The 404 Hotel in Nashville

As soon as I booked a wedding in Nashville, a city we’d always wanted to visit, I knew exactly where I wanted to stay – The 404 Hotel. I don’t recall where I’d first read about The 404, but after seeing its repeated mentions in all of my favorite travel magazines, there was no real question in my mind about where we’d stay.

Located in the trendy Gulch neighborhood, The 404 is known for its amazing onsite restaurant, five impeccably designed minimalist rooms, and its invisible service, a feature we’d not experienced in a hotel yet, but one we truly enjoyed. (This is a fantastic read about the rise of hotels with invisible services, highlighting The 404.)

We both loved the design of our room – the clean, light palette that made the wall art shine, the high ceilings, the tall sliding barn door, and every last detail of the boldly bright bathroom that blended the traditional and modern so perfectly. The restaurant, which we’ll cover in our future post about the city of Nashville itself, turned out to be a very strong contender for our best meal of the trip.

Traveling to a hotel, particularly for any Map & Menu feature, we’ve found that we typically depart having made a new friend – someone at the front desk or a manager who made our stay even more memorable – and although I thought I might miss this connection by staying at a hotel where you literally don’t see or meet a single member of the staff, I have to say, it was a bit liberating. We came and went using an access code given to us prior to our stay, and although we usually enjoy getting to talk to hotel staff about some of their favorite local haunts, we didn’t have any trouble getting through our own list of Nashville must-visits. Staying in an invisible service hotel is somewhat akin to having a well-designed apartment in whichever city you’re visiting.

If you’re looking for a stylish, inedpendent change of pace in your next Nashville hotel, look no further than The 404.

The 404 Hotel in Nashville

The 404 Hotel in Nashville

The 404 Hotel in Nashville

The 404 Hotel in Nashville

The 404 Hotel in Nashville

The 404 Hotel in Nashville

The 404 Hotel in Nashville

The 404 Hotel in Nashville

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Sheepscot River ME

Michael and I love going up to my family’s farm up in Wiscasset in the winter to explore the area with Orvis when everything is covered in the snow, but during a recent trip this fall, we realized that we hadn’t really taken advantage of the farm and much of the surrounding area in the fall season. The color, the slightly chilly but not too cold walks, and the early morning fall light are all things that we’ve missed in years past, so we’re trying to remedy that before the first snowfall.

With that in mind, we made the trip north on Saturday with the intention of visiting a new trail and revisiting a favorite midcoast restaurant. After walks through the woods and around the farm we had dinner in Rockland at Suzuki’s Sushi. Every part of our meal lived up to our memories from our first visit in 2013, and it was amazing to see how much downtown Rockland has grown in such a short amount of time.

Sunday began with a stop at Crissy’s, our go-to breakfast spot in the area, and then we explored the beautiful tree-lined paths and open shoreline of Dodge Point with Orvis. Although we missed peak foliage at this lovely preserve, returning during the height of the season is high on our list for next fall. A comforting meal from Treats and a trip to Rock Paper Scissors was just what we needed before heading back home to ready ourselves for the work week.

Marianmade Farm Orvis

Suzuki's Sushi

Marianmade Farm in the Fall

Orvis at Marianmade Farm

Marianmade Farm Fall

Treats Wiscasset

Dodge Point

Dodge Point Maine

Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Provincetown Travel Guide

With the always-crazy pace of summer, we almost missed an opportunity to visit Cape Cod this year. In years past, our trips to Provincetown had always been tied to mid-summer weddings, so we’d grown accustomed to the busy beaches and crowded streets, but after making our trip this past month, we quickly found out that the end of September is an almost perfect time to visit the town.

The crowds are mostly gone, save for a few tours buses that park in the center of town, and the weather is still pleasantly warm during the day, yet refreshingly chilly at night. We were able to enjoy delicious meals without any waiting at both old favorites and new finds, our strolls around town were highlighted by the late summer and early fall details we’d never had the chance to experience before, and the empty-beach panoramic sunsets over the water will be memories we’re not likely to forget.

Almost by accident, a beautiful shoulder-season getaway to Provincetown turned out to be a perfect way to cater in the change of season and cooler weather. The following spots are places we’d advise anyone to seek out during future trips to Ptown!

Eben House

After our stay at Eben House, we were once again reminded of how a truly well-thought out hotel can have an extraordinary impact on your journey as whole. When you start and end your days in a space that was designed with such care and attention, you’re bound to have an outstanding trip – something Eben House delivers with perfection. Read more about our stay at Eben House here.

Joon Bar & Kitchen

Kevin O’Shea, the creative director of Salt Hotels, also designed Joon, so it’s no wonder we loved the interior of the restaurant as much as the delicious food. We recommend the duck confit sliders!

The Canteen + Happy Camper

The Canteen, a bright, lively restaurant in the center of town, won us over with its wonderful Banh Mi and Kale Salad during our last trip to Provincetown, so enjoying another tasty meal there was at the top of our must-do list. Thankfully, we were able to follow up our fantastic meal on their patio with a sweet treat from their sister business, the ice cream + donut shop next door, Happy Camper.

Herring Cove Beach & Race Point Beach

We love trading in the rocky coast of Maine for the wide open stretches of sandy beaches on Cape Cod for a few days. Both Herring Cove & Race Point beaches are the perfect places to soak up the midday sun, or better yet, watch it disappear over the ocean.

Kohi Coffee

With great branding that will easily catch your eye as you’re walking down Commercial Street, Kohi Coffee is a must-visit. It doesn’t hurt that they also serve our favorite Tandem Coffee Roasters coffee!

Sadly, the doors to John Derian’s shop in town closed just days before our trip, however we still visited another old standby, SHOR, and then spent time daydreaming about which piece we’d select next from one of our favorite galleries in town, the Adam Peck Gallery.

Do you have any Provincetown favorites we missed? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Provincetown MA Travel Guide

Provincetown Sunset

Provincetown at Dusk

Provincetown Breakwater

Sunset in Provincetown

The Canteen

The Canteen Kale Salad


Provincetown Travel

Race Point Beach Provincetown

Provincetown Homes

Happy Camper Ice Cream Provincetown

Happy Camper Ice Cream Ptown

Provincetown Beach

Joon Bar and Kitchen

Herring Cove Beach Provincetown

Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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As promised, Meredith and I have been busy slicing and dicing all afternoon, getting ready for tomorrow’s festivities! If you’ve ever texted with Mere, you can probably pick out her creation, and it only takes meeting Orvis once to figure out which one is his perennial favorite. I like to call one of mine “Self-Portrait Pre-Braces” – I think its goofiness balances well against the evil side of the final pumpkin.

Happy Halloween! Don’t eat too much of that delicious candy.

Our pumpkins from years past: 20142013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.






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Last year we had more than a few people reach out to us about the missing jack-o-lanterns on the site. Although we love this yearly tradition, we had something slightly more important on our minds – like getting married the day after Halloween! We still managed to carve the pumpkins above, we just never had time to share them.

For you jack-o-lantern fans out there, have no fear – Michael is sharpening the knives and I’m making our go-to apple cider bourbon cocktails. We’ll be carving this week and cannot wait to share our 2015 pumpkins with you soon!

Our pumpkins from years past: 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010. Fun fact: Michael takes credit for all of the really great ones. Mine are the super awkward ones! 

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Eben House Provincetown

Since moving to New England, we’ve made three trips to Provincetown, with each one being better than the last. Our two most recent jaunts down the Cape have been some of our favorite New England getaways, thanks almost entirely to Kevin & David of Salt Hotels. In June of 2013, we fell in love with their first property, the Salt House Inn,  when we planned an all too quick overnight in Provincetown the day before shooting a wedding. We’ve been following the growth of their brand ever since, and were delighted to see them open a second property in Provincetown last year, Eben House, followed by a hotel this year on Shelter Island, The Chequit.

Last month I made arrangements for Michael and I to stay at Eben House for a relaxing midweek getaway. We loved the Salt House so much that I was skeptical as to whether or not the Eben House would be able to live up to the high standards its sister hotel set for us in 2013. Fortunately, It took all of two minutes for my skepticism to completely vanish, as we again found ourselves enamored with every single detail of the hotel. We’ve found that these unique details – the ones that often go unlooked by other hotels and inns – have essentially become a trademark of Salt Hotels, helping make their properties stand out and garner so much well-deserved attention.

Photographing our suite made me absolutely giddy – there were so many perfectly styled vignettes just waiting to be captured. The light from the large windows filled the space, highlighting the clean colors and contrasting details. The clawfoot tub in the center of the room became my evening spot to unwind and relax, while the suite’s porch was the perfect place to plan our days each morning.

Outside of our room, the rest of the hotel proved to be just as enjoyable. Some of our favorite design elements were the commissioned pieces by Provincetown artist, Michael Gredler, where classic portraits of the property’s early family were filled with subtle quirky details. In true Map & Menu fashion, we also loved the custom map of Provincetown, drawn by Kevin, highlighting some of their favorite places in town. Kevin was the one who suggested we dine at The Canteen during our last visit, so having access to a map full of his and David’s favorite places was an invaluable resource for navigating the many shops and restaurants of the town.

One of the highlights of our visit to the Salt House Inn was its outstanding breakfast – a tradition which Eben House continues in a similarly delicious fashion in its charming conservatory, either to be enjoyed there or amidst the garden on the brick patio.

Our original stay at the Salt House Inn had a pretty significant impact on the way in which we see, or rather experience, the design of many of the hotels from our travels, and after our stay at Eben House, we were once again reminded of how a truly well-thought out hotel can have an extraordinary impact on your journey as whole. When you start and end your days in a space that was designed with such care and attention, you’re bound to have an outstanding trip – something Eben House delivered with perfection.

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Suite

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Eben House Provincetown

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Mt. Kearsarge Auto Road

Over the weekend Michael, Orvis, and I traveled to New Hampshire to shoot a collaboration with the state tourism board. We took one of the wooden kayaks Michael built with the help of his father and friend along with us for some paddling shots around Little Lake Sunapee. The photos of Michael kayaking make me think of the Your L.L. Bean Boyfriend Tumblr – real people surely do not smile that much while partaking in adventurous activities, right?

The following are a few outtakes from our shoot. Michael and Orvis were wonderful models for me, and as you’ll see, I even hopped in the boat for a few paddling shots myself. The leaves in New Hampshire around Little Lake Sunapee and up Mt. Kearsarge are just gorgeous right now!

Orvis in Little Lake Sunapee

Michael Kayaking

Meredith Kayaking

Kayaking Lake Sunapee

Kayaking in Little Lake Sunapee

Leaf Peeping in NH

Dog Friendly Mt. Kearsarge

New Hampshire Foliage

Mt. Kearsarge NH Hike

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue (and Michael Cain) for Map & Menu. 

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Custom Deluxe Biddeford

A few weeks ago, Meredith came home from an assignment, raving about the restaurant she’d spent the afternoon photographing in Biddeford, and it didn’t take long (a single day in fact) before we were making the trip down I-95 to give their “northcountry kitchen” comfort food a try.

When you walk through the doors of Custom Deluxe, you’re greeted with some somewhat unfamiliar words to these parts, that still have the effect of bringing a smile to my face wherever I hear them – “Hey y’all! Come on in.” Co-owner, Megan McVey, a Virginian native, runs the front of the house with a welcoming degree of Southern hospitality, while her fiancé, Thomas Malz, works his magic in the kitchen. With big-name restaurant experience,Malz makes dishes like savory pork ribs over a refreshing vegetable ‘slaw’ or his ramen-take on chicken noodle soup with house noodles and confit chicken seem effortless. Together, they create an atmosphere and cuisine that adds yet another excellent reason to make your way to Biddeford in the near future. Meredith and I sampled a decent chunk of the menu that evening (including the aforementioned ribs and soup) and polished a delicious meal off with an outstanding raspberry angel food cake dessert. With the cooler days of fall upon us, I’m sure the chicken noodle soup and the simple pasta dish will inspire us to make many more trips down the road over the next few months.

Michael at Custom Deluxe

Custom Deluxe Biddeford ME

Custom Deluxe Rolls

Custom Deluxe Pork Ribs

Custom Deluxe Carottes Rapees

Custom Deluxe Chicken Noodle Soup

Custom Delxue Angel Food Cake

Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Mt. Tom Woodstock Vermont

It’s easy to forget that the yearly trips Michael, Orvis, and I take to Vermont every August started as little more than a late summer work trip in 2012. At the time, we had lived in New England for four years and still hadn’t been to Vermont. Since that first wonderful trip to the Green Mountain State, we’ve been back a number of times, at various points throughout the year, and continue to fall even more in love with the state, but it sure is hard to beat our summer visits to Vermont.

This August’s destination was Woodstock, a town that will always hold a very special place in our hearts, as it is where we traveled right after we were married last fall. The Woodstock Inn, we’re thrilled to report, is still as dog-friendly and inviting as it was back in November, and the town is just as charming, if not more so, in the summer when yards and gardens are at their very best, and the streets and square are bustling with people.

On this trip, wanting to slip into our Vermont vacation mindsets as quickly as possible after we arrived, we grabbed the bottle of champagne we were greeted with in our room, picked up some Plymouth Cheese at the farmer’s market in the town green across the street, and headed up Mt. Tom for an evening picnic on the mountain. The views of town and the surrounding area from the overlook on Mt. Tom are spectacular on almost any day, but having the trail and area at the top almost entirely to ourselves made it all that much more special.

We spent the following day reacquainting ourselves with the town, selecting our favorite homes (mine is pictured in this post). We visited the inn’s beautiful spa together, ate lunch by the pool, and hiked up Mt. Peg for the first time with Orvis.

That night we returned to a special spot for dinner, the restaurant in Ludlow we’d visited on that very first trip to Vermont back in 2012, The Downtown Grocery. With an emphasis on southern cuisine and the freshest local produce, The Downtown Grocery impressed us just as much as it did three years ago.

On our final morning, we took another stroll through the nearby Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park before checking out. Although leaving Vermont is definitely the hardest part of every trip to the state, over the years I’ve learned (and am convincing Michael) that the best way to ease the pain of leaving is to stop by Farmhouse Pottery to add another beautiful piece to our slowly growing collection. As we drove back through town we realized we weren’t quite ready to leave, so in an attempt to prolong our vacation just a few hours longer, we stopped for a picnic on the front lawn of the Woodstock Inn, a pleasant way to cap off another perfect August trip to Vermont.

Woodstock Inn Vermont Dog Friendly

Woodstock Inn VT

Woodstock Inn Bathroom

Woodstock Vermont Hiking

Mount Tom Woodstock Vermont

Mount Tom Woodstock

Mt. Tom Woodstock Vermont

Meredith and Orvis

Mount Tom Woodstock Vermont

Woodstock Vermont Mt. Tom


Room Service at Woodstock Inn

Woodstock VT Travel Guide

Woodstock Vermont

Woodstock Vermont Covered Bridge

Plymouth VT Cheese at Woodstock Farmer's Market

Woodstock Inn Bikes

Woodstock Vermont

Woodstock Inn Pool

Woodstock Inn Spa

Woodstock Vermont Travel Guide

Mount Peg Woodstock Vermont

The Downtown Grocery Ludlow

Farmhouse Pottery Woodstock Vermont

Rockefeller National Historical Park

Woodstock Vermont Inns

Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Figgy's Takeout and Catering, Portland Maine

Sometimes in Maine, great fried chicken and biscuits can be a little hard to find. Palace Diner has its delicious-but-infrequent Fried Chicken Fridays, while Tandem Bakery has its amazing loaded biscuits for breakfast, but as a good southern boy at heart, every now and then I just find myself hankering for a few pieces of fried chicken and a homemade buttermilk biscuit. Thankfully, Figgy’s has stepped in to fill that void in my stomach, and boy do they do it with style.

If good fried chicken is hard to find, good skillet-fried chicken is nearly impossible, and yet Figgy’s delivers just that, with the lightly breaded, perfectly seasoned bird that my childhood memories are made of. One bite from their takeout window off of Congress and I’m back in my grandmother’s kitchen in North Carolina – a pot of collard greens simmering on the back burner and a hot cast iron skillet popping on the front. I’d say that I’m sorry for the trip down memory lane, but I’m not, and now I’m just plain hungry again.

If you haven’t made it over to Figgy’s, I recommend that it be your next stop on takeout night. Grab a half chicken, a biscuit sandwich, or the savory korean-style wings and slaw, and make a picnic date night of it as we did last time. And Don’t forget an order of the banana pudding to help wash it down – your stomach will thank you for it later!

Figgy's Takeout and Catering, Portland Maine

Figgy's Takeout and Catering, Portland Maine

Figgy's Takeout and Catering, Portland Maine

Figgy's Takeout and Catering, Portland Maine


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