Although you may feel you're driving near the end of the world when you're on Route 5 in Southern Maryland, you are actually very close to suburban centers. And that means you're near chain restaurants. Instead, for something locals like, stop at the Ice Cream Factory & Café, 13700 Old Brandywine Rd., in Brandywine (tel. 301/782-3444; www.icecreamfactoryandcafe.com). It's right off Route 5, between the Surratt and Mudd houses. You can get sandwiches, burgers, and subs. But the ice cream, soft-serve custard, is the real draw. They mix in one of 24 flavorings when you order. It's open April through October daily 11am to 9pm.
Another good choice is the Casey Jones Pub, Grill & Railroom, 417 E. Charles St., La Plata (tel. 301/392-5116; www.casey-jones.com), which serves some one of the best crab cakes around. The casual pub, as well the patio in warm weather, offers salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. Sushi and hearty entrees are available after 5pm. Dress up and stop next door at the Crossing at Casey Jones (301/392-5116; www.thecrossingatcaseyjones.com), the owners' fine-dining restaurant, for filet mignon, Chilean sea bass, or pistachio chicken.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.