The food trails of America
Whether it’s country cookin’ or southwestern spice, these meals are worth the miles.
While it may sound simple, a vacation planned around excellent food is always a great vacation. Take in a different kind of sightseeing on your next getaway, and pack a pair of comfortable pants.
Great American diners (and pastimes)
Route 66 is home to America’s favorite pitstops. While (officially) the historic highway no longer exists, a great deal of it remains to be driven and devoured by hungry tourists.
Donut Drive-In: St. Louis, Mo.
It won the vote for best donuts on Route 66. Portable, convenient and fresh, these cakey pieces of heaven are less than a dollar a piece. The historic drive-in is open for breakfast and lunch and provides plenty of fuel to road trippers with “the finest coffee in town.”
Cars on the Route: Galena, Kansas
Formally Four Women on the Route – this historic gas station was restored by some determined women who helped lead the rebirth of the small town’s stretch of Route 66. The food is good, but the real attraction is the collection of vehicles parked outside that inspired characters from the Disney movie Cars. “Tow Tater” is the 1951 International Boom truck that strongly resembles “Tow Mater” (like tuh-mater, but without the ‘tuh).
POPS: Arcadia, Okla.
Caffeine is a must on the straight, flat roads of Oklahoma, and there’s only one place that offers hundreds of fizzy drinks from which to choose. POPS Soda Ranch has more than 700 sodas from all over the world, ranging from the classic colas to strange concoctions like Zuberfizz Coco Fizz Soda. Don’t worry about missing the exit for this destination; the roadside sign is a 66-foot pop bottle.
Stockyard Café: Amarillo, Texas
The steaks are as fresh as they come at this carnivorous pitstop. Located at the Amarillo Livestock Auction Building, visitors dine among the several thousand beef cattle that are auctioned there each week. The café stays true to its down-home country cooking motto with mouth-watering chicken fried steak and fluffy biscuits and gravy. Just don’t look a cow in the eye on your walk to the car.
Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail is a tasty and informative tour of the state’s dairy industry. The first ice cream was reportedly served here, and the nation’s first large-scale ice cream factory opened in Baltimore just before the Civil War.
Today, Maryland scoops a lot of frozen favorites, including nine dairy farms that offer fresh on-farm ice cream. Visitors can download a trail passport for the chance to be named Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail Blazer and try unique flavors like Cowconut and Farmer Dan’s Caramel Fudge. Lactose-intolerant visitors can stick to snowballs – cups of crushed ice with flavored syrup.
Wisconsin is the destination for cheese lovers. Some 60 artisan cheesemakers produce more than 600 different types of cheese, including one-of-a-kind varieties made by hand in small batches. And, if you’ve never had a fresh, squeaky cheese curd, this is the place to do it. Wisconsin’s official tourism site created two itineraries with the best sights, stops, tastes and tours for cheese lovers. Grab a grilled cheese after touring a dairy farm or eat curds fresh from the vat.
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