Templeton Ice Cream Barn – Templeton MA

26 09 2008

Rain seems to have taken over the fall. Sometimes when news focuses on how these hurricanes batter the gulf coast, they neglect the effect of the torrential rains as the clouds sweep across the rest of the country. Not that I’m comparing Katrina’s devastation with local cancellations. Instead, I splashed through the puddles and got this Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie cone.

This is a barn. For some reason I’d been reading this wrong from the first time that I found this place on the internet. There are more than enough spelling mistakes everywhere so when this gets listed next to a slew of bunch of Dairy Bars, there’s no reason to presume that the ‘n’ is for real. Until you pull up to the front and realize this is indeed a barn.

There’s no one that can provide much a sense of history for this place, and the teens working there didn’t seem to provide any help. This and the adjacent country store both have the rustic feel of Olde Massachusetts with the wooden planks showing the wear of history. Even the screen door has the right sort of squeak and slam sounds as you enter. There’s seating inside for the accompanying restaurant, and outside are a few picnic benches that match the building.

The flavor menu board here seems like it was made by third graders. The lines are far from straight, and the flavors are presented by a bunch of construction paper cut-outs of cones with the names written on them. With options like “Play Dough” and “Birthday Cake,” this place seems very targeted for local families.

I chose the outrageous oatmeal cookie to fill my cone. This was a taste sensation as all of the elements of an oatmeal cookie were in here, plus something that seemed like chocolate jimmies blended in the mix. The only thing missing that could have put this over the top would be actual pieces of cookie. Instead it seems like the recipe for the cookies was put in the ice cream maker and a hard cookie chunk would help keep the oatmeal from all turning into a textured mush. Still, this is an original flavor, with real good local ice cream.

The rain was what sent me west. I had been heading out to the Bolton Fair to assist my dad in running the lumberjack contest, but things were so bad on Friday that he had pretty much committed to canceling for Saturday afternoon. So I pointed my car westbound through the rain and headed out for my first visit to see my good friends’ new son Emmett.

Cone – baby $1.75 small $2.75 large $3.25

Sundae – small $3.50 large $4

Frappe – small $3.25 extra thick $3.75

Templeton Ice Cream Barn and Restaurant

7 South Rd, Templeton, MA 01468

978 939-8164‎

Open year round

Fall Hours Monday-Thursday 7a-2p, Friday-Sunday 7a-7p

Templeton Ice Cream Barn online

3 Scoops – Brighton MA

21 09 2008

With Summer coming to an end, everything else seems to have gotten as hectic as possible. In a way this time after Labor Day and before the Autumnal Equinox is sort of like a second New Years. Everyone sets off with a renewed sense of hope, new resolutions that kinda don’t seem so artificial. On a Sunday when I slept all of that away, I had a Coffee Oreo cone and Marissa got Green Tea.

I can find reviews online for ice cream at this location for  the past few years, but it seems as though it changed hands in the past year or two and was bought by two brothers, one of whom is usually found manning the counter. It’s kind of amazing that in as collegiate an area as Brighton that this is the only ice cream shoppe in this area aside from a Cold Stone. Then again with rents in Boston as exorbitant as they are, it can be surprising that any independent stores exist at all in the city.

There’s no real sign that this isn’t homemade ice cream, but the lack of a sign is often sign enough. When a store is making ice cream where they sell it, they usually are sure to make a point of it so that everyone knows. It was only by  peeking into the freezer and noticing the logo on the side of the cartons that I was able to determine that the source for 3 Scoops is actually Herrell’s.

As it is, these guys cover their bases. Their menu includes twenty-one flavors of ice cream (plus three more flavors of the day), three sherbets, five sorbets, two soft serves (plus a swirl), and seven frozen yogurt options. They offer a bunch of specialty ice cream drinks with one of their immaculately chalked menu boards dedicated to them. It’s cones that are almost an afterthought as they are on the bottom of the last board in a smaller font alongside pints and quarts.

I gave the blueberry a taste, but anyone who actually looks into the freezer and not just at a list of names is bound to be drawn to one of the Oreo options. The cartons look more the black of the cookie than the color of the cream that is holding them in solution. The ice cream is definitely present as well, and it approaches a custardy consistency here. The coffee flavor is subtle and sweet, not the sort that is an alternative to injecting caffeine into your veins.

Located in Brighton, this makes a good place for people watching and conveniently enough, there are two benches in front of the store that provide a perfect spot for indulging in a cone at the same time. For those that are already bundling up, or don’t like to eat ice cream while in a sweatshirt, there is plenty of seating inside as well. The walls even feature the works of some local artists, so you get the flavor of Brighton either way.

Cone – small $2.65 medium $3.25 large $3.95

Sundae – regular $3.95 large $5.25

Frappe $4.50

3 Scoops

403 Washington St, Brighton, MA 02135

617 779-9030

Open year round / seasonally?

Daily noon-9p

3 Scoops online

C.B. Scoops – West Medford MA

16 09 2008

There’s something about train stops that seems to attract ice cream shops. It seems as though every time I find a station, there’s a cone within a block or two. When I was looking for this place I knew I must be near when I crossed the tracks. Most of the confusion didn’t come until after I got my Toll House cone.

If you look at that picture, you’ll clearly see that it says Camille’s Ice Cream and Candy Shoppe, however that is not the name of this place. At least not anymore. Camille’s was bought out in the Spring by Joe Conway and Elizabeth Barber who creatively used the first letter of each of their last names to come up with C.B. Scoops. Apparently there has been a series of delays that have kept Camille’s on the sign and awning above the door.

The biggest change seems to be the addition of some tables for seating inside and the elimination of the candy that had been part of the previous name. Instead the new shoppe is also serving coffee and pastries, which seems to be a way to appease an older clientele as opposed to giving kids a supreme sugar high. Reports across the web show that some people preferred the previous carnation, but in truth neither place made their own ice cream, and both use Richardson’s as their supplier.

The palate is pretty limited with just over a dozen flavors to choose from and a sherbet selection as the only variant. Without having made it to Middleton this summer, it still seems as though I have tried most of the flavors that Richardson’s offers up. The biggest thing I dislike about places like this is that they don’t change up their menu options and rarely feature seasonal flavors when they aren’t the ones making it.

After a couple of samples, I landed on the Toll House ice cream to fill my sugar cone. I’d actually been thinking about a flavor like this lately. While I’m not above eating a whole batch of cookie dough without turning the oven on, I was wondering why people didn’t make ice cream that featured actual cookies. With perfectly crispy cookies balanced in a simple vanilla ice cream, this fit the bill.

I stopped here since I was heading over to Tufts to play a concert. As I was loading in, we were informed that we’d get fed for playing, and were escorted to one of the dining halls on campus. It’s been a while since I’ve got to be in a wide open cafeteria, and the options were a lot like I recalled. They did have an Edy’s soft serve machine that spit out sickly sweet banana, strawberry, or a swirl of the two. Merely the smell (and the advice of Joe who tried it first) kept me away.

Cone – small $2.99 medium $3.75 large $4.50

Sundae – small $4.59 large $5.59

Frappe $4.25

C.B. Scoops

453 High St, West Medford MA 02155

781 393-5959

Open year round

Sunday-Thursday noon-9p Friday, Saturday noon-10p

C.B. Scoops online

Brown’s – York ME

15 09 2008

Driving after dusk takes a bunch of the majesty out of Concordville. You know, it’s that odd little peninsula just north of York Beach. It’s all windy streets and little houses and craggy shores. Not that I know since my headlights don’t illuminate much of anything beyond mailboxes and campaign posters with this heavy fog. Finding my destination, I ate a Checkerberry cone.

At dinner a few nights before, it was my friend Sean’s mom who was the one who told us the bad news about Hodgman’s season already being over. She also made this recommendation to me, so I felt obliged to heed it as I drove south. Usually Brown’s isn’t open long after dark, so there is no light to shine on their sign, but there was forewarning that it’s at the top of the hill helped me to make it here with no problem.

For the fall they are only open Friday Saturday and Sunday from noon-8p, and only until Columbus Day, figuring that the Maine Coast is rarely in the list of anyone’s Winter destinations. Once the wind starts blowing cold, you can’t keep a place as exposed as this open long without indoor seating. However with a patch of picnic tables and the water all around, there’s probably few better places to have a cone by the ocean and not have it melt before you get there.

I was looking down the menu for something distinctly Maine. I don’t really think of Maine Tracks as having much to do with the state despite the name they replaced from the more common Moose Tracks. I wonder if that is Sarah Palin’s favorite ice cream, she does seem to like moose. Will someone please photoshop her head onto a “Bullwinkle for President” T-Shirt for me? Don’t blame me, they are the one’s who have a McCandy Caine ice cream on their menu board with a patriotic elephant next to it.

I made the choice of checkerberry without much advance knowledge. The word wintergreen is printed in small letters next to it, but I figured there was something more to it than that. Subsequent internet research has revealed that teaberry, wintergreen, and checkerberry are all the same thing. The reason for the pink hue attributed to this flavor are the small red berries that are the fruit of this plant. Not as sweet as some variants on this flavor can be, the bold cream flavor carried the mint and tempered the sugar very nicely. A really wonderful cone and a staff that was helpful even when I was asking questions as they were waiting for the moment they could close.

Sometimes I really do thing backwards. I was most concerned with ice cream, so I went for the cone first rather than dinner. I had planned to stop somewhere for a lobster roll and spied Fox’s Lobster House out by the lighthouse nearby. Since they had the added option of outdoor seating and ordering, it seemed perfect and I sat out on a stone bench in the park across the street and watched the shore get lit by the regular sweep of that lighthouse‘s beam. Had I flip-flopped my choices, Fox’s serves Shain’s of Maine ice cream so I would have found a cone. Instead I settled for a sandwich and a sample of their Pumpkin Pecan.

Cone – kids $3 small $4 large $4.75

Sundae – 1flavor $5 2flavor $6

Frappe $5

Brown’s Old Fashion Ice Cream

232 Nubble Rd, York, ME 03909

207 363-1277

Open May-Columbus Day

Fall Friday, Saturday, Sunday noon-8p Mon-Thurs Closed

Brown’s online

Red’s Dairy Freeze – South Portland ME

14 09 2008

With the custard shops north of Portland already out of the running, sometimes the easiest thing to do is find the places that are nearby and in operation still. I’d had this spot in my sights for a while, but figured I’d go on my way back from Higgins Beach. Instead I got a soft serve Butter Pecan cone on a rainy dreary Sunday afternoon.

Red’s has been in South Portland since 1952. It actually was a Tastee Freeze for the first dozen years of its existence before Red Bolling broke from the franchise and made this spot his own. Red was a delivery driver for Hood and didn’t retire from that job until the mortgage on Red’s was paid off in 1967. They’ve provided the residents south of Casco Bay with soft serve ice cream and other confections every summer for over fifty years.

The shop used to have the look of a classic drive in, but somewhere along the way, they build a second story on the building that makes it take the shape of a barn. There is parking all around the building and it seems as though the place to attack your cone is from inside your car. Nearly everyone – aside from two kids zooming around the parking lot on razor scooters – made a beeline back to their vehicle after getting their ice cream. There wasn’t really anywhere else to sit and eat, so I wandered around the lot, and even checked out the house for sale adjacent to Red’s.

I’m sort of stunned that I hadn’t been to this spot before, but I don’t even recall driving past it until my friend Zack showed me where it was the day before as we were on our way to 158 for breakfast. It stands out from a block a way and as soon as I turned my head and saw it, it was unfathomable that I had missed it. Less than a block from my regular paths, sometimes you don’t know how close something you want really is.

I scanned the menu boards that coat  the front of the barn and after deciphering at my options –  since they are Mainers, what is called a Blizzard by DQphiles is referred to as a Nor’Easter here – I went with a simple butter pecan cone from their soft serve menu. There’s no hard ice cream here at all, but after  the amount of time they have been here, they know how to make soft serve. While there’s no pecan chunks in this mix, it’s a perfectly blended smooth mix that has the right flavors.

It was actually the ad for the banana split that pointed me to the fact that this place had been here for as long as it has – “World Famous Since 1952.” This came to Maine in the first wave of soft serve joints. Red had seen that soft serve was catching on elsewhere and opened this shop right after the first Dairy Queen came to Maine. While other places have come and gone, Red’s is a fixture, and a great taste reminder of what can make soft-serve so good.

Cone – small $1.65 medium $2.30 large $2.90

Sundae – small $2.75 medium $3.55 large $4.65 extra large $6

Shakes – small $2.45 medium $3.05 large $3.75

Red’s Dairy Freeze

167 Cottage Rd, South Portland, ME 04106

207 799-7506

Open seasonally

Fall hours: daily noon-9p


Smiling Hill Farm – Westbrook ME

13 09 2008

This didn’t start off very well. A big part of the reason that I came to Maine this weekend is that I figured I was booked the next couple weekends and by that time some of the places I wanted to go would already be closed. I didn’t expect that Hodgman’s already was. Thankfully I had a support network that provided an option where I got a Ladybug cone.

My knowledge of Smiling Hill Farms starts at the 7-11 on Congress St who used to sell quarts of their flavored milks in glass bottles. Even with the full dollar deposit on the glass bottles that I rarely remembered to return, this was one of the regular staples of my late night diet and my drive south. They made a blueberry milk that always left me reeling.

The Knight family who runs this farm has lived in Westbrook since the 1700s. With a herd of fifty Holsteins, they operate a full dairy that produces milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream. The dairy is in a barn at the base of the estate and overlooks the fields where those cows roam freely. They try to support a sustainable environment and even put their milk into reusable glass bottles.

Samples of dips and cheeses and fudge and butter are a nice treat while you meander around trying to make up your mind (plus there was a sample of vanilla milk to cleanse my palate). With wooden walls, the market has a very rustic quality, yet maintains a sense of cleanliness that never raises the question of how close the robust cheeses are to the cow pies.

My friend Betsy and I decided to bring a quart back to our friends for dessert later on tonight and chose the Indian pudding for the whole gang. She had an apple pie cone, while I chose ladybug – a strawberry ice cream with chocolate chips. I was expecting more of the fresh cream flavor to burst through here, but instead it seems as though they used their strawberry milk as a base since there were no pieces of strawberry within the ice cream. The chocolate chips were square chunks that were spread evenly through the cone.

There is limited seating inside the market – it is definitely a market rather than a parlor, but outside there is more than you can want with picnic tables, a petting zoo, a large wooden train and plane for kids to play on, and marvelous vistas to look at while you eat. In all honesty it might be worth it to come here just to meet the John Deere-a-Saurus.

Cone – small $2.25 medium $2.95 large $3.75

Sundae $3.95

Frappe $3.95

Smiling Hill Farm Dairy & Market

781 County Rd, Westbrook, ME 04092

207 775-4818

Open year round

Monday-Saturday 11a-7:30p Sunday noon-7:30p


UNH Dairy Bar – Durham NH

12 09 2008

Google got me lost again. I should have paid more attention, but they inconveniently swapped out a “Ln” for a “Rd” and I wound up miles from where I wanted to be. Thankfully I knew that this spot was on the UNH campus and at the train station, so finding it was easy. The balloons helped lead me to a Mint Explosion cone.

The balloons up on Main St because today was the Grand Opening of the UNH Dairy Bar. While it was actually more of a re-opening, this wasn’t merely a factor of the new semester, the building had just completed a nearly million dollar renovation. It’s still the same old train station that was moved from Lynn more than eighty years before.

The new facility is clean and modern and still serves as both a campus dining spot, Amtrak depot, and an ice cream parlor. There are seats and booths inside and a bar that runs parallel to the tracks and has floor to ceiling windows. There’s also extensive seating outside under an awning right by the tracks (most of those waiting had no cones), and for those interested in something more active, you can watch field hockey practice on an adjacent field.

With a new menu that proclaims itself as “Local. Sustainable. Fresh.,” it’s more than a bit odd that the source of ice cream at this place is not UNH’s own dairy. Instead of offering their own ice cream and having this be the primary outlet, the ice cream instead comes from Blake’s, a local New Hampshire company. I guess UNH has no ice cream sciences degree as I was hoping this spot would be more like UConn, Mizzou, Penn State, or Cornell, but alas.

I tasted the graham central station, but it paled in comparison to the place in Scranton, so I dove in to test out the mint explosion. The ice cream was a strong mint with a light green hue. It probably could have been a bit sweeter, but instead the mint was highlighted more. The candies inside the ice cream were chocolate covered mint, and even the chocolate swirl seemed to have minty overtones. Being the first day in operation, the cone was fresh and free from any elements of refreeze that September is so prone to bring out. If you want a mint to kick you in the pants, this should fit the bill.

For what would be the end of the season at most places, it’s always strange when you get served a cone with as precarious a sense of balance as this – there was almost no ice cream inside the cone and what was there kept trying to fall out of its own accord. It seemed like they overdelegate responsibilities as one person took my order, another took my money, and a third served me my cone. I guess this spot is run by the school’s restaurant management department. The full menu available looked both good and affordable, and it accepts UNH’s meal plan money as well. If I were a student, I can’t imagine needing to make it into a cafeteria except for the mornings when I want to binge on cereal and French toast.

Cone – regular $2.59 large $3.29

Sundae – regular $3.99 large $4.99

Frappe $3.59

UNH Dairy Bar

4 Depot Rd, Durham NH 03824

603 862-1006

Open year round

Monday-Friday 6:30a-8p Saturday & Sunday 11a-8p