As always, reliving some of our memories from last year’s trips proves to be an enjoyable experience – it’s one of the reasons we created Map & Menu. To see other years highlights, check our ‘best of‘ tag!
Michael: Clean and minimal wins almost every time with me, so Provincetown’s Eben House is an easy pick. Continuing where their sister property, the Salt House Inn, stops off, the stylish details, like the art, lighting, and subtle pops of color, are what set Eben House apart from so many other properties.
Meredith: It’s so tempting for me to chime in with Michael and say the Eben House for this one, but I couldn’t help but go a bit crazy over all of the pink at the Quirk Hotel (post coming soon) in Richmond. Pink as a main color scheme is such a huge departure from our own decorating style, which is maybe why I’m drawn to it. The entire design scheme is so well-executed at the Quirk, I think a stay there would convince most any pink naysayer to change their tune.
Michael & Meredith: It’s hard for us to ignore Vermont when we think of dog-friendly, and the Pitcher Inn is a glowing example of this. A short hop from any number of trails in the Mad River Valley, the inn provided plenty of places for us to explore. It’s hard to imagine a staff that could be more happy to see Orvis – every time we made our way through the inn, it felt as though we were a celebrity’s entourage.
While the Pitcher Inn was our favorite, we both think that Boston’s Liberty Hotel is also worth a mention. Next door to the Charles river esplanade paths, the ability for Orvis to join us for drinks in main room, and the somewhat surprising dog-friendliness of Boston in general, our trip to the Liberty turned out to be an unexpected highlight for all three of us.
Michael: While sitting by the pool, sipping a rum punch, with the view of Nevis peak behind the centuries-old sugar mill, it’s hard to imagine a better location than Montpelier Plantation.
Meredith: The charming town of Woodstock, Vermont is one of my favorite places for a stroll with Michael and Orvis, so the fact that the Woodstock Inn is located right across from the town green – and just steps away from the trailhead of Mt. Tom – is my idea of perfect.
Michael: The Pitcher Inn’s full seated breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon, seated by the big sunny windows was the perfect way to start each of our mornings in Vermont. I wonder if I can convince Meredith to make farmhouse breakfasts part of our daily routine…
Meredith: Kevin & David of Salt Hotels make breakfast at any of their beautiful properties a meal to truly savor. While the spread is almost too lovely to eat, you’ll want to take your time as you work through the thoughtful offerings like the Banana Crumb Coffee Cake or the Coconut Chia Pudding.
Michael & Meredith: Not only does The 404 top our list of hotel restaurants, the meal we had there was easily one of the year’s best in general. Southern classics, a fantastic bar, and a friendly staff all add up to a great meal. I’ll probably never stop craving the skillet cornbread with that decadent sorghum butter.
Michael: Crisp white tile and marble, with pops of color and brass made the bathrooms at The 404 Hotel some of the most stylish we stayed in this year.
Meredith: I loved how soothing and understated our bathroom was at the Quirk. It’s a design that feels very current and timeless at the same time.
Michael: It’s hard to beat a private beach when discussing hotel amenities, so I think I’ll pick Montpelier here. On our last visit, we never strayed far enough from the pool to make it down to the ocean, but on this trip, we made the sun, sand, and ocean a priority
Meredith: I was a tiny bit obsessed with the keyless entry at The 404 Hotel. Not having to rummage through my purse to find a key was, in a sense, quite liberating. Coming and going was easy and helped keep us in that vacation state of mind we’re always after while traveling.
Interaction with Hotel Staff
Michael and Meredith: This one was tough. Ari Sadri, the general manager of the Pitcher Inn, could be one of the friendliest and most accommodating people Meredith or I have ever met, and it’s clear that his warm personality has rubbed off on the rest of the inn’s staff. Meredith and I felt like we were amongst family while we stayed there, and judging by other reviews we’ve read about the property, we’re far from the only ones who feel this way.
While the Pitcher Inn wins in this category for first time visits, it’s hard to ignore how many employees at Montpelier Plantation genuinely remembered Meredith and I from our last visit… almost four year ago! It was as though we had taken a short trip across the island, instead of a multi-year hiatus back home. Even new additions to the staff since our last trip, like Kakia Michou made us feel as though we were long time friends, and it’s clear that the property prioritizes its warm interactions with the guests.
Overall Hotel Experience
Michael: Traveling with Orvis is always a delight, and Vermont has become one of Meredith and my favorite places to visit, so finding that perfect balance of style, comfort, and welcoming, tucked away in the Mad River valley easily makes our stay at the Pitcher Inn one of my favorites of the year. When planning every new trip to the state includes a “do you think we can make a night at the Pitcher work?”, you know you’ve found a second home.
Meredith: We stayed at fewer hotels in 2015 compared to years past, but I think the quality of our hotel experiences was certainly up this last year. (Maybe that’s an industry trend we can expect to see in future years?) I’ve always said that our trip to the Salt House Inn in 2013 taught us what the hotel experience should be, so it’s no surprise that this year’s trip to their sister property, Eben House, further reiterated what a hotel stay could be.
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.1 Comment - Leave a comment
As soon as I booked a wedding in Nashville, a city we’d always wanted to visit, I knew exactly where I wanted to stay – The 404 Hotel. I don’t recall where I’d first read about The 404, but after seeing its repeated mentions in all of my favorite travel magazines, there was no real question in my mind about where we’d stay.
Located in the trendy Gulch neighborhood, The 404 is known for its amazing onsite restaurant, five impeccably designed minimalist rooms, and its invisible service, a feature we’d not experienced in a hotel yet, but one we truly enjoyed. (This is a fantastic read about the rise of hotels with invisible services, highlighting The 404.)
We both loved the design of our room – the clean, light palette that made the wall art shine, the high ceilings, the tall sliding barn door, and every last detail of the boldly bright bathroom that blended the traditional and modern so perfectly. The restaurant, which we’ll cover in our future post about the city of Nashville itself, turned out to be a very strong contender for our best meal of the trip.
Traveling to a hotel, particularly for any Map & Menu feature, we’ve found that we typically depart having made a new friend – someone at the front desk or a manager who made our stay even more memorable – and although I thought I might miss this connection by staying at a hotel where you literally don’t see or meet a single member of the staff, I have to say, it was a bit liberating. We came and went using an access code given to us prior to our stay, and although we usually enjoy getting to talk to hotel staff about some of their favorite local haunts, we didn’t have any trouble getting through our own list of Nashville must-visits. Staying in an invisible service hotel is somewhat akin to having a well-designed apartment in whichever city you’re visiting.
If you’re looking for a stylish, inedpendent change of pace in your next Nashville hotel, look no further than The 404.
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.1 Comment - Leave a comment
With the always-crazy pace of summer, we almost missed an opportunity to visit Cape Cod this year. In years past, our trips to Provincetown had always been tied to mid-summer weddings, so we’d grown accustomed to the busy beaches and crowded streets, but after making our trip this past month, we quickly found out that the end of September is an almost perfect time to visit the town.
The crowds are mostly gone, save for a few tours buses that park in the center of town, and the weather is still pleasantly warm during the day, yet refreshingly chilly at night. We were able to enjoy delicious meals without any waiting at both old favorites and new finds, our strolls around town were highlighted by the late summer and early fall details we’d never had the chance to experience before, and the empty-beach panoramic sunsets over the water will be memories we’re not likely to forget.
Almost by accident, a beautiful shoulder-season getaway to Provincetown turned out to be a perfect way to cater in the change of season and cooler weather. The following spots are places we’d advise anyone to seek out during future trips to Ptown!
After our stay at Eben House, we were once again reminded of how a truly well-thought out hotel can have an extraordinary impact on your journey as whole. When you start and end your days in a space that was designed with such care and attention, you’re bound to have an outstanding trip – something Eben House delivers with perfection. Read more about our stay at Eben House here.
The Canteen, a bright, lively restaurant in the center of town, won us over with its wonderful Banh Mi and Kale Salad during our last trip to Provincetown, so enjoying another tasty meal there was at the top of our must-do list. Thankfully, we were able to follow up our fantastic meal on their patio with a sweet treat from their sister business, the ice cream + donut shop next door, Happy Camper.
We love trading in the rocky coast of Maine for the wide open stretches of sandy beaches on Cape Cod for a few days. Both Herring Cove & Race Point beaches are the perfect places to soak up the midday sun, or better yet, watch it disappear over the ocean.
With great branding that will easily catch your eye as you’re walking down Commercial Street, Kohi Coffee is a must-visit. It doesn’t hurt that they also serve our favorite Tandem Coffee Roasters coffee!
Sadly, the doors to John Derian’s shop in town closed just days before our trip, however we still visited another old standby, SHOR, and then spent time daydreaming about which piece we’d select next from one of our favorite galleries in town, the Adam Peck Gallery.
Do you have any Provincetown favorites we missed? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.1 Comment - Leave a comment
Since moving to New England, we’ve made three trips to Provincetown, with each one being better than the last. Our two most recent jaunts down the Cape have been some of our favorite New England getaways, thanks almost entirely to Kevin & David of Salt Hotels. In June of 2013, we fell in love with their first property, the Salt House Inn, when we planned an all too quick overnight in Provincetown the day before shooting a wedding. We’ve been following the growth of their brand ever since, and were delighted to see them open a second property in Provincetown last year, Eben House, followed by a hotel this year on Shelter Island, The Chequit.
Last month I made arrangements for Michael and I to stay at Eben House for a relaxing midweek getaway. We loved the Salt House so much that I was skeptical as to whether or not the Eben House would be able to live up to the high standards its sister hotel set for us in 2013. Fortunately, It took all of two minutes for my skepticism to completely vanish, as we again found ourselves enamored with every single detail of the hotel. We’ve found that these unique details – the ones that often go unlooked by other hotels and inns – have essentially become a trademark of Salt Hotels, helping make their properties stand out and garner so much well-deserved attention.
Photographing our suite made me absolutely giddy – there were so many perfectly styled vignettes just waiting to be captured. The light from the large windows filled the space, highlighting the clean colors and contrasting details. The clawfoot tub in the center of the room became my evening spot to unwind and relax, while the suite’s porch was the perfect place to plan our days each morning.
Outside of our room, the rest of the hotel proved to be just as enjoyable. Some of our favorite design elements were the commissioned pieces by Provincetown artist, Michael Gredler, where classic portraits of the property’s early family were filled with subtle quirky details. In true Map & Menu fashion, we also loved the custom map of Provincetown, drawn by Kevin, highlighting some of their favorite places in town. Kevin was the one who suggested we dine at The Canteen during our last visit, so having access to a map full of his and David’s favorite places was an invaluable resource for navigating the many shops and restaurants of the town.
One of the highlights of our visit to the Salt House Inn was its outstanding breakfast – a tradition which Eben House continues in a similarly delicious fashion in its charming conservatory, either to be enjoyed there or amidst the garden on the brick patio.
Our original stay at the Salt House Inn had a pretty significant impact on the way in which we see, or rather experience, the design of many of the hotels from our travels, and after our stay at Eben House, we were once again reminded of how a truly well-thought out hotel can have an extraordinary impact on your journey as whole. When you start and end your days in a space that was designed with such care and attention, you’re bound to have an outstanding trip – something Eben House delivered with perfection.
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.4 Comments - Leave a comment
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.
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.3 Comments - Leave a comment
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.
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.3 Comments - Leave a comment
Michael and I recently watched the HBO miniseries, Olive Kitteridge, and after seeing the toile wallpaper from the opening credits we found ourselves on a search for a similar nautical toile paper for our own home. Ever since shooting some projects for Furbish a few years ago, I’ve been wanting to incorporate wallpaper into our home, but Michael was always on the fence about it until our stay at Nebo Lodge, where more than a few rooms are given an extra dose of character thanks, in large part, to their various wallpapers.
Just like I did with our bathroom update from the spring, I thought it would be fun to share some wallpaper inspiration from our travels. From the floral print in a guest room at The Greenbrier (pictured above) to the whimsical hot air balloons in the stairway of the Saint James in Paris, these wallpapers inject a sense of personality and fun into their spaces.
Powder room at The Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.
Stairway at the Saint James in Paris.
Guest room at the Saint James.
The Brimstone Room at Nebo Lodge on North Haven, ME.
Bathroom at Nebo Lodge.
Colonial Room at the Pitcher Inn in Warren, VT.
The pub at the White Hart Inn in Salisbury, CT.
Dining nook at Tipsy Parson in New York.
Do you all have any design discoveries from your travels? We’d love to hear about them below!
All photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.3 Comments - Leave a comment
There’s one guarantee that I’ve taken away from years of traveling alongside Meredith – if there are animals roaming around, she won’t be far behind them. Whether lambs in Scotland or cows in the Shenandoah Valley, Meredith’s love for animals means that there are sure to be plenty of photos of the wildlife on our trips. On our recent trip to Nevis, this proved to be true once again, and within minutes of arriving on the island, we saw our first donkeys and goats roaming around. So in some of our downtime, Meredith and I tried to get close enough to grab a few shots. Sadly, the monkeys we also saw were generally way too camera shy to make it onto this roll.
All photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.1 Comment - Leave a comment
Four years ago, our trip to Montpelier Plantation on the island of Nevis, served as a major source of inspiration for Michael and I to launch Map & Menu, and just a few weeks ago, we finally had the chance to return – this time shooting some imagery for the very place that opened our eyes to what the hotel experience could be. Although we felt a sense of comfort returning somewhere we’d been before, there was also a unique excitement accompanying that comfort, since we knew exactly what was waiting for us at the end of our 13 hour journey to the island.
Many of the reasons we originally fell in love with Montpelier in 2011 are still there, largely unchanged – Kaddy’s rum punches, the friendly, welcoming staff, pre-dinner cocktails with other guests, the beautiful pool, the ancient mill, and that timeless weeping fig tree that guards the entrance. And although we’d be just fine feeling as though the property and our experiences there had fallen into a bubble of forgotten time, we were greeted with plenty of newness on this trip – the colorful new rooms, the peaceful private beach, the small modern updates, and friendly new additions to the staff.
It’s reassuring to know that your memories of a place and experience can actually be improved upon by returning, and although this new time we spent on the island will serve as a brand new set of memories that we’ll fondly think back on, its easy to view each trip to the island as a set of building blocks toward a greater timeless experience, where you dream about your return in the time between. In the words of our waitress, Vanetta, as she tried to cheer us up at breakfast on our final morning, “you have to leave to come again.”
3 Comments - Leave a comment
The last time Meredith and I visited Montpelier Plantation on the island of Nevis, we were so caught up in the serenity and relaxation of the inn that we didn’t even venture down to their private beach during the course of our brief stay! We made sure to not make that mistake again on our most recent trip however, and spent an amazing day in the shade outside our cabana… cooling off in the clear water after walks on the beach in the sun, and enjoying our picnic lunch on the sand, accented by a few rum punches. We’ll be writing more about our trip in the coming days, but we felt that there were few better ways to kick of the posts than by reliving this saltwater daydream.
4 Comments - Leave a comment