Visiting your city/state/region: what do I "have to try"?

I recently traveled to New England. First to Boston, then drove up into Maine (stayed in Orono but went all over the state). Before leaving I was given a few things I HAD to do by a friend from Bangor, comprising of:

Allen’s Coffee Brandy (I was told it was horrific, but it was okay; just tasted like cold, sweet coffee)
Moxie (tasted vaguely like Dr. Pepper, wasn’t nearly as sweet as other sodas)
Lobster Roll (he didn’t actually tell me to have one, but it seemed obligatory)
Go to the top of Cadillac Mountain
Stick your hand in the water (any natural water; I did it at the beach in Acadia)
Anyways, pretend I’m going to visit your town/city/state/region. Where are you and what 3-5 things do I HAVE to do while I’m there, things that are uniquely [your location]?

I can’t think of a single “must try” thing to do in the Charlotte area of NC. Great place to live, but short on noteworthy attractions.

I’m from West Virginia and largely it depends on the kind of person you are what is must-see. I’d personally recommend the Tucker County area (although the whole Allegheny Highlands area is gorgeous. Seneca Rocks is worth the drive and if you’re a caver, the sinks of Gandy is a neat experience.) The Dolly Sods Wilderness, the Blackwater Canyon, pretty little artsy towns with ski resorts next door, Canaan Valley, Lindy Point, trout fishing streams, waterfalls, mountain vistas. It’s God’s Country.

For food, pepperoni rolls. I heard them described as ‘like West Virginians, simple, hard-working and utilitarian.’ They’re one of those things that I don’t understand why the whole country hasn’t caught on to them yet. They’re the perfect anytime food. I used to recommend ramps, but now that hipsters have gotten ahold of them and we’re on the verge of population collapse, I no longer do. I do recommend pawpaws, but you’ve gotta be traveling here in such a small window and actually gather them yourself, so most people will miss them. Pies and Pints, Geno’s and Tudor’s Biscuit World are our quintessential food chains, so I guess you can stop, but I don’t find any of them particularly impressive. Pies and Pints is solid enough, but I don’t think it’s something you’ll be tasting in your dreams later.

If you’re down south, then I’d say ‘The Bridge Walk’ across New River Gorge bridge. I’d also say the Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley. It’s an actual old mine that they take you into on a mantrip. Good rafting down there too if you’re up for that.

Cleveland’s cassata cake is different than anywhere else, which is news to most of us here who haven’t happened to have cassata cake anywhere else.

We’ve also got the Polish Boy - kielbasa, french fries, coleslaw and hot sauce. An absolute mess but hey, it’s our own.

I grew up in Cleveland and adore cassata cake - probably my all-time favorite cake. It took me years to find a decent recipe for it (which ironically came from a Pittsburgh newspaper).

Where I live now, barbecue (defined here as pork slow-cooked and smoked using a wood fire with indirect heat) is the food you have to try. Have some hush puppies and corn puddin’ while you are at it, and wash it all down with some Cheerwine.

When in Georgia, try:

In St. Louis, after you’ve gone up the Arch, your dining experience should include:

Toasted ravioli
Gooey butter cake
Ted Drewes frozen custard (there are other excellent frozen custards, but Ted Drewes provides the proper dining experience)

Been to The Varsity this past spring! Didn’t get a chili dog or onion rings, but I did get a paper hat. :slight_smile:

I’ve lived in New England all my life, spent a lot of time in Maine, and never heard of Allen’s Coffee Brandy. I agree with Moxie (even though I loath it).

For VT you need to visit the Ben and Jerry’s plant.

South Jersey/Philly.

(1) Philly Cheesesteak (duh)
(2) Bassett’s ice cream (Philly-style ice cream is different than NY style, which I think is how most major brands make theirs)
(3) James’ Salt Water Taffy (from The Shore)
(4) Tastykakes. (they’re like Hostess … only, you know, good. Go with butterscotch krimpets or kandykakes.)
(5) Don’t forget to visit the many fine museums and other places of historical value. But if there’s one thing not to miss, its Washington Crossing The Delaware re-enactment on Christmas Day.

I did a lot of reading about it. Apparently although it’s made in Massachusetts, at least 85% of all Allen’s produced is sold in Maine, and the most popular size is the 1.75L bottle, the biggest one.

From the Atlas Obscura site:

[bolding mine]

But from where? :stuck_out_tongue:

From what I’ve been told by a lot of people, Pat’s or Geno’s.

From what I’ve been told by a lot of other people, basically anywhere except Pat’s or Geno’s. :wink:

I guess in Canada you have to try Poutine.

And a well-made Caesar. This is similar to a Bloody Mary except with Clamato juice. Sounds odd but I guarantee you will find it delicious. I like it spicy (5-6 shakes of Tabasco) and lots of Worcestshire (at least a teaspoon). Some add a teaspoon of pickle juice.

I did just that when I was there! I as told to “give em a try!”, and that driving down any rural road leading from the city there would be any number of people selling them at the roadside or from their porch. Good, those bawld peanuts are!

The Cleveland Orchestra is arguably one of the 3 best in the world.
And the Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned as well.
And don’t forget the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
And there are years when we have some great sports teams.

Plus… I live about a 90-minute drive from CEDAR POINT!


Crater Lake
Timberline Lodge
Multnomah Falls
Smith Rock
Drive the coastal highway

Pok Pok wings (Portland)
Voodoo Donuts (they’re not all that, but it’s a tourist must) (Portland)
The crab shack on the south side of Newport Bridge (Newport)
The fish & chip shop on the waterfront in Bandon (Bandon)
Alloro Restaurant (Bandon)
Meatball sub at my house (Portland)

Sheboygan County, WI:

Bratwurst (or get an Oostburger, a hamburger topped with a brat on a Sheboygan hard roll)
Summer Sausage
Fresh cheese curds
Friday night fish fry
Kohler Design Center for the fanciest showers, toilets, kitchens, bathtubs you will ever see
Hike the Ice Age Trail in the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit to see some great drumlins, eskers, and kames.
Listen to the sand squeak on the beaches of Kohler Andrae State Park
Or just visit and smell our dairy air!

Da Yoop (aka Upper Peninsula of Michigan)

  • a sauna (pronounced sow-na)
  • a camp, if you can get an invite. That’ll be difficult if you don’t know someone.
  • a pasty
  • whitefish, preferably fried but there’s other ways to make it that’s good
  • a good hike or boat ride that brings you to some Lake Superior cliffs

I could go on, but that’s the highlights.

Daughter elfbabe and I SWAM to the ice caves at Pictured Rock! The water was in the mid 60’s (plenty warm enough for those of us who trained in Lake Michigan) at Miner’s Beach, and we donned mask, snorkel and fins, and hugged the cliff as we swam about 500 feet to the caves, then in and out of them, as tour boats passed. So memorable, so beautiful!

I love the UP! The Porkies, the pasties, the Keeweenaw, Whitefish Point, the Soo locks!

Indiana doesn’t have a lot of unique foods, but we’re known for our pork tenderloin sandwiches. The best ones are the thin ones that are 3x bigger than the bun. With mustard and pickles.