As a kid I remember that feeling of excitement that would grow in me as the family vacation would draw closer. The night before we left, I would struggle sleeping, I would wake up early that day, and be in the car ready to go hours before we would pull out of the driveway.
I am not sure why I was so excited as a kid. It did not matter to me if it was a vacation to the mountains, the beach or Colonial Williamsburg. If we were going out of town, I was excited.
As an adult, I still get very excited about vacation. The time to relax, visiting new places, and the food. OH the food! That is my favorite part about vacation as an adult, having the opportunity to try new restaurants. I know, not every restaurant experience is great, but I want to take some time to share a little about my 10 favorite restaurants I have visited traveling this country. And for a bonus, two candy shops in my home state of Virginia that are amazing!
1) Ruddy Duck Tavern, Morehead City, NC
This was one of the best experiences I have ever had in a restaurant. Located on the water front in Morehead City, North Carolina, the Ruddy Duck Tavern has taken over as THE restaurant to go to in Morehead City. For years, people flocked to the Sanitary Fish Market and Restaurant, but gone are those days. While you might have to wait a little longer to get a seat in their small dining room, it is well worth the wait. The food, drinks, service, and atmosphere, the Ruddy Duck is a great, family friendly, restaurant. Oh, one more note, when you visit, if the wait is a little too long to just stand around, take a stroll across the street and visit Dee Gee’s Gifts and Books.
2) Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant and Crabhouse, Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach is full of restaurants, from downtown to the oceanfront and everywhere in between. But off the beaten path, with a view of the Lynnhaven Inlet, sits Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant and Crabhouse. Just minutes from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, this is one of the hidden gems in the area. Making the list of “The 21 Best Seafood Shacks in America”, the fresh seafood is masterfully prepared and will call you back again and again.
3) Jordan’s Restaurant, Bar Harbor, ME
When visiting Maine, everyone always wants to eat lobster. But trust me when I say, Maine blueberries are amazing too. Jordan’s Restaurant in Bar Harbor has the best blueberry pancakes and muffins around (not to mention amazing coffee). Don’t worry, if you didn’t get your blueberry fix during your visit, just buy a few boxed mixes and take the taste of Maine home with you.
4) Max Lager’s Wood Fired Grill and Brewery, Atlanta, GA
Located just a few blocks from Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Max Lagers Wood Fired Grill and Brewery is a necessary stop for any trip to Atlanta. While this is a brewery, the atmosphere is not that of a bar, and is a great location to go and have a steak with the family. This restaurant was recommendation to me by my mother, and I’m very glad she did. Hey mom!
5) Daddy Mac’s Beach Grill, Surf City, NC
Daddy Mac’s Beach Grill is nestled in the center of a Topsail Island, a small island off the coast of North Carolina. Daddy Mac Beach Grill offers some of the best food on the island, with a patio that overlooks the ocean. If you find yourself on Topsail Island, you need to stop by Daddy Mac’s Beach Grill… I recommend the Fish Tacos.
6) Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill, Dallas, TX
Some of the restaurants on this list are tourist stops while others are local favorites; and Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill in Dallas is a local favorite. I found this restaurant by asking a police office where he would take his family to dinner and I am once again thankful to the boys in blue. While the restaurant is a little dark, no worries, you don’t need to see your food when it is this good.
7) City Café Diner, Chattanooga, TN
With cakes that are taller than their drink glasses and clients that are the whos whos of Hollywood, City Café Diner in Chattanooga, TN easily makes this list. This city diner located at the end of the Days Inn in Downtown Chattanooga, and from the outside it does not look like much, but the food and service is top quality.
8) Gordon Ramsay Burgr, Las Vegas, NV
This list is a list of family friendly restaurants. Please know, the Las Vegas strip is not a family friendly destination. However if you, for some reason, end up with your family in Las Vegas, You must grab a burger at Gordon Ramsay Burgr. Like all food on the Vegas strip the price is high, but the quality is what you would expect from a restaurant associated with the name Gordon Ramsay. Located just inside of Planet Hollywood Casino (again, not family friendly) you will be glad you braved the traffic for this burger.
9) Dogtown Roadhouse, Floyd VA
Dogtown is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the hippy town of Floyd Virginia. The little town is booming with fun places to shop and eat, and Dogtown Pizza is the best hippy place in town to eat and hear some great music!
10) Southern Fried Green Tomatoes, Greenville, SC
Like the name suggest, Southern Fried Green Tomatoes offers traditional southern fried foods that are bound to make you come back for more. The menu is simple, one meat and some vegetables. However, think twice before you get too many veggies, because the portions are very generous. As a local favorite that is not in downtown, this is one of the best restaurants in Greenville that only locals know about.
And now those delicious candy shops I mentioned. . .
Wythe Candy & Gourmet Shop, Williamsburg, VA
Located in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, Wythe Candy & Gourmet Shop has great homemade candies and fudge. If you find yourself here and think about this article, please pick me up a few Milk Pecan Praline candies. OH MY WORD! Please and thank you!
Nancy’s Candy Company, Meadows of Dan, VA
Want to taste the best truffles and fudge you have ever put in your mouth, visit Nancy’s Candy Co. in Meadows of Dan, VA. Directly off the Blue Ridge Parkway in a small town, Nancy’s Candy Co. offers homemade truffles and fudge that were made in the factory attached to the store.