From festive fall favorites like apple cider to a purely pickled path, take a bite into these unique food trails around the country this fall.
Want to up your dining game on your next vacation? Consider perusing a regional food trail. This thematic approach to tourism is easily one of the tastiest and most rewarding ways to spend a holiday. Check out these six unique U.S. food trails to explore when you’re on the road this fall.
1. Apple Cider Doughnut Trail
Fall may be the time to break out your tall boots and sip pumpkin spice lattes, but it’s also the perfect time to plan a long weekend on the Apple Cider Doughnut Trail. This mouthwatering fall food trail will lead you to seven wonderful Virginia bakeries, markets, orchards and food trucks, all boasting some of the region’s most decadent and flavorful doughnuts that embody everything you love about fall.
Be sure to give yourself a little extra room in the schedule to take advantage of a few agritourism opportunities along the way, like the Cox Farms Annual Fall Festival in Centreville or the U-pick offerings at Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville.
2. Pecan Trail
Did you know pecans are a rich and storied part of South Carolina history? These tasty treats grow throughout the state and are celebrated each fall during the South Carolina Pecan Music and Food Festival. Once you know that little tidbit, it’s easy to see why South Carolina boasts its own Pecan Trail.
This route of 17 businesses satisfies hungry tourists with buttery pecan flavors in everything from pecan pies to pecan martinis. Start with a batch of Southern pecan pancakes from Venus Restaurant and Catering for breakfast, but save room for the Danish pecan pastries at Freeman’s Bakery and a tall Pecans Gone Wild Smoked Brown Ale at Seminar Brewing, too.
3. Pie Trail
Is it true that every day in Arkansas is pie day? We can’t offer any definitive answers to that question, but we can tell you that the Arkansas Pie Trail is well worth exploring. You’ll want to plan out your stops in advance on this belly-filling food trail. You’d be remiss to skip out on places like Backyard Barbeque Company in Magnolia, where you can try the homemade coconut cream and banana pudding pies. Or Café 1217, an award-winning stop in Hot Springs, features seasonal menus that combine gourmet meals with locally produced food. You can even take something home from Family Pie Shop in DeValls Bluff, such as their famous sweet potato and egg custard pie.
4. Pickled: A Fermented Trail
Even if you are familiar with food trails across the country, you may be a little caught off guard to learn about Pickled: A Fermented Food Trail in Pennsylvania. You can divide this trail by region, from the Great Lakes to the Pocono Mountains. Visit PA even maps out an itinerary for you, making this arguably one of the most accessible food trails to discover.
If the idea of fermented foods puts you off, consider some of the most common examples that you may not realize fall into this category: cheese, vinegar, wine, yogurt, olives, beer, sourdough bread and kombucha. This trail will walk you through a surprising number of familiar foods and some more exotic ones that are delicious, good for you and filled with flavor.
5. Barbecue Trail
Is anyone surprised there’s a barbecue trail in North Carolina? Eastern-style barbecue reigns supreme here. Otherwise known as a whole-hog style, North Carolina barbecue uses the entire pig. And don’t forget the delicious sides. It typically comes with a vinegar-based sauce and a hearty helping of coleslaw and cornbread.
You’ll find both classics and twists on the original as you explore the Historic Barbecue Trail. With 20 stops at carefully selected pits, you’ll not only get the chance to witness the traditional pit-cooking method but also enjoy the local atmosphere, excellent sides and plenty of stories from the people who have been cooking up hogs for as long as they can remember.
6. Apple Hill Hard Cider Trail
Fall is prime apple season, and there are countless ways to enjoy the harvest, from picking your fruits at a local orchard to enjoying a slice of sweet apple pie to exploring California’s Apple Hill Hard Cider Trail. The Apple Hill Growers Association members have been making hard cider for decades, and this is an excellent opportunity to taste your way throughout the region.
Think that every apple cider is created equal? Think again. From ginger pineapple and blackberry to tart green apple and original dry, there’s something for everyone on this trail. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy each stop before moving on to the next.
This list first appeared on our sister site, FarmFlavor.com.