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Road trip assistance

Stamford, CT to Charleston, SC. in April. Any thoughts on how best to do this? Recommendations for food stops along the way, even if they are way off the beaten path, would be appreciated.

I'm not sure chowhound is the proper forum for this kind of query but I thought I would give it a shot. Four years ago I bought a new car and meandered up the Hudson Valley to Montreal and Quebec City. It was a good ride and a tasty trip. I was hoping for something similar to break in my really ugly new car.

--steve

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  1. The Homestead Inn in Trenton. NJ., housed in an old farmhouse. Italian food, quite pricey, the only restaurant I've ever been to that doesn't have menus - the waiter will just recite what they are serving that evening. It was a celebration destination for my family when we lived in NJ. Delicious food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pasuga

      This sounds good. Are they an actual inn in addition to being a restaurant?

    2. This may be the site to post, but you may want to post the route you'll be taking, and the states you'll be travelling through somehow. You may need to post on a couple of boards to get your answers. Not sure how the states are now grouped with the recent changes made here.

      Maybe group your states, then go to each board for advice? So if you say you'll be traveling along rte 95 South in each area, looking for certain food types, you may get better responses.

      Good luck and enjoy your trip.

      12 Replies
      1. re: hummingbird

        I've done most of that drive on the fast route (through DC, Philly, and NYC). It isn't that great. Realistically, you're not going to want to stop in those places because they're too big and trafficky. It's ugly and boring too--literally nothing good to see along that drive. If you're really serious about meandering, consider driving through Shenandoah and the Blue Ridge Parkway, with a 1 or 2 day stop in Charlottesville, VA and a couple of hikes along the way. Charlottesville is a good food town. There are plenty of Chowhound threads on Charlottesville. Try Gearhart's Chocolates, Bodo's Bagels, Shenandoah Coffee, and Monsoon (Thai/Burmese). Haven't been there in years. Yes, this is the "scenic route," but you'll get a better sense that you're doing something special during your drive. Oh, and secret tip: You can go 100 mph in Shenandoah and the Blue Ridge :).

        1. re: sillygoosedown

          Scenic is good. Scenic with good food is even better. Scenic with good food and twisty roads is best. My very ugly new car has a manual transmission, decent suspension and awd. We've dubbed her "Betty".

          1. re: steve h.

            lemme guess...Betty is a hybrid?

            i'd definitely suggest a detour to the original location of the Windmill in Long Branch, NJ...kick-ass cheese fries served beach-side in an old-school style paper basket.

            it's been many years since i last had them so i hope they're still as good...but i swear something about the sea air makes them taste even better than diner cheese fries.

            586 Ocean Boulevard
            Long Branch, NJ 07740
            732-229-9863

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              very cool suggestion. I think folk tend to underestimate/denigrate the whole Jersey shore thing. I'm a big fan.

              Betty is not too politically correct and not very pretty. Having said that, she goes like stink (a good thing) and puts 300+ h.p. to the ground through a fairly sophisticated awd mechanism. I get to stir the gears manually so I'm engaged in the act of driving which is a very good thing. There's a certain pleasure in both driving well and navigation. Betty, for all her (and my) faults, is pretty good. I'm looking forward to putting her through her paces.

              1. re: steve h.

                well as i said i haven't been there in years, so i just hope they're still as good as i remember! i'd hate to steer you wrong. and though i've never had them, apparently their footlongs and chili are great too, so you can make a meal of it.

                BTW, i only assumed Betty was a hybrid because you said she was ugly and new. most of the hybrids are pretty unsightly, yet a lot of people are willing to sacrifice style and performance for the good of the planet. anyway, enjoy - road trips and breaking in new cars are two of my favorite adventures!

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  No worries. Betty is a 2010 Acura TL outfitted with something called sh-awd (honda talk for all wheel drive), some fancy navi stuff and a six-speed manual transmission. Color scheme is classic Darth Vader. The front grill is hideous and the bustle is less than pretty. Still, she drives like a champ and that's why I love her. All-in-all, a decent sports sedan.

                  I'm thinking of stopping and eating in D.C. on the way down, maybe catching a baseball game. On the way back north I'm thinking a layover in Baltimore and a game. Outside of Baltimore and Washington, I'm looking forward to getting off the beaten path and sampling foods I'm not familiar with. Never been to Charleston. This should be fun.

                  1. re: steve h.

                    if you're catching a ball game on the way down and you decide you want to do something different on the way back, stop at the racetrack in Laurel, MD. my aunt used to take my sister & me there to see the horse races when we were kids...yes, she was a bit eccentric :) anyway, i'm sure you can get recs on the Washington board for good eats nearby in Columbia.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Big fan of horses, horse shows and horse racing. My mom helped stage charity Arabian horse shows in northern N.J. for a local hospital, dad loved to bet on the ponies. Monmouth Park was a central part of summer vacations. I learned a lot about people and food back then. Looking back, it's interesting how the two were intertwined.

                    2. re: steve h.

                      A few blocks away from Camden Yards is the Lexington Market where you will find Faidley's. Faidley's crab cakes are legendary and a must eat if you're in the area.

                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  <i'd definitely suggest a detour to the original location of the Windmill in Long Branch, NJ...kick-ass cheese fries served beach-side in an old-school style paper basket.>

                  I always liked the Windmill's fried mushrooms. Everything tastes better when you're sitting on a car hood. And drinking Riunite. This is a fact. (It also helps to be <18.)

                  1. re: small h

                    LOL! i think i was 19 or 20, and the beverage of choice was whatever lite beer we could get our hands on ;)

            2. re: hummingbird

              I intentionally didn't post a route. I just have a starting and ending point. The Chowhound folk are pretty bright and I didn't want to hamstring thoughts, comments, criticisms.

            3. In Samford I would recommend Colony Grill for pizza.

              In South Carolina, try Duke's for some BBQ. It's in Orangeburg, which is probably equidistant between Columbia and Charleston. And when you get to Charleston, try Hannibal's for some turkey neck bones.

              If you are driving down the coast of SC, stop of at SeeWee in Awendaw for some fried oysters and red velvet cake that'll make your teeth ache so much you'll be grinning ear to ear.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Love the Colony. Maybe I should kick off the trip there like Brock Yates did at the old Lock, Stock and Barrel in Darien, CT when he initiated the original Cannonball Run. There might be a certain Fairfield County symmetry.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  SeeWee has great veggies -- like any decent self-respecting southern restaurant should. It's right on US 17, the coastal highway.

                2. Hey small h steve... do you recall the trip that Passadumkeg and Scargod made last May? On their return trip they stopped in SC and several places on up to CT.
                  Here's a link to all their stops, but if you count 8 links down in the following post you might just get the recos you're looking for:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6205...
                  Happy Trails!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Gio

                    very cool. my fuzzy concept seems to be slowly taking shape.

                  2. A similar, recent thread:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/684165

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MGZ

                      nice. I have the time if you have the recommendations.

                    2. If you're gonna be on Rt. 1 in Jersey you ought to detour slightly to Candela Pizzaria on the border of Trenton and Lawrenceville for some knock-out pie. Order salami and garlic.

                      Also, in the ulikely event you find yourself in lovely Cape May, find your way to Frescos, which is the best Italian restaurant in Southern Jersey.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                        I like Cape May. I've sailed there and actually managed to ground my keel into the mud at Canyon Club Marina a mere six feet from successfully tying up at a slip. The dock guy, clearly a summering college athlete with bulging biceps, actually thought he could drag my sailboat the remaining distance. He gave it all he had and damn near popped several veins. I told him to chill and let the incoming tide take care of things. Two beers later we were tied up and on our way to a most interesting little town. My secret hope is that the dock guy took both a philosophy course and a literature course when he got back to school.

                        1. re: steve h.

                          Oyster Bay, in Cape May, was a special meal for me. http://oysterbayrestaurantnj.com/

                        2. re: Perilagu Khan

                          If the OP goes via Cape May, he'll find himself in lovely Lewes, DE, when he gets off the ferry. Lewes has some great restaurants. One in particular I'd recommend is Cafe Azafran (see my Lewes trip report on the Mid-Atlantic board).

                          And, if you choose to go this way, you'll go down US 13. Just before you get to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, stop at Stingray's Restaurant in Cape Charles for great softshell crabs.

                          1. re: Bob W

                            Delaware, for the most part, is uncharted territory for me. I've sailed down to Delaware Bay and transited the C&D Canal only to tie up at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. In the process, I learned nothing about the first state. I definitely need to do better.

                            1. re: Bob W

                              For a landlubbing West Texan, crossing a massive bridge over the Delaware River was one of the freakiest experiences I've had in a good long while. Much rather take in that water via a 50-foot yacht with a rendezvous at Cafe Azafran or Stingray's on the horizon.

                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                I've spent a lot of time sailing the Atlantic coast and the Bahamas. Texans, on sports fisherman, were always there driving the high-end tournaments.

                          2. I recommend stopping at Woody's Crab House in Northeast, Maryland, which is just off 95. Cute little town with antiques stores.

                            http://www.woodyscrabhouse.com/

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: susan1353

                              Thanks. Maryland is like an English muffin: lots of nooks and crannies. I need to learn more.

                            2. We generally check happycow.net before we travel and planned our honeymoon from Seattle to Cambridge, MA based, in part, on where we could find good food (We're vegan and I'm GF). I haven't been to the area you're traveling through in a long time so I don't have specific suggestions.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lgss

                                I expect we'll encounter meat, fish, veggies, shellfish, pasta, potatoes, grits and rice on the trip. A truly great vegan meal or two would be most welcome.