Finally! Our last Scotland post a whopping two months after the trip itself. Blogging during the height of a busy summer is difficult to say the least, but we’re excited to share some of the highlights of our Scottish adventure.
The morning of our first full day in Scotland together, which just so happened to be Michael’s birthday, I shot out of bed when I saw a glimpse of blue sky through the curtains. The day of my arrival before had been rainy, a bit chilly, and kind of gloomy, so I’d prepared myself for the worst when it came to the weather, but contrary to the forecast, Michael’s birthday turned out to be the most beautiful days of our trip. The excitement of seeing the sunshine (and blue sky!) carried us through the adventures that took us all over Argyll that day, and even when the fog began to settle during our drive through Glen Coe that afternoon, we were still elated with the weather, because the very scene in Skyfall that we were trying to recreate in our (non-Aston Martin) rental was identical to what we were experiencing firsthand. The weather was fickle during the days that followed, but to be honest, that only added to the mesmerizing beauty of this remarkably lovely region of Scotland.
Consisting of five contemporary rooms inside a beautiful historic Scottish Baronial house overlooking the pristine Oban Bay and just a short walk to the water, Greystones perfectly blends the old and new. We simply adored our bright, spacious room (with its massively tall ceilings!), and couldn’t get over the views from the breakfast nook, where we enjoyed an exceptional meal each morning of our stay. Read more about our time at Greystones here.
We made the trip up to McCaig’s Tower twice during our time in Oban. On our first night, the fog was so strong that we had no way of seeing any of the neighboring islands of Mull, Lismore, and Kerrera, but the view of Oban and the fog-shrouded water was still a lovely, calming sight. With the sun shining brightly in a crystal clear blue sky the next morning, we walked back up to the tower again and couldn’t believe how much the fog had prevented us from seeing the night before. I hope I never forget the awe-inspiring beauty of the view from McCaig’s, made only more picturesque with the crossing of a ferry to one of the neighboring islands.
This historic castle and home to the Duke of Argyll is known by many as the setting for the fictional Duneagle Castle that the Crawley family of Downtown Abbey visits in the season three. That’s the very reason that inspired us to make the drive down to Inveraray from Oban one morning, but the castle did in fact turn out to be much more than a filming location for one of our favorite shows. While we enjoyed touring the interior of the castle and reading about its history, the highlight for both of us was strolling the magnificent gardens of the castle (both manicured and wild), daydreaming about what it must be like to actually live inside the castle walls.
This restaurant boasts one of the best waterfront views in Oban, but for us, the real standout here was the Sticky Toffee Pudding – the best we had during our travels!
We celebrated Michael’s birthday with dinner at Coast, just down the hill from our B&B and one of the better meals from our time outside of Edinburgh. The seafood was deliciously fresh and well prepared, and the cozy atmosphere was perfect to relive stories about our excellent first day in Scotland.
This cute cafe in Appin, with views of Loch Linnie & Castle Stalker (the castle from Monty Python and the Holy Grail), was a great way to break up our drive to Glencoe after a morning of exploring Argyll.
Although we drove down the A82 humming the James Bond theme song (the glen made an appearance in Skyfall), the unbelievable natural beauty of Glen Coe was so much greater than any movie could have depicted. With sheer mountains rising into the fog on either side of the River Coe it’s hard to put into words the scene as it unfolded along the winding road. Even in the grey fog and light rain, we couldn’t help but stop numerous times to take pictures and just stand and stare, taking it all in.
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On either side of a little work this weekend, our travels took us to two of our favorite farms – Snug Harbor Farm and my family’s lavender farm, Marianmade Farm. On Friday after a delicious brunch at Palace Diner, we decided to extend our morning of fun with a trip down to Snug Harbor to pick up a few new succulents. We’ve been to this darling farm/nursery/gift shop a half dozen times, but somehow we’ve always missed the miniature horses who live there. Needless to say, meeting them was the highlight of our trip!
On Sunday we took Orvis up to Wiscasset to run on the farm with his best dog friend, Mason. It was a delight to take in the beautiful sights & scents of the lavender that my mother is busy harvesting these days, and watching some evening showers roll down the property and across the Sheepscot river was a wonderfully peaceful way to cap our weekend.
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In a town of Portland’s size, it’s rare to have an art museum that is as well curated as the Portland Museum of Art. We find ourselves continually impressed with both the exhibitions and the events the museum sponsors. In the last month alone, we’ve been wowed by the photorealist paintings of Richard Estes and even had the chance to hear Alex Katz speak in person.
Coming off the heels of last night’s fantastic midsummer party with the museum’s Contemporaries group, we thought we’d share another PMA summer highlight – Third Thursdays. We attended last month’s Third Thursday garden party and took advantage of the museum’s extended hours by roaming the galleries, which we essentially had to ourselves. Tonight’s festivities will feature bluegrass music by Darlin’ Corey and a lecture by director, Mark Bessire, on the role of the museum in the 21st century.
If you’re looking for a slight change of pace from your typical Thursday evenings, or haven’t had the opportunity to visit the museum and see its newest collections, we highly recommend that you take advantage of tonight’s event and keep an eye open for the upcoming Third Thursdays this summer!
Contact Information - Summer at the Portland Museum of Art
Portland, Maine 04101
As luck would have it, the very first place we stayed for our week in Scotland together turned out to be the favorite of our Scottish accommodations. It also just so happened to be the bed & breakfast we knew the least about before our trip – what a delightful surprise!
Greystones, a boutique b&b on the Argyll coast in Oban was our first stop after Michael picked me up at the Edinburgh airport. We happened upon the Greystones website online when we were searching (and searching!) for a place to stay in between Edinburgh and Skye, and since it seemed like a decent fit, we booked their last room quickly as they were filling up left and right.
Consisting of five contemporary rooms inside a beautiful historic Scottish Baronial house overlooking the pristine Oban Bay and just a short walk to the water, Greystones perfectly blends the old and new. We simply adored our bright, spacious room (with its massively tall ceilings!), and couldn’t get over the views from the breakfast nook, where we enjoyed an exceptional meal each morning of our stay. Owners, Mark & Suzanne, were wonderful innkeepers and we so appreciated their calming, minimal aesthetic.
When the time came for us to head up the coast to Skye, we were terribly sad to leave Greystones. We found solace, however, in the fact that we could at least share this gem of a bed & breakfast with you all here, as we truly believe everyone traveling to the western coast of Scotland should make it a point to stay here.
Contact Information - Greystones Bed & Breakfast
Meredith and I took last week off from Map & Menu in an attempt to try to pay attention to the beautiful days of summer while we still have them. Instead of evenings prepping photos and writing posts, we opted for home-cooked dinners on the patio and books in the hammock until the sun went down. We worked in the yard. We went for beach walks with Orvis. We did just about anything to minimize the non-requisite time spent in front of a screen… and it was delightful.
On Friday, we headed to the first Flea Bites of the season at the Portland Flea-for-All, where a number of the growing family of Portland food trucks were gathered together. We used the opportunity to sample the Good Shepherd Food Bank’s truck – one that’s on our radar since just after we wrote our last Portland food truck post. With a special guest chef like Damian Sansonetti of Piccolo, it’s hard imagine a better choice for dinner that evening, and we can’t wait to see more of the Good Shepherd truck around town in the future!
To cap an excellent week, Meredith and I threw what’s becoming an annual get together in our backyard to celebrate one of our favorite warm weather libations – rosé (or summer water as it’s quickly becoming known around these parts). A number of old friends and new gathered at our place to enjoy some laughs, some music, some World Cup soccer, some small bites, and plenty of that sweet summer water. Sadly, we didn’t take nearly enough photos of the party, but given the way the week started – somewhat free of Map & Menu – we could help but set the camera down and just enjoy ourselves.
Now we’re back, and ready to share some more trips, meals, and stories as we watch the rest of summer unfold. We hope you’ll follow along and share some of your own summer stories too!
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When we moved up to Maine from North Carolina six years ago, I remember how excited I was that we’d only be a few hours drive from so many New England destinations I’d always wanted to visit. The Berkshires were of course high on that list of places, and thankfully we’ve had a chance to visit this stunning region in western Massachusetts three times in the last couple of years. Until this most recent visit, our trips had always taken us to North County – North Adams & Williamstown, but as part of our trip to Hudson, NY we decided to take the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the South County region, specifically the charming town of Great Barrington.
In general, it’d probably be fair to say that the years haven’t been kind to the mid-century Americana classic road-trip motel. Scattered along seemingly every state road, motels represent a time before big box “cookie-cutter” accommodations, where road trips were an integral part of vacationing and where you spent the night had a distinctly local feel. Now days, motels largely get ignored and have started showing their age, as was probably the case with the Briarcliff Motel property before husband and wife, Richard Proctor and Clare Weatherall injected it with a passion for service, a creative eye for design, and the desire to provide an affordable B&B-style accommodation in the middle of the Berskshires. I’d wanted to stay at the Briarcliff Motel since reading about the renovated 1960s motel turned bed & breakfast in this Food & Wine article. Not only is the Briarcliff incredibly dog-friendly, centrally located near a number of hiking trails and with a wall of past four-legged visitors, the rooms are comfortable and stylish, the breakfasts are delicious, and the co-owners and staff are extremely friendly and helpful. We couldn’t have asked for a better place to rest our heads at night during our stay.
Lunch was the first thing on our minds when we arrived in Great Barrington, so we headed straight to Rubi’s for a couple of sandwiches. Known for the cheese-mongering in the next room, the list of sandwiches, creatively centered around their cheeses, was impressive. After finishing up our delcious lunch, we were eager to browse the selection at Rubiner’s Cheesemongers, right next door. It wasn’t easy to select one of their dozens of fine cheeses, but we ended up settling on the Goat Lady Gouda to share with our friends in Hudson, and we’ve been dreaming of finding it locally ever since.
Our brunch at the Prairie Whale, on the outskirt of Main Street in Great Barrington, was another pleasant dining surprise. We sat outside with Orvis and enjoyed a delicious and leisurely brunch of a burger and eggs in the warm sun. I had a second to peek my head inside at the bar, and only wished that we would have time to return for a drink later, which sadly didn’t play out. Next time, for sure – we enjoyed our meals at the Prairie Whale so much that we’re certain there will be a next time!
We had SoCo Creamery ice cream multiple times on our last trip to Williamstown, so when we found out that there was a SoCo location in downtown Great Barrington, there was no question as to where we’d be having an afternoon treat. Just as creamy and delicious as we remembered, SoCo ice cream is a Berkshires must for any ice cream lovers like ourselves.
Benedict Pond + Beartown State Forest
Richard & Clare made the fantastic recommendation to take Orvis for a hike in nearby Beartown State Forest. The loop trail meanders around the Benedict Pond, briefly overlapping the Appalachian trail, and afforded Orvis a couple of different opportunities to take a quick dip, which is always a highlight of any hike for us!
For our next trip: a hike up Monument Mountain and lunch at Bizalion’s, followed by dinner at Allium (the sister restaurant to Williamstown’s Mezze). Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait too long to plan another visit to Great Barrington!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.Leave a comment
It seems like we’ve been popping in and out of k colette for beautiful gifts for others (and ourselves) since the day they appeared on Commercial Street, so when the opportunity arose to drop by before they opened one morning, take some photographs, and meet the team behind one of our favorite shops in Portland, we couldn’t resist.
Located in an old molasses storage space on Portland’s waterfront, the spansive exposed brick and beam storefront is something to behold even before you begin to take note of the incredible selection of artwork, textiles, and home decor items that have been carefully selected and displayed throughout the shop. Inside their doors, you’ll find some of our very favorite brands and designers, both from Maine and away - Coral and Tusk, John Robshaw, Brahms Mount, Sea Bags, Salt Furniture Co., and many more - every product with a “story tag” describing the artisan, the item, the process, and the location. These story tags are in part what help define the unique taste and selection of k colette. Their commitment to goods and artisans with a history of passion and craftsmanship is perfectly exhibited in their thoughtful selection.
On top of their brick and mortar storefront, k colette also has a fantastic online presence. Almost the entire selection of the shop is available through their online store, and their blog, The Revue, features visits to the homes and studios of a growing number of the artisans whose products they carry – reiterating their commitment to the stories behind the products they carry. As consumers, we love to see an emphasis placed on the well-designed, carefully selected, and thoughtfully produced, and the selection at k colette perfectly typifies this idea.
Contact Information - k colette
Portland, Maine 04101
Due to our work and travel schedules, this past weekend was the first one that we’ve spent at home together since early April, so we set out to take full advantage of what turned out to be a beautiful summer weekend. We kicked things off with a delicious dinner at our favorite farm, The Well, and spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our new hammock. Armed with breakfast from Scratch the next morning, we visited the Portland farmer’s market for the first time this season, where we happened to run into a few friends while picking up some of our favorite early season produce. Over the course of the day we spent plenty more time in the hammock and Michael worked in the yard while I snuck out for a bike ride. That evening we packed up a few more provisions from Scratch (that oh so delicious pulled pork sandwich), a bottle of wine, and Orvis for a picnic dinner by the water at Fisherman’s Point – one of our favorite ways to spend a summer night.
In an attempt to work our way through our summer to-do list, we decided to hit the road Sunday morning and go for a hike in the lakes region of New Hampshire. The views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding area from the top of Mt. Major were stunning, and had us planning a return trip in the fall while we hiked back down. Afterwards, we wandered around Wolfeboro for awhile and took our to-go BLT sandwiches for a picnic by the lake. On the way back to Maine we spotted the perfect place for an impromptu swim in Lake Wentworth with Orvis, which was clearly the very best way to cap off one of the most enjoyable weekends we’ve experienced in New England thus far.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.1 Comment - Leave a comment
So far, this week might have just been my favorite on record this year. The weather was beautiful every single day which allowed us to eat most of our meals out on the patio – my favorite part of summer. We made our first Pimm’s Cups of the year and hung out on the beach with Orvis (see above). Our peonies opened, strawberries appeared at a local farm stand, and we enjoyed a delicious meal at a new restaurant with a friend we hadn’t seen in a long time. Last night after a fun evening in town, we were finally able to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel – a visually inspiring way to cap off such a stellar work week. The following are a few links we found to be interesting this week – happy first official summer weekend, friends!
Both of us are obsessed with the calligraphy (and photography!) of our friend, Li. Check out the lettering she recently did for a Scotch tasting party.
If Montauk is on your summer travel bucket list, we found this guide from Domaine to be quite the resource. Someday we’ll make it down there…
I was happy to find my way to the Lombardi House, new beautifully-designed luxury vacation rental properties in Hollywood, by way of Amber’s blog. Now, I just need to find an excuse to plan a trip to LA!3 Comments - Leave a comment
On our recent trip to Scotland, Meredith and I spent a number of days exploring Skye – a place that both of us have desperately wanted to visit for as long as we’ve known each other. In all of our travels, I think it’s fair to say that the island is one of the most naturally beautiful places we’ve ever experienced, and it’s impossibly hard to put into words just how majestic Skye is – from its towering coastal cliffs, to its grassy spansive glens, and jagged mountainous center. In fact, I’ve never been more glad for Meredith’s photos, both to share some of Skye with you, but also to remember the beauty of the island for ourselves.
As the northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, Skye is accessible by both ferry and bridge, and given our journey up the Scottish coast from Oban, the ferry from Mallaig seemed like the slightly more picturesque (and maybe adventurous) way to start or time on the island. After a beautiful ferry ride full of panoramic views of both Skye and the mainland, we began our slow drive up the coast - slow, only in that we stopped no less than ten times to take in the views of the mountains, countryside, and maybe a Highland coo or two.
In the ensuing days, we covered a ton of ground on the island. We saw Kilt Rock, the Quiraing, and the views from Waternish (where our car was literally herded down the road by two sheep dogs!). We spent an amazing sunset at Neist Point, visited the cliff-shrouded beach at Talisker Bay, and went for a windy hike to Coral Beach. We saw animals galore - coos, horses, and sheep around every corner (did I mention we were there just a few weeks after lambing season, so every sheep had a playful and curious little lamb closely in tow?). We had one of our top all-time meals at Three Chimneys, stopped by the Talisker whiskey distillery, and met Roger, one of the co-owners of Skye Weavers, where he and his partner Andrea weave stunning woolen textiles and tweeds with natural dyes on their bicycle loom. To say that we kept busy would be an understatement, but given how delightful every part of our trip was, it blew by in the blink of an eye.
Marking a visit to Skye off of our list of places to see was one of the more fulfilling adventures we’ve been on since we started Map & Menu. For me personally, Skye had been a dream for a very long time, and I think that Meredith would agree that it lived up to every part of our lofty expectations. If Isle of Skye is on your own list of places to see, I sincerely hope you make it there, and until then, I hope that some of Meredith’s photos help to supply your Scottish daydreaming needs!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.4 Comments - Leave a comment