Meredith and I often get emails and comments from Map & Menu readers asking for help in planning their own Portland adventures. While we love that people are finding and using the site for the exact reason we created it – to be a tried and true travel resource – we’ve only had a few first-hand accommodation experiences in our hometown of Portland – all from before we moved to Maine, and long before Map & Menu. Thus, when we saw one of our favorite branding agencies in town share some of the recent work they’d done for a new Portland inn, we quickly searched for more information and reached out to its owners to setup a visit.
The Mercury Inn has many of the things that typically draw us to the places we stay on our travels – creative taste, a clean aesthetic, cozy accommodations, and great branding. During our tour of the property, we had the chance to speak to the co-owners, Tim and Jake, about their experience in running, then renovating the previous inn at the State Street location, and their passion for the food and service industries that led them toward owning a bed and breakfast. After managing what was formerly the Wild Iris Inn for part of the season prior to re-opening as the Mercury Inn, Tim and Jake began to renovate according to the experiences they had gleaned from patrons, the property, and the sustainable vision they had brought with them. The design of the interior came from Tim’s sister’s firm, Landing Design & Development and has a clean, contemporary feel that meshes perfectly with the branding done by Might & Main. Details like the custom Sea Bags pillows, roman numeral door lettering, and large-printed shower curtains add fun accents and give the space plenty of its own personality. On top of being within walking distance to some of our favorite restaurants in Portland’s West End and on Congress Street, Tim and Jake use their culinary experience to provide homemade breakfasts to visitors, which we’re looking forward to trying at some future date.
We’re thrilled to add the aptly-named Mercury Inn (Mercury was the Roman patron god of travelers) to our list of places to stay in Portland. We’re sure that given it’s design and comfort it’ll be the perfect fit for many Map & Menu readers in the future.
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
Contact Information - Mercury Inn
Portland, Maine 04101
Every now and again on our travels, Michael and I feel like we’ve truly stumbled upon a place to stay that simply seems to be doing everything just right. Every detail and design element seems to be carefully thought of, and our trip always ends with mixed feelings of happiness from the comfort of our stay and sadness that it must come to an end. Last week, Michael and I had the opportunity to visit one of these ‘finds’ – Stonehurst Place in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood – and though our stay was short, we left feeling as though we’d discovered a true southern gem of a bed & breakfast, one that we just couldn’t wait to share with y’all!
There’s a surprising amount to cover when describing this six-room 19th century craftsman. Owner Barb Shadomy has done an unbelievable job restoring the home to its original charm, while still providing any and all of the modern comforts one could want. Everywhere one looks, they’ll find a balanced blend of that historical framework, finished with modern accents. The main floor plan is essentially as it was more than 100 years ago, while the furnishings and art enhance the aesthetic in a more contemporary fashion. We took our time browsing the inn’s impressive art collection, an extensive, non-exaggerative “museum-quality” body of work curated by the owner that includes pieces by Andy Warhol & Pablo Picasso, among many others. Our room, the Gables Suite, was open, spacious, and filled with natural light. Details like the lettered room name on the door, the fresh cut wildflowers, large classic wooden desk, and the comfortable leather lounge chair only added to our delight, and it honestly seemed as though the art in our room was made for the two of us.
Innkeepers, Lori & Paul Worrell, were just another wonderful part of our stay at Stonehurst Place. Their warmth & southern hospitality is evident in many aspects of the inn, from the delicious breakfast the couple prepares each morning to the conversations they shared with us and the other guests during our visit. We particularly enjoyed hearing Paul speak of the green initiatives at Stonehurst Place, including the modern rainwater harvesting system which now produces purified drinkable and usable water – the first of its kind for hotel properties in Atlanta.
I honestly cannot imagine us planning a return trip to Atlanta that doesn’t include a stay at the Stonehurst Place. With its close proximity to Piedmont Park and some of Midtown’s best restaurants, the location is surely hard to beat. Although a trip in the height of spring would allow us to enjoy the beautifully landscaped property and spend more time exploring the darling neighborhoods nearby, it’s hard to imagine a time of year that a stay at Stonehurst Place would be anything short of idyllic.
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
Contact Information - Stonehurst Place
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
Most of the time, when travel plans go awry due to weather, and trips have to be extended, it can be a cause for headaches and stress, but when a winter storm threatened our return trip from Charleston to Boston, we could barely contain our excitement at having the opportunity to prolong our stay at Zero George Street, and quickly rescheduled our flight, even before the original had officially been canceled.
Simply put, staying at Zero George was an absolute delight. The property consists of a number of early 19th century buildings (two original to the land and two painstakingly relocated from the area), in the beautiful, historic, and conveniently-located Ansonborough neighborhood. It is the perfect mix of classic Southern charm, style, comfort, and convenience. The buildings are positioned to form a peaceful enclave around a central courtyard, and from the moment we first walked through the entrance gate, we knew that we’d made the right decision with our reservations. Our room was perfect for the two of us – just the place we couldn’t wait to return to between meals and meandering expeditions through the city – and the location is a quick stroll to the French Quarter, South of Broad, and Lower and Upper King neighborhoods. The staff was extremely friendly and accommodating, and the details of the inn gave Meredith plenty of photographic inspiration each day. Staying at the hotel was more than just the necessary lodging detail of our trip, it became a highlight, even serving as a evening porch picnic destination after countless Charleston dinners had finally taken their toll on us.
We count ourselves very fortunate to have been able to make Zero George part of our Charleston getaway, and can’t wait to one day return.
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
Contact Information - Zero George Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
I’ve been looking forward to sharing our Best of 2013 posts since we published the previous year’s last January! Here’s a glimpse as to what helped make 2013 such a memorable year of travel for the two of us. Thank you all for following along with these adventures of ours. We hope they come in handy when planning your own future trips.
Michael: I think that both Meredith and I would agree that Provincetown’s Salt House Inn was one of our favorite surprises of this past year. Every detail of the inn seemed to be carefully thought out, and there was hardly an inch of the property that didn’t adhere to it’s creative, yet minimal, cottage aesthetic.
Meredith: While I find myself increasingly drawn to modern design (see bathroom pick below), the classic country feel of the Bedford Post Inn with touches like its clawfoot tubs, exposed beams, vine-covered pergolas, & flagstone walls embodies nearly every aspect of my dream home.
Michael: The soaking clawfoot, room-sized walk-in shower, and heated marble floors at the Bedford Post Inn top my list. It’s no coincidence that Meredith is now coveting many of the same features for our own bathroom down the road.
Meredith: Maybe it’s because we live in such an old home, but I’m always fond of staying in hotels with super modern, minimal bathrooms – it feels so luxurious to me. The bathroom at h2hotel in Healdsburg fit the bill perfectly with clean lines, wooden accents, and subtle colors.
Michael & Meredith: More often than not, I forgo packing away the leftover toiletries from our travels, but there was hardly a second thought to scrounging up every last item of the Malin Goetz rum products at the Mondrian Soho in New York.
Michael & Meredith: Hands-down, our experience with Orvis at the Clifton Inn in Charlottesville was one of the highlights of our travels this year. After a long drive down from Maine, Orvis couldn’t wait to stretch his legs on the property’s wooded trails and take a quick dip in the lake. The staff seemed to genuinely love his presence, and staying in one of the cottages on the property dissuaded any fears of Orvis disrupting other guests (or possibly the other way around). The town of Charlottesville and its surrounding area was also pleasantly dog-friendly, with plenty to do for our entire family.
Michael: A colonial estate, set on 100 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, during a springtime visit to Charlottesville made the Clifton Inn one of the more enjoyable settings from our travels this year.
Meredith: The expansive coastal views from the Ocean House are pretty tough to beat – even during a cold New England winter, the beach was stunningly beautiful.
Michael: I almost couldn’t believe it when Kevin, the innkeeper at the Salt House Inn, told us that the breakfast included in our stay was of his own creation. The spread could’ve easily rivaled any of the breakfast or brunch restaurants we visited this year, and items like the zucchini, tomato, basil, goat cheese, and onion frittata, the strawberry vanilla waffle trifle, or the bourbon caramel-glazed pineapple upside down cake almost singlehandedly convinced us to stay another night.
Meredith: Regrettably, there are times we drive right past the exit for Hotel Fauchère en route to North Carolina, but we’ve never once driven through Milford, Pennsylvania without daydreaming about the breakfasts at Hotel Fauchère. I emailed Michael a photo of the homemade yogurt when Orvis and I stayed there in May while he was in Italy, and believe it or not, he was the one.
Michael & Meredith: Although not the primary restaurant of the Ocean House, our back-to-back meals in the property’s cozy Winter Garden were two of our favorite meals of the year – hotel or no hotel. While all of our dishes were fantastic, the pièce de résistance was somewhat surprisingly the Caesar salad, a menu item that we’d typically overlook, but enjoyed so much that we’ve ordered more than our fair share since returning to Maine in hopes of finding one only half as delicious.
Michael: We enjoyed the art at the Ocean House so much that we saw fit to git it its own post. Although it’s probably not a typical ‘amenity’, exploring each floor and the gallery downstairs was a delightful way to pass the time when the weather outside wouldn’t cooperate.
Meredith: Hotel bikes are some of the most fun perks of any hotel, and I particularly enjoyed exploring the town on two wheels with the bicycles from our hotels in Healdsburg.
Interaction with Hotel Staff
Michael: The staff at the Clifton Inn was delightfully welcoming and helpful. When we found ourselves looking for suggestions of different places to eat and things to do in town, they spent a considerable amount of time walking us through their own favorites. And as I mentioned above, they seemed to really take to Orvis (a lot easier said than done when you’re worried about what a 90lb. dog could do to your guestroom), and obviously one of the best ways to get on our good side is through our furry friend.
Meredith: From the time we arrived, through the correspondence we’ve shared with them after our visit, the innkeepers at the Salt House Inn were absolutely wonderful. One of my favorite memories from our short trip to Provincetown was when we ran into Kevin, one of the innkeepers, at the Canteen (his recommendation) while we were eating dinner. Another guest from the inn stopped by to chat with us as well – a true testament to Kevin’s infectiously warm & friendly personality (and great taste in food)!
Michael: Our entire trip to Sonoma was one of the more memorable adventures we’ve taken together, and the two hotels where we stayed (from the same family), h2hotel and Hotel Healdsburg, greatly added to that experience. Set in downtown Healdsburg, they were the perfect jumping off points as we explored the town and the rest of wine country, and splendidly comfortable places to rest our weary wine-filled heads at night. The contrasting style and elegance that both properties offered were a delight, and I don’t know that any other hotels quite accented our travels from the year in the way that these two did.
Meredith: Every single aspect of our (all too short) stay at the Salt House Inn was truly fantastic. We found ourselves constantly impressed by Kevin & David’s attention to detail, which both minor and major, were certainly what made the inn stand out in my mind months after our summer visit.
Daydreaming about a future trip yet? Check out our 2012 Best of Hotels post for more travel inspiration, and if you’re planning a trip to Maine, don’t forget to take a peek at 10 of our favorite inns published in the Guardian this fall.
Leave a comment
When we told our friends, Rachel & John, about our upcoming trip to Healdsburg, their eyes grew wide with excitement as they insisted we look into making a reservation h2hotel, one of the hotels where they stayed during their honeymoon in wine country. We came home from our lunch with them, eager to book our stay after hearing such an enthusiastic review, but found out that h2 was only available two of the three nights we were going to be in Sonoma. We went ahead and booked those first two nights and I then proceeded to research other hotels throughout Sonoma County for our final night in the area. While most of my research was pointed in other towns of Sonoma County, I kept coming back to Hotel Healdsburg, h2′s sister hotel located just down the street. In the end we decided it’d be rather fun to get a feel for both properties, comparing what seemed to be two vastly different hotel experiences.
As soon as we dropped our bags in our room at h2 and had a look around, we understood exactly what Rachel & John were talking about – the hotel really was everything they’d said it would be. With an appreciation for all things minimal & modern, Michael and I found the room to be absolutely perfect. We loved the bright, crisp interior and the warm wooden accents, not to mention the Heath Ceramics tile in the bathroom. We had a fantastic dinner at Spoonbar, the hotel’s restaurant & bar, where breakfast is also served each morning. (Thanks to the brightly colored Eames-inspired bar stools, I was one happy photographer as I snapped the photos below.) On our last morning at h2 we took the hotel bikes out for a spin in a nearby residential neighborhood and, big surprise, picked out no less than 10 homes where we could imagine ourselves living. When the time came for us to check out of h2, I wasn’t in the least bit sad because I’m absolutely positive we’ll be back… hopefully again and again!
The benefit of staying at two hotels during one trip is you get to experience that initial thrill of excitement upon checking in a second time. Where we were instantly taken with h2′s bright, minimal guest rooms, we were just as drawn to the beautiful, lush grounds of Hotel Healdsburg. The entire property exuded such a lovely, soothing feeling that I didn’t want our time there to end. I marveled at the soft mid-afternoon light by the pool, shaded overhead by olive trees nonetheless, and could have spent hours out there reading on the chaises. Our room at Hotel Healdsburg was quite spacious, yet cozy & comforting at the same time. A tasty breakfast the next morning by the hotel’s fireplace certainly cheered us up on what was our last morning in Healdsburg. We bade farewell to the friendly staff who’d made our short visit so sweet and began plotting our return trip to Healdsburg on our ride down to the airport.
1 Comment - Leave a comment
I can easily say that without a doubt, the Salt House Inn in Provincetown, MA, has been one of our favorite finds since we started Map & Menu. Never before have both Meredith and I been quite so taken with the detailed charm of a place, and just minutes after we arrived, we were already discussing extending our stay.
The recently opened, renovated inn is just far enough from Commercial Street to avoid the crowds, but close enough that a two block walk will put you right back into the thick of things. I simply can’t emphasize the personal impact the details of the inn had on the two of us. Besides the minimal cottage aesthetic that immediately won us over, details like the hand-lettered chalkboard information wall in the lobby (by the innkeeper, Kevin, no less!), the gallery wall and modern feeling windsor chairs in our room – even the privacy signs – seemed to fit the two of us to a finely-lettered T.
The care of the innkeepers, Kevin and David, could be felt throughout the inn and the rest of our visit. Kevin’s recommendations for The Canteen and Ptown Scoop were right up Map & Menu’s alley, and many – if not all – of the details that won us over were personally executed by him… even the outstanding breakfasts (I mean come on, a strawberry vanilla waffle trifle and bourbon, caramel, and pineapple upside-down cake?!).
It’s no understatement to say that our brief stay at the Salt House Inn was one of our absolute favorite in recent memory. The two of us will definitely be returning to the inn on our next visit to Provincetown, but it won’t surprise me if given the amazing nature of the property and the already growing word around it, that reservations in the near future might become very hard to come by.
Contact Information - Salt House Inn
Provincetown, Massachusetts 02657
A couple of weeks ago on our way to New York for Alt Summit, Meredith and I finally had the chance to stay at the Bedford Post Inn, easily one of the first places I ever remember Meredith telling me she wanted to visit. Why it took us so long to book a stay is beyond me, but after the reservations were made, it became pretty much the only thing Meredith would talk about in the days before the trip.
Located just outside of Bedford Village on Old Post Road, we highly recommend that you do as we did shortly after we arrived, and take a drive around the neighboring countryside. You’ll see the 500 year-old Bedford Oak, sweeping views of Cross River Reservoir, countless sprawling farms and stately homes, and a handful of quintessential colonial American downtowns. We made sure to spend some time in Bedford Village during our trip, having lunch on the Green from Bedford Gourmet, and browsing the shops in the tiny village.
Having a feel for its surroundings only seemed to reinforce the amazing parts of the Bedford Post Inn. The inn itself is one of the oldest original buildings in the area, and the architectural details and magnificently-well landscaped grounds perfectly blend with the surrounding countryside. With only eight rooms, the inn can’t help but exude a catered-to, exclusive atmosphere to its guests, and I’m certain that every room must give the same welcoming and comforting feeling that ours did. Meredith fell in love with the exposed beams and warm feel of our bedroom (enough to make a Pinterest board inspired by them), and the heated floors, clawfoot tub, and massive walk-in shower of our bathroom could’ve easily won over even the wariest of travelers.
During our all-to-brief stay, we made sure to take a hike on the inn’s trails (there are also a number of other trails in the immediate area if you have a little more time), relax by the fountain, and enjoy a delicious dinner from the Barn (one of the two restaurants on the inn’s property). It was an amazing experience with the only downside being our own schedules and the lack of time to extend our stay.
Contact Information - Bedford Post Inn
Bedford, New York 10506
Last week on our way down to North Carolina, Orvis and I decided to break up our trip a bit by staying at one of our favorite places along the route – Hotel Fauchère in Milford, PA. While I love traveling with both of my boys, I do enjoy my occasional solo road trips with my pal, Orvis. (See photos from my September trip to Stowe with Orvis.) I think there’s something extra special about experiencing a hotel alongside your dog, since they bring so much joy to our lives, it only makes sense to want to take them everywhere with us.
Rather than share more photos of Hotel Fauchère (see the posts from our 2012 stays in March, July, and October), I thought it might be nice to (share) a few images of Orvis around the property. After all, an adventure like this with Orvis is basically just an excuse for me to take way too many photos of him.
Contact Information - Hotel Fauchere with Orvis!
Milford, Pennsylvania 18337
Clifton Inn seems to be that perfect melding of history, southern charm, elegance, and modern comfort. Meredith stayed here for an evening while passing through Charlottesville, and it was in large part due to Clifton that we made this most recent return trip to the area. As our first trip to a Relais & Châteaux property since becoming 5c members, we enjoyed a delightful upgrade to the charming honeymoon cottage and the opportunity to visit Jefferson’s Monticello before we departed. The staff was extremely accommodating in helping us plan our days, the property was unbelievably gorgeous in the springtime, and our stay was wonderfully relaxing and peaceful. Walking the grounds of the dog-friendly inn with Orvis, through the woods and beside the lake, we couldn’t help but daydream about many, many future return trips.
Contact Information - Revisit: Clifton Inn
Charlottesville, Virginia 22911
“The details are not the details. They make the design.” -Charles Eames
During one of our numerous walks around the Ocean House while we were staying there a couple of weeks ago, the above Eames quote came to mind, as it’s nearly impossible not to notice the many details that make the inn one of New England’s premier properties. Everything – from the stonework on the patio, to the expansive collection of art, to the OH branding that appears in unexpected places like the cozy throws & the railings, or even the custom Ocean House chocolates given to guests upon checkout – come together to create a truly enjoyable hotel experience.
We launched Map & Menu with the Ocean House near the top of our ‘Hopeful Reservations’ list and spent the last year diligently watching our go-to travel sites for the right opportunity to visit. In January we ended up winning a Luxury Link auction that allowed us to stay at the hotel for three nights. (It’s quite rare for us to spend three evenings anywhere without having to shoot a wedding and possibly a rehearsal dinner at some point during our stay. Three nights without work seemed too luxurious to be true!)
The Ocean House originally opened its doors in 1868 as a seasonal resort. Watch Hill at the the time was a booming vacation destination for New England families, and had a shoreline dotted with numerous Victorian grand hotels (of which the Ocean House was one of the smallest). Over time, additions to the Ocean House helped it grow in size and prominence, and by the end of the 20th century, largely due to fires and hurricanes, only the Ocean House and one other property remained from the original grand hotels. At this point, the Ocean House was largely outdated and behind modern construction code standards, so in 2003 it closed its doors and was sold. In 2005, faced with an almost impossible renovation, the new owners opted to demolish the old building and reconstruct an almost identical one its place. The reconstruction of the new Ocean House is a constant nod to the grandeur of the old building, maintaining the look and feel of a Victorian grand hotel, but with all of the comfort and amenities of the most luxurious of modern properties.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what we enjoyed the most about our stay at the lovely Relais & Chateaux property. Swimming laps in the 20-meter indoor pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean each morning is precisely how I wish I could begin every day for the rest of my life. Curling up in cozy, fireside chairs with the hotel’s seemingly endless supply of coffee table books at my dispose wasn’t an unfortunate way to spend a winter afternoon either. We strolled through each floor of the Ocean House, selecting our favorite works of art from each collection. (Michael & I enjoyed this so much that we’re putting together an entire post next week dedicated to the art collection at the Ocean House!) Our dinners in the French bistro-inspired Winter Garden are still on our minds weeks later, as we attempt to recreate a few of the most memorable dishes from our trip. An abundance of natural light seemed to fill most of the hotel’s rooms at all hours of the day, which perfectly complemented the inspired coastal aesthetic. The bathroom, complete with the most splendid of accents – subway tile, ticking stripes, marble, and mosaic tile – had a marble soaking tub in which I could have spent hours!
Had we been able to bring Orvis along, I’m sure I would have proclaimed that I had intentions of moving into the Ocean House at least once every five minutes. (The property is dog-friendly, but with a weight limit of 25 pounds, which Orvis greatly exceeds by about 60 pounds.) Our desire to pick up our pup was the only reason I didn’t leave the Ocean House in tears. Someday we hope to return when the hotel is alive with the bustle of warm weather and the grounds are blooming!
Contact Information - The Ocean House
Watch Hill, Rhode Island 02891