East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

Hearing that Small Axe truck would be closing in favor of a brick and mortar location last year was a bittersweet moment for Meredith and myself. In their first year, a Saturday morning coffee from Tandem, breakfast at Small Axe, and a trip to the farmer’s market had become our norm, and in their second year, anytime we found ourselves remotely near Congress Square Park, you could guarantee we’d be stopping by. Their shrimp & grits and fried chicken biscuits at the Portland Flea-for-All was one of our favorite meals of 2013, and it seemed as though their breakfast and rice bowls could simply do no wrong. What would happen when they closed? Would the new restaurant deviate from the tried & true offerings that garnered - and deservednational attention?

It turns out that all of our worrying was for naught because now that we’ve tried Karl Deuben & Bill Leavy’s reincarnation of the East Ender on our favorite block of Middle Street (read: one of the most delicious blocks in all of Portland), we realized that it’s not the truck that made the meal, but the chefs behind the grill.

Meredith and I are minimalists at heart, so the clean, open, light-filled interior of the new East Ender is a welcome sight. We stopped by for lunch this week and were happy to see familiar favorites like the cold smoked burger and the rice bowl, alongside new additions like the BLT and the fried chicken sandwich. On this trip, one of what will surely be many, Meredith ordered her beloved rice bowl with bok choy and potatoes and I went with the suggestion of our waitress – the BLT. Adding a little flavor and lair, my BLT was made with two thick pieces of pork belly in lieu of bacon, and finished with avocado and a miso mayo. I’ve been heralding the BLT at Blue Spoon as my favorite in town for years, but this one definitely gives it a run for its money. Ignoring our full stomachs, we even rallied and ordered the roasted pineapple hand pies with coconut sorbet – a delightful combination of tropical flavors not typically found in Maine.

In retrospect, we realize our lamenting over Small Axe’s closing was a little ill-founded, and now that we’ve fallen for their new menu, we couldn’t be more excited to taste what Karl & Bill cook up next at the East Ender.

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

East Ender, Portland Maine via Map & Menu

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Farmhouse Pottery Woodstock VT

On our way back from a spectacular few days in Vermont’s Mad River Valley (so much to share soon), we passed through Woodstock to revisit parts of our post-wedding getaway. Our first stop was the beautiful Farmhouse Pottery studio and shop – always an absolute delight for your eyes – and as part of a new tradition for trips to Vermont, we picked up another piece to add to our growing collection. Afterwards, we walked Orvis through town to see how it looked in the winter while reliving memories of our fall visit. Vermont is becoming such a very special place to the three of us and we can’t wait for our next return to the state.

Woodstock Vermont Farmhouse Pottery

Farmhouse Pottery Vermont

Woodstock Vermont

Orvis-in-Vermont

Ranunculus

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Winter in Maine

One of the best parts of all the snow we had this winter was the amount of time it afforded us to spend at my family’s farm in Wiscasset. While the farm is shut down for the season, it becomes our snowy getaway. A short drive up Route 1 and we’re settled in Wiscasset, ready for a weekend of cozy dinners by the fire, snacks from Treats, brunches at Crissy’s, and so much snowshoeing with Orvis on the farm and around the river. As the weather warms up and the melt begins, we love looking back at some of the memories made at the farm this season.

Wiscasset Woods

Michael Cain

Marianmade Farm Wiscasset

Wiscasset Maine

Mason and Orvis

Mason at Marianmade Farm

Dogs at Marianmade Farm

Skookum Collars

Frozen Sheepscot River ME

Sheepscot River Maine

Sheepscot River in Winter Maine

Orvis in Wiscasset

Frozen Sheepscot

Orvis Cain

Marianmade Farm

Orvis at the Farm

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Shipwrecks Beach Kauai

If it wasn’t too long, this post could be more accurately titled, “That Time We Went to Kauai and Only Took Three Photos of One of the Most Beautiful Places We’ve Ever Visited”. Quite a mouthful, right? In truth, we took a few more than three – some of which include awkward beach timer photos that will never see the light of day on this blog – but how we took so few photos on what many, including me, consider to be a once in a lifetime trip to a beautiful tropical island is well beyond me.

I guess “once in a lifetime” only applies when your employer doesn’t fly you around the world though, and last month, Michael made his second trip back out to Kauai for work since the trip we took with my father and stepmother in 2009. While he was away “working”, and I was stuck buried under a few feet of snow, I dug back through my archives and found these three photos of our trip that I felt were good enough to share on the site. Initially, I berated myself for taking so few photos during our trip to this magnificent island – really, what kind of photographer am I? – but then I realized that the number of photos I took didn’t equate to the quality of the trip and the memories I made. On the contrary, I was simply taking in all of the wonders of Kauai – experiencing every moment and activity – the way I sometimes forget to with a camera around my neck.

There are no photos of the time we zip-lined through the jungle canopy, or the small boat ride through massive surf at the Na Pali coast. We have no instagrams of the cocktails we sipped by the pool, or the mornings we spent watching the sunrise from the cliffs. We simply have these three photos (and those awkward beach selfies), along with a handful of truly amazing memories – memories that we made without a camera or a phone in front of our faces. This way of travel seems a thing of the past, but I think that going forward on our tips, I’ll try to make the conscious effort to better balance camera time with real life time.

Kauai Hawaii

Kauai Shripwrecks Beach

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Bedford Post Inn Bathroom

When it comes to sprucing up a bathroom, I’m finding that there are so many decisions to be made – paint colors, the style of light fixtures, etc. – and sometimes putting together a consistent look in all the different resources can be a challenge, so I decided to take a cue from our travels and pull some of my favorite bathrooms from the places we’ve stayed as inspiration. While the tiled walls and brass fixtures of The Marlton (pictured below) is closer to my idea of a dream bathroom, the style of the Bedford Post Inn (pictured above) sans soaking tub, might be more approachable with our current space and budget.

Do you have a favorite source for bathroom inspiration? I’d love to hear any suggestions you all might have!

The Marlton

The Marlton Hotel NYC

The Marlton Hotel NYC

The Ocean House at Watch Hill

Ocean-House-Bathroom

Ocean-House-Watch-Hill-Bathroom

Bedford Post Inn

Bedford Post Inn Bathroom

H2

H2 Hotel Bathroom

The Surrey Hotel

The Surrey Hotel New York City

Salt House Inn

Bathroom at the Salt House Inn

Porches Inn

Porches Inn Bathroom

Palmetto Bluff

Palmetto Bluff Bathrooms

Hotel Fauchere

Hotel Fauchere Bathroom

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Snowshoeing at Marianmade Farm

This weekend was a pleasant mixture of work and play. We spent most of Saturday re-plastering and repainting our upstairs bathroom, and then Sunday morning, after a filling breakfast of Michael’s delicious pancakes, we were right back at it.

Needing a little break from the work, we decided to head up to Wiscasset to go snowshoeing with Orvis on Sunday afternoon. Our friend, Julia, joined us and together we explored the land around my family’s farm, attempted (and failed) to make our own sledding trails, and swapped stories by the fireplace. Since Julia had run a race that morning, we made sure to bring along a special treat for her from Scratch – a cupcake inspired by the Samoa (or Caramel deLite if you’re like Michael) Girl Scout cookie!

Girl Scout Cookie Samoa Cupcake

Wiscasset Maine

Snow Tracks

Sheepscot River Maine

Snowshoeing in Maine

Anemones

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

When Meredith and I first started dating, her family had been visiting Bald Head Island for a number of years. From the stories they’d tell and the excitement they’d share, it was clear that the island held a special place in their hearts, and fortunately for me, it wasn’t long before I was able to join in on the tradition.

Not unlike many other islands on the coast of North Carolina, Bald Head’s coast is lined with wide, white sandy beaches, bordered by grassy dunes, while its mainland-facing side consists of a marshy estuary, riddled with a maze of wildlife-filled creeks and streams. However, wholly unlike the other islands on the coast of North Carolina, it’s the span between the dunes and marsh that make Bald Head Island such a special and unique place to the people that are lucky enough to visit it. The island is almost entirely free of cars, and has been since its earliest days. Accessible only by passenger ferry or personal watercraft, the main modes of transportation on the island are golf carts, bicycles, or your own two feet, and because of this, Bald Head maintains a largely unspoiled natural beauty that’s becoming harder and harder to find on the shores of North Carolina. The island is not without its developments and luxuries – there’s a quaint harbor with a handful of restaurants, a year-round market with a string of small shops, and even two country clubs on either end – but it’s the controlled pace and planning of these developments that have allowed Bald Head to grow beautifully with time, without overreaching on what the island can handle.

Similar to other visitors, Meredith and my early days on the island were spent riding our beach bikes along the roads, visiting Old Baldy (the oldest lighthouse still standing in North Carolina), walking around the harbor, and losing all track of time on the beaches. While it’s hard to imagine a better way to spend one’s days, we were sadly missing a pretty integral part of our relationship – the 90lb. black ball of fur we call Orvis. Although the island is incredibly dog-friendly (open access on the beaches, trails across the inland, dog bag stations and trash cans on seemingly every corner) the place we stayed was sadly not, so we boarded Orvis on our trips, and guiltily enjoyed the island without him. We did add a getaway to Bald Head with Orvis to our “30 by 30″ list, but after moving to Maine, our trips to the island dwindled as it became difficult to line up our schedules and balance visits with friends and family, and before we noticed it’d been five years without a trip.

Then this winter came. The freezing temperatures and feet of snow took their toll on the two of us, and in Meredith’s search for warmer weather, we realized that an off-season visit to Bald Head might be the perfect way to introduce Orvis to the island and trade Maine’s white powder for North Carolina’s white sand. It took little time to find a perfect-sized, dog-friendly place on the marsh, and in the blink of an eye, we were headed down the highway with puppy in-tow. That first ferry ride back to the island in so many years felt surreal – I don’t think I had realized how much I had maybe written off our time on Bald Head as a thing of the past – but once we arrived, everything seemed just as unspoiled and untouched as it always had been. “Quiet” is an understatement. In the first two days on the island, there was hardly another person to be seen. It was a little chilly for North Carolina, but even after it warmed up considerably (we even went for a shoeless walk in the sand), the beaches and roads remained empty, and we felt as though we had the entire island to ourselves. Orvis loved, loved, loved Bald Head. Laughing at him running and exploring off-leash made me upset that this hadn’t been a yearly winter tradition, but with any luck, it will be going forward.

It took Meredith and I moments to fall into our old island routines – running, walking, exploring, and relaxing – and although they were some of the happiest days I can remember, in the blink of an eye, our trip was over and we were boarding the ferry for the mainland. In our earlier visits to the island, Meredith’s mom would, like clockwork, stand in line to board the departing ferry, watching the new arrivals disembark, and say loudly “it’s our saddest day, and their happiest” to many chuckles from other passengers, but on that day, I couldn’t agree more with that voice in my mind. Now I can hardly wait for the day to come again when the tables are turned and it’s Meredith, Orvis, and my happiest as we return to the island. Thank you, Bald Head.

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Sabal-Palm-Bald-Head-Island

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

Orvis

Bald Head Island, NC via Map & Menu

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Clifton Inn, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Breaking up the long drive to and from North Carolina has become an essential part of this road trip we make a few times per year. We don’t always have the opportunity to plan such a fun stopover, but on our way back from Bald Head this weekend, we decided to revisit one of our top Southern towns – Charlottesville, Virginia.

We arrived at Clifton Inn – one of our very favorite dog-friendly inns on the East Coast – with an hour or so of daylight left, so we immediately took Orvis for a walk along the gorgeous, snow-covered property and around the icy lake. Seeing him romp around after a day in the car makes extending the trip home so worth it. Of course, staying at a lovely inn and enjoying a nice, relaxing meal sweetens the deal even more.

After settling in at Clifton (in the same room from our last visit nearly two years ago) we headed into town for dinner at The Alley Light. Fortunately, we have the Oscars and a home basketball game at UVA to thank for allowing us to snag a last-minute reservation at this recently announced James Beard Semifinalist for Best New Restaurant. We enjoyed a couple of delicious drinks at the bar before our table was ready and then followed the helpful advice of our sweet waitress in ordering the carrots, butternut squash gratin, beef tenderloin, and seared scallops. Our meal was simply delicious… I think I might suggest to Michael that we break up every road trip with a James Beard nominated meal!

Before hitting the road the next morning, we took Orvis for another walk around the lake and had a cozy breakfast near the fire on the inn’s verandah. Our time in Charlottesville was all too short, but what a truly wonderful way it was to make the most out of a long journey on the road!

Clifton Inn, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Clifton Inn, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Clifton Inn, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Clifton Inn, Charlottesville via Map & Menu  Clifton Inn, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Clifton Inn, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Clifton Inn, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Alley Light, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Alley Light, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Alley Light, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Clifton Inn, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

Clifton Inn, Charlottesville via Map & Menu

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Dog Friendly NC Beaches

A couple of weeks ago, the snowstorms and negative temperatures were really getting me down. It didn’t help that Michael was in Hawaii for work (I know, rough, right?) and I was stuck shoveling our driveway every other day all by my lonesome. So I did what I do every winter and began looking toward warmer weather for somewhere that would give me a break from all of the shoveling. I wasn’t long into my search when I had an idea – we’d hop in the car once Michael returned from Hawaii, and finally take Orvis down to Bald Head Island. We had put this adventure on our ’30 by 30′ list when we first moved to Maine nearly seven years ago, but every year, we seemed to be pulled in a million different directions when we visited North Carolina for holidays or weddings, leaving us zero time or energy to tack on the miles and days for a trip to Bald Head.

I grew up visiting this truly extraordinary island off the coast of North Carolina with my family multiple times a year and when Michael came into the picture in college, our trips became even more memorable. The only downside of the timeshare my parents owned was that the home didn’t allow dogs, so Orvis was never able to accompany us on these weekends away. Taking him to a place that we both hold so dear was incredibly important to us, but I always secretly wondered if we’d just never get around to doing so.

It took us all of five minutes on the beach our first night on the island this past week to realize that we should have been doing this each year of the past seven! Watching him run the length of the empty beaches we used to visit when we were younger brought us an unbelievable amount of joy.

We’ll be sharing lots more about what makes Bald Head so unique and special to us, but we couldn’t resist leading with a few photos of what might be our most memorable experience from our 30 by 30 list so far… besides getting married, of course!

Dog-Friendly Bald Head Island NC Beach

Orvis on Bald Head Island

Dogs on Bald Head   Michael Meredith and Orvis

Bald Head Island Dog Friendly

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Salisbury, Connecticut

Last week my mother and I made an all-too quick trip down to Salisbury, Connecticut. Our visit was postponed a day because of Tuesday’s blizzard and then cut short by another because of Friday’s snowstorm, but we still managed to fall in love with this area of Litchfield County in seemingly no time at all. The village of Salisbury is absolutely charming, with bucolic horse farms scattered along winding country roads, and classic homes and shops filling the quaint downtown. It’s an area I can see myself returning to time and time again.

White Hart Inn

Located right in the center of the charming village of Salisbury, Connecticut, the White Hart opened its 19th century doors for business late this past summer after being closed for four years. The inn’s clean, classic elegance was accented by hardwoods, bold art, and strong patterns. Its rooms were lovely and luxurious, and everyone we encountered on staff was delightful. Photographing the details of the sitting room and reception area, including artwork by Jasper Johns & Frank Stella, was an absolute pleasure. Read more about our stay at the White Hart here. 

At Home in the Country

We walked around downtown after our dinner at the White Hart’s Tap Room, selecting which shops we’d like to visit the next day, and At Home in the Country made it to the top of our list. This darling shop is filled with great gifts, home accessories, and even works of art, like the beautiful paintings I spied by Joan Badner, an artist with ties to Maine.

Peter Becks Village Store

Northwestern Connecticut has an abundance of state parks, land trusts, and trail systems, (the Appalachian Trail runs through Salisbury) so it’s only fitting that the town has an equally impressive outdoors store to  match its environmental charm. With brands like Patagonia, Filson, and Smartwool, Peter Becks has an excellent selection of both technical gear and lifestyle apparel.

Joie de Livres

Tucked in the back of Salisbury Wines, Joie de Livres is a gallery of books, many of which are collectible fine art tomes. So many titles caught my eyes, I could have spent hours browsing the fantastic collection, and the fact that it is literally inside a wine shop had me dreaming up my own version of a store filled with two of the things I love most in this world – art books & good wine.

Salisbury Wines

Visiting a wine shop while traveling will always be one of my favorite travel rituals, as I love seeing what other shops in different areas have to offer. Salisbury Wines was written up on Find.Eat.Drink., a travel app that Michael & I swear by, so not stopping in as my mother and I walked past the shop on Main Street was simply not an option. I was more than happy to pick up a bottle of Bansheea favorite from our trip to Sonoma – on my way out the door.

Salisbury Breads

Another Find.Eat.Drink. recommendation I insisted we visit (even though we were still full from breakfast at the White Hart), Salisbury Breads has an abundance of freshly baked breads, pastries, pies, soups, and even gluten-free treats – not to mention that distinct, heavenly aroma that all wonderful bakeries have in common. The croissants looked exceptionally tasty to me, but we opted for two of the smaller apple pastries to tide us over on our ride to Hudson.

If our trip hadn’t been cut short, we would have had dinner at The Woodland in nearby Lakeville, sipped tea at Harney & Sons in Millerton, and explored one of the many trail systems in the area. Needless to say, I’m hoping to plan a return trip to Salisbury with Michael & Orvis – there’s just so much to see and do. Of course, I’d appreciate any tips you all might have on exploring Northwestern Connecticut for our next visit. 

White Hart Inn, Salisbury CT

White Hart Inn, Salisbury CT

White-Hart-Inn-Tap-Rooms

Apple Crisp White Hart Inn

Tap Room at the White Hart

Breakfast at the White Hart

White Hart Inn

At Home in the Country Salisbury, Connecticut

Peter Becks Salisbury, Connecticut

Peter Becks Salisbury, Connecticut

Joie de Livres Salisbury, Connecticut

Salisbury Wines

Salisbury Breads

Salisbury, Connecticut

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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