Calling all plant lovers: This sweet Salem boutique has everything you need to transform your home into a garden oasis you’ll (really!) never want to leave. The best part? You can order its birds-of-paradise, philodendrons, and ferns online—as well as gorgeous planters to keep your new additions happy—then safely pick up curbside. And if you’re not sure your thumb is green enough, the shop also stocks home goods such as cheeky throw pillows and hand-poured candles to liven up your space. 143 Washington St., Salem, MA 01970, oakandmoss.com.
Metropolitan's underground decor includes exposed stone walls, purple neon lights, big plants, and great shower curtains in the women's locker rooms. The mainly gay clientele is in better shape than most people ever hope to be. Barney Frank lost his flab and got pumped up at Metropolitan. Are you cool enough to belong? 209 Columbus Ave., Boston, MA .
Hands down, Schwartz is the most distinguished walker of dogs in the city. Gray-haired and bespectacled, Philip stalks the streets of the South End, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill with his small leashed brood (including his own gentle doberman, Tara). A former retail executive, Schwartz never had a dog as a child and is making up for lost time, caring for up to 40 a day. He also does some sleepover home-stays—attending to pets, mail, and plants—and gives advice about Parisian travel and cooking. The cost: $10 per walk, $40-$50 per night for home stays.
If it's good enough for Julia Child, it's good enough for us. Sure, it's bigger than your average farmstand, and the weekend traffic on quiet Pleasant Street can be a drag. But the Wilson family has been growing fresh produce since 1884 and selling it to the public for the past 50 years—long before yuppies discovered mesclun, and before the pan-Asian trend gave bok choy its buzz. More than 30 acres in Lexington and 250 in New Hampshire fuel the retail shop, where every conceivable fruit and vegetable is available, not to mention flowers and plants and a full menu of prepared foods, cheeses, condiments and baked goods. 10 Pleasant St., Lexington, MA .
This renovated B-and-B began as an 18th-century stagecoach stop, and to this day there are no electric lights in the dining rooms—only a sea of candles and an open hearth. The food, however, is indisputably modern. Chef Peter Platt's credentials have nearly surpassed those of his early mentors, Lydia Shire and Jasper White, and his decadent handiwork—foie gras flan, squid-ink risotto, braised short ribs with truffled mashed potatoes—is history-making itself. 134 Hartsville/New Marlborough Rd., New Marlborough, MA oldinn.com.
The previous generation (Eastern Standard, the sadly defunct B-Side Lounge) may have planted the seeds for a cocktail revival, but Fort Point newcomer Drink—with its house-made liqueurs and garnishes, mid-bar herb garden, and bespoke ice cubes—presents the modern imbiber's paradise in full flower. The brilliantly designed winding bar hides the bottles and puts the bartenders front and center as they work off of their imagination, rather than preconceived menus. Everything from the custom drinks to the linen-and-mini-water-glass setup at each seat is meant to focus the patron's attention on the matter at hand: the serious art of cocktail making. 348 Congress St., Boston, MA 2210, drinkfortpoint.com.
This family-run store may seem small, but it's packed with objects to render your home as cozy, chic, and vaguely exotic as its name. There are intricately beaded silk table runners, art deco picture frames, mammoth plants, exquisite scented candles, artsy salt and pepper shakers, gorgeous Asian antiques, and a flat-out stunning selection of French tulips, Chinese bamboo, and other exotic flowers available by the stem or bouquet. Make sure to allow ample browsing time, then circle back again; you're sure to stumble upon another unique piece you missed on the first pass. 170 Tremont St., Boston, MA cocoonhome.com/.
Before Hingham's 251-acre World's End peninsula became a stunning spot for picnickers, it was the proposed location for both the United Nations headquarters and a nuclear power plant. Luckily, those ideas failed. Today, the reservation property boasts wide fields, native fauna, 4-plus miles of tree-lined walking paths, and panoramic views of the city skyline and Hingham Harbor. Just add paper plates and homemade sandwiches for a dining experience to rival that of any swanky sidewalk café. ($4.50, 8 a.m.-sunset year round.) 250 Martin's Lane, Hingham, MA 2043, thetrustees.org.
Jeannie Rogers is a soft-spoken woman, but when it comes to wine she sure knows her stuff. After 20 years of building the incredible cellar in Waltham at Il Capriccio, Rogers knows her customers and works hard to give them what they want. Sometimes, that means a little education: No wonder Rogers is on the founding advisory board of the Boston University Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource center. Through her feet are deeply planted in the Boston area, Rogers' head and palate look toward the vineyard-dotted, rolling hills of Italy. Her interest in Italian varietals is duly noted on her hand-picked wine list (90 percent of selections are Italian), but not at the expense of some great varietals from Austria, Germany, France, and even Santa Barbara. Don't miss the grappa selection on the dessert wine list. 888 Main Street, Waltham, MA ilcapricciowaltham.com.
The perfect excuse to 'forget' to pack enough clothing for your island getaway, Gypsy is fully stocked with big names like Céline, Isabel Marant, and Rick Owens. And if your current vacation plans don't require a $2,500 Lanvin cocktail dress, remember: Plans can change. 20 Federal St., Nantucket, MA 2554, gypsyusa.com.
This renovated B&B began as an 18th-century stagecoach stop, and to this day there are no electric lights in the dining rooms—only a sea of candles and an open hearth. The food, however, is indisputably modern. Chef Peter Platt's credentials have nearly surpassed those of his early mentors, Lydia Shire and Jasper White, and his decadent handiwork—foie gras flan, squid-ink risotto, braised short ribs with truffled mashed potatoes—is history-making itself. 134 Hartsville/New Marlborough Rd., New Marlborough, MA 1230, oldinn.com.
Here's state representative Michael Flaherty and his partner Robert Kenney, putting in the winning (though by now means lowest) bid on a city-owned vacant lot in Sothie, where the two plan to put up many pricey condo townhouses. There's Kenney, former Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) director, and another partner, John Flaherty, Michael's brother, submitting the winning bid on another city-owned vacant lot nearby, where they plan on putting up more pricey condo townhouses. There's Joseph Santa Fe, Michael's cousin, doing likewise on another city-owned vacant lot. There's James Flaherty, Michael's cousin and campaign manager, sitting on the BRA board that votes on the new zoning plan for the area—he doesn't vote on Flaherty-related business. South Boston, MA
Robert Gaston of Cambridge Kayak Company is putting together a sea-kayak trail stretching from northern to southern Massachusetts. Kayaker-friendly bed and breakfasts and waterfront restaurants will welcome weary travelers along the way; the tourist dollars, Gaston hopes, will encourage environmental awareness. That's the long-term plan. The short-term plan is to put together an ace team of kayak instructors and tour leaders for the summer, a venture in which Gaston is joined by Tony Simpson, an energetic British Canoe Union instructor. Cambridge, MA
Darling details make the difference at Petit Patapon. Whatever best becomes your little one—frilly ruffles, rugged stitching, whimsical embroidery—this organized shop has a stylish stock of it. The daisy-flecked T-shirts come with extra protection from harmful UV-rays. Bright capri pants shine in patterns that veer from funky to frilly. There's plenty of handsome headwear, embroidered denim jumpers, and little linen pants sized to fit everyone from infants to grade-schoolers. Can you blame us for wishing the collection came in bigger sizes? 27 Central St., Wellesley, MA .
One of the best things about a day off is having the ability to choose comfort above all else. At the Boston outpost for this popular designer, sartorial-minded gents can find soft, well-fitting tees and premium cashmere track pants that won’t look embarrassing in the produce section. And if an invite comes your way that involves meeting people you know in public, you won’t have to sacrifice said comfort when you swap the sweats for cotton pants, a linen shirt, and crisp, retro-looking sneakers. 17 Arlington St., Boston, MA jamesperse.com.