Fill ‘Er Up: Where Food and Adventure Meet
Classic American adventures with great meals
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An epic day is best topped with delicious food. Here’s where to pair five classic American adventures with great meals.
Grub Trips: Montauk, New York
THE ADVENTURE: With consistent swells up to 10 feet, Ditch Plains Beach, just two miles from Montauk’s shop-lined main drag, is one of the top surf breaks in the east. Rent a longboard from Air and Speed Board Shop, rise at dawn, and hit the break before the wind picks up and the crowds arrive (board rentals, $40).
THE MEAL: Ditch Witch is a beachside food truck where surfers, locals, and urban refugees congregate for pastries, grilled sandwiches (try the turkey pesto), and breakfast burritos. The basic menu, scrawled on an old surfboard, belies the quality of the food. Even a cappuccino tastes better with a view of the surf. No phone or website (beautiful); east of town, Ditch Plains Road at Otis Road.
Grub Trips: Slade, Kentucky
THE ADVENTURE: More than 2,000 sandstone routes make Red River Gorge the Midwest’s finest climbers’ playground. Beginners: try your luck at Chica Bonita. When you’re comfortable, grab a guide from Red River Outdoors and send classic routes like Amarillo Sunset, an overhanging 5.11b ($230 per day for two, including equipment). Acrophobic? Rent a canoe and run the Red River’s Class II rapids during spring runoff ($50).
THE MEAL: Miguel Ventura still rises at 4 a.m. every day to make the dough at Miguel’s Pizza. That commitment pays off. The crusts are chewy, the sauce is tangy, and the 45 toppings range from mushrooms and avocado to roast pork and kielbasa.
Grub Trips: Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
THE ADVENTURE: Some of White Mountain National Forest’s 1,200 miles of trails offer easy access, others have great views. For both, head to Easton and try the 4.6-mile hike to Bald Peak, where you can see to Vermont.
THE MEAL: Polly’s Pancake Parlor has been topping perfectly crisp pancakes and waffles with local bacon and maple syrup since 1938. Hikers have been stopping to carbo-load for just as long. Recommended: the $23 all-you-can-eat option.
Grub Trips: Green River, Utah
THE ADVENTURE: Goblin Valley State Park has 3,000 acres of bizarre hoodoos, mesas, and towers—and exactly six percent of the visitors of nearby Arches National Park, which means you can explore the park’s otherworldly canyons in solitude. Base yourself at one of the park’s new deck-equipped yurts ($60) and hike a mile up the Curtis Bench Trail for views of the Henry Mountains.
THE MEAL: Ray’s Tavern, about an hour from Goblin Valley, is one of the few eateries in the sandstone desert of northern Utah. Don’t let the biker-bar vibe scare you from the juiciest steaks, burgers, and pork chops within a 100-mile radius. (435-564-3511)
Grub Trips: Lilliwaup, Washington
THE ADVENTURE: See as much of Olympic National Park’s 6,000-foot mountains as possible with a steep three-mile hike through shoulder-high ferns and old-growth forest to Wagonwheel Lake. The lake itself is small, but schlep another half-mile to the ridge above and you’ll be rewarded with views of several immediate peaks.
THE MEAL: The Hama Hama Seafood and Shellfish Store—a funky shop at the eastern border of the Olympic Peninsula—sells shellfish to high-end restaurants like New York City’s Grand Central Oyster Bar. Buy a dozen of the farm’s sweet, creamy namesake oysters or slightly salty Blue Pools ($7–$13) and wash them down with a Hood Canal Agate Pass Amber on the beach while you gawk at eagles overhead and the Olympic Mountains in the distance.