Coffee drinks don't come more sublime than the Four-Binger latte at this Pacific Northwest hangout. Baristas layer four ultra-smooth espresso shots and silky steamed milk in a tall glass; no sugar needed. Close your eyes and dream of Seattle. 51 Davis Square, Somerville, MA .
Your very own castle overlooking the sea. It's a reality at Ipswich's Crane Estate, a 2,100-acre tribute to natural beauty and manmade opulence that showcases water panoramas and one very regal Stuart-style manor. While several party spots are available, the showstopper is the Great House's rolling lawn leading to the Atlantic. 290 Argilla Rd., Ipswich, MA 01938, thetrustees.org/crane-estate.
The staff recommends arriving 45 minutes before a scheduled treatment to take advantage of the amenities, but we can promise you that’s not enough time. You’ll want at least 30 minutes each for the quartz-crystal steam room and warm plunge pool, plus an hour for the experience shower, with its array of sprays and pressures. Then it’s off to your coffee-and-frankincense body scrub or collagen facial. You’ll want to spend so much time in the spa, in fact, that you might as well stay the night and do it all over again the next day. 776 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199, mandarinoriental.com.
A journalistic-style special event photographer, Richards spends 60-70 hours in the darkroom after every wedding she shoots. She's the pro's pro (they all recommend her, even if grudgingly) and her prices testify to her top-of-the-heap status. Most of her current wedding albums are in black and white because she says it's less distracting than color and lets her capture the expressions on people's faces. It may be "just" your wedding day, but you'll end up with some prints worthy of an opening at the ICA. 105 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Let's be blunt: Kieron Reynolds kicks ass—literally, with a medley of cardio and strength exercises. In addition, his heavy brogue and constant quipping make the workout whipping a comedic treat. When Reynolds is not bolting around the room to check your form, barking an inspirational word, or holding a punching mitt in front of you, he doubles as a deejay and keep the place booming with techno tunes. If you haven't sweated enough during Reynolds' hour-long aerobics class, his 30-minute ab session that follows is sure to finish you off. 542 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA .
Founder Samantha Shih is out to prove that custom suits (not to mention shirts and blazers) are an attainable—and necessary!—luxury for men and women of all shapes and sizes. It all starts with a painless one-hour consultation at 9Tailors’ Leather District studio or via video chat, during which time you’ll choose design details and materials ranging from rich velvet to Glen plaid. By the time your made-to-measure masterpiece arrives five to seven weeks later, you’re guaranteed to have come up with more than a few places to wear it. 132 Lincoln St. , Boston, MA 02111, 9tailors.com.
Hip enough for Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, yet sophisticated enough to attract the likes of Bill Clinton, Nine Zero treats all its guests like celebrities—even the penguins en route to the San Diego Zoo that it accommodated in 2007. With daily wine hours, pet-friendly services, and charming themed suites (including the presidential Cloud Nine), we give Nine Zero a clear 10. Book the Skyline View rooms and your loaner iPad will come preloaded with tourist tips, a music library, even retail-therapy apps. 90 Tremont St., Boston, MA ninezero.com.
You can go to a luxurious, candlelit spa where they'll charge you a C-note to slather lavender ointment on your aching back, or you can go somewhere where licensed therapists will actually help get to the source of the problem. Enter Backworks, where serious muscle healing, soft-tissue tretament, and stress reduction are the foundation for easing a bona fide injury or soothing the aches that result from simple daily stress. After just one intense hour of deep-tissue massage, we left in a physical state we haven't known since childhood: utterly care-, stress-, and knot-free. 34 Batterymarch St., Boston, MA backworksinc.com/.
This splendid island is part of the Massachusetts State Park System and its only residents are two knowledgeable park rangers. In addition to spectacular views of the inner and outer harbor, the Civil War-era Fort Warren on the island is full of charming and frightening history, told in great detail on guided tours. You can also lie on the grass, picnic on the rocks, or play frisbee on the beach if you want recreation rather than education. Summer ferry service runs hourly on weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Maps and tourist information: MDC Reservations and Historic Sites, 98 Taylor Street, Dorchester, 727-5290. Bay State Cruise Company, 67 Long Wharf, Boston, MA .
Owners Allison Baldwin and Ilene Mitnick (a.k.a. the "Roux Deux") call their restored 1870s Victorian in P-town's East End Gallery District a "French girl about to have a wonderful party," and she's a saucy lady indeed, with cheekily named rooms like "Not Your Mama's Rouge" (bright-pink walls, claw-foot tub) or "Blame It on Mozambique" (animal prints, tribal masks, shower for two). Mingle at a daily "happier hour" over savory snacks, and at dinners with visiting chefs, who cook with ingredients from Roux's on-site garden—or simply retreat to the mellow front porch for a cup of joe. 210 Bradford St., Provincetown, MA 02657, rouxprovincetown.com.
There are surprisingly few seaside inns within an hour of Boston. But when you've found this one— and can afford the upper-end price tag— who needs others? Many of the 26 rooms located in four diverse buildings of the inn's compound overlook the ocean. Many have fabulous sun decks or glassed-in porches with a view of waves directly below. Thick lawns and colorful gardens roll down to the water's edge. There's no sandy shore, but there is a pool and a gazebo. Plan ahead: The dining room is strictly BYOB, as Rockport is a dry town. 96 Granite St., Rockport, CT .
Bowling alleys don't traditionally offer Veuve Clicquot. But then, Kings is not your traditional bowling alley. It's part lounge, part pool hall, and all fun. Dimly lit nooks, red fluorescent running lights, and upbeat dance tunes pumping through the cavernous one-time movie theater help make Kings the hippest place we've ever bowled (tenpin of course—none of that candlepin stuff). While away the wait (it can take upwards of two hours on the weekends to snag one of the 16 lanes) chowing down at Jasper White's Summer Shack or de Ville Lounge, both right on the premises. 50 Dalton St., Boston, MA kingsbowlamerica.com/boston/.
The problem with getting an appointment at some vaunted salons isn't the star stylists themselves so much as the gate-keepers they have shooing away the unshampooed masses: "[Mr. Big Shot] isn't taking new clients at the moment," intoned multiple haughty receptionists during our research. We encountered no attitude, however, when we called Kent Newton Salon, and upon arrival we found chilled-out ambiance and meticulous craftsmanship. Partway through the session, the eponymous master — a former Mario Russo staffer — became so engrossed in precision-snipping one cowlick, we crossed our fingers that he didn't charge by the hour. (He doesn't.) For Kent himself, you will need to book a few weeks out, but it's the best cut we've had in years. And yes, he's taking new clients. 1315 Washington St., Boston, MA 2118, kentnewtonsalon.com.
Marilyn Stahl offers designer furnishings at the kind of discounts interior decorators usually get. 1029 Chestnut St., Newton Upper Falls, MA .
Restful ambiance and flattering lighting aren't enough to put a day spa out in front of the competition anymore, though Ardan has both. What counts is the results, and here that means a beauty boost that's built to last. Our manicure kept a high salon sheen for two solid weeks; a rubdown from the massage therapist left us blissed out for hours. 72 Central St., Wellesley, MA 2481, ardanspa.com.