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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A few Saturdays ago we crossed off a very fun item on our Summer Bucket List when we rented paddleboards for the first time from Soposup and spent the afternoon paddling around Casco Bay. For the last few summers, we’ve had every intention of popping into our neighborhood paddleboard shop to rent a couple of boards, but time has always gotten away from us and before we know it, we’re preparing for fall and trading in our sandals for our Bean Boots. This summer, however, we moved paddleboarding to the top of our list, and strategically chose a warm day to do so, in case we took an unexpected dip in the ocean.

Having grown accustomed to the steady security of our kayaks, we were a little unsure of ourselves when we first got on our boards at Willard Beach, but after paddling down to a beach in Cape Elizabeth and crossing the wake of various boats along the way, we quickly got the hang of it. We found paddleboarding to be a welcome alternative to the sitting that is required when we kayak, but we’re still not quite sure we’d run out and sign up for a paddleboard-yoga class without mentally preparing ourselves for a fall in the water!




Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Summer! Wow, that happened fast. It seems like just yesterday, we were dreaming about warmer weather, stocked farmers’ markets, and day trips up and down the coast. Then in the blink of an eye, summer was here, and we were taking advantage of every last thing a typical summer in Maine has to offer… while completely neglecting our little blog over here. That’s about to change though, as we have quite a few posts and photos to share over the upcoming days. If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you’ve seen teasers of our trips to Boston and Rhode Island, meals at a few of our favorites restaurants, adventures paddle boarding and kayaking, visits with friends, and no shortage of summer flowers, recipes, beach trips, and swims. So stay tuned, and as always, let us know if we missed anything – we’ll see if we can squeeze it in before the leaves start to turn!

Tomato Mozzarella

Orvis and Perry

Tomato Cucumber Toast

Watermelon Cocktail

Tandem Bakery Loaded Biscuit

Orvis and his pool

Garden Roses

Portland Maine Farmers Market Flowers


Michael at the farmer's market

Tandem Bakery

Boothbay Harbor ME

Isle of Springs


The Boat Bar

Meredith and Michael

Boothbay Harbor

Marianmade Farm Dahlias

Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Kettle Cove Maine

By far, our favorite date night in the summer involves a quick trip over to Cape Elizabeth for dinner at The Well, followed by a visit out to Kettle Cove to watch the sunset. (On nights that we don’t happen to indulge in one of the tasty desserts at The Well, we’ll even complete the evening with an ice cream cone from the Kettle Cove Ice Cream.)

As we began thinking about dinner after work one evening last week we realized that the weather was too perfect not to enjoy our little date night in Cape Elizabeth, so we ditched the quinoa salad we planned on preparing, grabbed a bottle of rose from the fridge, and jumped in the car with Orvis. Thankfully, we got to The Well just in time to snag the last available picnic table for awhile. Although we’ve been to The Well three other times this summer, this was our first visit of the season with Orvis and per usual, he settled in quite nicely and made friends with all of the other families dining outside at the picnic tables.

After our fantastic meal, we took the scenic route to Kettle Cove, where we spent the remainder of the evening on a blanket with Orvis watching the sun go down. Kettle Cove is one of the very first places we visited when we moved to Maine seven years ago and we think it’s just as beautiful and special all these years later. Living so close to places like The Well and Kettle Cove are two of the reasons we love living where we do.

Orvis at The Well

Michael Cain at The Well

Halibut at The Well

BYOB The Well

Chocolate Cake at The Well

Dog Friendly Maine Restaurants

Kettle Cove

Orvis at Kettle Cove

Kettle Cove Cape Elizabeth

All photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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The Liberty Hotel Boston

When dreaming up weekend trips to Boston with Orvis, The Liberty Hotel has always been high on our list of places to stay. Friends of ours with dogs have long talked about how accommodating the hotel is to pets, especially on Wednesday evenings in the summer during the famed Yappier Hour. So, when we found out that I’d be speaking at a conference in Boston this past weekend and decided to bring Orvis along for the trip, we looked no further than The Liberty.

Housed in the former Charles Street Jail, The Liberty Hotel is easily one of the more unique settings in which we’ve ever spent the night. The stylish open main space, in the old jail’s central octagonal building, retains many of its original 19th century architectural details, including the cells inside Clink, the catwalk walkways, and the wrought-ironwork on the windows. But while the details are a constant reminder of the space’s past criminal “guests”, a night at The Liberty is far from a stint in The Slammer. The modern amenities, the comfortable rooms (many with amazing views of Beacon Hill and the Charles River), and the impeccable service are just a handful of reasons why we’ll be returning in the future, but possibly the greatest asset of The Liberty for our trio was just how dog-friendly it turned out to be.

We don’t always choose to bring Orvis along with us when we travel to cities – he’s always seemed to be happiest running wild in the country – but we couldn’t have been more pleased that he made the trip down to Boston. Walking around Beacon Hill, down to the South End, up and down Comm. Ave, and through the Public Garden with him at our side was something we’ll always remember fondly. From our research and the comments of friends, we expected a certain level of dog-friendliness at The Liberty prior to our arrival, but we were continually blown away by how well he was treated, both by the staff and by the other guests throughout our stay. He was encouraged to sit right next to us as we sipped our cocktails in the lobby bar, something which we rarely have the chance to experience with Orvis indoors. The image of a rather large, goofy dog in the middle of such a luxurious setting will always bring a smile to our faces, and we honestly cannot imagine planning another trip to Boston with Orvis that doesn’t include a stay at The Liberty – we all enjoyed ourselves way too much to not have an encore visit.

The Liberty Hotel

The Liberty Hotel View

The Liberty Hotel Bathroom

The Liberty Hotel Boston

Pets at The Liberty Hotel

The Liberty Hotel Pets


The Liberty Hotel Dog Friendly

The Liberty Hotel Dogs

The Liberty Hotel

Clink Boston

The Liberty Hotel  Boston

The Liberty Hotel Pet Friendly

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Orvis Abby Rocky

Michael and I spent the last month dog sitting for my family’s dogs, Abby (the adorable King Charles) and Rocky (the sweetest rescue pup in the world). We made sure to spoil each of them rotten while they were here – trips to the beach, twice daily walks, and all kinds of fun treats, including strawberry softserve ice cream! Being a three dog family was quite a lot at times, but we’d take these two for another month in a heartbeat.





Abby watching Orvis

Swimming Orvis

King Charles Spaniel


Trundy Point

Orvis at Trundy Point

Abby at Trundy Point

Rocky at Trundy Point

All photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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Red's Dairy Freeze Strawberry Soft Serve

Anyone who lives here or has visited before would probably agree that summer in Maine is pretty hard to beat. As part of this series, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite ways to experience this sunny season in the Pine Tree State. 

Every day since strawberries first started appearing at the Farm Stand and farmer’s market, Meredith has been compulsively checking Facebook to see if Red’s Dairy Freeze had released their very limited run of fresh Maxwell’s Farm strawberry soft serve. Today, when she came running into my office, I knew that the wait was over, so we took a little midday break from work and popped around the corner for a strawberry milkshake and cone of this sweet summer treat (and an extra for the pups). Like many South Portlanders (and probably many southern Mainers) we look forward to this yearly tradition as the unofficial start of summer. But like summer in Maine, strawberry season is also short, so you’ll have to move quickly to get a cone for yourself.


Dog-Friendly-Red-Dairy-Freeze  Red's-Dairy-Freeze-Ice-Cream

All photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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The Well at Jordan's Farm

Anyone who lives here or has visited before would probably agree that summer in Maine is pretty hard to beat. As part of this series, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite ways to experience this sunny season in the Pine Tree State. 

You don’t have to be a frequent reader of Map & Menu to know how much we love The Well at Jordan’s Farm. Eating what is literally a farm fresh meal from a picnic table on a warm summer evening is a pretty ideal dining experience. This year is our first season dining at The Well and pairing every BYOB meal with the delicious wines from Maine & Loire. We’ve raved about Peter & Orenda’s store on the site before, but the ability to show them that night’s menu at The Well in search of a perfect pairing has become our newest summer obsession.

A bottle from Maine & Loire and a meal at The Well is a pairing that we think should be on everyone’s summer bucket list.

Maine and Loire Wine

The Well at Jordan's Farm Doughnuts

All photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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