Road Foodies

Bill & Denise Semion
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Your Palate And Plate Can Lead to Delicious Discoveries

One of the adventures of traveling is tasting local foods along the way. Whether searching for fresh, local catches from the oceans, enjoying a tangy barbecue down south, or other local fare, any meal on the road can be a culinary treat, making us all foodies of some sort. Local craft breweries and distillery tours can add more adventures for your palate. Taking on a “find the best” challenge beckons you to try more than one Key lime pie, crab cake, ice cream, and more. Whether you buy fresh, local food to cook in your Leisure Travel Van, or treat yourself by going out, make your road travels a culinary adventure!

Check our a few of our favorites below – maybe you’ll add some of these places to your foodie bucket list.

Nova Scotia/Maine

Lobster:  It’s all about lobster here. On a fall trip to Nova Scotia, we discovered that we were past their lobster season, but our dismay quickly dissipated knowing lobster would be in season just south of us in Maine. Once we crossed the border and arrived at Mount Desert Island, we were full-on for roadside lobster dinners every chance we got. After you explore Acadia National Park, be sure to drive to the “other” side of the Island, where the locals live. A stop at a local grocery store will probably lead to finding live lobster, which can be cooked on-site, for considerably less than at restaurants. Order one or two, crack them and take out the sweet meat, and you will have a fresh lobster lunch on your next waterside picnic like we did. YUM!

Fresh, local lobster. Some local grocery stores might offer to cook your lobster.

New Brunswick

Best Smoked Salmon: When nearing the Canada/US border in New Brunswick on the TransCanada Highway, watch for “Oven Head Salmon Smokers” signs. Follow the road to 101 Oven Head Road, Saint Patrick, New Brunswick. After tasting their buttery smoked salmon, we brought some home, and now buy online at


River Street: Have a taste for crab cakes? Low country boil? Oysters? Pralines, or as some say, prawlines? Saunter down to River Street and seek out some of the region’s finest oysters, crab, low country boil, and more. Watch candy makers concoct their sweet treats. Free samples are offered throughout the day.

Watch pralines being made, and try a sample at the many candy shops in Savannah. We favor Savannah’s Candy Kitchen.
Share an order of oysters, along with a low country boil, at one of the restaurants along River Street.

Best Crab Cakes: Stop in at Belford’s for an afternoon beverage and an appetizer. Choose the Ghost Coast Bourbon Manhattan and their world-famous crab cakes. Once you taste their Manhattan, you’ll want to seek out the tasting room at Ghost Coast Distilleries, just a few blocks away. Get one (or two) bottles for the road.


Fresh Seafood: Whether on the Atlantic Coast or the Gulf Coast, local seafood markets offer fresh, locally caught fish. Fish markets may offer saltwater sheepshead, tile fish, stone crab claws, and more. You might also want to book a fishing trip to catch your meal. Whether grilled, poached, or broiled, seafood is often an easy – and healthy – protein. Just add some steamed veggies and you are all set.

Catch a redfish…
…for a delicious dinner.

Ride your bike to Paddy’s Raw Bar…
…for a beer and local oysters on St. George Island.

Buy soft shell blue crab…
…for a tasty treat.

Visit Joe Patti’s Seafood Market in Pensacola – the largest market of its kind we’ve ever visited – for fresh fish, lobster, crab, and more.
Head upstairs to the raw bar when the stone crab are in season at Keys Fisheries Market in Marathon. These stone crab were just $1 each when we visited.

Key Lime Pie: How about a Key lime pie challenge? Purchase one slice of any and all locally made Key lime pies that you see while in the Keys. Try Kermit’s and Blond Giraffe. No cheating by looking up reviews – go with your “gut” instinct. Within the Keys, we gave our nod to Blond Giraffe, but it wasn’t until we left the Keys and visited Matlacha (Matt-LaShay) near Cape Coral that we found what we think is the best and tastiest homemade pie at Barnhill Seafood Market, across from the Blue Dog Bar and Grill. Yup, we go back each time we are in the area.

Who makes the best Key lime pie? Your favorite might not be in the Keys.

West Coast

Fresh Seafood: Much like the East Coast, explore their seafood. You might get lucky and find a local dock where the fishing boats bring in their catch, like we did in Ilwaco, Washington.

Sometimes you can find the freshest catch – and the best price – where the fishing boats bring in their catch.
Try Fish Peddler’s Market on Historic Bay Street in Newport, Oregon, where you can watch the shrimp come in from the boats as you dine. We tried the crab melt sandwich.

More Local Fare 

A winery and restaurant tucked away in the Blue Ridge Parkway, overlooking the hills? A 1784 tavern serving a “taste of the 18th Century” just outside Thomas Jefferson’s home? Have a taste for dry-rubbed, slow-cooked brisket? You may be surprised, as we were, to find one of the best barbecue meals at a restaurant in a Tennessee State Park.

Chateau Morrisette, along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, Virginia will surprise you with their views, wines, and ambiance.

Savor a taste of the 18th Century at Michie Tavern, near Monticello, Charlottesville…
…with southern fried chicken, stewed tomatoes, baby beets, coleslaw, and cornbread.

Brisket and sweet potato fries at Rickard Ridge BBQ in Clove State Park, Tennessee.
Pulled pork, cheesy grits, and coleslaw at Red State BBQ near Kentucky Horse Park. Be sure to order the peach cobbler.

Poutine in Canada.
Lehto’s pasties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan won our nod for the best.

Bill & Denise Semion

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