There’s no wine list or fancy raw bar at this laid-back local institutionjust bottomless cups of joe from Nantucket Island Coffee Roasters and heaping platters of granola-and-banana pancakes to cure whatever ails you. Still hankering for a little hair of the dog? The BYOB eatery can serve up a virgin bloody mary ($5) for your mixing pleasure. 7 S. Water St., Nantucket, MA 2554, fogisland.com.
When President John F. Kennedy established the Cape Cod National Seashore in 1961, he effectively curbed future development in the area. The preexisting Beachcomber, howeverhoused in an 1897 former lifesaving stationwas allowed to keep one of the few commercial permits available on the Atlantic-facing coast. So the next time you’re slurping Wellfleets, enjoying live music, or sipping a piña colada at this popular spot, toast JFK for the special setting and views of the open ocean. 1120 Cahoon Hollow Rd., Wellfleet, MA 2667, thebeachcomber.com.
Fledgling wine aficionados, take heed: Laid-back Davis Square newcomer Spoke gamely removes the terror from the terroir, with servers who gently hold your hand through the ordering process. Of course, a glass of Ligurian pigato is only as good as the fregola risotto or fried quail and waffles it's paired with, which, thanks to chef (and No. 9 Park alum) John daSilva, are pretty darned terrific. 89 Holland St., Somerville, MA 2144, spokewinebar.com.
Upon entering this tiny Brighton storefront, you’ll want to turn to the wall on your right: It’s entirely covered with images of the dizzying array of Thai specialties on offer. If this selection doesn’t overwhelm you, the chalkboard by the kitchen features an additional seven or so northern Thai dishesincluding ripping-hot green chili nam phrik and soul-warming noodle curriesthat will have you rethinking every plate of drunken noodles you’ve ever ordered. 433 Faneuil St., Brighton, MA 2135, thainorthbrighton.com.
Whether you're wearing a ball gown or a sheath on your big day, you'll find all the right accoutrements at L'élite, which stocks veils, headpieces, jewelry, belts and sashes, and heels by Badgley Mischka, Malis-Henderson, and Oscar de la Renta. In-store designers work with brides to create customized veils, and a sparkling array of crystal necklaces, pearl hairpins, and delicately feathered hair combs make mixing and matching a cinch. 121-123 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, lelite.com.
When owner Mark Cirone's wife was battling cancer, he created a "Labor of Love" pin, which raised more than $60,000 for the couple's local hospital. And if that doesn't make you want to shop at his store, your heart is harder than diamonds. Of course, an eye-popping selection of gems and watches helps, and Cohasset has them in spades. 790A Chief Justice Cushing Hwy., Cohasset, MA 2025, cohassetjewelers.com.
Who knew the Hub's ultimate collection of camping gear would be found in a never-ending warehouse hidden away among bakeries and pizzerias on a West End side street? Packed with rough-and-ready labels like Marmot, Atlas, Sorel, Vasque, and Black Diamond, this four-floor emporium offers everything that outdoor adventurers might want to wear, pack, or carry for their trip, be it a weekend by Ponkapoag Pond or an assault on Everest. 272 Friend St., Boston, MA hiltonstentcity.com.
A class-A PGA pro who's done teaching stints at the Legends Club of Tennessee and Stow Acres Country Club, Parker gives duffers a 21st-century swing at his high-tech indoor training center, outfitted with state-of-the-art practice bays and virtual rounds at St. Andrews and Pebble Beach. Free advice: "Most golfers slice to the right, and think they should align their feet to the right to fix it. But it's the opposite—align to the left. If you're a slicer, aim your feet to the shortstop and swing to the second baseman." CityGolf, 38 Bromfield St., Boston, MA citygolfboston.com.
This standout vino peddler has always put up a broad range of bottles and good advice. But the wine jukebox—a nifty contraption that doles out samples for free—at its Brookline location has officially taken the mystery out of wine selection by making the whole process as easy as taking a sip and seeing for yourself. If further guidance is required, both shops boast well-educated clerks and intelligent tasting cards. Best of all, the markups are low and the discounts high, something that's sure to please, no matter your taste. 375 Boylston St., Brookline, MA wine-gallery.com.
Loomis is the anti-sommelier (a fact that may or may not be rooted in his past as a punk rocker). He's not patronizing, despite knowing all the details on 600 labels and more than 6,000 bottles; his favorite wines are cheap French vintages. In fact, as far as we can tell, the only thing about Loomis that's remotely sommelierlike is his passion for the romance and culture of wine, and his ability to pick the perfect bottle for your meal. Aujourd'hui, Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston St., Boston, MA fourseasons.com/boston.
A great pub is measured not only by its pints, but also by the quality of the food it offers to absorb all that booze. Bukowksi's, for its part, offers plenty of delicious ways to fortify yourself for the myriad varieties of stellar frosty brews it pours. The burgers are large and messy, just as they should be. And the array of "barfly food"—the White-Trash Cheese Dip, a rib-sticking plate of barbecued chicken tenders—is sure to sate late-night appetites. 50 Dalton St., Boston, MA .
Succulent-filled terrarium centerpieces. Hanging flower chandeliers. Green walls of plants cascading from Woolly Pocket planters. If you can dream it, Andrea Halliday and her petal-obsessed cohorts at Table & Tulip can create it for your event in vibrant, living color. Halliday is fastidious and hands on, often adjusting and readjusting each bloom in an arrangement or bouquet until it's just right. 461 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA tableandtulip.com.
Will future generations see actual hold-in-your-hands books as curious, unidentifiable objects? Not if the scene at this Brookline Village gem is any indication. The area's oldest independent children's bookstore has aisles teeming with tykes digging into the 28,000-plus titles on offer (all handpicked by owner Terri Schmitz). It also keeps the magic going with regular events like author appearances and book-themed store parties. 237 Washington St., Brookline, MA 2445, .
Good shades can turn an ugly duckling into a red-carpet darling in seconds. But finding the right pair isn't always so simple. At Saks, men and women can choose from among hundreds of designer frames both timeless and trendy. And with many options under $150, these shades come far cheaper than that other way to cover your crow's feet: Botox. 800 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2118, saksfifthavenue.com.
Time was, travelers could blissfully shop for haute totes and Riviera-ready steamer trunks without having to worry about overhead bins and luggage fees. But with airlines now charging for baggage by the pound, it's time to pack smart. Local mini chain Leather World stocks practical roller bags, hardsides, and backpacks by stalwarts like Victorinox, Tumi, and Samsonite, as well as an array of TSA-approved goodies such as "express scan" bags that you can leave your laptop in. Bonus: The store hosts frequent sales. 30 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 2138, shopleatherworld.com.