If it wasn’t too long, this post could be more accurately titled, “That Time We Went to Kauai and Only Took Three Photos of One of the Most Beautiful Places We’ve Ever Visited”. Quite a mouthful, right? In truth, we took a few more than three – some of which include awkward beach timer photos that will never see the light of day on this blog – but how we took so few photos on what many, including me, consider to be a once in a lifetime trip to a beautiful tropical island is well beyond me.
I guess “once in a lifetime” only applies when your employer doesn’t fly you around the world though, and last month, Michael made his second trip back out to Kauai for work since the trip we took with my father and stepmother in 2009. While he was away “working”, and I was stuck buried under a few feet of snow, I dug back through my archives and found these three photos of our trip that I felt were good enough to share on the site. Initially, I berated myself for taking so few photos during our trip to this magnificent island – really, what kind of photographer am I? – but then I realized that the number of photos I took didn’t equate to the quality of the trip and the memories I made. On the contrary, I was simply taking in all of the wonders of Kauai – experiencing every moment and activity – the way I sometimes forget to with a camera around my neck.
There are no photos of the time we zip-lined through the jungle canopy, or the small boat ride through massive surf at the Na Pali coast. We have no instagrams of the cocktails we sipped by the pool, or the mornings we spent watching the sunrise from the cliffs. We simply have these three photos (and those awkward beach selfies), along with a handful of truly amazing memories – memories that we made without a camera or a phone in front of our faces. This way of travel seems a thing of the past, but I think that going forward on our tips, I’ll try to make the conscious effort to better balance camera time with real life time.
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.1 Comment - Leave a comment
When it comes to sprucing up a bathroom, I’m finding that there are so many decisions to be made – paint colors, the style of light fixtures, etc. – and sometimes putting together a consistent look in all the different resources can be a challenge, so I decided to take a cue from our travels and pull some of my favorite bathrooms from the places we’ve stayed as inspiration. While the tiled walls and brass fixtures of The Marlton (pictured below) is closer to my idea of a dream bathroom, the style of the Bedford Post Inn (pictured above) sans soaking tub, might be more approachable with our current space and budget.
Do you have a favorite source for bathroom inspiration? I’d love to hear any suggestions you all might have!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.2 Comments - Leave a comment
When Meredith and I first started dating, her family had been visiting Bald Head Island for a number of years. From the stories they’d tell and the excitement they’d share, it was clear that the island held a special place in their hearts, and fortunately for me, it wasn’t long before I was able to join in on the tradition.
Not unlike many other islands on the coast of North Carolina, Bald Head’s coast is lined with wide, white sandy beaches, bordered by grassy dunes, while its mainland-facing side consists of a marshy estuary, riddled with a maze of wildlife-filled creeks and streams. However, wholly unlike the other islands on the coast of North Carolina, it’s the span between the dunes and marsh that make Bald Head Island such a special and unique place to the people that are lucky enough to visit it. The island is almost entirely free of cars, and has been since its earliest days. Accessible only by passenger ferry or personal watercraft, the main modes of transportation on the island are golf carts, bicycles, or your own two feet, and because of this, Bald Head maintains a largely unspoiled natural beauty that’s becoming harder and harder to find on the shores of North Carolina. The island is not without its developments and luxuries – there’s a quaint harbor with a handful of restaurants, a year-round market with a string of small shops, and even two country clubs on either end – but it’s the controlled pace and planning of these developments that have allowed Bald Head to grow beautifully with time, without overreaching on what the island can handle.
Similar to other visitors, Meredith and my early days on the island were spent riding our beach bikes along the roads, visiting Old Baldy (the oldest lighthouse still standing in North Carolina), walking around the harbor, and losing all track of time on the beaches. While it’s hard to imagine a better way to spend one’s days, we were sadly missing a pretty integral part of our relationship – the 90lb. black ball of fur we call Orvis. Although the island is incredibly dog-friendly (open access on the beaches, trails across the inland, dog bag stations and trash cans on seemingly every corner) the place we stayed was sadly not, so we boarded Orvis on our trips, and guiltily enjoyed the island without him. We did add a getaway to Bald Head with Orvis to our “30 by 30″ list, but after moving to Maine, our trips to the island dwindled as it became difficult to line up our schedules and balance visits with friends and family, and before we noticed it’d been five years without a trip.
Then this winter came. The freezing temperatures and feet of snow took their toll on the two of us, and in Meredith’s search for warmer weather, we realized that an off-season visit to Bald Head might be the perfect way to introduce Orvis to the island and trade Maine’s white powder for North Carolina’s white sand. It took little time to find a perfect-sized, dog-friendly place on the marsh, and in the blink of an eye, we were headed down the highway with puppy in-tow. That first ferry ride back to the island in so many years felt surreal – I don’t think I had realized how much I had maybe written off our time on Bald Head as a thing of the past – but once we arrived, everything seemed just as unspoiled and untouched as it always had been. “Quiet” is an understatement. In the first two days on the island, there was hardly another person to be seen. It was a little chilly for North Carolina, but even after it warmed up considerably (we even went for a shoeless walk in the sand), the beaches and roads remained empty, and we felt as though we had the entire island to ourselves. Orvis loved, loved, loved Bald Head. Laughing at him running and exploring off-leash made me upset that this hadn’t been a yearly winter tradition, but with any luck, it will be going forward.
It took Meredith and I moments to fall into our old island routines – running, walking, exploring, and relaxing – and although they were some of the happiest days I can remember, in the blink of an eye, our trip was over and we were boarding the ferry for the mainland. In our earlier visits to the island, Meredith’s mom would, like clockwork, stand in line to board the departing ferry, watching the new arrivals disembark, and say loudly “it’s our saddest day, and their happiest” to many chuckles from other passengers, but on that day, I couldn’t agree more with that voice in my mind. Now I can hardly wait for the day to come again when the tables are turned and it’s Meredith, Orvis, and my happiest as we return to the island. Thank you, Bald Head.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.11 Comments - Leave a comment
Breaking up the long drive to and from North Carolina has become an essential part of this road trip we make a few times per year. We don’t always have the opportunity to plan such a fun stopover, but on our way back from Bald Head this weekend, we decided to revisit one of our top Southern towns – Charlottesville, Virginia.
We arrived at Clifton Inn – one of our very favorite dog-friendly inns on the East Coast – with an hour or so of daylight left, so we immediately took Orvis for a walk along the gorgeous, snow-covered property and around the icy lake. Seeing him romp around after a day in the car makes extending the trip home so worth it. Of course, staying at a lovely inn and enjoying a nice, relaxing meal sweetens the deal even more.
After settling in at Clifton (in the same room from our last visit nearly two years ago) we headed into town for dinner at The Alley Light. Fortunately, we have the Oscars and a home basketball game at UVA to thank for allowing us to snag a last-minute reservation at this recently announced James Beard Semifinalist for Best New Restaurant. We enjoyed a couple of delicious drinks at the bar before our table was ready and then followed the helpful advice of our sweet waitress in ordering the carrots, butternut squash gratin, beef tenderloin, and seared scallops. Our meal was simply delicious… I think I might suggest to Michael that we break up every road trip with a James Beard nominated meal!
Before hitting the road the next morning, we took Orvis for another walk around the lake and had a cozy breakfast near the fire on the inn’s verandah. Our time in Charlottesville was all too short, but what a truly wonderful way it was to make the most out of a long journey on the road!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
Last week my mother and I made an all-too quick trip down to Salisbury, Connecticut. Our visit was postponed a day because of Tuesday’s blizzard and then cut short by another because of Friday’s snowstorm, but we still managed to fall in love with this area of Litchfield County in seemingly no time at all. The village of Salisbury is absolutely charming, with bucolic horse farms scattered along winding country roads, and classic homes and shops filling the quaint downtown. It’s an area I can see myself returning to time and time again.
Located right in the center of the charming village of Salisbury, Connecticut, the White Hart opened its 19th century doors for business late this past summer after being closed for four years. The inn’s clean, classic elegance was accented by hardwoods, bold art, and strong patterns. Its rooms were lovely and luxurious, and everyone we encountered on staff was delightful. Photographing the details of the sitting room and reception area, including artwork by Jasper Johns & Frank Stella, was an absolute pleasure. Read more about our stay at the White Hart here.
We walked around downtown after our dinner at the White Hart’s Tap Room, selecting which shops we’d like to visit the next day, and At Home in the Country made it to the top of our list. This darling shop is filled with great gifts, home accessories, and even works of art, like the beautiful paintings I spied by Joan Badner, an artist with ties to Maine.
Northwestern Connecticut has an abundance of state parks, land trusts, and trail systems, (the Appalachian Trail runs through Salisbury) so it’s only fitting that the town has an equally impressive outdoors store to match its environmental charm. With brands like Patagonia, Filson, and Smartwool, Peter Becks has an excellent selection of both technical gear and lifestyle apparel.
Tucked in the back of Salisbury Wines, Joie de Livres is a gallery of books, many of which are collectible fine art tomes. So many titles caught my eyes, I could have spent hours browsing the fantastic collection, and the fact that it is literally inside a wine shop had me dreaming up my own version of a store filled with two of the things I love most in this world – art books & good wine.
Visiting a wine shop while traveling will always be one of my favorite travel rituals, as I love seeing what other shops in different areas have to offer. Salisbury Wines was written up on Find.Eat.Drink., a travel app that Michael & I swear by, so not stopping in as my mother and I walked past the shop on Main Street was simply not an option. I was more than happy to pick up a bottle of Banshee – a favorite from our trip to Sonoma – on my way out the door.
Another Find.Eat.Drink. recommendation I insisted we visit (even though we were still full from breakfast at the White Hart), Salisbury Breads has an abundance of freshly baked breads, pastries, pies, soups, and even gluten-free treats – not to mention that distinct, heavenly aroma that all wonderful bakeries have in common. The croissants looked exceptionally tasty to me, but we opted for two of the smaller apple pastries to tide us over on our ride to Hudson.
If our trip hadn’t been cut short, we would have had dinner at The Woodland in nearby Lakeville, sipped tea at Harney & Sons in Millerton, and explored one of the many trail systems in the area. Needless to say, I’m hoping to plan a return trip to Salisbury with Michael & Orvis – there’s just so much to see and do. Of course, I’d appreciate any tips you all might have on exploring Northwestern Connecticut for our next visit.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.2 Comments - Leave a comment
Although our trip was postponed by one snowstorm and cut short by another, my mother and I had a splendid visit to the newly reopened White Hart Inn last week. Located right in the center of the charming village of Salisbury, Connecticut, the White Hart opened its 19th century doors for business late this past summer after being closed for four years. The owners, a group of investors with ties to the surrounding Litchfield & Columbia counties, hope that the inn will once again serve as a gathering place for the Salisbury community, and if the scene at the inn’s Tap Room on a random Wednesday night in January is any indication, they’re well on their way to achieving this goal – we settled into the last available seats at the cozy pub for a delicious, comforting dinner after we arrived. When the inn’s formal dining room, headed by Chef Annie Wayte, opens this Friday, I’m certain the White Hart will become even more of a fixture for the area.
The inn’s clean, classic elegance was accented by hardwoods, bold art, and strong patterns. Its rooms were lovely and luxurious, and everyone we encountered on staff was delightful. Photographing the details of the sitting room and reception area, including artwork by Jasper Johns & Frank Stella, was an absolute pleasure.
Planning a return trip with Michael & Orvis – the inn is dog-friendly (!) – is high on my list of things to do this year. There’s so much more of Northwestern Connecticut I’d love to see, and two of our favorite areas to visit in New England, the Berkshires & Hudson Valley are just a stone’s throw away. Hopefully next time the weather will cooperate a little more, and we’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy all that the White Hart and surrounding area have to offer, but until then, I’ll just keep on smiling, thinking about all of the delightful parts I already had the chance to experience.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.2 Comments - Leave a comment
In the midst of a whirlwind early summer this past year, it looks as though we never got around to posting about the quick girls trip I took with my mother to New York last May – what a shame! It all works out though, because I’m happy to be reliving the warmth and colors of spring in New York during the middle of winter, aren’t you? While my mother spent a day working with a client, I was happy to wander around the Village, photographing charming stoops, popping into cute shops, and having some delicious meals. Here are a few highlights from our trip last spring!
The Marlton’s rooms, branding, and restaurant, Margaux, are all packed with a quirky personality that perfectly balances style and expression. I loved every moment of my stay there. Read more about our time at The Marlton here.
Dining at Cafe Cluny has been high on my list since reading about it on Cup of Jo ages ago. It was our first meal in the city during this trip, and easily one of the tastiest. Our meal reminded me of one of Michael’s favorite restaurant critiques – the food was simple, yet perfectly prepared. The charming atmosphere and the meandering walks we enjoyed to and from Cafe Cluny only added to our experience.
While my mother was working with a client in the city, I moseyed around the Village before I ended up at the delightful oyster bar, Jeffrey’s Grocery. The weather was just right for a glass of rose, a heaping salade Niçoise, and plenty of people watching!
I walked down to the Mermaid Oyster Bar for a snack before I had to head uptown to a client meeting of my own – the happy hour specials here are not to be missed, neither are the shrimp & avocado sliders!
A recommendation from Mackenzie’s blog, Cafe Gitane, inside The Jane Hotel, was a perfect spot for us to spend our final morning in New York. We swapped stories from the day we spent apart and watched the rain come down while feasting on the most comforting of breakfast foods – baked eggs and pain au chocolat.
What are some of your favorite spots in the West Village/Greenwich Village? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below. I have my heart set on trying Rosemary’s, Palma, Red Farm, Perla, or Claudette for our next visit. But returning to Buvette would also be a treat! Read more about our past trips down to New York here.
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Escaping to a warmer climate has been on my mind all week during this horrendously cold spell here in Maine. Since many of you in similar climates have braved the same temperatures, I thought revisiting last year’s Winter Getaway Daydreaming post and coming up with another list of warm destinations might be a welcome distraction from the cold.
El Blok, the newest hotel on the small Puerto Rican island of Vieques, is high on my list of places I would love to visit with Michael, namely to sample the cuisine of the hotel restaurant headed by James Beard nominated chef, Jose Enrique. Of course, the island destination and stylish design only adds to El Blok’s draw.
Belize’s Turtle Inn, owned by Francis Ford Coppola, keeps popping up on my radar these days. I could definitely get behind the idea of showering outdoors in a private garden, couldn’t you?
I’m not quite sure I can imagine a more beautifully luxurious escape than spending a few days at the recently re-opened and rebranded stunning Cheval Blanc property on St. Barts.
I hadn’t heard of Saba, a tiny island in the Dutch Antilles, until I came across a mention of the Queen’s Gardens Resort in an AFAR article. The island itself reminds me of the lovely, seemingly untouched Nevis we visited a few years ago.
Harbour Island has been on my travel bucket list for a few years now. If we ever make it down to this charming island in the Bahamas, known for its pink sand beaches, I’d have my eyes on The Landing, The Saltbox, or the soon to open Bahama House Inn.
What warm weather destinations are on your radar? We’d love to hear some of your favorite spots or dream-worthy vacations below!1 Comment - Leave a comment
Up next in our Best of 2014 are this year’s highlights from the meals and drinks we’ve enjoyed the most while traveling. (Our favorites for our home state of Maine will be up tomorrow.) It’s no easy feat choosing just one favorite from many trips that often revolve around eating, but here are some of this year’s standouts. We clearly enjoyed eating our way through the southeastern US this year, but can you blame us? There’s a lot of good food to be had down there these days. We hope this list helps with your own travel planning for 2015. We’d love to hear some of your favorite food destinations in the comments below!
Michael: Our drinks at the James Beard nominated, poolside craft cocktail bar, The Broken Shaker, certainly lived up to our expectations.
Meredith: I have the vanilla-infused spiced rum, and velvet falernum Sailor’s Delight from The Optimist to thank for my tiki cocktail craze this year.
Michael: We had a wonderful time sampling the Southern farm to table cuisine at Empire State South, but the “In Jars” selection of spreads (pimiento cheese, bacon marmalade, catfish rillette, and more ) was brilliantly delicious and a great way to show our friend from Germany a taste of the south.
Meredith: After polishing off the last one at The Optimist, I found myself wondering why all hushpuppies aren’t served “beignet-style” with cane syrup butter and powdered sugar.
Michael: The decadent braised short rib (with a side of the macaroni au gratin, of course) at Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, North Carolina was the ultimate way to end a fantastic day spent exploring the city.
Meredith: My friend, Betsy, prepares some of the tastiest scallops I’ve ever eaten in my life, and I’m positive even she would love the scallops at Empire State South just as much as I did this past spring.
Michael: With deliciously creative flavors like Birch + Marshmallows and signature flavors such as The Milkiest Chocolate in the World, we were in heaven at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – so much so, that we may have indulged two nights in a row…
Meredith: The famous ice cream sandwiches at Miller’s Union definitely lived up to the hype.
Michael: What more could one want while vacationing in Vermont than a plate full of blueberry pancakes topped with delicious Vermont maple syrup? The pancakes at Topnotch were so good, I ordered them two days in a row.
Meredith: Our tasty post-hike brunch at the Prairie While this summer was, hands-down, my favorite of our meals in Great Barrington.
Michael & Meredith: One of the many meals we enjoyed while eating our way through Charleston was lunch at Xiao Bao Biscuit. The casual ‘Asian soul food’ restaurant struck us with its bold style and amazing dishes.
Michael & Meredith: Even after visiting three (!) other bakeries in Charleston, we still managed to return to Brown’s Court Bakery three times. Everything – the croissants, the sticky buns, the cinnamon rolls, the charming building, and the friendly staff – made Brown’s Court the perfect bakery experience.
Michael: Wine Authorities is a comfortable neighborhood wine shop in Raleigh (and Durham) with a very knowledgeable staff and a great selection of estate wines based on an even greater concept – every bottle in the store is less than $50 because “wine should be enjoyed, not collected.” That’s a mission I can easily get behind.
Meredith: In the 30 minutes I spent in Kingston Wine Co., I witnessed a dozen or so people walk through the shop, eager to hear the opinion of co-owner Michael Drapkin about which wine they should select. It became immediately apparent just how much of a community Michael and his wife Theresa have created within their shop, a store that is undoubtedly worthy of planning a trip to Kingston, NY.
Dining with Orvis
Michael & Meredith: The fact that we could eat outside with Orvis at Topnotch during both breakfast and dinner easily secured many future visits to this fantastic dog-friendly resort in Stowe for our little family.
Michael: Food wasn’t the concentration of our time in the Scottish Highlands, but dining in the old stone crofter’s cottage overlooking Loch Dunvegan at the famous Three Chimneys restaurant on Isle of Skye turned out to be one of the more memorable dining experiences of my entire year.
Meredith: It’s hard to beat the combination of fresh fish tacos and a tasty mojito underneath the palm trees at Morada Bay Beach Cafe!
Michael: The food was so good that I ate at The Dogs twice during my relatively short time in Edinburgh (once with my co-workers and once with Meredith), but the unassuming, low-key feeling of this restaurant, tucked away in a loft, with its quirky dog-related art, is one of the reasons I insisted on bringing Meredith here for our single dinner together in Edinburgh.
Meredith: Stepping into The Ordinary is an almost surreal experience. The oyster hall on upper King St. has plenty of classic charm and many leftover details from its history as a bank, including the vault from which the raw bar is now served.
Michael: We ate and ate and ate (and ate some more) in Charleston and there wasn’t a single meal during our entire four days there that didn’t excite us. Since our February trip, even more amazing spots have opened up, making this a food destination to which I cannot wait to return.
Meredith: Tagging along on Michael’s work trip to Atlanta was one of the best decisions I made all year. While he was working during the day, I managed to go from restaurant to restaurant and somehow kept just enough room to enjoy dinner with him each evening. Everything was delicious!
Michael: Set in a rustic mill quite literally on top of the river, everything about Hen of the Wood seems classically authentic to the locally-sourced and chef-owned mission it’s based around. Each part of my meal, from the heirloom tomatoes, to the bluefish toast, or slow-cooked rabbit was deliciously prepared and carefully presented.
Meredith: As if the multiple mentions on this decently short list weren’t enough of a hint, my dinner at The Optimist was easily one of the more memorable meals of my life, and reason enough for anyone to put Atlanta on their list for 2015.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.2 Comments - Leave a comment
Recapping some of our best hotel stays each year is always an enjoyable experience reliving the memories, adventures, and meals of the past year. Here are some of our hotel favorites from 2014 that we hope will help you in planning your upcoming getaways.
Michael: From the moment we stepped onto the property at Charleston’s Zero George, I felt right at home with it’s classic Southern charm, style, and understated elegance. I’d be hard pressed to stay anywhere else in a town I can’t wait to return to.
Meredith: The Marlton’s rooms, restaurant, and branding are all packed with a quirky personality that perfectly balances style and expression. I loved every moment of my stay there this year.
Michael: The nod to Scotland’s own Sean Connery at The Balmoral in Edinburgh was a nice touch to an already classically cool bathroom.
Meredith: These days it seems as though my dreams are made of the marble sinks and brass Waterworks fixtures from The Marlton.
Michael & Meredith: We loved everything about our time with Orvis at Topnotch – the dog-friendly green spaces, the access to trails, and the welcome package for Orvis – but getting to eat outside with him at each meal at the resort was easily the highlight of our entire stay.
Michael: North Haven, home to the Nebo Lodge, is a picturesque and quintessential as a Maine island can get. Miles off the coast, exploring the island’s trails, village, and farms was an excellent way to spend a weekend getaway.
Meredith: Drinks atop the The Surrey in the hotel’s private garden is one of the very best views of Manhattan I’ve experienced thus far.
Michael: Eating pancakes and eggs on the patio by the pool with Orvis by our side at Topnotch Resort is just about the only way to unseat Hotel Fauchere from its breakfast throne.
Meredith: No other hotel breakfast has earned its own post on Map & Menu, or been the reason for a road trip detour. The breakfast at Hotel Fauchere is once again my favorite.
Michael & Meredith: The restaurant at Nebo Lodge is what brought us out to the island of North Haven in the first place, and after enjoying two fantastic dinners and two breakfasts there, it’s safe to say that the food was well worth the trip.
Michael: A slightly unusual, but amazing amenity of Atlanta’s Stonehurst Place is its museum-quality art selection with works by names like Warhol, Picasso, and many others.
Meredith: The spa at the Woodstock Inn is right at the top of my list of reasons I want to return to this charming Vermont inn. I didn’t have time for a treatment, but a mere $25 gave me access to the beautiful facilities – an amazing value!
Interaction with Hotel Staff:
Michael: Maybe it was due to the fact that Orvis was their very first canine guest, but every member of the staff at the Woodstock Inn seemed to know us by name and be excited about Orvis. Everyone who knows us knows that the fastest way to our hearts is through our buddy.
Meredith: Inez, a co-owner of Table on Ten, made my trip to New York an absolute delight. She seemed to be involved in each and every part of the inn and restaurant’s operations – welcoming, cooking, etc – and her hard work and creative attention to detail was evident throughout my stay.
Overall Hotel Experience
Michael: I couldn’t have imagined a better way to kick off our Scotland getaway than by staying at Greystones in Oban. A modernly-renovated baronial home overlooking the bay, the boutique bed & breakfast was wonderfully comfortable, a short stroll into town, and served an outstanding breakfast on each of our mornings.
Meredith: Between the amazing meals, the lovely chats with Liz the manager, and the Angela Adams-clad modern cottage aesthetic of Nebo Lodge, it was easily one of the most enjoyable trips of my year. And the fact that the pups were able to join us on our adventures around North Haven made it even more memorable.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.Leave a comment