Lago’s Lone Oak Ice Cream – Rye NH

28 04 2009

After extending my stay in Portland a day longer than I’d anticipated, I found myself with no obligations until I needed to get to MIT for my radio show. Having meandered up Route 1, I made my way hastily back to New Hampshire before I detoured around the tolls. It was just south of Portsmouth that I snacked upon Cookie Monster in a sugar cone.

lago's lagos lone oak ice cream rye seacoast nh

I can’t find much on this place as far as any sense of history goes. I think I stopped here at one point with my dad when I was in junior high and was trying to buy my first stereo. I know that we went to State Street Discount which is close to across the street, and then we had ice cream somewhere nearby. No idea about what flavor I had, and I wound up picking up all of my Technics unit at a store in the Pheasant Lane Mall.

There’s a second location for Lago’s that’s over in Rochester. Actually I’m not sure which is first and which is second, but if you check the website, the Rochester store has a way better logo as they make it look like the Man in the Mountain is licking a cone. This place is pretty prefab with a long line of windows for selling scoops through and an indoor seating area on one end.

Lago’s offers a ton of flavor options. Limiting myself to just the hard ice cream, I had to try their Indian Pudding ice cream first. They bill it as their fall flavor and without the richness offered in farm-based ice cream shoppes, it didn’t have the boldness to make it transcend seasons. I averted myself from the Chocolate Monkey as soon as I realized it was just their variation on banana and chocolate. That’s when I noticed the sign at the bottom – intended for those half my height – for Cookie Monster ice cream.

A simple vanilla base is dyed a light blue color, in an attempt to resemble the fur color of my favorite Muppet. What they add to that are Oreos, animal crackers, and chocolate chip cookies. The cookies all fight for space and bring interesting flavors to each bite, with none dominating overall, but each bite having very distinct characteristics. The blue vanilla was a very simple flavor and while this cone may have been carried better by other bases, none of them are easy to make blue.

cookie monster lago's lone oak ice cream rye nh

There’s a load of picnic tables in the adjacent lot, and I tried to get them all in this shot, but got a few at least. I was hoping all of this green would bring the blue in the cone out, but this image appears far more aqua than the reality. There’s signage over here that makes it seem as though that area is used for events during the summer, or maybe they just set up an auxiliary stand for overflow.

Cone – baby $2.50 kids $3.25 small $3.75 large $4.25 triple$5.25

Sundae – small $5 large $5.75 super $6.75

Frappe $4.75 extra-thick $5.50

Lago’s Lone Oak Ice Cream

71 Lafayette Rd, Rye, NH‎

603 964-9880‎

Open year April-October

Daily noon-9p

Lib’s Dairy Treats – Portland ME

27 04 2009

For as strong as I can be at geography, sometimes I just get lost. I’m really glad that my friend Tim was driving here, because I’ve realized that my knowledge of Portland is very peninsula-centric. Tim, his girlfriend Katie, his bandmate Sean, and I headed north and I wound up with a Soft-Serve Chocolate cone with a Butterscotch Dip.

lib's dairy treats soft serve ice cream portland maine me

Much like Red’s in South Portland, Lib’s is the sort of place that may have been here forever. The art deco coloration and simple roadside architecture reinforce those feelings. The fact that no one can remember a time when Lib’s wasn’t here is almost enough for confirmation of that concept. The only thing most people remember is the throngs of folks that line up on the first day of Spring – even when they are clad in winter coats and scarves.

The drive-in doesn’t offer a menu of road-fare here, focusing instead on the dairy treats of their name. Sometimes places like this can get lost in trying to please everyone. Thankfully, they don’t and there is no chance that anyone will have relish from someone else’s hot dog drip on their cone or have nacho cheese mix with the rest of the dairy. Lib’s doesn’t even make an attempt at hard ice cream.

The lot is laid out so that most of the people who order here just head back to their cars and eat in drive-in style. With a crew of folks holding cones, the picnic tables provided a better locale for taking our time and just hanging out. Sitting in the car and eating is no fun when you can’t really turn around in the car to see those behind you.

With no crazy flavors to try, I opted for a simple chocolate and then had it dipped in butterscotch. There were a few options for dips as well as the possibility of jimmies or crunch instead. My dip seemed as though the person who did it was a bit afraid to commit to dipping the first time and went back for a second attempt. The result was a thick coating that was a special treat, but it also raised the temperature of the ice cream below so by the time I cracked the shell, the ice cream was leaking like crazy. A nice soft-serve destination, but who knows if I could find this place again.

butterscotch dip chocolate soft ice cream lib's dairy treats portland maine me

I still don’t understand why soft-serve places don’t ever offer sugar cones. We had a nice argument over the relative merits of the cake cones. I wish I had opted for the swirl, but I was a bit frightened by the machine that shared peanut butter ice cream and a blueberry confection that was sort of like a sorbet. I’m not sure that a peanutberry cone has the same merits that a javaberry does.

Cone – kiddie $1.36 small $1.87 medium $2.23 large $2.51

Sundae – small $2.25 medium $2.59 large $2.89

Shake – small $2.95 large $3.41 malt +$.40

Lib’s Dairy Treats

32 Auburn St, Portland, ME 04103

207 797-4133

Open seasonally

Hours- not posted

Lib’s online

Sundaes At The Beach – Wells ME

26 04 2009

The calendar is skewed a few weeks behind when you head north. Driving through Maine it seemed as though many of the ice cream shoppes were going to hold out until May to open their doors. While Massachusetts finds Patriot’s Day as a sign that it’s time to scoop, it’s only when you travel that you realize that Massachusetts is the only place that celebrates Patriot’s Day in any capacity. The open flag here led me to a Blue Hill Blueberry cone.

sundaes at the on the beach ice cream wells moody maine me

Sundaes At The Beach opened here in the summer of 2007. Former firefighter and insurance agent (respectively) Bob and Natalie Heleniak left behind their previous lives in Connecticut to begin making ice cream in the basement of this building situated on Route 1, not too far from their current home in Biddeford.

The store has tons of room, with indoor tables enough that this place could stay open year round if there was the demand for it. Outside is a large porch with an extensive rigging for a full canopy in the summer (it’s not up yet). There’s a handicapped ramp that edges that porch and also serves as the border for a patio full of picnic tables as well. It’s tough to imagine there’s enough parking in this lot to fill all of the seats that they’ve got here.

When it comes to the naming of flavors, each of the ice cream flavors has been paired with an alliterative Maine region, except unexplicably the Mega Mint Chocolate Chip. Mostly the pairings are done between towns and tastes with Orono Orange Pineapple, Port Clyde Peanut Butter Cup, and Saco Strawberry being ideal examples of this sort of punnery. The sorbet, frozen yogurt, Italian ice, and even sugar free ice cream all have unadorned flavor names.

While I passed on the sundae bar this time out, I was drawn to the store’s twist on blueberry ice cream. Named Blue Hill blueberry, the flavor was sweet and creamy, without any rich heavy overtones. It would be easy to eat a whole lot of this in one sitting, which is a good thing when sundaes are the explicit focus of this spot. I only wonder whether they use fresh local blueberries later in the season when they are ripe. This cone was strewn with the skin of blueberries and it was apparent that this is the same sort of dried fruit that you might find in a blueberry bagel.

Blue Hill Blueberry Sundaes At The Beach Moody Wells Maine Me

New England geography is always a genuine treat. If people were looking for this place, any document will list this as being situated in Wells. However, as with many places, there are names that still exist but are only used by postal carriers to further subdivide regions with terms that are wholly antiquated. Maybe that’s why you could also describe this place as being adjacent to the Moody Post Office.

Cone – single $2.95 low tide $3.75 high tide $4.25

Sundae – kids $3.99 regular $5.49 large $6.25

Shake $5.50

Sundaes At The Beach

231 Post Road (Route 1) Wells, ME

207 646-LICK

Open April-October

Wednesday-Sunday noon-9p

Route 1 Run: From Kittery to Portland

25 04 2009

With no real time to actually arrive in Portland last night, I decided to add more than an hour to my trip by taking Route 1 up from Kittery rather than 95. In doing so, I tried to spy every ice cream shop along the way and take an inventory of what was going on down this stretch of pavement. Because I actually stopped at the When Pig’s Fly Outlet and bought dessert, I only had one cone on this trek, and I’ll break out an individual review for that.

1. Mrs & Me
400 Us Route 1, Kittery, ME 03904
207 439-1141

mrs and & me kittery me ice cream

An easy way to start. With a sign like that all you need to do is read. And wait until May.

2. Dick Chase’s Ice Cream Plaza
1 York St, York, ME 03909
207 351-3378

dick chase ice cream plaza york me

I’d spied this place before, but now it seems too late. The inside has been gutted with only some booths and PVC plumbing remaining.

3. The Ice Cream House
1300 Us Rt. 1, York, ME 03909
207 363-5800

the ice cream house york me

Not open yet, another May place. The sign on the door includes a map that directs really hungry customer to their sister store, The Village Scoop Ice Cream in York.

4. Ben & Jerry’s Udder Delights
16 Main St, Ogunquit, ME 03907
207 646-9043

ben and jerrys & udder delights ogunquit me

This is part of the pharmacy complex in downtown Ogunquit. I stuck my camera out the window.

5. Sundaes at the Beach
231 Post Road, Wells, ME 04090
207 646-5425

sundaes at the beach wells me ice cream facing away

Open and alive. I actually got a blueberry cone here, so I’ll write much more about this place.

6. Skin’s Scoop
261 Post Rd, Wells, ME 04090

skin's scoop ice cream wells me

Barely a football field north of Sundaes, even the offer of dollar cones, was too quick for more than a photo

7. Dairy Queen of Wells
1517 Post Rd # 1, Wells, ME 04090
207 646-8212

I hadn’t decided whether to take photos of every DQ on this run. This time I didn’t.

8. Big Daddy’s
2165 Post Rd, Wells, ME 04090
(207) 646-5454

big daddy's ice cream wells maine

Joel from Death Vessel’s favorite place. We went here last summer. The outdoor window isn’t open yet, but they are open Wednesday-Sunday from noon-9p right now.

9. Dairy Queen Store
1 High St, Kennebunk, ME 04043
207 985-3050

dairy queen ice cream kennebunk maine

I didn’t get out of my car to take this picture, but I did pull over to the side of the road.

10. Dairy Joy
311 Elm St, Biddeford, ME 04005
207 284-4000

dairy joy biddeford maine ice cream

This place was slammed. Cars all around people really excited. Probably their first day of the season, but then again it was eighty degrees out, people are just drawn to ice cream in such conditions.

11. Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream & Treatery
51 Elm St, Saco, ME 04072

maggie moo's ice cream and treatery saco maine

Only some decaying signage remains. Maggie must not have been tall enough to take ’em down, and no one else had the heart to.

12. Dairy Queen
517 Main St, Saco, ME 04072
207 282-1963

Another one, really? I tried to take a picture by holding my camera out my moon roof and pointing back at it. I missed and got a good shot of the gas station next door.

13. Martel’s Ice Cream
757 Portland Rd, Saco, ME 04072
207 283-1775

martel's ice cream saco maine me

This looks like the sort of homemade place that we definitely need to go back and check on. Lots of folks, fun rustic barn feel. How does it taste?

14. Dairy Corner
612 Us Route 1, Scarborough, ME 04074
207 883-6939

dairy corner ice cream scarborough maine

A zoo. Signs for everything you can hope to come out of a stand like this, heck there’s even a hot dog and frappe special for less than $5. And there’s a used book/record/DVD shop in the plaza next door.

15. Cold Stone Creamery
398 Us Route 1, Scarborough, ME 04074
207 885-1330

coldstone creamery tim horton's scarborough maine ice cream

Actually part of the new thing where Cold Stone’s are sharing spaces with Tim Horton’s. Horton’s gets the breakfast crowd, Cold Stone doesn’t start happening until the afternoon and ne’er the twain shall meet.

16. Dairy Queen of South Portland
317 Main St, South Portland, ME 04106
207 799-0568

Dairy Queen DQ of South So So. S Portland ME Maine Ice Cream

Figures. This is the last place on Route 1 before it folds into 295 and becomes an actual highway. Good timing though as it’s getting too dark for photos.

As I was nearing Portland, my pal Sean gave me a call so we knew where to meet up. In a bizarrely ironic twist of fate as I looked in my rearview mirror, I was being followed by an ice cream truck. While trying to figure out how to take his picture, he turned off. This is all I got:

good humor, bad website

Three Sisters – Providence RI

18 04 2009

Rhode Island continues to be an ice cream mystery to me. The more I seek out places the more vacant lots and improperly addressed places I find. Since I was heading to town to play a show at a warehouse space in Olneyville, I made a list of places to seek. It was my fourth attempt that led me to Three Sisters where I had a cone with both Chocolate Trail Mix and Kentucky Cappuccino.

three sisters ice cream providence rhode island
Three sisters is located in the Hope region of Providence, and by the time I found it, I was nearly running out so it was a nice sight to see. This used to be the home of another ice cream joint that went by the name of Maximillian’s, but it seems as though Three Sisters has been in place for a few years in their own right.

At the junction where Hope and Backstone meet, this place seems to be as much about the coffee as it is ice cream. It seems that many ice cream places have been using this tactic to keep in business and to use their space during times when few folks would be looking for a cone. What  happens is that the hours are shifted backwards with early hours and early closes as well. This place opens up before the crew that’s been working outside my house tearing up the pavement even gets here.

With a nice array of tables inside and a few outside beneath an awning, Three Sisters is a pretty laid back place. The awning even has hanging signs that tell passersby the daily special and what the most recent flavor that they have made. The menu is divided into ice creams that are always available,  get ’em while you can, and three flavor-based specials. I noticed the specials last – they have a chocolate, coffee, and sorbet – and when I couldn’t really decide (and I’d already maxed out on my quota of samples), my scooper recommended splitting the cone.

On top was the coffee special – Kentucky cappuccino. While it was supposed to feature cinnamon, chocolate chips, and bourbon, the alchohol taste was pretty non-existant. Had this been billed as a Mexican chocolate, it’d’ve been far more right. Beneath that scoop was the chocolate trail mix which was a chocolate ice cream with chocolate pretzels and dried fruit. The pretzels didn’t hold up well in the ice cream and had become saturated to the point where there was no crunch left and they were almost indistinguishable from the fruit. As far as what fruit it was that’s another question, as I expected mostly raisins, but got some massive chewy chunks that I couldn’t place. It’s nice when an ice cream place is willing to open their flavors to experimentation, and the ice cream itself was good, but these weren’t combinations that wholly worked.

chocolate trail mix kentucky cappucino ice cream cone three sisters providence rhode island

Had this been the afternoon, there’s a great patch of grass across the street for lounging or playing catch, but instead, I was off to play a show so I looped around the city triangulating on my friend’s apartment. Like most things around here, the warehouse that we played in was tough to find, but once we found it, things were good. A lot like this cone.

Cone – kiddie $1.75 small $2.75 large $3.75

Sundae – kiddie $2.75 small $3.75 large $4.75 banana  $4.95

Milkshake – small $3.95 large $4.95

Three Sisters Ice Cream

1074 Hope St, Providence, RI‎

401 273-7230‎

Open year round

Monday-Thursday 6:30a-8p, Friday 6:30a-10p, Saturday 8a-10p, Sunday 8a-8p

Kimball’s at Bates Farm – Carlisle MA

17 04 2009

With an unexpected day off, I checked around to find ice cream stands that were open. A bunch of answering machines provided teases for forthcoming opening dates, but a little research revealed that all three Kimball’s locations are up and running. A new route brought me right through Carlisle where I found a Caramel Cashew Chip cone.

kimball farm at bates farm carlisle mass ice cream

Most people who know Kimball Farm Ice Cream, do so because of their main location in Westford. It’s one of the  biggest revelations  for people to realize just how important ice cream is to the Massachusettsian palate. What began in 1939 as a simple dairy farm has expanded into a bona fide ice cream amusement park. In the late eighties, this second location just a few miles away was set up. A third store in Jaffrey, New Hampshire is the most recent addition to the Kimball empire.

The thing of it is, the Carlisle stand doesn’t seem like it’s the part of anything else. It’s a simple ice cream stand  built on the site of another farm. The only thing that intrudes from the old farm is the adjacent field with sheep and the duck pond. Instead of bumper boats and various sizes of golf, the only thing here is a picnic bench filled veranda behind the stand. Best of all is that the lines are short and quick, the zoo atmosphere only exists at all when the wind blows from where the sheep are feeding.

Ice cream isn’t made at this location, so by definition, it is not homemade. However, with the headquarters less than seven miles away, things here are just as fresh as they are in Westford. With a more relaxed pace, there are certainly aspects of this small spot that make it superior. I was focused in on the German Chocolate cone, but a sample drew me away from that and instead to the caramel cashew chip.

Even in this mild spring weather, there was no way to control the dripping of this cone before it started to leak all over my hand. Kimball’s is known for their large portions and this was certainly no exception. The thing that is sometimes forgotten when you check the size of a cone is that this is damn fine ice cream. With a rich caramel base, and equal portions of chocolate chips and fresh cashews, this was the sort of cone that’s the right way to start spring. The cashews really control the flavor and they are strong yet subtle and the result is an ice cream that isn’t trying for novelty so much as quality.

caramel cashew chip ice cream kimball bate farm carlisle mass

The old farm equipment around the lot is pretty amazing. Both the tractor in the picture above and a till in the middle of the parking lot are stuck in cement. They are vestiges of a different era, but at the same time, likely as far as the town of Carlisle will ever allow Kimball’s to encroach on their idyllic nature. While there may be room for a few bumper boats in that duck pond, I wouldn’t expect any such changes during the next century.

Related Review:

Cone – small $3.60 large $3.95

Sundae $4.95 Doubledae $5.65 Banana Split $6.20

Frappe $4.65 extra thick $4.95

Kimball Farm Ice Cream At Bates Farm

343 Bedford Rd (Rt.225), Carlisle, MA 01741

978 369-1910

Open April-October

Daily 10a-9p

Free Ice Cream Party!

12 04 2009

At this point, we’ve not worked out enough a plan of action (or the requisite investment) to do something like this on our own, so instead we just like to alert you to the contests of others. It’s seems like Edy’s wants to make lots of folks happy this summer and they are giving away stuff for 1500 neighborhoods to have an ice cream party. Edy’s Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute is an ice cream social for up to 100 guests.


Each party will get 10 cartons of Edy’s Slow Churned light ice cream with all the fixings, plus three dozen snack size ice cream cups, and a “Party in a Box,” full of scoops, name tags, invitations, and yard signs. All you have to do is submit an essay 350 words or less or upload a video submission of one minute or less explaining why your neighborhood is deserving. Essays will be judged on originality/creativity, enthusiasm, and what makes their neighborhood special. The deadline is May 29, and the parties will run from July through September. If you win, just be sure to invite us. To fill your freezer, visit