Pillow-soft sand, uncluttered dunes, clean bathrooms, and a sparse crowd that's as consistently eye-catching as the surroundings—Duxbury Beach epitomizes the symbiosis of civilization and nature. Factor in a rustic lighthouse bookending the peninsula and a pristine bay lapping at the end of quaint Powder Point Bridge, and our choice is as clear as the blue sky that stretches peacefully to the horizon. Canal St., Duxbury, MA duxburybeach.com/.
Maybe you’re searching for a piece you spotted on the runway. Maybe you’re just in need of a fabulous wardrobe refresh. Either way, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for at Jessica Knez’s sleek boutique, where such hard-to-find labels as Maison Kitsuné and Y/Project are displayed next to fan favorites like Chloé and Marni. After two years in the Back Bay, All Too Human is at the forefront of our city’s fashion renaissance. 236 Clarendon St., Boston, MA 02116, alltoohumanboston.com.
Hollandaise-drizzled eggs Benny and bloodies are always a welcome weekend indulgence, but there are times—especially on vacation—when we want more from our morning meal. Thankfully, the Proprietors' adventurous brunch menu rises to the challenge. Here, chef/co-owner Michael LaScola's lobster-and-mushroom pancakes are luxed up with crème fraîche and caviar; whipped-mortadella toast is finished with a soft-poached egg; and everything tastes better with a side of "Ranchero" tater tots, slathered with gooey cheddar cheese and scrambled eggs. 9 India St., Nantucket, MA 2554, proprietorsnantucket.com.
There's always something that catches our eye at this contemporary gallery inside the Back Bay's Church of the Covenant. Now celebrating its 40th year, Naga prefers to showcase work by locals, such as Peter Vanderwarker's stunning landscape photography and Gerry Bergstein's mixed-media agglomerations on panels. The other thing the artists all have in common? They hit the sweet spot of challenging the mind while creating images that you can immerse yourself in for years. 67 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, gallerynaga.com.
Industrial chic. Richly bohemian. Romantic and fresh. Orly Khon, formerly of Tangerine Creations, can weave a floral theme for any romance—blooms springing from driftwood, succulents beneath glass cloches, blossom chains. She's also a weather watcher, keeping track of how our crazy climate affects flowers and making appropriate (read: calming) modifications. And with a retail store inside the Restoration Hardware flagship and a studio close to the Boston Flower Exchange, Khon has a garden of local inspiration at her fingertips. 234 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116, orlykhon.com.
The past couple of years have been big for hybrids—see the grocer-meets-restaurant Commonwealth, the sandwich-shop-meets-restaurant Tavern Road, and the coffee-shop-meets-bar Ames Street Deli. But none match Café ArtScience's scope and ambition. Sure, it's a forward-thinking bar, product space, and classroom. But it's also one of our finer modern French restaurants. 650 E. Kendall St., Cambridge, MA 02142, cafeartscience.com.
Whether we’re looking for a place to entertain out-of-towners or just an impromptu night out on the town, Alden & Harlow has become our default dining destination. Even after two years, classics like chicken-fried rabbit, roasted carrots over romesco sauce, and chef Michael Scelfo’s scandalously smoky burger continue to feel spry and innovative. Seth Freidus’s cocktail list is endlessly surprising. And service is seamless, gracefully toeing the line between casual and intuitive. 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138, aldenharlow.com.
Walking Boston's increasingly sterile streets, you may find yourself occasionally wondering: "Where did our weirdness go?" Find out at Deep Thoughts, where expert oddmongers keep those crates teeming with obscure vinyl. For an extra dose of vitamin WTF, be sure to paw through the collection of far-out vintage sci-fi paperbacks. 138 B South St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, deepthoughtsjp.com.
This Best of Boston Hall of Famer clearly wears the crown for cool streetwear and footwear, but with the opening of its Los Angeles sibling this past year, the brand’s influence has officially gone bicoastal. The new Bodega may draw in A-listers such as Jamie Foxx, Maya Rudolph, and Cameron Diaz, but thankfully, the buzziest lifestyle launches from Adidas, Nike, and Karhu are still happening right here in our own backyard. 6 Clearway St., Boston, MA bdgastore.com.
One of our favorite pastimes has been a movie at the Kendall chased by a chilled espresso martini and one of Rachel Sundet's home-style desserts at Hungry Mother's bar. Sadly, the restaurant will be closing July 3, but until the team opens its new concept in the same space, you can enjoy Sundet's grasshopper panna cotta, Funfetti layer cake, and "chocolate-covered snacky goodness" at Hungry Mother's sister restaurant, State Park. 1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge, MA 02141, statepark.is.
Its stock of denim is unrivaled: 7 for All Mankind, Kasil, 1921, we could go on—and on—but we don't want to turn the rest of this write-up into a laundry list. Suffice it to say Jean Therapy has a fit for every man, with honest opinions about what he's lacking (in our case, a butt) and how best to deal with it. The only other place where the art of accentuating the positive is so consistently taught is the shrink's office. 524 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, jean-therapy.com.
The best toy stores have irresistible playthings and eye-popping colors, which is why Henry Bear's Park in Cambridge is our winner. From dress-up dolls to Go Fish!, this educational outlet has an impressive slew of books including ones by local authors who pop in for the Saturday morning reading series. Toys include blocks and stuffed animals for infants and outdoor games and science kits for toddlers and big kids up to age 12. 361 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA henrybear.com/.
After Kelly worked his magic, we felt more like we'd had a session of physical therapy than a massage. Using a technique called Strain/Counterstrain, he gently unknotted the rock collection in our shoulders. A doctoral candidate interning at Beth Israel's Mind-Body Medical Institute, Kelly knows his anatomy. 28 Arlington St., Boston, MA .
That Lululemon chose this California-cool yogi to lead hundreds of people in al fresco downward dogs in Copley Square to fete its new Newbury store didn't surprise her devotees: Kaufenberg's challenging hip-hop classes are so much fun, we often forget we're working out. Until the next morning, of course—when we wake up with new aches in our abs and new tunes to download (thanks to her thumping playlists).
It's fitting that our pick for this posh 'burbhas a resort vibe: The original Cottage is in beachy La Jolla, California. Co-owner Laura Wolfe, who grew up here in town, does a nice job of translating SoCal cuisine for a New England audience. Don't miss the granola-crusted mahi-mahi and marinated steak tips. 15 Monument St., Concord, MA 1742, thecottage.com.