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.