With 20 exercise and teaching certifications, Julie Erickson certainly has the cred. But education alone doesn’t make a great trainer. Erickson’s technique is very hands-on—she’ll tell you exactly what parts you’re strengthening and why while she works with you in her Arlington studio. Erickson has also selflessly donated her time and energy to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombings regain their strength. 446 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA 2474, endurancepilatesandyoga.com.
The fanny pack and walking shoes may mark you as a tourist, but your digs definitely won’t. Tucked away in the Back Bay, this brownstone inn blends in with its neighbors, keeping your tourist status our little secret. Small and intimate, the property’s suites feature copper fireplaces and signature bow-front windows, creating a quintessential Boston experience. 99 St. Botolph St., Boston, MA 2116, innatstbotolph.com.
Streetcar might not be the biggest shop in Boston, but that actually works to your advantage: Owner Michael Dupuy selects every bottle from the finest, most conscientious producers, which translates to absolutely zero fluff on the shelves (there simply isn’t room for it). Choose from a diverse range of price points and varietals, most from great local importers like Mise, Oz Wine Company, and Adonna Imports, as well as an unprecedented range of sherries, vermouths, digestifs, and natural wines. 488 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, streetcarwines.com.
If you stayed here, you’d never want to leave. After 12 years as a Kimpton hotel, this year the Nine Zero unveiled a top-to-bottom transformation, courtesy of local firm Korn Design, showcasing plush leather headboards, velvet drapes, and Eames chairs (think: classic Boston Brahmin meets midcentury-modern cool). Those fabulous views of the golden dome, however, remain blissfully the same. 90 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02108, ninezero.com.
From collard greens to juicy strawberries, Red Fire Farm’s certified-organic CSA shares overflow with the freshness and vibrancy of a New England summer. Grown by Ryan Voiland, who began tilling the soil of Montague with his parents in middle school, the produce is shipped to 10 pickup spots in Boston, so you never have to leave the concrete jungle to connect with the land. MA redfirefarm.com.
Even as her Boston outpost thrives, Aimee Lombardi continues to have faith in the suburbanite’s thirst for interesting fashion, traveling to Europe several times a year to bring home pieces that are thoughtful and thrilling but still hew to New England needs—chunky sweaters by Marni, memorable (yet wearable) dresses by Anne Willi. Insightful and cheery staffers remind shoppers why brick-and-mortar beats online: Chances are good you’ll walk out with something you never even thought to try on. 129 Washington St., Marblehead, MA 01945, frenchitalian.com.
Orinoco has churned out irresistible arepas and empanadas for nearly 10 years—the only difference is that now you can enjoy the restaurant's slow-cooked baby-back ribs with guava barbecue sauce, juicy adobo-criollo chicken with malanga gnocchi, and gut-busting plates of shredded beef, rice, beans, and plantains in three neighborhoods. Whether you're in Boston, Cambridge, or Brookline, there's a killer empanada within walking distance. (Multiple locations.) 477 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA 02118, orinocokitchen.com.
A new Boston staffer—a meat-loving New York transplant—recently ran into the office, excited after "discovering" Life Alive. It was then that we realized how lucky we are to have had this organic café long before the whole grain-bowl-kombucha-juice-bar thing got trendy. Just try "The Adventurer," a mash-up of corn, beets, cruciferous veggies, cheddar, and sesame-ginger sauce over quinoa and rice and see for yourself. 765 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, lifealive.com.
Boston reps several styles of Chinese cuisine well—we have fiery Sichuan specialists, Taiwanese soup-dumpling pros, and temples to luxurious Cantonese seafood in Chinatown. For the floury, dumpling-heavy cuisine of the north, we head straight to Qingdao. There you'll find plates of fragrant cumin-laced lamb, crispy pan-fried leek-stuffed pies, and, most important, a massive roster of house-made dumplings in varieties like pork-and-leek and vegetarian string bean. 2382 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138, qingdaogarden.com.
With its dim lighting, convenient Bay Village locale, and peerless carbonara pasta, Erbaluce has been a destination for occasion Italian dining since it opened in 2008. Perhaps less appreciated, however, is chef Charles Draghi's separate, weeknight-friendly bar menu, where saucy boar meatballs topped with plumes of herbs, and thick prosciutto-and-fontina paninis pair well with an endless flow of lambrusco by the glass. *** Erbaluce is located at 69 Church St. Boston MA 02116 in Bay Village near the Park Plaza. 69 Church St., Boston, MA 02116, erbaluce-boston.com.
Anxious readers seeking comfort and perspective at a time when both were in short supply found solace in Heather Cox Richardson’s daily newsletter, turning it into an unlikely smash hit. Each morning throughout the COVID crisis, the Boston College professor has penned a crisp summation of the news that is free of panicked hyperbole, heavy on context and warmth, and sprinkled liberally with historical tidbits. It’s no wonder more than 600,000 subscribers still hang on to her every word. heathercoxrichardson.substack.com .
Want to get away without actually going anywhere? Book a night aboard one of the Green Turtle’s floating guest rooms. Docked in Boston Harbor, the comfortable 45-foot yacht and houseboat lovingly tended to by proprietors Jon Dolence and Karen Maciejewski feel like they’re a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, even if you can still see the skyline while savoring breakfast and coffee from the dock. One Pier 8 13th St., Charlestown, MA 02129, greenturtlebb.com.
Stylist Sarah Naslund may specialize in updos — headband braids, intricate twists, sleek buns — but you’d be hard-pressed to find a look this Boston-based expert hasn’t mastered. That’s because she carefully evaluates the length, texture, and color of each bride’s locks to help her choose a style that will look flawless in photos — and stay put on the dance floor. 56 Wareham St., Boston, MA 02118, mybighairday.com.
With locations in Downtown Crossing and Natick, the vividly colored Roche Bobois showrooms deliver innovative, boundary-pushing pieces (including Jean Paul Gaultier’s playful chariot-inspired "Ben Hur" armchair with wheels) and patterns from designers such as Cécile Maia Pujol and Kenzo Takada without sacrificing comfort.
2 Avery St., Boston 617-742-9611
395 Worcester St., Natick 508-650-5844 roche-bobois.com.
This Haitian-born, Massachusetts-raised performer has been releasing music steadily for years, but you might have caught her most recently tearing it up at one of the Late Nite events at the MFA or braving the frosty temperatures during 2018’s First Night festivities. Named best hip-hop artist at the Boston Music Awards in 2014, she’s accomplished all of this largely outside the music-label system, raising the funds for her newest album on Kickstarter last fall. MA dutchrebelle.com.