The fact that this prime spit of land, surrounded by water with views of the city and harbor, isn’t a golf course? That’s a miracle unto itself. It’s well worth reserving a timed parking pass ahead of time to be one of the lucky ones who get to peruse the blessedly crowd-controlled hills, rocky shoreline, and Frederick Law Olmsted–designed carriage paths each day. Martins Lane, Hingham, MA 02043, thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/south-of-boston/worlds-end.html.
Ari Shemtov’s Israeli-fusion menu is full of gems such as deep-fried feta, chickpea poutine with brisket, and couscous arancini, but it pays to time your contactless pickup order to one of the chef ’s weekly specials (don’t miss the Wednesday-night barbecue package complete with ribs, chicken wings, and a whole smoked snapper). That’s not the only way Shemtov is feeding the community in these tough times: The restaurant also offers a food-share program that provides a “one-size-fits-all” box of provisions at restaurant cost. 370 S. Main St., Sharon, MA 02067, simcharestaurant.com.
With one location already flourishing on Cape Cod, sisters Lauren and Simone Pereira established their second home-décor shop in Hanover’s new Merchant’s Row shopping plaza late last year. It’s not easy to shut your doors so soon after opening them, but online ordering and Instagram teaser shots of Elburne’s ethically sourced furniture, rugs, and artwork kept shoppers engaged through the shutdown. The doors are open once again, but the siblings are still offering curbside pickup to make scoring the perfect pick-me-up even easier. 2053 Washington St., Hanover, MA 02339, elburne.com.
With 2,575 acres of maintained trails highlighting stunning waterfalls, tranquil ponds, and city views, the Fells has something for everyone, from adrenaline junkies to casual recreationists. Always wanted to cruise down a hill at top speed on a mountain bike while bouncing off boulders and tree roots? Snap on your helmet and put the pedal to the metal. If that’s not quite your speed, simply pack some snacks, park your picnic blanket alongside a gentle stream, and enjoy a restorative day in nature. 4 Woodland Rd., Stoneham, MA 02180, mass.gov/locations/middlesex-fells-reservation.
After slinging “Hot Noods” in kitchens across the area, chef Rachel Miller finally gave her Vietnamese-inspired pop-up eatery a permanent home in downtown Lynn last year. From there, she’s now churning out an ace takeout and delivery program that includes homemade mi kho noodles with caramelized garlic sauce, a warm lemongrass-infused lobster roll, and coconut margarita mix that promises to turn any ordinary night at home into a party. But what’s even more satisfying than the food is knowing that Miller frequently donates proceeds to local non-profits. 73 Exchange St., Lynn, MA 01901, nightshadenoodlebar.com.
Open year round, Smolak’s commitment to sustainability shows up in its dedication to teaching future generations the importance of family farms. Educational tours interesting enough to keep the adults entertained are bolstered by animals to feed and a robust pick-your-own schedule. A kids’ club, meanwhile, offers special access and discounts to future events like breakfast with Mrs. Claus and Easter egg hunts. 315 S. Bradford St., North Andover, MA 01845, smolakfarms.com.
Kimball Farm started as an ice cream stand on a sandy patch of parking lot, a rite of passage for local kids to eat cones as big as their heads. Today, the Westford location has socially distanced family fun down to a science with attractions that rival most theme parks. Here you’ll find well-monitored lines for gargantuan sundaes; an al fresco snack shack with kid-friendly meals (cheesy tater tots, hot dogs) and local beer for grownups; live music; and even mini golf, bumper boats, and batting cages for open-air fun with your pod. 400 Littleton Rd. (Rt. 110), Westford, MA 01886, kimballfarm.com.
Break free from your pizza rut with help from this teensy Cuban jewel in Waltham, which combines the warm service of an old-world café with decidedly modern touches—namely, an efficient takeout oper- ation offering dishes that pack a flavorful punch: husky Cubanos, savory empanadas (hot or frozen for later), and plantain chips with an herbaceous cilantro sauce that tastes like summer in a thimble. Beer and wine are available to take home, too, so you can wash it all down with a crisp bottle of Muscat. 240 Moody St., Waltham, MA 02453, gustazo-cubancafe.com/waltham.
Escape from the crowds at this Belmont oasis maintained by Mass Audubon, which offers a maze of meandering, scenic trails with absolutely no street noise; logs and branches for pint-size climbers; and ponds filled with frogs and lazy turtles. With about 3 miles of trails, it’s manageable for nov- ices—but still feels like a world of its own just beyond the city limits. 10 Juniper Rd., Belmont, MA 02478, massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/habitat.