Tiki Sunday at Hunt and Alpine

Work took me on a solo trip this weekend through a beautiful region of New York I’d never visited before – Delaware County & Cooperstown. While spring hasn’t quite graced upstate New York with its presence yet, the countryside I drove through was absolutely gorgeous! I would love to someday come back and make the same drive with Orvis and Michael, perhaps spending a little time hiking in the Catskills. After checking out of the charming inn & restaurant where I stayed on Friday night (more on that this week!), I drove right through Meredith, New York on my way to Cooperstown. I couldn’t help but stop and take a photo of the darling town sign!

Back in Maine, Michael spent most of his weekend working in the yard before heading up to Newcastle to visit Oxbow’s tasting room for the first time with my stepfather – an activity that comes highly recommended from both of them!

I made the long drive home on Saturday night so that I could spend a relaxing Sunday with Michael and Orvis before I head back to New York later this week. After a lazy morning on the couch with breakfast from Scratch, we spent some time outside with Orvis and then made our way to Tiki Sunday at Hunt & Alpine.

I feel like the weekend passed in the blink of an eye, but when I look back, I’m so thankful for how much we both got to see and do.

Table on Ten Breakfast

Everlane Weekender

Meredith NY

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Mint Julep

In the spirit of the upcoming Kentucky Derby and in celebration of all things spring, Michael and I thought it would be fun to share the recipe of one of our very favorite cocktails – The Mint Julep. The simple drink is a staple of our outdoor spring and summer living, and although there are a number of ways to make it, the main ingredients are always the same – mint, simple syrup, ice, and bourbon.

Out of all the recipes we’ve tried, we’ve found this one from Garden & Gun to be our favorite – simple, straightforward, and delicious!

Mint Julep (makes one drink)

8-10 mint leaves
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. of your favorite bourbon (ours is Woodford Reserve!)

Muddle the mint & simple syrup together. Add bourbon and top with ice. Shake and serve with a sprig of mint on top. (The julep cups aren’t required, but if you can get your hands on a couple, it sure does make drinking them a bit more fun!)

Mint Julep

Mint Julep

Mint Julep  Mint Julep   Mint Julep

All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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Durham NC

While I was in North Carolina for work last week, I had the opportunity to explore Durham with the help of my sister and brother-in-law, who live and work there. The unexpected highlight of the trip might have been the ride down the slide in American Underground – the co-working space where my brother-in-law has his office – but we also had the opportunity to visit some of my old favorites in Durham, while adding a few new ones to the mix. A family dinner at Nanataco, complete with margaritas and delicious nachos, followed by a Locopops strawberry cream dessert was the perfect way to spend our evening. Later in the week, MacKenzie and Philip took me to Dos Perros, and afterwards, we met our friend Em at The Parlour for ice cream – a place that’s been on our todo list for way too long. Michael and I are fortunate to visit the Durham area somewhat often, and always look forward to what new things our next trip will bring.

If you have a second this evening, today is the last day to vote for Map & Menu for Best Blog in the Portland Phoenix’s best of 2014 competition. We’d love if you take a moment to share your support!

Nanataco

Nanataco Nachos

Durham North Carolina

American Underground Slide

Locopops  The Parlour Durham NC

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Corey & Co. Portland ME

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!

Sadie at Corey & Co

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Rose in Provence

It’s hardly rosé weather here in Maine yet, but you can bet I’ll be looking for one of these bottles, The Best Rosé WInes at Every Price Point as seen on Domaine, soon… as in, probably this weekend.

Michael & I are thrilled about our nomination for Portland’s Best Blog in the Portland Phoenix this year – would you mind taking a quick moment to vote for us? Thanks, guys!

We never make time to explore DC, but this Capitol Hill City Guide from The Pursuit of Style makes me want to remedy that immediately.

This is a wonderful mini city guide to Boston, as featured on The Atelier. Flour Bakery is a favorite of ours, and I’ve always wanted to have a meal at Gaslight.

Michael and I are both big fans of the Art of the Menu blog, so we were thrilled to see Might & Main’s work for Central Provisions (and a few photos by yours truly) on the site recently.

One more city guide to share – Ann Street Studio’s guide to Savannah, GA! With all of the southern cities we’ve visited since starting Map & Menu, how has Savannah not been one?

I was tickled to read about the launch of Dailola Granola, made by the owner of Brooklyn’s cutest Aussies. NY friends, look for them at Smorgasburg!

Kate Murphy has been one of my very favorite photographers for years now, and she recently launched a travel blog featuring her work, Four by Three, which is simply stunning. I hope you’ll take a peek!

Have a lovely spring weekend, friends!

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scotland_trip_planning

Michael & I are excited to share that we’re headed to Scotland for the first time next month! We’re taking advantage of a work trip that Michael has in Edinburgh, and will make our way through the Scottish Highlands & Islands once he’s finished up working. Seven or so years later, I still remember the very conversation we had in college when Michael told me how much he’d always wanted to visit Scotland someday, so the fact that we’re making this trip together is extraordinarily special.

The reason for this post is two-fold. First, we love hearing travel recommendations from our readers – your suggestions have led us to more than a few memorable meals and experiences – so if you’ve been to Scotland, we’d love to hear any tips you’d be willing to share. We also thought it might be worthwhile to share some of the resources we’ve been using to plan our Scotland trip, in case you find yourself faced with a similar task.

Isle of Skye was at the very top of our list when we began planning this trip. After reaching out to a lot of self-catering cottages (rental homes) we noticed that almost all of them required a one week stay. While I’m certain that we would have had no shortage of things to experience on Skye for a week, in the end we decided that splitting up our stay in multiple Scottish locations might be a wiser use of our time abroad. If a weeklong stay on Isle of Skye sounds appealing to you, I would look no further than An Airigh or 15 Fiscavaig. I’ve exchanged emails with the owners and they’re delightful people with the most beautiful of properties. The cottages at Lyndale is another spot I would also go ahead and bookmark, and this website was also very insightful.

For Scotland, our Where Chefs Eat book has come in handy once again. Thanks to it, we’re looking forward to a meal at Three Chimneys on Isle of Skye, and Michael will have no shortage of great recommendations to browse for his time in Edinburgh.

Another book that has proven to be quite useful is our copy of The New York Times 36 Hours in Europe. We were both excited to read that we’ll be driving past the Glenfinnan Viaduct (seen in the Harry Potter films) on our way to Skye, and we certainly cannot wait to experience a meal at Kinloch and sample whisky at Talisker (which was also the distillery our podcasting friend, Bo, told us to visit).

A while ago, I bookmarked these photos from Vanessa Jackman’s fall trip to Scotland, for the sole purpose of getting more excited for our own trip. It doesn’t hurt that her food + activity recommendations seem to be almost as lovely as her photos.

Here are some more lovely Skye photos from Olivia Rae James!

As touristy or cliché as it might sound, experiencing firsthand some of the beautiful scenery featured in Skyfall was another must on this trip for us. Our first B&B is located just 30 miles from Glencoe, where Bond’s family’s property was set in the movie.

The final website I ended up using during this process was Further Afield – a site that features handpicked accommodation options that are open to hosting same-sex couples. While I obviously didn’t quite use the site as it was originally intended, I thought Further Afield was too good not to share – the interface is intuitive, they share useful tips about each place, and the properties they feature all appear to be lovely. Plus, some of the properties on Skye I’d originally contacted when we were considering a weeklong stay were listed, which seemed to be a great sign. Seriously, how gorgeous are these Boathouses in Perthshire that I found on Further Afield? (As an aside, we noticed that our adorable inn from our trip to Atlanta was featured on the site as well!)

As I mentioned above, we’d love to hear any thoughts you might have for our visit to the Scottish Highlands and Michael’s trip to Edinburgh in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading along!

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Charlottesville Spring

Last night Michael and I sat down, over hot fudge ice cream sundaes, and made a list of activities we’re looking forward to completing this spring season. Sometimes we’re so focused on our favorite summer pastimes – yard games, beach visits, making “grown-up” popsicles, and trips to the farmer’s market – that we almost let spring pass us by without taking advantage of its unique offerings. (Truthfully, part of our overlooking the spring season could be blamed on our southern heritage – springtime in the South is a much longer (and warmer!) season than it is here in Maine, but I’d say we’re slowly getting used to making the most of these chillier springs here in New England.)

Our hopes in sharing the list on Map & Menu is that we’ll have a bit of accountability and actually partake in these springtime activities we don’t always get to enjoy. (Our friend Emily does a similar thing by sharing monthly progress on her her 101 in 1001!) If you have any suggestions for our list, we’d love to hear them below. Happy spring, friends!

Play a few games of tennis!
Plant our annual Easter plant, a tradition we’ve had since becoming homeowners.
A lunchtime picnic on the Eastern Promenade.
Open one of our Scribe rosé bottles. (I always jump the gun and start drinking rosé in the spring.)
Celebrate our birthdays!
Polish our julep cups in preparation for many mint juleps – our favorite spring cocktail.
Attend a Portland Sea Dogs game.
Eat our weight in fiddleheads!
Plant our baby bath with herbs.

Monticello Tulips

Spring

Fearrington House

Eastern-Promenade-Picnic

Lilacs

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Tangerine Margarita

This weekend was filled with many of the things we love most in life – lots of good food, cute dogs, and laughter! Friday was just gorgeous, so we decided to cut out of work a bit early that afternoon so that Orvis could stretch his legs on the farm. The next morning we enjoyed another delicious breakfast at Crissy’s in Damariscotta and swung by one of our favorite shops in Maine, Rock Paper Scissors. Abby the shop dog was there that day which, of course, became one of the highlights of our quick trip up the coast.

Back home in South Portland, we decided to pick up a pizza from 158 Pickett Street for a movie night on the couch. The next day was spent working in the yard and playing on the beach with Orvis, soaking up as much sun as possible.

Last night we were treated to an extraordinarily special evening at the home of our friends, Darcy & Carolyn. These two have honestly never prepared anything that wasn’t restaurant quality, and last night’s tangerine margaritas and pulled pork carnitas were certainly no exception. We had a wonderful time with our dear friends and their adorable pups, Hughie & Enzo, and although it was our last meal at their place before they move to Hudson, we left feeling quite optimistic about our future shared adventures between Maine, New York, and beyond.

We hope you all had just as splendid of a weekend!

Rock Paper Scissors Wiscasset Abby

Rock Paper Scissors Maine

Crissy's Damariscotta

158 Pickett Street

Margaritas and Chips

Hughie

Enzo

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Palace Diner Biddeford

Last week, Meredith and I made the quick trip down to Biddeford to try the newly reopened Palace Diner. There had been no shortage of buzz about the delicious food coming from Maine’s oldest diner car in the past weeks, and the social feeds of our friends in the food industry have been overflowing with pictures of heavenly glazed doughnuts and piled-high breakfast sandwiches, so when we finally found a little room on a random morning, we decided it was time to give Palace a try for ourselves.

Co-owners Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell have created something special in the old mill town. Taking one of the most classic of American dining styles and establishments, and then injecting an attention to detail and flavor completely foreign to the prefabricated diner world, it’s easy to see what all the fuss is about. The menu still has the diner staples holdover patrons have come to expect – pancakes, bacon, eggs, and coffee – but take one bite of the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Deluxe, an english muffin breakfast sandwich with baked eggs and jalapenos, and there’ll be no question about the value added by that extra care for ingredients and preparation. The Brown Butter Banana Bread, Palace Potatoes, and Tandem coffee are just further examples of this that we tried during our visit, but we’d be willing to bet that every menu item holds true to the same standard. After spending some time speaking with Chad and Greg, hearing about the adventure that opening a diner has provided, the passion for creating and serving their take on an American classic, and their excitement about the upcoming Palace dinners, we couldn’t be more impressed with what Palace is quite literally bringing to the table.

The vast majority of us probably have one memory or another about visiting that ‘locals only’ breakfast joint in our hometown as children, maybe that same hole-in-the-wall place every Saturday throughout college, or even that quick stop on the way to work these days. While stepping inside the 1920’s rail car in Biddeford does feel comfortable and familiar in that wonderful déjà vu way, we’re almost certain that your meal will completely redefine the way you look at a diner breakfast going forward.

Palace Diner Banana Bread

Palace Diner Biddeford Maine

Palace Diner Biddeford

Palace Diner Breakfast

Palace Diner Biddeford

Palace Diner Car

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Mercury Inn

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.

Mercury Inn Portland ME

Mercury Inn Photos

Mercury Inn Guest Rooms

Mercury Inn Portland

Mercury Inn Maine Rooms

Mercury Inn Bathroom  Mercury Inn Details  Mercury Inn Maine

Mercury Inn ME Photos

Mercury Inn Design  Mercury Inn portland Maine

Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.

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