Since the 19th century, the sprawling barn at Wilson Farm has proffered more than 100 varieties of the grower's own fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers; fresh-baked breads and pastries; locally made cheeses; and house-made pastas, soups, salads, and more. It's a one-stop shop in the dead of winter, the height of summer, and any time in between. 10 Pleasant St., Lexington, MA 2421, wilsonfarm.com.
Wood paneling, arcade games, a collection of retro beer cans ... hopping onto a barstool at the Union Brewhouse is like sneaking down to your uncle's basement man cave, circa 1976. Thankfully, the beer selection goes well beyond Bud longnecks at this laid-back spot, which boasts 17 craft beers on tap (including special offerings from the likes of Oskar Blues and Firestone Walker) and more than 100 bottle selections (Belgium's Delirium Tremens and Duvel, among others). 550 Washington St., Weymouth, MA 2188, unionbrewhouse.com.
The romance started with a rich local-oyster-and-bacon chowder with chive and truffle oil. Then came the scallops with oyster mushrooms, asparagus, pancetta, pea shoots, and chive béarnaise, and then the organic beef special with ramps and shiitakes. By the time the heavenly macademia-nut-and-coconut tart showed up, we knew for certain that this homey new spot from Brewster Fish House alum Martha Kane would be more than just a one-night stand. 800 Main St., Dennis, MA 2638, fincapecod.com.
Ascending the worn wooden stairs to reach Nesting on Main recalls a trip to Grandma's attic. The three owners, each with a talent for finding charm in the humblest of artifacts, have covered almost every inch of surface in their four-room boutique with antique card-catalog drawers, beveled mirrors, birdcages, glass doorknobs, chess pieces—the list is seemingly endless. If by chance you don't find what you're after, just write it down in the "wish list" book, and let the buyers work their magic. 44 Main St., Concord, MA 1742, .
The real ice-cream aficionado's conundrum: Once you've gone Danish, you'll never go back. If that Danish is Farfar's, however, you'll go back repeatedly. This isn't your over-the-top carnival of crazed flavor and obnoxious and undiscriminating mix-ins. Farfar's is about amazing, rich texture and simple but intense fresh flavors. The cinnamon is a coup de cremerie. The peanut butter reaches deep into the nut's truest flavor. And the sweet cream tastes like innocence itself. 272 Saint Georges St., Duxbury, MA farfarsicecream.com/.
The location ain't Park Plaza chic, but kitchen-wise, this 20,000-square-foot space is virtually unbeatable. Inside, you'll find products including professional-quality Thermador and Viking ranges and glamorous wine refrigerators from Sub-Zero. The knowledgeable salespeople don't work on commission and will help you figure out what you really do and don't need for your kitchen and cooking style (which just might benefit from one of Yale's on-site cooking classes). 296 Freeport St., Dorchester, MA yaleappliance.com/.
Gadget lovers will find their utopia at this Back Bay culinary treasure trove. Need a butter curler? Kitchen Arts stocks them, along with a huge variety of pots, pans, appliances, and seemingly any tool a novice or expert chef could want. It's easy to stock up here on the little extras that make cooking fun, from a mortar and pestle for grinding your own spices to pastry bags, cutting boards, dish towels, measuring cups, and an array of knives that would make a surgeon jealous. 161 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
As if life on picturesque Duxbury Harbor wasn't sweet enough, French Memories steps in with a cadre of top-notch carbs to up the ante. On hand are tiny petits fours and crunchy baguettes that would hold their own anywhere along the Seine. But the standouts are the truly irresistible almond croissants. Their crispy, buttery layers and dense, nutty filling condense into one cakelike bite. 459 Washington St., Duxbury, MA frenchmemories.com/.
It's dark in here. That's one of the reasons couples come in to snuggle up. The other is what amounts to a cross-country tour of American cuisine. We suggest sticking close to home with local seafood and cornmeal polenta, or venturing into the West for hangar steaks and Humboldt Fog goat cheese. Whatever you choose—from here, there, or everywhere—you'll get thoughtfully prepared, seasonal food that's somehow also very sexy. 80 Centre St., Nantucket, MA americanseasons.com/.
The resort itself may feel a bit stuck in the '70s, but the Cape Codder's spa has surely caught up with the times. Such treatments as cranberry-enzyme facial peels and detoxifying seaweed-clay masques and massages are always perfectly performed. And after you're done being pampered, your kids can frolic in the hotel's oceanlike indoor pool, which boasts two big water slides and two-and-a-half-foot waves. 1225 Iyannough Rd. (Rte. 132), Hyannis, MA capecodderresort.com/.
The sad fact is that big corporate multiplexes show big corporate movies. Truly, you are what you screen. Which makes Brookline's Coolidge Corner Theatre an art-house jewel among the plastic giants. This 75-year-old, not-for-profit space boasts a classy schedule of documentary, international, and independent movies. The Coolidge also keeps a hand in the community by hosting readings, live performances, and film festivals. 290 Harvard St., Brookline, MA coolidge.org/.
Butches and femmes hoist their bottles together here on Saturday nights, when this Chinatown karaoke lounge and dance club becomes the closest thing lesbians have to a downtown clubhouse. Two levels of dance floors offer ample space for the mostly young and urban crowd to get down to electro, house, and hip-hop. Once a month, grrls slip on suits and fedoras (and boys and butches, dresses) for "drag karaoke." 41 Essex St., Boston, MA .
What more could you want in a picnic spot? There's grass for the kids and animals, picnic tables, water surrounding you on all sides and a 2.1-mile exercise loop to work off your lunch. Want to picnic without packing? Swing by Sullivan's, a takeout eatery serving burgers, fries, seafood, and ice cream at the entrance to Castle Island. The kicker? Free entertainment in the form of planes roaring over the area seconds before they land at Logan. William J. Day Boulevard, South Boston, MA mass.gov/dcr/parks/metroboston/castle.htm.
No crying babies, chatty teens, or bleeping cell phones. That's why your parents, professors, and primary-care provider choose to catch the latest film-festival hits and indie first-runs at this Landmark Theatres location. They also come because parking is a pittance ($3), the theater offers high-quality snacks (dried fruit, gluten-free cookies), and the guy behind the ticket counter is totally stoked to discuss Fassbinder's use of Brechtian aesthetics. 355 Binney St., Cambridge, MA 2139, landmarktheatres.com.