Road trips for us inevitably take us off the beaten path, especially when we ask locals about the best places to eat.
Take Hunter’s Café.
While stopping in a wine and cheese shop in Darien, Georgia, we noticed a lovely oil painting of an old weathered clapboard restaurant. The rendition of the small café showed it on a dirt road, surrounded by huge live oaks and looked too interesting of a place to pass up. Being supper time and hungry, we inquired about its location, if it still existed. The owner of the wine and cheese shop was the talkative, friendly sort who gladly gave us directions. I loved his southern drawl and charm.
After getting in the car, we repeated the directions to each other but didn’t bother to write them down, confident that we understood them clearly.
The cafe is located off of hwy 17 on Shellman Bluff in Georgia’s coastal low country. Sound’s easy, but it wasn’t. It took us two stops along the way, asking for directions. Advised with new information and gas, we headed down dirt roads, lined with massive live oaks with their gnarled branches reaching out over the road. Finding the correct dirt road to get to the sound was the tricky part.
“There it is,” I proclaim. “Just like the painting.”
Definitely off the beaten path, the crab stew, sweet potato fries and cold beer was worth it, and so was the front porch view of the marsh adjacent to the Julienton River which meanders towards the Sapelo Sound.
In business since 1967, the waitress couldn’t imagine why we had such a hard time finding this iconic place.
“Why honey, everyone knows how to get here. You just didn’t follow the right person. Next time, look for a truck with fishing poles and follow them here,” she laughed.
If only it were that easy.