Food-Themed Road Trips
Here’s the golden rule for food-focused road trips: when you go is just as important as where you go. You want to experience a region at the perfect moment -- when its ingredients are in peak season, the scenery is at its most fetching, or you’re least likely to be overwhelmed by hordes of tourists. So pack your GPS, fill up the tank and get ready to let your belt out a few notches. Here are 4 delicious destinations in the US where you can indulge in a variety of classic continental cuisines and beverages.
For sweet treats, head down the road to Montpelier’s Morse Farm, where you can enjoy a maple creemee – syrup-laced soft-serve ice cream – or hot maple sugar drizzled on shaved ice to create a caramelized toffee (bonus: it comes with a fresh-from-the-fryer doughnut!). Adults with a designated driver in tow should tap a tipple of Vermont Gold at Vermont Spirits in Queechee. Distilled from maple sap, the premium vodka goes down well on the rocks or in an autumnally accented craft cocktail. Either way, it’s a great way to toast your tasty trip.
2. Chesapeake Bay
Of course, you have to have some crab cakes – go for the primo lump-filled patties at Faidley’s inside Baltimore’s Lexington Market. For dessert, try a slice of 12-layer Smith Island Cake, which alternates levels of yellow cake and cooked chocolate-fudge frosting. The best version is made by Smith Island Baking Company, which requires a ferry ride if you want to enjoy it fresh from the oven.
3. Napa Valley
Intersperse your enotourism exploration with world-class cuisine. If you can’t get a reservation – or don’t want to max out your credit card – at the French Laundry, there are plenty of other options. Though it has only been open since mid-2012, The Thomas has already established itself as a must-visit restaurant boasting a vibrant garden, a cocktail list that riffs on the classics, and a strong wine list (of course). For a more casual bite, hit up the Jimtown Store for stellar sandwiches (think prosciutto, fig spread and veiny blue cheese from nearby Point Reyes) and a strong selection of cookies. Don’t worry, they also sell wine – so you can have one last glass before you head home.
4. Bourbon Country
Then it’s time to explore some of the many distilleries scattered throughout the state. Best bets for a tour and a tasting include some of the oldest bourbon producers – Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, and the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. Finish off your celebration of America’s native spirit with a stop at the Midway School Bakery, which specializes in primo pies, including a decadent chocolate bourbon pecan.