One thing our family agrees on is that we all like ice cream. A lot. Enough so that one of our traveling rituals is to eat ice cream almost every day of our vacation. (We also walk a lot on vacation, so it kinda balances. Kinda.)
But we do have some criteria, we don’t stop at just any ole ice cream spot. A few rules.
- We’re looking for fresh, home-/hand-made ice cream at independent shops, or at least ones don’t seem to be a big-name chain.
- Scoops have to be less than $4, as close to or below $3, if possible. I’ve noticed some places now charge $4, $5, even $6 a scoop! For us, that’s $30+ for dessert. So we did pass up shops that may have fit the independent shop rule, but were too pricey. I’d like to not break a $20 if possible.
- Good flavors, creative mixes. Give me a scoop of coffee or chocolate ice cream and I’m pretty happy. But I’ll definitely try one of those with some nuts or chocolate ripple mixed in. The kids are cookie dough, birthday cake, mint connoisseurs.
- Exceptions can be made to these rules, as needed.
On our recent roadtrip, we enjoyed scoops from these ice cream shops throughout New England. And we did make one big exception - we ended up at a slightly larger ice cream shop – the Ben and Jerry’s Factory in Vermont.
Mr. Softee Truck – Brooklyn, NY
This may not really qualify as home-made ice cream, but we don’t get one of these trucks in our neighborhood too often and how can you pass up $2 soft ice cream cones? Ice cream for the whole gang and friends for $12? We couldn’t let this truck roll by.
Dylan’s Candy Bar, Manhattan, NY
Okay, not your teeny mom & pop shop, but not a big chain either. Upstairs, there’s an ice cream counter and candy bar, i.e. cocktails. The kids got ice cream which they said was delicious! while my friend and I got candy cocktails. Her’s had Strawberry Nerds in it, mine had a rock candy swizzler. In the middle of walking through the city, this is a fun stop. Albeit, an expensive one.
Boston turned out to be a big ice cream stop. Who knew?
Churn2 ice cream truck, Harvard Farmers’ Market (on campus)
This is the scientifically made ice cream. Liquid nitrogen is blasted into a metal mixing bowl with fresh ingredients (milk, flavor, etc.) until it’s frozen. Each order is made fresh while you watch. The results? Very creamy and that full, round mouth feel. The process is supposed to make this less fat than regular ice cream, too. This does, however, break the less than $4 rule. A scoop is $6.25; we got one to share because we just had to taste it.
Lizzy's Ice Cream – Harvard; Boston, MA
We found this teeny little shop while on our way to dinner, then had to make sure we were back before it closed because it looked really good. Good decision. I got the Colombia Fudge Avalanche – coffee ice cream with all chocolate and walnuts – which was really good; it was creamy, tasted like coffee, and full of the add-ins. And the price was right – about $3 for a small scoop, which was really enough post-dinner. There was also a kiddie cone and an even smaller mini-cone.
Christina'sIce Cream – Cambridge, MA
The shop smells like Indian spices, presumably from shop next door (which may be owned by the same people). It’s a pleasant smell, just not one you’d expect at an ice cream shop. I got the Bailey’s ice cream, which was creamy, but didn’t really taste like Bailey’s, more like coffee with a whole lot of cream in it (which, by the way, is how I drink my coffee.) The kids got birthday cake and mint. The scoops were about $3 for a small.
And now, I'm so full - and hungry. Let me go grab a bowl of coffee ice cream with some almonds sprinkled in and I'll get back to the rest of the list in part two of the ice cream tour.
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