“There’s nothing flat about this fun collection of seasonal items, toiletries, toys, pillows, and whatever else catches the fancy of the shop’s young owner,” raves Fodor’s about Flat of the Hill. Indeed, the eclectic collection at this Beacon Hill boutique features an array of gift items and accessories that almost defies description. Handbags by MZ Wallace, candles from Nest, children’s perfume, and prints from Sugarboo are just a few items you can expect to see on the shelves of this 15-year old neighborhood boutique. And as Fodor’s points out, the owner has a special affinity for pets, meaning there’s likely no shortage of toys for the dog and books on world domination for the cat.
“I love chocolate, I admit I am addicted,” confesses Paula Barth in her online bio. She doesn’t sugarcoat her habit—in fact, she makes a career out of it. As the owner of Beacon Hill Chocolates, she’s spent the last 15 years curating a unique assortment of artisan truffles and other chocolates, and has traveled all over the world to track down the best handcrafted sweets. Her whimsical truffles won Paula the title of best chocolatier from Boston Magazine in 2012 (the third time she’s received the honor). From a ganache-filled kitty cat, complete with heart-shaped nose and white whiskers, to candied bacon caramels that look as though they’re speckled with stars, the truffle case contains sweets almost too charming to eat. Adorable treats like caramel sushi—a dark-chocolate dipped swirl of caramel and marshmallow––or milk-chocolate covered oreos taste even sweeter when plucked from a keepsake box adorned with an old photo or classic artwork. And Beacon Hill Chocolates can also create wedding favors or business-appropriate keepsakes emblazoned with a company logo or the CEO's baby footprints.
Though the Rugg Road Paper Company of today stocks everything from greeting cards to bookbinding supplies, it began with only one product: handmade paper. From 1982 to 1994, the business inhabited a small studio, where its artist owners pedaled their unique paper exclusively to other artists and designers. But when the pair handed the reins to Amy Madanick and Casandra McIntyre in '94, not only did the location change—they moved to a stately brick row house on Charles Street, where the shop thrives to this day—the inventory and clientele did, as well. Of course, Rugg Road still caters to its artist clientele by stocking roughly 600 handmade papers from around the globe, but the shop also welcomes the general public to peruse its other paper products. From wedding invitations and photo albums to birthday cards and stationery, Amy and Casandra help customers sift through an impressive assortment, especially given the fact that the store only measures to 800 square feet, since that was the largest pad of paper the owners could find to use as a rug. Some of its finds include cards by Blonde, a design duo that goes heavy on soft pastels and flowers for birth announcements and wedding invites. Crane & Co., on the other hand, uses engraving, embossing, or letterpress printing to craft stationery formal enough for a sworn affidavit declaring innocence in the matter of the fridge's missing leftovers. The diverse collection of designers and products led _Boston Magazine_to name Rugg Road Paper Company the best place for stationery in 2008, 2009, and 2011.
Enjoying a chilled beverage no longer means enduring a watered-down finish with Top Shelf Living's drink products. The purveyor of earthen barware, cookware, and tabletop products—including soapstone coasters and slate pizza stones—can outfit shoppers with washable drops that cool libations without melting into water. Sets of whiskey rocks keep adult beverages chilled for up to 45 minutes, and metal wine drops ensure customers can enjoy cooled glasses of pinot grigio with their meal without having to dine in their supermarket's walk-in freezer.
Whole Foods Market's commitment to the interdependent network of sustainable farms and organic producers can be seen in its carefully selected product lines. The homegrown 365 Everyday Value brand makes it easy to eat naturally, organically, and economically. It features an array of items from all product categories, including groceries, vitamins, household items, and more—each manufactured to meet the rigorous quality standards woven into the fabric of Whole Foods Market, which itself is made from 100% alpaca wool.
Finding a grocery store in the city can be a challenging feat, as there aren’t many chains readily available. However, there is a small market located across the street from the Boston Common that offers not only groceries, but a massive salad bar, a hot breakfast buffet, nine rotating hot soups, freshly cut deli sandwiches and an assortment of pastries. Less a place to shop for a week's worth of groceries and more a quick-service specialists, lunches at Lambert's also feature a hot buffet of overstuffed calzones, slices of pizza and hearty dinner entrées. Patrons can grab a cup of hot or iced coffee and sit at one of the handful of available in-house tables or enjoy it on the Common with a morning or afternoon Danish in the warmer months.