French Empire furnishings in rustic Essex? Believe it. A tastefully renovated church houses Westerhoff's rare finds from the 17th to the 20th centuries (like a settee that reportedly belonged to Henry Clay Frick). There's no bric-a-brac here, just exceptionally well-chosen fine furniture, priced accordingly. 18 Eastern Ave., Essex, MA 1929, westerhoffantiques.com.
When you want to get a truly original gift for your best friend or the happy couple, this is the place to come. Run by two former art professors, Hudsons is a well-curated mélange of antiques, accessories, and contemporary-art pieces. (Steel-mesh icosahedron, anyone?) There are also plenty of traditional paintings and antiques from which to choose. 87 Marshal St., North Adams, MA 1247, hudsonsart.com.
This tiny Beacon Hill basement shop is like your great-aunt's jewelry collection, only better (and bigger). The display cases at Twentieth Century Limited are organized by decade (1900s through the early '90s) and show off chandelier earrings, vintage snake wrap-bracelets, cameos, and faux pearls galore. 73 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, .
Visually and gastronomically gorgeous, Ellen Bartlett's cakes come in the classic tiered style or in any shape that piques your fancy. Choose from dozens of flavors and myriad fillings and frostings. The lemon-zest cake filled with fresh raspberry-butter cream is one of the best reasons we can think of to say I do. 248 Cypress St., Brookline, MA .
Warm, comfortable, and blessed with a private garden, Café Chew is the sort of place that makes newcomers feel like regulars. Many ingredients, including the coffee and honey, are locally sourced; the pastries are made fresh by the in-house pastry chef; and the fare itself is exceptionally satisfying, despite—or perhaps because of—its simplicity. 4 Merchants Rd., Sandwich, MA 2563, cafechew.com.
With a display that ranges from classy crêpe chemises to Bolivian-cotton robes to sheer but demure Simone Pérèle bras, Lingerie Studio is an overachiever in the realm of underthings. Reasonable prices and meticulous service (the staff is particularly fussy when it comes to fit) ensure that your unmentionables will be of maximum quality, bought with minimum hauteur. 264 Newbury St., Boston, MA lingeriestudio.com/.
This sunny shop has hit the mark by assembling a rare collection of cult favorites (Molton Brown, Wink, T. LeClerc, TINte), all in a rainbow of colors and shades. What's more, the outgoing staff helps guide you to goods that match your skin tone and type exactly, which is a thing of true beauty. 33 Charles St., Boston, MA thebeautymark.com/.
This store offers a mix of apparel, bedding and accessories, furniture, and eclectic items for infants and toddlers. Other times include sterling silver charm bracelets for kids, handmade, quilts, spoons, Moses baskets—in short, not your standard mall-store fare. 140 Washington St., Marblehead, MA .
Otherwise known as "the best place to blow your bonus," Dorfman's is the kind of shop where the well-heeled go to buy their baubles. If you are in the market for a one-of-a-kind sapphire necklace, a Patek Phillippe watch to pass on through generations, a signature Bulgari brooch, or a knick-knack from Van Cleef & Arpels, this is the place to get it. 24 Newbury Street, Boston, MA dorfmanjewelers.com.
Don't be put off by the location: Jean Palmer picks up and delivers. This is where to take the super-expensive, delicate items in your closet. It's also one of the few places in town that can handle those red-wine stains, lipstick residues, and other nasty accidents. 3C Bryant St., Woburn, MA jeanpalmerco.com/.
Pets can get dirty in a matter of seconds. So why does it often take months to schedule a groomer appointment? This cozy spot offers greyhound-fast service (often in the same week you called) and an assertive yet warm touch that will help bring out your buddy's best look. 357 W Broadway, South Boston, MA 1217, dewberrydogs.org.
If the thought of parking on Newbury Street gives you hives, wheel into the lot beside Changes and ask for Margie to turn your bad hair day into something that will have you crowing, "I'm worth it." Channel 5 newswomen swear by her, as does her devoted west-suburban clientele. 1160 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, MA .
If you think there are no new party ideas under the sun, you haven't tried a tandoor barbecue. The Bombay Club will bring its traveling tandoor to your door and provide food that is drop-dead delicious—the baby lamb chop kebabs are great—guaranteed to dazzle even the most worldly palates. 57 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge, MA .
Michaud's been painting models' faces for more than a decade but recently opened a studio to cater to the masses. She's a plucker, not a waxer, and has raised the eyebrows of many a Bostonian. She'll also teach you how to maintain your brows between appointments. 297 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Brunch is not for calorie counters. When your gym buddy wants to hang, suggest some quality time with the Cybex machines—after which you can hustle over to Blu's café to grab nutritious smoothies and low-fat muffins. 4 Avery St., Boston, MA 2111, blurestaurant.com.