With it being National Ice Cream Day, and way too hot to just hang around my apartment, I finally hit the road when the sun started shining in the windows. A hop on 128 led me up to Manchester-by-the-sea, where I hit the beach and then met up with my old high school pal Pete for a Holy Roller cone (he opted for a frappe).
Captain Dusty’s may have one of the best locations of any ice cream parlor around. Folks from Boston who take the train up to go to Singing Beach have to walk right past this building to get to the beach. Which also means you need to walk past it on your way back. Unless you’ve got resident parking, there is no escaping Captain Dusty’s.
The shack had been converted to an ice cream stand back in 1995 and was purchased by the current owners, John & Lisa Bartlett, back in 1996. Since then, they’ve expanded to shops in Beverly Farms and Salem, and started making their own ice cream instead of relying on local distributors. Now they produce about 27,000 gallons annually.
The front of the shop is packed with groups of families waiting for orders to be filled and it’s such a zoo inside that your first impulse after paying is to head to the park across the street. The benches, monument, baseball field, and gazebo there provide ample shade and an ideal place for eating a cone, which is good since there’s no place inside Dusty’s to sit.
Even with cool flavors like White Russian Chip on the regular menu, the first look here is to their “Flavors of the Moment,” and the Holy Roller, which is described as Chocolate Oreo with Mini Oreos seems too decadent to pass up. A creamy bold chocolate base provides the perfect setting for an overload of Oreo goodness. If the balance of this were skewed any more to the cookies, there might not me any ice cream at all, but as it is, it’s a great wallop of flavor.
Pete’s frappe was based on Mint Chocolate Chip, and led us to a discussion of shakes with stuff in them. By the time he was done there was a cluster of chocolate at the bottom of the cup. While sometimes there is nothing better than that treat at the end of a frappe, lately I’ve been leaning toward simple flavors rather than having a clump of nut and cookie fragments to deal with after sucking on a straw.
Cone – kiddie $2.45 small $3.25 medium $3.65 large $4.25
Sundae – small $4.55 large $5.55
Frappe $4.50 extra thick $4.95