From the coastal towns of Maine to the farm land of Connecticut, ice cream stands are spread all across New England. They bring communities together and bring joy to everyone who visits. Whether they're seasonal enterprises or open all year round, these ice cream stands hold a lasting presence in New Englanders' consciousness. They represent all the joys of summer: warm weather after a long, harsh New England winter, gathering with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors, and kicking back and relaxing.
As many ice cream stands as New England boasts, no two are alike. Their unique locations, compositions and individual histories are an integral part of each one's character -- and it is this diversity that makes the New England landscape so special. One ice cream stand might be based on a family-run dairy farm, and one might be a seaside shack open just a few months a year.
To New Englanders, ice cream stands are commonplace; they're expected parts of the scenery. When summer rolls around, it goes without saying that your family will take frequent -- even daily -- trips to get waffle cones, sundaes and frappes (also known as milkshakes outside of New England). Ice cream is like part of the New England DNA -- along with resilience, independence and the Patriots, or course.
It's been a long winter and summer is finally here, so go out and get yourself some ice cream in true New England spirit. July just happens to be National Ice Cream month, so it couldn't be a more perfect time to hit the road and check out some of the best ice cream that New England has to offer. Here are eight ice cream stands that represent some of the special flavor that ice cream brings to New England.
Salvador's Ice Cream (Massachusetts)
Salvador's started as a dairy farm in 1890. The dairy building was originally located in New Bedford, MA, and in 1936 the milk jug was moved to Smith Neck road, a quiet residential street in Dartmouth, MA.
Ownership of Salvador's has been passed on over the years, and the current owners, Len & Beth Gauvin, have received accolades from the New Bedford Historical Society for maintaining this historical structure. The cow on the top of the milk jug is named Smith Neck Nellie.
The Daily Scoop (Rhode Island)
Deb and Bob Saunders are owners The Daily Scoop, which has two locations in Rhode Island -- one in Bristol and one in Barrington. They both grew up in Barrington, which is where the original store and manufacturing facility opened.
Rich Farm Ice Cream (Connecticut)
Rich Farm, located in Oxford, CT, has been open since 1994. Dave and Dawn Rich run the ice cream shop, which is situated on Ajello's Farm. Dave's great great grandfather started the dairy five generations ago on Great Hill in Seymore, CT. Dave and his children opened Rich Farm Ice Cream on the dairy farm, and today the shop churns out up to 30 fresh flavors ice cream every day.
Lago's Ice Cream (New Hampshire)
Andrea and Stephen Grenier own and run New Hampshire-based Lago's Ice Cream. Andrea's parents opened the store in 1981, and Andrea and Stephen's children -- Michael, 22, and Erica, 25 -- also pitch in. Stephen attended Penn State Ice Cream School in 1986, but told The Huffington Post that he learned most of what he knows from his wife's grandfather, Arnold Wade, or "Gramps."
The Bucket At Gulf Hill (Massachusetts)
The Bucket At Gulf Hill is an ice cream stand on the shore just outside of Padanaram Village, a harbor-side town in South Dartmouth, MA. It was built in 1929 at Gulf Hill Dairy, and was moved to its current location in Apponagansett Park on Padanaram Harbor in 2003.
The Bucket is open seasonally and among other things, it sells ice cream, burgers and lobster rolls. In addition to the food, Bucket-goers enjoy music in the park and the beach that is just steps away.
Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream (Connecticut)
Buttonwood Farm opened in 1975 as a cattle farm, merchandising cattle and feed, as well as a dairy for selling milk wholesale. In October, 1997, the family built the ice cream stand, which officially opened in May, 1998. Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream makes its own ice cream and waffle cones fresh each day.
Brown's Old Fashioned Ice Cream
Brown's Old Fashioned Ice Cream is located in York, Maine, not far from the famous Nubble Lighthouse. It's something of an institution in the town and well-known throughout the state.
The Caboose Ice Cream Stand
Perrotti’s Country Barn -- which sells unique gifts like jewelry, home decor, candles and cards -- opened in December 1999. In the spring of 2004, the Caboose Ice Cream Stand opened. It sits right next door to Perrotti's Country Barn, on the same property. The Caboose sells more than 25 flavors of Praline’s Ice Cream, which is made locally in Wallingford, CT. Perrotti’s Country Barn and the Caboose have been completely family run since the beginning.
Which of your favorite New England ice cream stands didn't make the list? Let us know your favorites below.