This weekend was a pleasant mixture of work and play. We spent most of Saturday re-plastering and repainting our upstairs bathroom, and then Sunday morning, after a filling breakfast of Michael’s delicious pancakes, we were right back at it.
Needing a little break from the work, we decided to head up to Wiscasset to go snowshoeing with Orvis on Sunday afternoon. Our friend, Julia, joined us and together we explored the land around my family’s farm, attempted (and failed) to make our own sledding trails, and swapped stories by the fireplace. Since Julia had run a race that morning, we made sure to bring along a special treat for her from Scratch – a cupcake inspired by the Samoa (or Caramel deLite if you’re like Michael) Girl Scout cookie!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.3 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.
A couple of weeks ago, the snowstorms and negative temperatures were really getting me down. It didn’t help that Michael was in Hawaii for work (I know, rough, right?) and I was stuck shoveling our driveway every other day all by my lonesome. So I did what I do every winter and began looking toward warmer weather for somewhere that would give me a break from all of the shoveling. I wasn’t long into my search when I had an idea – we’d hop in the car once Michael returned from Hawaii, and finally take Orvis down to Bald Head Island. We had put this adventure on our ’30 by 30′ list when we first moved to Maine nearly seven years ago, but every year, we seemed to be pulled in a million different directions when we visited North Carolina for holidays or weddings, leaving us zero time or energy to tack on the miles and days for a trip to Bald Head.
I grew up visiting this truly extraordinary island off the coast of North Carolina with my family multiple times a year and when Michael came into the picture in college, our trips became even more memorable. The only downside of the timeshare my parents owned was that the home didn’t allow dogs, so Orvis was never able to accompany us on these weekends away. Taking him to a place that we both hold so dear was incredibly important to us, but I always secretly wondered if we’d just never get around to doing so.
It took us all of five minutes on the beach our first night on the island this past week to realize that we should have been doing this each year of the past seven! Watching him run the length of the empty beaches we used to visit when we were younger brought us an unbelievable amount of joy.
We’ll be sharing lots more about what makes Bald Head so unique and special to us, but we couldn’t resist leading with a few photos of what might be our most memorable experience from our 30 by 30 list so far… besides getting married, of course!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.4 Comments - Leave a comment
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
Last week Meredith and I had the amazing opportunity to attend a private dinner celebrating two of our local favorites – the staff party of Hunt & Alpine at Piccolo. When Andrew and Briana reached out to us about documenting their annual party and joining them for a custom, goat-centric menu by Damien and Ilma, the arm-twisting was minimal and we excitedly added the date to our calendar.
Although the space at Piccolo is always warm, cozy, and inviting, having the tables pulled together in one large family-style setting and watching everyone gather around the counter for drinks and conversation made it feel like we were having a dinner at the home of good friends. We’ve never had a dish from Piccolo that hasn’t been phenomenal, but Damien, Luke, and Ilma truly outdid themselves with the menu that evening. From the charred goat heart ‘tartare’, to the wild snails with black trumpet mushrooms and pancetta, and the chocolate sea salt budino with warm goats milk espuma, we found ourselves wanting more and more of every last dish.
The meal aside, the Hunt + Alpine “family” is a delightful collection of people – almost all of whom we were officially meeting for the first time, but every last one made us feel like we’d been a part of the crew forever. The conversation, laughter, and shared experience was unforgettable, and undoubtedly something we’ll remember for a very long time. Seeing one group of individuals, whose work we’ve always admired and respected, come together to celebrate around the food and drink of another outstanding team was inspiring to say the least. “Thank you” just doesn’t seem to even begin to cover our gratitude.
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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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Earlier this week, Meredith and I had the opportunity to drop by Portland’s newest wine shop – Maine & Loire. We’ve been anxiously anticipating their opening ever since meeting the co-owners, Peter and Orenda, and having the opportunity to hear about their ideas and inspiration for the shop. Concentrating on organic and natural wines, many of which are new to Maine, just about every hand-selected bottle from their selection is unique. Bright and open, with friendly, casual branding, the shop itself feels much more relaxed than most other wine stores. Meredith and I spent plenty of time browsing the selection of bottles – many with humorous and helpful handwritten notes – and found ourselves with a handful of new French and Italian wines to try over the coming weeks. When you visit, be sure to introduce yourself to the owners for a fantastic recommendation, and check out their Instagram feed for new wines as they arrive… you can bet that we’ll be glued to it for our next bottle!
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While seemingly the entirety of the blogging universe is in a post-New Year’s calorie-cutting frenzy, Meredith and I rocked this past weekend as we typically prefer to do – with good food and drink, and a few Orvis snuggles. After a dim sum brunch at Empire and a little wine perusing at Browne Trading Co. on Saturday, we spent a good chunk of the rest of the weekend in the kitchen, making new batches of sea salt chocolate chip cookies, buttermilk pancakes, chicken marbella, and buttermilk ice cream. With the changes we’ve been making to the kitchen and the warmth of the oven, it’s tough to drag ourselves to another room, but at least we were able to share some of our creations with friends at dinner last night.
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