It’s truly frightening that Labor Day marks the end of the season many places when it comes to ice cream. Thankfully though this is rampant in the areas north of Portland in Maine, it’s only a portent of things to come across Massachusetts. Riding with the top down in my mom’s convertible, we stopped for cones, mine was Peppermint Stick.
This is the first place that I’ve been that even upon leaving I wasn’t quite sure of the name. Conrad’s is the name on the building and it doubles as a place where you can get both fresh fish (due to an association with locations in both Gloucester and Fall River), and family friendly roadside fare. Howard’s is what they call the ice cream, and all that denotes this is a separate ordering window in the front.
While I’m not sure if Howard’s is an offspring of Conrad’s or a business that was annexed, Conrad’s itself was opened in 1946. There’s no indoor seating, but outside there are covered tents and picnic tables and a plethora of options. I chose wandering the grounds around the perimeter of the large parking lot and finding a fenced in area filled with geese.
The menu board for the ice cream was a haggard patchwork of signs from a computer printer with blue masking tape covering the flavors that were now gone. I usually wouldn’t mention what the menu looked like, but the one key problem was that the prices for cones weren’t anywhere in the mix. Anyhow, I sampled the Bearfoot Brownie, and I couldn’t decipher homemade brownie, so I opted for Peppermint Stick.
Peppermint is the sort of flavor that is perfect after driving with the top down and the first kiss of fall in the air. With a nice pink flavor and both green and red candies peppered throughout the mix, it’s the sort of taste that reminds you that winter isn’t all that far away without bashing you on the head by calling this flavor candy cane. My mom didn’t fare as well with her cone when she didn’t stumble into any actual pieces of Heath bar in her Coffee Heath.
Our initial target was a bit further up the road in Fitchburg, but after winding our way through some back roads, we found Marshall Farms not to have any activity at all, never mind ice cream. Just another reminder that I really need to call ahead and not rely solely on Google Maps.
Cone – small $2? medium $3? large $4?
Sundae – regular $4.25 large $5.50
Frappe $3.49 extra thick $3.99
Conrad’s Drive-In Restaurant / Howard’s Ice Cream
Open April – Columbus Day