozy little sanctum that epitomizes the absolute best parts of the Vineyard in the summer. It offers tennis courts, bike rentals, kayaks, and passes to exclusive Lucy Vincent Beach, but also low-key perks like being able to gather eggs from the inn’s chickens in the morning. Throw in one of the finest restaurants on the island, and you have a recipe for the ideal under-the-radar getaway. 50 Beach Plum Ln., Menemsha, MA 02535, beachpluminn.com.
The North Shore isn’t exactly tourist-averse, but upscale hotels are still surprisingly hard to come by—which made the Beauport a particularly welcome addition when it debuted in 2016, rendering the site of a Birds Eye frozen-foods plant unrecognizable. Boasting beachfront access and a roof deck with a pool and fire pit, the hotel is a short walk from Gloucester’s downtown. But why would you want to leave when Wellfleet oysters and local craft beer are moments away at the in-house restaurant? 55 Commercial St., Gloucester, MA 01930, beauporthotel.com.
Opened in the old David Barton gym space this past January, Lynx is a club in the truest sense of the word, with memberships capped to avoid overcrowding. That means less time waiting for a machine (including three Peloton bikes) and more time to lounge in the men’s sauna, stretch out in the large turf area, and practice your putting in New England’s only Topgolf Swing Suite. If ever you needed motivation to get moving, you’ll find it here. 64 Arlington St., Boston, MA 02116, lynxfitnessclub.com.
Whatever your mark of a great brunch is—gooey cinnamon rolls, killer libations, or an outstanding eggs Benny—this Commercial Street gem delivers. With a background in sourcing organic ingredients for Whole Foods, chef-owner Brandon Quesnell brings the same fresh-and-local commitment to Yolqueria’s menu. The food is worth the wait and the patio is worthy of a cocktail. Paloma picantes and cowboy carnitas, anyone? yolqueria.com.
The ingredient combos here are a bit, shall we say, extra: On one recent visit, campechano tacos, a street-food staple, featured Tecate-beer-marinated steak; chorizo, red corn, and bacon hash; cranberry-onion jam; herb goat cheese; and toasted pepitas. Yet the flavors don’t fight, they play—and how!—when loaded onto delicately doughy, house-made tortillas. 2297 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, MA yellowdoortaqueria.com.
Chef Michael Bergin certainly whips up a mean pâté en croute and beautifully brined ham, but it’s not just Salty’s eponymous porkers that elevate the almost entirely house-made charcuterie. Bergin knows his way around other animals, including chicken (don’t miss the liver terrine with Madeira gelée!). The meats are perfect for pairing with a top-notch selection of funky cheeses. 130 Dartmouth St., Boston, MA thesaltypig.com.
Flavor and creativity go hand in hand at this island eatery, where dishes such as mushroom-pâté-slathered focaccia and cheesy fried-green tomatoes set the tone for the most innovative brunch menu in town. Top it off with one or two of the Proprietors’ signature drinks (a sparkling rosé cocktail with vodka, passion fruit, and vanilla, perhaps?), and start your Sunday Funday off right. proprietorsnantucket.com/.
After a top-to-bottom 2018 renovation by Lark Hotels brought breezy “modern coastal” décor and integrated technology to every guest room, this old-school Falmouth inn is ready to welcome a new generation of guests. Sip a cocktail on the lushly furnished lakeside patio, groove to live tunes at the on-site music venue, or simply stretch out on the plush king bed after a long day in the sun: Your long-weekend wish is the Coonamessett’s command. thecoonamessett.com/.
This Davis Square establishment holds all the accoutrements you need to make one killer cocktail (or six). Swizzle sticks? More than you could swizzle in a lifetime. Recipe books? Your options rival Barnes & Noble. Shark-shaped tiki mugs? Also available in whale variety. And don’t forget about the lauded bitters tasting bar, from which staffers are more than happy to provide samples. Happy drinking, indeed. 69 Holland St., Somerville, MA thebostonshaker.com.
At this South End hot spot inspired by Venetian bacaros, chefs Kevin O’Donnell and Michael Lombardi deliver a singular study in layered flavors and textures: See fried artichoke electrified with tonnato sauce and capers, and the house-made pillows of fontina-stuffed scarpinocc dressed with crunchy almonds. Creative cicchetti shoot in rapid-fire from the kitchen, each dreamier than the last, each designed to pair perfectly with cocktails on the charming patio. 569 Columbus Ave., Boston, MA srvboston.com.
Too busy to whip up a dazzling meal for your next dinner party? Just call Kate’s Table. An alum of some of the city’s top restaurants, chef Kate Papaleoni and her team prep dishes in small batches before artfully displaying them in a curated collection of vessels and custom display pieces. And if you want to pretend you did it all yourself, they also offer a drop-off service. katestable.com.
Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center offers wildlife educational programs designed to make nature fun—and a trip to the beach a (gentle) teaching moment. Kids and adults alike can explore marine touch tanks and art exhibits at the center, then set off on guided tours across the refuge’s 52 acres of salt marsh and mud flats, home to more than 300 species of birds, including bald eagles and snowy owls. massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/joppa-flats.
No need to don a fancy hat to enjoy this derby: With community events, pop-ups from local entrepreneurs, and new shops and eateries cropping up all the time, it’s clear that this browsers’ paradise has become the modern, beating heart of the South Shore since opening 15 years ago. Shop classics like Anthropologie as well as harder-to-find spots such as Evereve and Nic+Zoe—then stop by Cava to pick up a hearty grain bowl, all without having to race back to your car. derbystshops.com.
The ceviche is always stellar at this pint-size Peruvian spot, thanks to a vibrant marinade of leche de tigre (“tiger’s milk”) that’s a whole different animal from the limey bell-pepper water everyone else plies. Temper the punishing bursts of ají-chili fire with bites of cold sweet potato and an egg-white-velveted pisco sour before moving on to the kitchen’s creamy shredded-hen stew. “Celeste” means “heavenly,” and after sampling the menu here, we’d hardly disagree. 21 Bow St., Somerville, MA celesteunionsquare.com.
If you’re on the gala circuit, you know that the similar guest lists can make it feel like one big night on repeat. But this year, with a vivacious crowd (perhaps thanks to first-time co-chairs Charles Carignan and Michael Cerruti), the Boston Ballet Ball stood out—particularly for its stunning preview of Full on Forsythe, by legendary choreographer William Forsythe, a whole month ahead of its opening at the Opera House. How’s that for a night to remember? bostonballet.org.