It’s safe to say that just about whenever we’re traveling to a new area, I always try and pop in the local wine shop. I love seeing which wines catch the attention of various shop owners around the country and am always excited to try a new bottle (or four.) Of all the random wine shops I’ve visited on our travels, however, I’ve only really ever sought out one as a destination – Kingston Wine Co.
While driving north from New York City a few weeks ago to visit my friends in Hudson, I decided a stop in Kingston was an absolute must. I’d read about Kingston Wine Co. on the Ann Street Studio blog awhile back, and had always mentally bookmarked it as a place to visit on one of our trips to Hudson. The opening of our friends’ shop seemed like the perfect excuse for me to finally stop in and pick up a celebratory bottle!
Michael, who owns the shop with his wife, Theresa, a talented artist, was delightfully helpful. After listening to me describe our friends, their personalities, and their all-natural perfumery, he hand-selected a bottle of wine (from a case in the back) that he thought would be perfect for them. Michael was right, of course – a text last week from them let me know how much they enjoyed the wine as a part of their birthday celebration.
The bottles I grabbed for my Michael and I to enjoy at home were chosen thanks to the well-branded Kingston Wine Co. recommended tags. How could one ignore suggestions like “Sancerre + Goat Cheese + Baguette = Perfection?”
In the 30 minutes I spent in the shop, I saw a dozen or so people walk inside, all of whom were just as pleased to be chatting with Michael or selecting their own special bottle of wine. It became immediately apparent just how much of a community Michael and Theresa have created within Kingston Wine Co., a shop that is without a doubt worthy of planning your own detour to Kingston the next time you’re in the area.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
Contact Information - Kingston Wine Co.
Kingston, New York 12401
There are few things that Meredith and I love more than a delicious cocktail and our best buddy, Orvis. So naturally, now that our favorite bar in town, Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, has added a little bit of outdoor seating on Market Street, it only makes sense to take Orvis along for our happy hour treats! On our most recent visit, we tried the pretzels and a couple open-faced sandwiches in addition to our normal deviled egg noshing order, and combined with a few tasty cocktails (and a bowl of water for Orvis), spent a perfect afternoon soaking up summer in the Old Port.
And if you missed it last week, it’s worth nothing that Bon Appetit selected Hunt + Alpine as one of their top five new bars in the country, complete with a photo of Meredith’s in the September issue. We clearly couldn’t agree with this assessment anymore!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
Contact Information - Drinks with Orvis: Hunt & Alpine
Portland, Maine 04101
Photographing a wedding in the Upper East Side turned out to be the perfect excuse to finally stay at the only Relais & Chateaux hotel in Manhattan, The Surrey. The hotel’s stunning rooftop garden is reason enough to put The Surrey high on your list of places to stay during your next trip to New York, but as it turns out, the rooms themselves warrant a visit. Expecting a typical (almost uncomfortable) tiny New York hotel room, I was shocked with how spacious and luxurious my 330+ square foot “salon” felt. Retreating back to my room at The Surrey each night after shooting was such a treat - even though I was in the city for work, whenever I happened to be in my room, I felt 100% on vacation.
While I didn’t have as much time to lounge around and enjoy the 17th story rooftop garden as much as I would have liked to, enjoying a glass of rosé and a plate of bruschetta from the hotel’s restaurant, Cafe Boulud, was the perfect way to spend a summer evening in the city. (Really, I’m not sure I’d ever want to visit Manhattan in the summer months without staying at The Surrey and taking advantage of that gorgeous rooftop.)
In the most leisurely of ways, I took full advantage of my final morning at The Surrey by feasting on a stack of delicious pancakes delivered to my door, while reading the Sunday paper. I really don’t think I could have imagined a more relaxing way to decompress on a work weekend in New York.
Contact Information - The Surrey Hotel
New York, New York 10021
Over the weekend I made a short but sweet surprise visit to the newly opened 2 Note Perfumery in Hudson, New York. Our friends, Darcy & Carolyn, closed the doors to their shop in Portland earlier this winter in preparation for a very exciting move, and while we were sad (heartbroken, really) to see them leave, we couldn’t be happier about their new adventure! Selfishly, we’re pretty excited to now have four great reasons (we’re also in love with their two dogs) to make many future trips to the Hudson area, a region we fell in love with immediately after we first visited in June.
While my time in Hudson on Sunday was all too brief, I did manage to snap a few photos of their beautiful new shop and the facelift the 2 Note brand received. As usual, Darcy & Carolyn have outdone themselves in the design of the new store - a must-visit for anyone making the trip to Hudson in the next few months! We’re, of course, already counting down the days until our next visit to the new 2 Note shop so that we can stock up on our favorite shave cream & face balm… and share some amazing meals in Hudson with our talented friends.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
Contact Information - 2 Note Perfumery – Hudson
Hudson, New York 12534
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.1 Comment - Leave a comment