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Road trip stops in Florida

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Hi all!

Will be staying in Sarasota for a month and a half, of which 1.5 weeks or so will be dedicated to a road trip. The rough plan is to drive from sarasota and hit up South Carolina, North carolina, Memphis, new Orleans...not sure where else yet.

The goal is to eat a lot of regional foods, home cooking type meals, southern food, things that we don't get up in Canada. We are not typically looking for high end/refined unless it really is something special then I'll consider it. I like that food, its just that I have a lot of that in Toronto already.

Since sarasota is a bit down low on the peninsula, we'll probably be stopping and staying overnight somewhere close to the northern border on the way out (and somewhere else on the way in). Any recommendations on where to stop to eat and sleep based on our theme? Open to big city or small town to get us started on our trip!

Thanks!

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  1. okay -- I get the NC and SC part -- but you realize that New Orleans is a full 12 hours' drive from Sarasota?

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    1. re: sunshine842

      Looking at the map, I wanted to hit things up 5-6 hours apart. SC->NC->??->Memphis->New Orleans->??->Sarasota

      Anyways, we have lots of time so we can spread it out longer if needed.

      Since this is the florida forum, we'll need to stop in northern florida twice, once on the way there (on the east side) and once on the way back (on the west side).

    2. Charlestown SC is a food destination of it's own. I have friends in Texas who hop in their plane and go there often just to eat. You could stop at the Cloisters on Sea Island GA on the way. Elegant. If there is anything special in Jacksonville, I have never found it. In the other direction, the original Half Shell Oyster House in Gulfport MS is a nice spot on the way to N.O. We had one in Sarasota which I liked, but it seems to have moved to Lakewood Ranch and changed its name a bit.

      1. You might want to check out The Farm House Restaurant, 5123 Mill Store Rd., Lake Park, Georgia. "Exit 5," on I-75, just north of the FL-GA border.
        On my Chowhound profile, I list their peach cobbler as one of my all-time favorite foods, especially a "comfort food."
        I went on another website to check their address before I posted this, and read some other folks' reviews. A couple of people said it doesn't look like much from the outside, but don't let that stop you. And a few posters reviewed their fried chicken as crisp, not greasy. Their salad bar is basic, but good, the restaurant has quail on the menu, which is a little unusual. Someone reviewed the quail as "tender and moist." And, Southern catfish!
        I have been there several times traveling north and south- we always make it a point to do so. I can't remember specific main dishes, but always good. I hold on for that peach cobbler. Yes! Oh, one reviewer on the other website thought that beloved cobbler was too sweet, and didn't care for it. Maybe my sweet tooth is why I like it so well, I don't know.
        And I grabbed a quote from one of the reviewers, "I wouldn't say this is a 5-Star restaurant, but a good old country establishment."
        Please post progress reports, reviews and follow ups from your own road trip. Thanks and be safe,
        Florida Hound

        1. I ran through some old Chowhound threads to pass along to you for your consideration/ planning/ research.

          Road Trip around Florida (all posts in January, 2013)

          Florida Road trip report (a follow up to the January thread. Posted Feb 14, 2013 with some replies dated Feb, 2013) : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/890501

          Restaurants that personify ‘Old Florida’ (posts from October, 2007 to April 2013): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/452219

          1 Reply
          1. re: Florida Hound

            I noticed I left off the link to the first "Road trip" thread (from January, '13): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/886394

            Hope these oldies help,
            Florida Hound