There was a time when anyone on the South Shore interested in fine furnishings had to make the trek up to Boston. But there's no need now. At this lovely one-stop decor shop, you'll find outstanding American lines like Oly and Hickory Chair, French furnishings made by Grange, and accessories by the Vermont-based Simon Pearce. Overwhelmed? Seek out the in-house designer, Bill Barr, who offers complete interiors service. 81 1/2 Fairhaven Rd., Mattapoisett, MA surroundingshome.com.
Boston University. Maybe it's because he worships Bob Dylan. Maybe it's because it appears that he's committed to memory every word T. S. Eliot ever wrote. Maybe it's because he can recite practically any other line of prose or verse imaginable. Or maybe it's just his students' insistence that he's simply the most dedicated, challenging, energetic, and inspiring teacher in the post-Socratic era.
This sleek downtown inn offers rooms done up in stripes and poppy colors by Boston designer Rachel Reider, as well as plenty of modern amenities (iPads, Apple TVs). Your best bet is Room 16 or 17 in the guesthouse, each of which features a patio complete with a fire table and a private entrance from the inn’s pretty courtyard. 76 Main St., Nantucket, MA 2554, 76main.com.
This boutique spot tends to draw a VIP crowd: Last summer, the cast of Saturday Night Live checked in for funnyman Seth Meyers’s Vineyard wedding. Comedy aside, there’s a serious, quiet luxury to the Edgartown hideaway, from the handpicked antiques in each well-appointed room to the scrumptious breakfast scones and afternoon tea. Hotel guests can even charter a private Boston Whaler for fishing or Nantucket day trips. It’s no wonder the stars stay here. 128 Main St., Edgartown, MA 2539, hobknob.com.
Time was, getting sushi in Boston was a black-and-white proposition: You either went for the simple and efficient or the luxurious and, ahem, pricey. Chef Seizi Imura’s unassuming Cambridge spot, however, threads the needle with both respectable rollssuch as the pressed oshi-zushi, draped with transparent kombuand flavor revelations, in the form of wasabi-laced raw octopus (a highlight from the oft-changing omakase tasting) and torched avocado nigiri with truffle salt. 1105 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2138, cafesushicambridge.com.
After 65 years of bringing movie magic to Harvard Square, this repertory theater has left us with memories as cinematic as any scene projected onto the screen: Where else could we see John Hodgman introduce The Dead Zone, snicker at Trash Night’s grade-Z dreck, and experience David Lynch’s Lost Highway in 35mm—all in the same month? Harvard alum Natalie Portman must feel the same way, given that she chose the Brattle to stage her Boston Calling Film Festival. 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138, brattlefilm.org.
Hipsters, locals, and industry folk mingle at this Inman hangout, where stiff drinks and retro vibes accompany seriously good late-night eats, cranked out by the kitchen staff till midnight on weekends. The crisp tots with rosemary-garlic aioli pair well with a Green Goblin (a neon mezcal-based tipple), as does the beefy Starlite chili with a side of cornbread—a butter-soaked masterpiece so good, you might as well order an extra slice to take home for breakfast. Correction, June 26, 11 a.m.: In the July issue of Boston, we misstated how late Trina's serves (midnight). We regret the error. 3 Beacon St., Somerville, MA 02143, trinastarlitelounge.com.
All of Milton (and a good chunk of Boston) flock to chef Chris Parsons's sprawling fiefdom in a former car showroom and ambulance garage. They come for creative craft cocktails and local beer on draft. They come for the rustic-meets-sophisticated ambiance. Most of all, they come for Parsons's whimsical, honest-to-goodness American fare—spaghetti with green garlic, broccoli rabe, bacon, and a poached egg; grilled smoked-chicken flatbread with homemade ricotta; and a juicy Niman Ranch burger on brioche, presented with a side of house pickles and potato chips in an adorable metal box. 95 Eliot St., Milton, MA 02186, steelandrye.com.
Editor's Note, July 13, 1 p.m.: Ames Street—which merged with its neighbor Study for a combined concept called "Study at Ames" in late June, after press time for our Best of Boston issue—closed July 12.
After creating a top-tier nightlife enclave at Somerville’s Backbar, Sam Treadway and team are now schooling the country’s smartest city in cocktail-making. Here, they offer an ever-changing matrix organized by liquor, breaking down off-center sips (purple-cabbage gin, anyone?) to make even foreign flavors feel approachable. 73 Ames St., Cambridge, MA 02142, amesstreetdeli.com.
Boston has a long, rapturous history of genius buskers, from Susan Dietrich Schneider, the infamous "Space Lady" of the ’80s, to such future stars as Tracy Chapman, Mary Lou Lord, and Amanda Palmer. But none has so captured the soul of the city as Keytar Bear, our unofficial musical mascot. Yes, our funky spirit animal—the furry king of costume-core—has been twice attacked by thugs. But he's now back in action, appearing with Guster in January and welcoming the Fenway faithful with slinky grooves on Opening Day.
When Tim Maslow arrived in Boston from New York a few years ago to overhaul his father’s Watertown café, he made waves with his brash flavors and witty presentationsso much so that local food fiends fretted that his success might take him back to the Big Apple. Then came the August 2013 debut of the modern-Italian Ribelle, with its dry-aged meats, hand-rolled pastas, and clever panelle sliders. In short? It seems Maslow is in it for the long hauland our dining scene is all the better for it. Strip-T's, 93 School St., Watertown; Ribelle, 1665 Beacon St., Brookline, stripts.com.
To say that owner Leslee Shupe is dialed into the European fashion scene is an understatement: She first heard about rising Italian star Marco de Vincenzo from her friend Silvia Fendi (yes, that Fendi). As expected, the neat racks of Shupe’s shops on Newbury Street and Nantucket are flush with buzzy designers from abroad, including Cédric Charlier, Hervé L. Leroux, and Marni (even the German-made floral Birkenstocks Shupe had this summer were impossibly chic). If you need further proof of Serenella’s " it" factor, consider the fact that it’s the only Boston store featured on FarFetch, a curated online marketplace for independent high-end boutiques. 134 Newbury St., Boston; and 9B S. Beach St., Nantucket, serenella-boston.com.
Nationally recognized for her diverse portfolio, Dana Tavares has cemented herself in the highest tier of wedding photographers. The UMass grad—who runs Henry + Mac alongside her husband, Zak—pulls no punches with her documentarian style and approach, favoring gorgeously framed, naturally lit moments over gimmicky filters and poses at every event she photographs. A traditional black-tie fete at the Boston Public Library? An intimate, winter-night ceremony? A sun-soaked destination celebration in Mexico? If there’s love to capture, Henry + Mac’s photography is always the answer. henryandmac.com.
Sticking it to the corporate chains is most satisfying when you can do so without, you know, sacrificing anything. Seventy-five years after Boston native Mark Kramer opened a bookstore in Harvard Square, the supersize word-maven haven is still family-owned (by Kramer's son, Frank) and still doing everything right, with a public library's worth of used tomes, and new releases to rival Barnes and Borders. In a particularly Cantabrigian touch, the shop vows to go to court before disclosing your purchases to the government or anyone else, should they for some reason ask. Take that, Patriot Act! 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA harvard.com.
The era of the mass-hyped, massively obvious It-bag is over (Arrivederci, Fendi baguette! Au revoir, Vuitton bowling bag!), clearing the way for the kinds of expertly crafted, anti-status designs that are Sari Brown's stock in trade. Having built a global clientele with her LuxCouture website, she opened a shop in Newton Highlands last year so that local fans could skip the shipping and go straight to shelves loaded with uncommon Sang A clutches, JT Italia baguettes, and Elena Ghisellini totes. Unlike at competitors Gretta Luxe and Luna Boston, the labels here trend unique, not ubiquitous, and the service is far more personalized than at the department stores. Balenciaga? Bah! 21 Lincoln Road, Newton Highlands, MA 2461, .