Bastion of awe-inspiring seaside houses that it is, the South Shore is flush with well-stocked home shops. Among that crop, the undisputed attention-getter is the nine-year-old La Petite Maison, brimming with French-inspired panache. Its trove of sumptuous Yves Delorme bedding, Matouk towels, eye-catching Juliska glassware, and vintage silver and porcelain is unparalleled in making the interiors of local oceanfront manses as fabulous as their views. 142 North St., Hingham, MA 2043, .
When toungue-tied former state representative Roger "Sparky" Goyette turned in his long-awaited 65-page report on the "marine biota," on April 1, 1988. Sparky, a former mechanic, has been hired at $30,000 a year by the House to research the environmental "project" after New Bedford voters threw him out at the polls.
You may not be looking for anything in particular when you enter Midnight Farm, but once you lay eyes on its quirky and exotic collection of clothing, housewares, bedding, and gifts, you'll surely find an excuse to slap down your credit card. Co-owned by singer Carly Simon, the shop stocks ethereally scented lotions and body creams, soft-as-can-be knit outfits to cover some lucky baby's bottom, handmade shoes, and (of course) CDs and books signed by Simon. 18 Water-Cromwell Lane, Vineyard Haven, MA midnightfarm.net/.
Once a locally beloved antique shop, the Brown Jug is now home to a different, though no less precious, stock: artisanal cheeses from far-flung makers, imported and delectable olives, Iggy's breads, pâtés, handmade pastas, and lots of herb-infused olive oils. No matter how rustic your picnic, the fixings on offer here will lend it a delicious bit of worldliness. 155 Main St., Sandwich, MA thebrownjug.com/.
Break out your wallet, because every item in this quiet shop is a knockout. Racks of Chloé trousers share space with Catherine Malandrino flowing Grecian dresses. Intricate details play out on black Biya trenches embroidered with bright floral patterns and Luella bags in shades of eggplant and fireball red. The denim-obsessed will covet jeans from rising labels such as Chip & Pepper and Red Engine. 53 South St., Hingham, MA .
At first it's easy to overlook the Red Rock's first-class food in favor of the sweeping sea and city skyline views. But one nibble of owners Paul and Louise Petersiel's properly prepared fare will have you back at the table and concentrating on your plate. Grilled pizzas, seared scallops, and a thoughtful wine selection round things out at this comfortable, kick-back-and-relax ocean-side bistro. 141 Humphrey St., Swampscott, MA redrockbistro.com/.
Andover students and faculty know this hearty buffet rocks, so you can expect a packed house on school-year Sunday mornings. The inn has all the standard brunch items but also includes such gourmet goodies as smoked salmon, fruit, and specialty cheeses. Rounding out the meal are enough sweet danishes, croissants, and freshly baked breads to satisfy any palate. 4 Chapel Ave., Andover, MA andoverinn.com/.
Tourists and locals alike are so mad for Mad Martha's that the line stretches out the door till closing time each night. Given this shop's flavors, which range from peppermint to Lotsa Dough to Snickers, it's no wonder why. Treat yourself or challenge your beach buddy to an order of the Pig's Delight—12 scoops of delicious, dripping heaven. 7 N. Water St., Edgartown, MA .
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/.
Clothing, accessories, furniture, and more: Bundle of Hope offers it all, with a delightful variety and a warm personal touch. Leave your kids in the play area while you peruse the high-quality offerings for infants and toddlers; have them try on clothes in the charmingly handpainted dressing room; even let them bring friends along for a tea party. The staff here is more than accommodating, wrapping gifts, making shipments, and setting up baby registries. 146 Front St., Scituate, MA bundleofhope.net.
Massages and facials are delightful—until they cut into your precious sun time, that is. Thankfully, the Spa at the Chatham Bars Inn offers the best of both worlds. The facility's outdoor plunge pool, surrounded by lush gardens, is a tranquil way to take in the beauty of the Cape after an aah-inducing rubdown. Al fresco treatments in private cabanas, meanwhile, maximize the therapeutic benefits of the great outdoors. 297 Shore Road, Chatham, MA 2633, chathambarsinn.com.
Step into Rumor on a Saturday night—assuming you can get in at all—and enter a world where women dance on platforms, curtains billow from the ceiling, and DJs seamlessly mix Shakira, Kanye, and the Black Sheep. VIPs frequent the club's exclusive Latin Room, while a diverse crowd of scantily dressed youngsters shake it on the main hip-hop and house floor until 2 a.m. Short of hopping a flight to Miami, this is as close as a Bostonian can get to South Beach hedonism. 100 Warrenton St., Boston, MA 2116, rumorboston.com.
With years of teaching under her belt, and a style that's at once soothing and energizing, it's no wonder Harvey has such a huge following. Her phenomenally popular neuromuscular integrative action class feels like MTV-meets-dance-therapy; it's a great workout regardless of your fitness level. Harvey is also great at modification, offering a class as challenging for advanced students as beginners. 140 Great Plain Ave., Wellesley, MA .
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 .
Few comedy clubs these days are actually dedicated to the craft—which makes this Harvard Square studio a rare gem. Not only does it fill seats six nights a week with a variety of acts, it also devotes time to nurturing up-and-coming cutups and runs a sought-after comedian-in-residence program. And because it's located above the Hong Kong, you can get your laughs with a side of greasy-good Peking ravioli and a scorpion bowl. 1238 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA thecomedystudio.com.