For riding on roads, buy a road bike. For carrying loads, buy a bike that can mount racks and panniers. For riding in all weather, buy a bike that can accept fenders. For reasonable comfort and flat protection, buy a bike that can accept relatively wide tires.
There are two types of bikes that can meet all of these criteria: touring bikes and (some) cyclocross bikes. (There may be some recumbents that do as well; I'm not familiar with that market.)
With appropriate gearing and tires, a cyclocross bike (Jamis Nova, Kona Jake-the-Snake, Surly Crosscheck) can be an all-around versatile bike for almost any application, without serious compromises. The same is true of touring bikes like the Fuji Touring, Trek 520, Bianchi Volpe, Novara Randonee.
Don't be scared off by drop handlebars; just make sure the bike shop understands that you want the bars high enough for comfort, not road racing.
Training: 2002 Fuji Roubaix Pro (105 triple)
Commuting/Daytripping: 2001 Airborne Carpe Diem (Ultegra/XTR, touring wheels)
Commuting/Touring: 2000 Novara Randonee (Sora/Tiagra/LX, fenders, lights)