One evening last summer Michael & I decided to take a little spontaneous road trip – we hopped in the mini and drove south to Biddeford Pool. I’d recently been to the area for a shoot and from the moment I drove onto Mile Stretch Road, the sandy strip of beach that connects Biddeford Pool to the mainland, I knew Michael would absolutely love it here. Somehow, it feels like you’ve entered a completely different place – nothing like the rest of the Maine coast that we’ve experienced, and something very similar to the sandy, strips of beach back home.
After taking a little tour of the area, we drove to Pool Lobster Company to enjoy a seafood dinner, complete with onion rings for Michael and french fries for me, on one of their picnic tables overlooking the water. It was the perfect setting for such a spur of the moment road trip.
Once we’d finished eating, we explored the area a bit more by foot and in the car taking in the sites, the ocean, and the homes. Maine never ceases to amaze us with all that it offers.
Biddeford Pool, Maine 04006
Oh, sweet Petite Jacqueline! I know little about French culture or cuisine (other than my favorite Scratch croissants and Pepé Le Pew), and definitely look to Meredith for any true Franco-related information, but if Petite Jacqueline in Portland is any hint, I’m going to love every moment spent in front of a table on our upcoming trip to France.
This perfectly-styled French bistro in Longfellow Square immediately caught our attention when it opened, and it wasn’t long after that we added it to our Portland Top 10. But recently, with a wonderfully generous wedding photography thank you gift from the family of one of Meredith’s clients, we decided to revisit with Map & Menu in mind.
5 o’clock dinners have not always been our style, but knowing that we’d be unable to do Petite Jacqueline justice without a slew of great images, and to take advantage of some great afternoon natural light, we opted to grab a table as soon as they opened. We only shortly had the restaurant to ourselves, but it more than gave us the chance to enjoy a few cocktails and let Mere do her thing with the camera. Maybe it was the suspense of a great meal, or a sunny (albeit windy) afternoon, or my Eiffel Power and her Monet’s Muse, but we were giddy to be back at one of our favorites, and the rest of the evening couldn’t have gone better.
We kicked off our meal with the soupe du jour and a delicious selection of cheeses, and then, with our second cocktails (my Flaneur, her French Connection) moved onto a sensational feast. As an aside, in the 6 years I’ve known Meredith, I think that I’ve seen her order beef from a menu, other than the extremely infrequent burger (when turkey isn’t available), maybe twice. She’s not what I would call a big bovine enthusiast, and I have learned to live with that – sneaking the occasional ribeye when she’s out of town, or getting my fill when we eat out. Leave it to some of our favorite French cuisine however, to get her to buck the trend. Her beef bourguignon (which I had delightfully experienced on a previous trip here) left her absolutely speechless – so tender and delicious – it has to be one of their most popular dishes. I won’t do it justice with words, but my Plat Du Jour lamb over fingerlings had me joining the CPC (clean plate club) in what seemed like a few short minutes.
Have you ever had a meal where afterwards, you lean back in your seat and just take a happy, deep breath to reflect? We did… and then the most delectable Nutella, hazelnut, and banana crepe came to finish us off. What an evening! Hopefully this summer we’ll be using Petite Jacqueline often to show off some of the great food Portland has to offer to our out-of-town guests.
Portland, Maine 04101
I suppose if you’d blink while driving down I-84, outside of Scranton, PA, you’d completely miss the ~1000 resident town of Milford. That’s probably what happened to us on our first few westerly treks down to North Carolina to visit family for the holidays, but now that we’ve made the stop, it’ll be hard to imagine those trips south as one day long-hauls ever again.
Chasing a winter storm up the coast a couple of years ago, and terrified of the icy Pennsylvania hills after dark, Meredith and I stumbled upon Milford while trying to find a dog-friendly place to stay. After spending a night of supreme comfort at Hotel Fauchere and a unfortunately-brief walk around town in the morning, we knew we’d be back in no time for a real visit. To our delight, that opportunity presented itself on our most recent trip South.
Milford is small – I mean really small – but I think that that’s what Meredith and I love the most about this ‘borough’ of artists, galleries, small museums and shops. It really does feel like a secret, and one that we couldn’t resist sharing. Milford has everything you need for a quick overnight or short weekend getaway – great food, a great place to stay, and the perfect little downtown (or all of town) to kill some time.
The reason we first stumbled upon Milford, this spectacular little hotel is a drawing point in itself. View pictures and read more about Hotel Fauchère here.
Perhaps it was the fact that the shop’s collection is curated by two men, or the collection of cool bar items, or just the overall feel of everything in there, but I think this time Michael might have enjoyed visiting this store just as much as me! View pictures and read more about Upriver Home here.
‘Subtle, timeless, and elegant’ are its goals, and boy, does this fantastic bar and restaurant deliver. View pictures and read more about Bar Louis here.
With a delicious collection of treats, we’d recommend popping into here for breakfast or lunch regardless of where you’re staying in town. View pictures and read more about Pâtisserie Fauchère here.
A few years ago Michael, Orvis, and I were down in North Carolina, visiting our families for the Christmas holiday, when a substantial snowstorm made its way up the east coast, messing up our typical (at the time) one day all-the-way return trip. Our travel plans weren’t too flexible, as I had a wedding to shoot up in Maine on New Year’s Eve, so we decided to take the westerly route in an attempt to avoid most of the snow and traffic, knowing we’d need to spend the night somewhere near Scranton, PA since the driving would be so slow.
Given that we were traveling with Orvis, I began my search for dog-friendly hotels in the area, and was pleasantly surprised to see a certain ‘Hotel Fauchère‘ come up in the list of typical, nondescript chains. Of course, I immediately fell in love with the hotel via the website, and I was even more surprised when I determined that it would, in fact, be less expensive to stay at this charming, historic, Relais & Chateaux hotel with Orvis, simply because they didn’t charge a $100 pet fee like the bigger chain hotels. At first Michael wasn’t so sure, and I’m fairly certain he thought I was trying to pull one over on him – after all, I do love a nice hotel, especially a Relais & Chateaux – but in the end he agreed that it made sense to call and confirm the rate, and we ended up booking a room from the road at an even lower rate than the website guaranteed! It almost seems fated now, looking back, as our first trip to Hotel Fauchère served as one of the main inspirations behind Map & Menu. We wanted to be able to share our “hidden gem” experiences with hotels like these, that might not be on everyone’s radar, but are so much better than the lazily-convenient big chains to which we’re all too comfortable defaulting.
Hotel Fauchère was founded in 1852 by the renowned New York chef, Louis Fauchère, as a summer business venture. During the winter Fauchère would return to New York, where he served as Master Chef at the prestigious Delmonico Room, one of the most famous American restaurants in the 19th century. The beautiful Italianate building that we see today at 401 Broad Street was not built until 1880, after the original building was moved, then demolished, and over the years, the inn has seen many celebrated, iconic American guests through its doors, including Andrew Carnegie, JFK, Babe Ruth, Robert Frost, Mae West, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and many more! After its closing in 1976, Hotel Fauchère sat empty for nearly two decades, and was finally re-opened by its current owners in 2006 after an extensive five year renovation.
When making our most recent reservation with the hotel, it surprised us to hear that the staff had remembered us visiting the inn with our black lab! Upon checking in, I was offered a glass of wine and taken up to the room – a corner room on the second floor with a fantastic view of Milford’s Broad Street (we’d definitely recommend requesting a corner room, although your chances of getting one by happenstance seem pretty good, as we calculated that 8 of the 16 rooms are!). The bathroom was more spacious than that of our last visit, decked-out in local Pennsylvania marble (with heated floors!), and still stocked with my favorite Kiehl’s lotions & soaps! Michael & Orvis soon joined me from their walk, and Orvis immediately took his place at the windows, his favorite pastime at home, looking out on the town of Milford.
Our room was filled with an abundance of natural light from the ceiling to floor windows, and while Michael usually gravitates towards hotel bathrooms (he’s secretly on the hunt for the best), this time the in-room espresso maker grabbed his attention first! As is the style of the hotel in general, we loved the minimal yet elegant decor – an all-around wonderful room.
After this most recent trip to Milford & Hotel Fauchère, I’m already looking forward to our next road trip that might require us to stop for an overnight (or two!) at the hotel. Sometimes, there is just something special about revisiting a place where you feel such a familiarity and comfort level, and share such fond memories.
Milford, Pennsylvania 18337
Since stopping in Milford in 2010, we’ve been eager to share our love for the town and Hotel Fauchère with our friends and family, especially those driving up and down the coast between Maine & North Carolina. My mother has taken our advice and on more than one occasion she’s stopped for an overnight visit with her golden retriever. A few weeks ago she had the chance to do a little sightseeing in Milford and popped into Upriver Home. Knowing that we were going to be in Milford just a week later, she sent me an e-mail insisting that we visit the shop. Her reasoning was simple – they carry Dash & Albert rugs, and apparently I always fall head over heels for shops that stock these cotton striped rugs that appear in a few different rooms in our house.
As usual, my mother was spot-on. In fact, I visited the shop two different times in our 18-hour visit to Milford! The first time, I popped inside while Michael & Orvis waited outside for me. Who knows how long I would have stayed in there had the boys not been waiting for me in the cold – luckily, Michael & I returned later that afternoon once Orvis was napping inside the hotel room!
I take Michael along with me to several home decor shops like Upriver Home, and although he presumably tends to enjoy browsing through stacks of design books and thoughtful, quirky home accents more than most men, there was just something about Upriver Home that piqued his interest even more than the usual shops. Perhaps it was the fact that the shop’s collection is curated by two men, or the collection of cool bar items, or just the overall feel of everything in there, but I think this time Michael might have enjoyed visiting the store just as much as me!
While we now know that Upriver Home has an online shop, I’ve decided to coordinate our stops in Milford to coincide with the store’s hours. That way, we’re bound to enjoy an afternoon of creative inspiration at Upriver Home, followed by another memorable visit to Bar Louis!
Milford, Pennsylvania 18337
I love a good basement establishment – maybe it’s the speakeasy-feel of the bar, or the idea that you’re onto a good secret when you hop down a short flight of stairs to the front door – but there’s just something about the softly-lit places without the giant windows and signs that just gets me, and Bar Louis has to be near the top of whatever poorly-name “basement list” there might be out there.
The design might be modern, but the “subtle, timeless, and elegant” they were going for, has been achieved perfectly. Let’s start with its namesake, the bar. A little zebrawood, a great bottle set-up with backlighting, and a giant Makos photograph of Warhol and Lennon, and the “iconic” look your implying is noted. What’s more, the libations match the bar in quality – my Old Fashioned was delicious, and I’d bet Mere would agree about her Brandy Crusta – I’d guess it’s not a small feat to find a great bartender in a town of 1000.
Bar Louis doesn’t stop at the drinks, and the meal we were lucky enough to have reservations for (it’s was completely packed on a Saturday night) was simply fantastic. On a menu where virtually everything was a safe bet, I found myself reading the sidebar by Christopher Bates, the Executive Chef, about the reemergence of chicken as an ‘it’ food, and faithfully trusting his opinions and suggestions for the menu. The “get me” and “this is great” suggestions delivered on their promises, and Meredith with her Celeraic and Apple Salad and Pumpkin & Oregon White Truffle Risotto, and me with my Housmade Brandade and Local Red Chicken Coq au Vin, rolled back up to our room for a blissful, full-bellied evening of sleep. We will definitely be returning on our next trip to Hotel Fauchere.
Milford, Pennsylvania 18337
I’m not quite sure of the details, but the last time we stayed at Hotel Fauchère the inn’s cafe, Pâtisserie Fauchère, was closed. The next morning before we made the trip back to Maine we enjoyed delicious bagels at the deli across the street from the inn, but on this trip we were eager to visit the pâtisserie!
After a walk around town with Orvis we popped in the historic Emerson House, a former residence adjacent to the hotel and home to the pâtisserie. Given that it was fairly early in the morning after daylight savings, we had the cafe to ourselves. After ordering (a pot of tea, a cup of espresso, a croissant, and a raspberry muffin) we sat down to enjoy our meal in the light-filled breakfast nook in the back of the old home. Had it been a tad bit warmer, we probably would have taken our breakfast outside on the large porch, but we were just as happy to eat our treats inside by the window!
We devoured our meal, and on the way out I glanced at the daily menu which had been updated while we were eating. After reading the quiche and sandwich specials of the day, I was already wishing that it was lunchtime!
Milford, Pennsylvania 18337