Food tourism is an ultra-popular way to experience a region. No matter where you’re traveling throughout the country, you’re bound to find delicious, yet decidedly different, regional flavors. 

Peaches in Texas

Peaches? Texas? Definitely. 

Welcome to Gillespie County and its decades-long love affair with the golden summertime fruit.

Fischer & Wieser peach truck, Fredericksburg, Texas
Credit: Fredericksburg CVB

Tourgoers will find peaches at orchards and farmers markets, as well as in pies, cobblers and other delectable dishes at local restaurants. There’s even an annual Peach JAMboree and Rodeo in Stonewall each June. 

There’s peach ice cream at Engel Orchards or Gold Orchards, peach cobbler at Vogel Orchard or Clear River Ice Cream and Bakery.
Das Peach Haus has not only jams and jellies but also a cooking school with all things peach. 

These delectable stops lead peach afficionados down back roads near Fredericksburg and Stonewall. 

Lobster in Maine

In Maine, Sue Granholm clearly remembers riding down to the town dock on her pink bike with the banana seat. “I’m not 12 anymore,” said the information center manager for Visit Freeport, “but I’ll still get a clam cake or lobster roll.”

Granholm shares her town of about 1,500 residents with more than 3.5 million annual visitors. There’s L.L. Bean’s flagship store as well as a host of other shops both local and national. And, there is seafood, and lots of it, with lobster being the most familiar menu item. 

Freeport, with so much to see and do, begs multiple-day visits and multiple lobster stops. 

Granholm’s favorite, Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster, is still there. 

Downtown, find Linda Bean’s (she’s the granddaughter of L.L. Bean), the Lobster Cooker, Wolfe’s Neck Farm Café and — new this year — Freeport Oyster Bar. It’s grab-and-go at Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster Roll. And for something fancier yet family-friendly, try the Broad Arrow Tavern at the upscale Harraseeket Inn.

Seafood along Alabama/Florida Coast

Seafood of a different nature satisfies the palates along the Gulf Coast of Alabama/Florida. Outdoors, there’s The Gulf in Orange Beach, Alabama. This is a casual stand-in-line-to-order place made from shipping containers that offers seaside options in both eating (fried grouper sandwich, snapper salad, grilled cobia tacos) and dining (waterfront tables as well as couch seating). 

The Gulf, Orange Beach, Alabama
Credit: Elizabeth Granger

The Original Oyster House in Gulf Shores, Alabama, (likely the best family-friendly waterfront seafood restaurant there) seems to offer just about anything from the water — alligator and crab to shrimp and oysters. 

There’s the upscale Fisher’s (seared jumbo scallops, fresh fish of the day) or Cobalt, The Restaurant (fresh oysters) or Flora-Bama
Yacht Club (chargrilled oysters, blackened triggerfish).  

In Pensacola, Florida, the draw is Joe Patti’s fish market. “Anyone who goes into the Panhandle goes to Joe Patti’s,” said Karen Coron, who lives in Michigan but winters in Orange Beach. “‘Old Joe’ sits in a lifeguard’s chair. He’s old, and he’s crabby. He calls you up by your number, and if you don’t raise your hand immediately, he’ll say, ‘Come now or don’t come at all.’ He is hilarious.” 

Pasties in Michigan

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, groups will see many signs advertising the pasty (pronounced pass´-tee). The meat pie-type delicacy is found from the western end of the U.P. in Ironwood (Joe’s) to the eastern edge in Sault Ste. Marie (Penny’s Kitchen) and to the south in St. Ignace (Lehto’s).

Pasty, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Credit: Elizabeth Granger

Pasties arrived with Cornish miners hired to teach locals how to work the underground iron ore mines. Long favored in miners’ lunch buckets, the pastry-wrapped meal of meat, potatoes, onions and sometimes carrots or rutabagas was a hearty, yet easy-to-eat lunch. 

The underground mines are gone, and the open pit mines are dwindling in number. But pasties, perhaps the immigrants’ No. 1 gastronomic gift to the U.P., can be found in bakeries and restaurants as well as in pasty shops. Consider Randall Bakery in Wakefield, Jean Kay’s or Lawry’s in Marquette and Ishpeming, Toni’s Country Kitchen in Calumet, Roy’s in Houghton, Gram’s in Escanaba, or Muldoon’s in Munising. Often, nonprofits and churches have pasty sales.

Main photo: Lobster roll lunch, Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster, Freeport, Maine; Photo: Visit Freeport Maine

Article by Elizabeth Granger