Former Union Square Donuts kitchen manager Kristen Rummel and her husband, Rory Hanlon, started churning up batches of ice cream for deliveries and pop-ups in 2015. Now their new Cambridge brick-and-mortar dishes out even more of those sweet, fluffy scoops, made with milk and cream from Mapleline Farm in Hadley. Seasonal flavors like Meyer lemon-ginger and cookie-laden alfajores make it tough to choose just one, which is why we usually opt for Honeycomb's ice cream flight—a four-flavor assortment sprinkled with waffle-cone chips. 1702 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138, honeycombcreamery.com.
Ready to move beyond the little LVs and Gs? Pay a visit to Alan Bilzerian’s Newbury Street storefront. Together with his daughter Harley, the sophisticated shop owner has curated a collection of handbags and accessories you won’t find anywhere else, whether you’re in the market for a high-end classic (Lanvin ostrich-leather purses), an ultramod design (geometric wallets from esteemed Japanese designer Issey Miyake), or a statement piece (Emmanuelle Khanh’s fish-shaped purses). For something with a local angle, check out the in-house line of crocodile- and python-leather hobo bags and backpacks. 34 Newbury St., Boston, MA alanbilzerian.com.
Not technically a bar (it's BYOB), New England's only board-game café offers gamers the opportunity to hang out in a comfier version of their living room while kicking their friends' asses in rounds of Settlers of Catan. A $5 or $10 drop-in cover is all you need to play any of the nearly 1,000 games neatly stacked from floor to ceiling, from Cards Against Humanity to Battleship to your favorite cult Euro import. Also featuring: comforting steampunk-lite décor, a Nutella milkshake, and fresh-baked pastries. 1402 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02446, knightmovescafe.com.
Here it's all about hospitality, from thoughtful kids' offerings like mini beach chairs and cabanas to a program that tracks repeat guests' preferences. Want a rare book delivered to your room? They thought so. Planning to propose—but need a violinist? She'll be right over. It doesn't hurt that Wequassett's on-site restaurant, Twenty-Eight Atlantic, is helmed by L'Espalier alum James Hackney, or that a roving Good Humor truck doles out post-swim snacks. At sunset, a newly expanded veranda with fire pits offers serene views of Pleasant Bay. 2173 Route 28, Harwich, MA 02645, wequassett.com.
This Swiss fashion house does many things well, but it’s the ultra-contemporary everyday women’s wear that really shines, pushing boundaries with funky patterns and unusual details (think brightly colored tulip-field prints and daring clusters of cutouts). The streamlined trench coats, tunics, and tailored pants are the stuff dream closets are made of. Correction, June 28, 2016, 4:30 p.m.: The address for Akris has been updated. It is located at 29 Newbury Street, not 16 Newbury Street. We regret the error. 29 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, akris.ch.
Discussions of Boston’s Irish pubs typically involve squirrely notions of authenticity. The problem is, no such thing exists, and most attempts ring about as true as some "Ireland-land" simulacrum at Epcot. So this year we decided to give the nod instead to the best pub, period, which just so happens to be Irish (a subtle but important distinction). The Phoenix Landing is like four bars in one: You can go for a quiet afternoon pint alone, brunch with the family, crack-of-dawn soccer broadcasts, or nighttime dancing to some of the best DJ talent around. 512 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2139, phoenixlandingbar.com.
This city has no shortage of fab cellars boasting wine menus as thick as a midsize town’s phone book. But lately we’ve been digging vino programs that trade exhaustive depth and range for singular points of view. At Belly Wine Bar, co-owner Liz Vilardi (who also owns the shop Central Bottle) crushes hard on old-world beauties with brash, tart, and downright dirty tendencies: lambruscos, Beaujolais, orange tannin-bombs, funky Savoie whites. All of which just so happen to pair beautifully with the house-cured salumi. Go figure. One Kendall Sq., Cambridge, MA 2139, bellywinebar.com.
We like to think of this Brookline mainstay as the ultimate neighborhood monger, one that demonstrates its openness to the community through its displays: Pristine whole black bass, local squid, and carefully portioned fillets of sole and salmon are all laid out on ice for close inspection rather than hidden behind panes of glass. Local chefs have taken notice of Wulf’s wares as well, and the shop is angling for a restaurant distribution license. In the meantime, we suggest throwing one of their signature halibut steaks on the grill for your next seafood feast. 407 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 2446, .
Imagine, if you will, an emerald-green lawn overlooking the ocean. Rows of white chairs face the water, flanking an aisle dusted with flower petals. It’s here that you’ll say, “I do,” reciting the vows you worked so hard on while waves ripple gently behind you. Afterward, you’ll reunite with loved ones in a soaring white tent, pitched atop a stone floor studded with sea glass. Can you see it? Now, head to Misselwood—a grand seaside estate in Beverly—to book the real thing. Complete with a French chateaux-style manse for smaller affairs, this formidable venue will far exceed your wildest dreams. 407 Hale St., Beverly, Massachusetts 01951, misselwood.com.
These pies clearly show a passion for the art of pizza-making without being too precious for a Tuesday-night snack. Toppings are top-notch and cover every craving: There’s the ruddy spice of house-made red-wine-and-garlic sausage. The sweet-and-salty dialogue between bacon and drizzles of chili-spiked maple syrup sourced from a sugar shack in the Adirondacks. Even citrus accents to balance the richness in Dragon’s lemon-chicken pizza, a nod to the signature dish at the late, great Hamersley’s Bistro. Read more 233 Elm St., Somerville, MA .
If happiness is platinum-rimmed white porcelain from northern Italy, then joy is a set of four ultrasuede coasters in seven different color combinations. Together, they represent the half-modern, half-classic nature of Bliss, a home-goods emporium that incorporates everything from chaise longues (made in Milan) to stainless steel—lined doggy bowls. Bliss earns the nod for best bridal registry not only because of the unusual and international flavor of its stock, but also for its accommodating employees, who are more than happy to educate the bride (and clueless grooms) about the difference between Waterford and Wedgwood. 121 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Rather than furnishing newlyweds' houses from top to bottom, Bliss concentrates on outfitting them with some of the most exquisite and stylish tableware available. Feeling overwhelmed by the shelves of Alessi kettles, graceful Iittala glasses and vases, Bernardaud china, and CJ Vander flatware? Worry not. The staff here not only knows everything about this merchandise but also is well trained in the art of guiding couples through the selection process. Furthermore, the Web site lets guests easily make their purchases from afar, all registry gift wrapping is complementary, and there's a registry completion program that includes 10 percent off anything a couple purchases themselves after the wedding. 2257 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA blisshome.bridgecatalog.com/.
Whether you're searching for classic no-frills frames or the latest lenses spotted on Gisele, find your way to SEE. A toy store for the visually challenged, this optical boutique has all of its frames out on the shelves so you can browse and try on glasses freely without having to constantly ask for a case to be unlocked. The employees are helpful without being pushy, know their stuff, and are happy to help you glam it up with some aviator sunglasses or the lightest frames around—so light you'll forget you're wearing them. 125 Newbury St., Boston, MA seeeyewear.com/.
The way it wriggles off a finger or pops out of its setting, you'd think jewelry had a mind of its own—one that knows how to roll juuuust out of reach under the refrigerator or, worse, straight down the garbage disposal. Capricious gems need a strong hand, which is where the dexterous staffers at Alex & Co. come in. They can restring, reset, or resize anything quickly and securely; if more-drastic measures are needed, owner Alexander Zamsky will pour his European design training into creating a brand-new piece guaranteed to fit, and look, a hundred times better. 100 Needham St. #1, Newton, MA 2464, alexandcompany.com.
Any old Store 24 or CVS has the household names—GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, a certain city mag you may have heard of—and yes, it surely is convenient to load up on required reading and toothpaste all in one go. Trident's draw is that, instead of toiletries and Slim Jims, it supplements its big titles with the coolest niche publications around. The racks are dense with the surprising and quirky (2600 and Heeb being a combined purchase, perhaps, for the techie hipster Jew in your life), and sampling the wares is encouraged: Just take a copy to the store's mellow café and peruse it over a cup of equally mellow joe. 338 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2115, tridentbookscafe.com.