We dislike the cloying odor of synthetic perfumes. But finding a cleaning service willing to vigorously attack the cat hair, bathtub scum, and shelf dust without resorting to chemical warfare is always challenging. Flavia Abranches has been in the cleaning business for 17 years, offering a detail-oriented approach to every space (including the inside of your refrigerator) using old-fashioned soap and elbow grease.
Built into the former Charles Street jail, the Liberty was designed to cleverly highlight the original building's mid-19th-century monumentality. Despite its jailhouse origins, the hotel's rooms are captivating (in a good way), with floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of amenities. There's also complimentary yoga on Saturdays and bicycles for touring around Beacon Hill. Skipping either would be criminal. 215 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, libertyhotel.com.
Steely Chablis and minerally Muscadet are natural seafood pairings. But at Row 34, wine takes a back seat to beer director Megan Parker-Gray's phenomenal suds selection. Her rotating cast of rarities includes stouts and sours from around the globe, small-batch collaborative projects from the likes of Hill Farmstead and Mikkeller, and the latest IPAs from next-door neighbor Trillium Brewing Company. 383 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210, row34.com.
Planning a wedding is like putting together a 1,000-piece puzzle, and the six-person team at AE Events is skilled at making it all fit. Want a seven-course Tuscan feast with live jazz for 400? Done. A 50-person bonfire beach celebration? No problem! From contracts and vendor negotiations to creative extras (taco bar, anyone?), they're steadfast, organized allies. And if your budget is a ball and chain, they'll work with that, too. 546 East Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127, aeevents.com.
Whether it's duplicating Pinterest printouts or dreaming up a wholly original confection, Konditor Meister (German for "master pastry chef") creates wedding-cake wonders. Its tiered masterpieces have delighted couples for three decades with 21 cake-filling combos, from orange-champagne mousse to apple-cinnamon chai. No rubberized icing for your guests, either: KM forgoes fondant in favor of creamier (but equally decorative) rolled white chocolate, keeping both design and flavor front and center. 32 Wood Rd., Braintree, MA 02184, konditormeister.com.
Along Route 3, it's the same sad story: shopping plaza after shopping plaza, each offering a slightly different version of the pants you've seen on every one of your coworkers. Break away from the crowd with a stop at this under-the-radar Cohasset storefront, which packs AG jeans, Nicole Miller dresses, cashmere sweaters, and other individualistic pieces onto shelf and rack. 23 S. Main St., Cohasset, MA 02025, portsandcompany.com.
This pore house founded by Babson College grad Tara Foley has dominated the healthy skin-care market of late—and with good reason. It features environmentally friendly products from more than 30 U.S. brands, like Indie Lee's cleansers and oils and Amber Blue's age-defying serums. Meanwhile, a new collection of men's shaving products rounds out the selection of thoroughly researched, wholesome skin saviors. (Multiple locations.) 65 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, shopfollain.com.
There are a couple of reasons to visit a bar. One is to sip masterful cocktails. The other is to savor the charms of the bartender, a pleasure you'll discover in less than five minutes when the lighthearted Gaggiano is behind the stick. At Vialé, he's as likely to pour you a shot of cheap whiskey for the hell of it as he is to whip up an inspired creation filled with infusions and specialty liqueurs. 502 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, vialecambridge.com.
Boston reps several styles of Chinese cuisine well—we have fiery Sichuan specialists, Taiwanese soup-dumpling pros, and temples to luxurious Cantonese seafood in Chinatown. For the floury, dumpling-heavy cuisine of the north, we head straight to Qingdao. There you'll find plates of fragrant cumin-laced lamb, crispy pan-fried leek-stuffed pies, and, most important, a massive roster of house-made dumplings in varieties like pork-and-leek and vegetarian string bean. 2382 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138, qingdaogarden.com.
Thanks to a recent renovation, this centrally located Federal-style building has all of the history but none of the outdated décor. The inn's eight guest rooms boast luxe amenities, including Frette and Matouk linens and marble bathrooms. But perhaps the most compelling reason to stay is new innkeeper Lyn Francis's already-legendary breakfast of such staples as warm muffins and house-made granola. 78 Centre St., Nantucket, MA 02554, theregattainn.com.
With strong drinks, panoramic ocean views, and a shoes-optional vibe, Millie's has all the makings of the perfect island beach bar. Here longtime locals happily commingle with the weekenders, thanks to plenty of barstools and an excellent rum-based house drink, the Madaket Mystery. Top-notch nibbles such as local fish tacos and fried clam po' boys encourage the revelry to continue long after that pretty sunset fades into memory. 326 Madaket Rd., Nantucket, MA 02382, milliesnantucket.com.
With Fernet flowing from the tap, this new hot spot attracts an industry crowd. But really, anyone who appreciates a well-crafted drink will enjoy bar manager Clinton Terry’s creative takes on classic cocktails and inventive concoctions featuring house-made syrups, tinctures, and bitters. You’d be hard-pressed to find a libation like his "Pickled Pepino"mezcal, pickled jalapeños, cukes, and smoky saltanywhere else on ACK. 12 Cambridge St., Nantucket, MA 2554, nautilisnantucket.com.
To the pubs with rows and rows of taps: Quantity alone doesn't cut it anymore. Lord Hobo, by contrast, has all the variety and thrills suds geeks crave. Even if the bartenders don't have Cantillon or Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (!) in house that day, they'll happily steer you through the oft-changing 40-strong draft list. 92 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 2139, lordhobo.com.
This Kenmore Square institution made its name catering to a wide range of dinersSox fans, tourists, restaurant industry types, students, the list goes onand treating them all as if they were the most important people in the room. How do they do it? By taking notes on every diner who comes through the door. Yes, it’s a bit Big Brotheresque, but this kind of close attention ensures that you enjoy your steak frites and whiskey smashes just as much as you did the last time. 528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, easternstandardboston.com.
Streetcar might not be the biggest shop in Boston, but that actually works to your advantage: Owner Michael Dupuy selects every bottle from the finest, most conscientious producers, which translates to absolutely zero fluff on the shelves (there simply isn’t room for it). Choose from a diverse range of price points and varietals, most from great local importers like Mise, Oz Wine Company, and Adonna Imports, as well as an unprecedented range of sherries, vermouths, digestifs, and natural wines. 488 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, streetcarwines.com.