Recent renovations to this Back Bay social club may have added a few modern-day creature comforts, but Harvard Hall remains, blessedly, unchanged: You'll still find the same English oak paneling, Spanish silver chandeliers, and roaring fireplace that have graced the dramatic space since 1913. 374 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02115, harvardclub.com.
Located next to New Balance's global headquarters in Brighton, this flagship store has all the apparel you need to run, golf, and hit the tennis courts in style. Boasting a huge selection of clothing and accessories—not to mention a station for making your own custom kicks—the store features a mini factory apparatus where you can watch pairs come together right before your eyes. You'll also find pieces from the brand's all-American J.Crew capsule collection. 140 Guest St., Brighton, MA 02135, newbalance.com.
If you need a cleaning service, odds are you don't have the time (or desire) to wrestle with a multi-step quote process. My Boston Maids' user-friendly homepage asks only three questions—number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and desired appointment frequency—and immediately spits out a flat-rate charge. Select a time, then wait for a crew to carry out its 50-step cleaning protocol. Gleaming countertops and fuzz-free carpets beckon. mybostonmaids.com.
For a mental vacation, take the Blue Line to the Airport stop and head to the library. Once inside the newly renovated building, settle into the sun-drenched reading room, which offers a vista of urban greenery and distant skyscrapers. 365 Bremen St., Boston, MA 02128, bpl.org.
Tired of the shabby tape dispenser and legal pad you swiped from the office? Boston General Store (pictured) hawks supplies you’ll want to keep right on your desktop—not bury in a drawer. Traveler’s notebooks will reinvigorate your daily punch lists, while the sharp Italian-made Ellepi Klizia stapler was practically designed for those video-call close-ups. 305 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446, bostongeneralstore.com.
Don’t worry, this isn’t your middle schooler’s violin recital: Rising from the insuppressible enthusiasm of maestro Benjamin Zander—who founded the (senior) Boston Philharmonic Orchestra 40 years ago—this ensemble of fantastically talented 12- to 21-year-olds delivers exactly what you want from a night at the orchestra: to be blown away. Whether playing the notoriously difficult Mahler (one of the maestro’s specialties) or another canonical composer, they deliver youthful energy and just a touch of wonder. bostonphil.org.
A wedding’s not a wedding without a little opulence, and celebrations at the Boston Park Plaza—which wrapped a renovation in 2016—have it in spades. Already a prime destination for guests with its onsite restaurant, top-notch suites, and posh fitness club, the hotel woos couples with its Grand Ballroom—complete with gilded balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, and breathtaking Baccarat crystal chandeliers. In addition to its undeniably elegant look, the show-stopping 780-person event space has hosted theater productions, so you can expect top-notch acoustics for your swanky soiree, too. 50 Park Plaza, Boston, Massachusetts 02116, bostonparkplaza.com.
Who said the Internet would bring the death of print? Clearly no one at the 2014 Boston Book Festival, where traditional media and information-age innovation collided. While crowds converged on Copley Square to attend panels and keynotes with such international luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Norman Foster, last year also saw the unveiling of the "Books Come Alive" series, which connected readers and writers through streaming chats. Authors signed hard copies of their works, while the "One City One Story" selection, Jennifer Haigh's "Sublimation," was distributed as a free download through the BBF website. There's no longer any need to oppose the Kindle. We can all live together. Happily. bostonbookfest.org.
There was no question that by remaining stubbornly amateur in a sport that had gone professional, the Marathon was dying. Then David D'Alessandro persuaded his employer, the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, to spring for $10 million to sponsor 10 Boston Marathons. A course record, a world-class field, and hundreds of runners later, today's Marathon is again one of the city's—and the country's—preeminent sporting events. "We've got athletes from 30 or 40 countries," said D'Allessandro, a senior vice president at Hancock. "I've got letters on my desk from the agents of guys who wouldn't even look at us last year."
These large, freshly baked pretzels are terrific from the source, though we seem them in pushcarts around town as well. They come in several flavors, but we like salted sesame best, with a dab of mustard. And they're low-fat, too! 284 Amory Street, Jamaica Plain, MA .
Those cracked tiles aren't going to fix themselves. But a visit to the Boston Design Center's 10 bathroom-focused businesses will. Once open only to professionals, the eight-story design mecca now offers 20 designers on call to walk you through showrooms—some classic, some splashy—filled with tiles, faucets, mirrors, tubs, and everything else you'd ever want in your WC. One Design Center Place, Suite 337, Boston, MA 2210, bostondesign.com.
Local designers don't get their fantastic fabric wallpaper or eye-catching tile just anywhere. The visit this oasis of interior decorations, where the showrooms are filled with everything from classic fixtures to space-age appliances. And now you, too, can shop the Boston Design Center: Its Plush membership package gives the public access to thousands of best-in-town products formerly reserved for the trade. One Design Center Place, Boston, MA bostondesign.com/.
Gelzinis has had his ups and downs, but he's been on an upper this year. And every year he's what Mike Barnicle pretends to be: a streetwise guy who cares.
For his coverage of sports as business, in which his contacts give him the edge over everybody in reporting on such events as the Red Sox ownership squabbles, the recasting of the Boston Marathon, and the Boston Garden—arena fiasco.
The Globe's restaurant reviews have never been more influential or better written.