Traveling with Orvis is not always the easiest, and often, you can be hard-pressed to find "dog friendly" places for any pup that breaks the 30 pound barrier. This however, is a collection of some of Orvis' favorite places (where you won't find any size-ism), and some of the things to do that we consider to be truly dog friendly.
They are, of course, our favorite co-pilots.
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.
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.
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.
Naturally, we were quite sad when our dear friends, Darcy & Carolyn, told us that they were packing up their darling shop and sweet pups and moving down to Hudson, NY, but we knew that our friendship with the four of them was far from over - in fact, it’s arguably even better, now that they live in a fun new town with amazing shops & restaurants. If this past weekend that we spent with them in Hudson is any indication, the future of our friendship is looking bright, with all kinds of adventure, laughs, and of course, great food!
When we weren’t catching up with them in their stunning new apartment (see below for proof!) or walking our three dogs around town, we were falling in love with the quirky charm of Hudson. Some of our favorite food highlights from the weekend included takeout from Hudson Food Studio, a relaxed brunch at Cafe Le Perche, and the most delicious ice cream sundaes at LICK. The selection at Hudson Wine Merchants was also spot-on, and we’re already busy planning our next visit to include a stop at Bonfiglio & Bread, which was unfortunately closed this weekend.
The drive down to Rhinebeck for the Sunday farmer’s market was gorgeous and only made us more excited for future trips to explore the charming towns of the Hudson River Valley. Needless to say, there will be plenty of Map & Menu posts highlighting this beautiful area of New York (including one on Great Barrington in the very near future). And of course, we cannot wait to share some photos of the new 2 Note shop, opening at 255 Warren Street in mid-July. Until then, we’d love to hear any recommendations you might have for the Hudson area… because we simply can’t wait to go back!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
Right after we returned to the states from Scotland, Michael and I had to pack our bags once again – this time for a road trip down to North Carolina with Orvis. We broke up the drive by spending a night at our go-to spot, Hotel Fauchere. (Read more about our past trips to this darling Milford, PA inn here.) One of the best parts about staying at Hotel Fauchere is having a tasty dinner at Bar Louis, located just downstairs. After years of hearing about the restaurant’s famed sushi pizza, we finally sampled it, and it definitely lived up to the hype! The next morning before we had to spend the day in the car, we went for a run and enjoyed what is probably our favorite hotel breakfast.
Between visiting both of our families and shooting a wedding, our days in North Carolina were a blur. We had the chance to spend some time with both our families and some very dear friends, and it even worked out for us to attend our nephew’s second birthday right before we left to start the drive back up to Maine. We bade farewell to the South with full hearts and big smiles on our faces after getting to see so many loved ones in such a short amount of time.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
It’s no secret that I adore shop dogs! I think they’re one of the happiest sights – especially when you stumble across them in a shop you wouldn’t necessarily expect to have a happy pup waiting to greet you. I was out running errands in the beautiful sunshine on Saturday and stopped in Corey & Co. on a whim, and was delighted to meet Sadie, the resident shop dog. She let me take her photo, but only when I promised to give her lots of love in return. I thought she was too cute not to share with you all.
On another happy note, I picked up a cheerful scarf while I was at Corey & Co. and found about a dozen other items I just loved. It’s certainly no coincidence this darling shop is located on Pleasant Street!
We sure set the bar high for winter weekends during this first one of 2014 – it’ll be a tough one to beat! On Friday afternoon, after Thursday’s snowstorm, the fun began when we met one of my college roommates and her boyfriend for a long, laughter-filled lunch at Duckfat. Fantastic fries & fun friends are always a wanted distraction from the coldest of winter days.
The following morning, Michael and I packed our snowshoes, Orvis, and some snacks, and headed north to my family’s cottage in Wiscasset. We had two picture perfect days to snowshoe around the farm and even ventured out onto the beautiful, frozen Sheepscot River for the first time. Taking a break from the snowshoeing, we found that sipping milk punches, reading, and napping by the fire were every bit as enjoyable for us as our adventures in the snow.
Yesterday evening we decided to take advantage of our location and Primo‘s last dinner service until April, and enjoyed another fantastic meal at the renowned midcoast restaurant – this time at the walk-in counter. After a deliciously filling meal of brussels sprouts, meatballs, cassoulet, polenta with roasted vegetables, and a caramelized banana cream pie, we headed home to watch the Downton Abbey premiere by the fire – a delightful end to a delightful weekend. It’s back to work for now, but you can bet that this week will be filled with plenty of winter weather getaway day-dreaming!
As soon as our lovely friend, Li Ward, released the coffee table book she created with her business partner, Brittany Bang, I bought two copies – one for our own collection and one for a giveaway. If you haven’t already heard about it on blogs like Design*Sponge (!), the book, Rescue Pets of Boston, is beautifully executed and features the most charming photos of rescue animals throughout the city of Boston. Michael and I are longtime fans of Li’s vibrant pet imagery & whimsical calligraphy, so it’s especially exciting for us to own a copy of the book that combines our friend’s talents. Boston is a city near and dear to our hearts, which makes us even happier to share the book with Map & Menu readers. Plus, 100% of proceeds from the book will be donated to animal-related charities – incredible, right?
To enter to win your own signed copy of Rescue Pets of Boston, simply follow Map & Menu on Facebook or Instagram and then leave a comment below. You have until midnight on Friday December 20th!
Since our travel plans for Thanksgiving were cancelled due to the weather, Meredith and I found ourselves with an unexpected free weekend and thus, an opportunity for another Map & Menu day trip! So when the people at the Tamworth Lyceum reached out to us about visiting their shop, we did a little research about the store and the area, and felt that it would be the perfect fit for a Saturday drive. It’s rare that Meredith and I take a trip, however short, that doesn’t revolve around food in some way, but the opportunity to visit the Swift River with Orvis and get some holiday shopping done at the same time felt like the perfect way to spend the day.
The Tamworth Lyceum isn’t exactly what you’d expect to find in a small rural New England town like Tamworth. Its branding, aesthetic, and highly curated selection of foods and wares seem fit for a shop in Brooklyn, but after watching numerous people come filtering in to grab a coffee, running into friends, and staying to chat for awhile, you realize that it’s less about the products they carry and more about the community space they’ve created. Don’t get us wrong, the selection of American-made home goods, outdoor gear, and specialty foods (many sourced locally) are more than worth the trip (as evidenced by the bags in our living room), it’s just that you could fit right in with nothing more than a cup of coffee and some time to kill.
Hemenway State Forest
The folks at the Lyceum recommended that we take Orvis to the fire tower on Great Hill for a short hike with an awesome vista reward. We didn’t realize it at the time, but the trail to the fire tower and the Big Pine Natural Area that we had already planned to visit are simply two halves of the same park – Hemenway State Forest. If you just want to visit the fire tower and take in its breathtaking panoramic views of the region (the tower itself is open to the public), park on the west side of the forest at the intersection of Great Hill and Hemenway Roads, and make the short trip up the backroad to the tower. Although the views from the tower are hard to beat, the grandeur and power of the Swift River and gigantic white pines on the other side of the park offer another spectacular setting. It’s hard to believe that both are just minutes apart, and even in winter, both delivered amazing natural beauty and have us wanting to return again once the weather gets warmer.
Meredith and I are trying to get out and make a few more day trips to explore the many towns of New England that are within a few hours distance from Portland. So many times when we head south, we either stop in Portsmouth or Boston, but just between the two is Newburyport, MA, an awesome, historic colonial town set on the Merrimack River. Last weekend, we took Orvis along for a drive and tried to explore as much of the area as the day would allow. There was plenty of fun to be had for such a short drive, and the following are what we consider to be the highlights of Newburyport.
Just outside of Newburyport is this sprawling park on the site of an old local estate. There are miles of trails and carriage roads to hike, including the estate gardens, foundations of the razed homes, and views of the Merrimack River. Orvis loved playing fetch well off the path, and we could’ve easily spent the entire day exploring the different areas of the park, but our bellies were letting us know that there was lunch to be had!
Recently awarded Boston Magazine’s best new restaurant north of town, Brine is a delicious oyster and crudo bar (New England’s first) in downtown Newburyport. Brine’s cozy atmosphere and minimal branding make for a pretty cool setting. Some of the highlights of our meal were the tuna crudo with carrot, pistachio, burnt scallion, and mint, my oyster po boy, and of course, a few of the local Massachusetts oysters. Check out the Wine and Brine, where for $40/person you’ll be treated to a four course dinner and a bottle of wine.
Had we not just received the latest shipment of wine from our trip to Sonoma, we could’ve easily walked out of Grand Trunk Imports with a number of bottles of wine and delicious cheeses from their impressive selection.
Meredith had read about the hand pies from Buttermilk Baking Company in Boston Magazine, so when we passed by the bakery while walking around downtown, we couldn’t help but stop in for a mid-afternoon treat. The hand pies are indeed tasty, but I’m a particular sucker for cinnamon buns, of which they make a mean one.
For Meredith, it wouldn’t be much of a roadtrip without a little bit of antiquing. Oldies Marketplace has a huge selection of antiques and collectibles, but unfortunately I couldn’t convince Mere to bring the life-size statue of a bull home with us.
After we’d finished our walk around Newburyport, we drove further down the Merrimack River to Plum Island. The drive along the marshes of the river, and crossing onto the island reminded us of the beaches back down south. Although we didn’t have time to make it to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on the southern part of the island, Orvis had plenty of fun chasing his ball down the beach and splashing through the water. If the sheer amount of sand in my backseat was any sign, this was possibly Orvis’s favorite part of our trip.
The following are a few of the places we didn’t make it to, but will be keeping on our radar for the next trip to Newburyport: Joppa Fine Foods, CEIA Kitchen + Bar, Soufflés
One of the coolest parts about Maine is how varied the terrain can be within such a small distance. Meredith and I live on the coast, but less than an hour away is the picturesque Lakes Region, and just a little bit further, the spectacular White Mountains. Nestled in between the two is Sabattus Mountain, a short easy hike just outside of Lovell, Maine, with some of the most breathtaking views of the White Mountains and the Kezar Lake region. A few weeks ago, Meredith and I took Orvis for a day hike up the mountain, and although the trail itself is quite enjoyable, with some sections of colorful deciduous growth and others of needle-laden coniferous forest, the view from the top was simply amazing. The three of us spent a good deal of time enjoying the view before our hike back down, and still made it home in the early afternoon.