Without snow on the ground, the New Years Eve ice cream quest really doesn’t feel much different from any quest for ice cream through the Fall. I took my buddy Tom, who’s to blame for the slow pace of entries thanks to getting me an ice cream maker for my birthday. We lunched in Salem and snuck back to Treadwell’s where I got a Heavenly Hash cone and Tom a Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.
Treadwell’s has been in Peabody since the end of the second World War. In 1946, returning veteran Russ Treadwell set up an ice cream stand that has been part of the north shore ice cream landscape since. In 2000, the stand was bought by the Gould family who continue to operate the ice cream stand the whole year round.
114 winds around making some sharp turns and road changes as you get off 128, but if you follow signs, Treadwell’s is a pretty easy find. It’s location a few blocks south of Bishop Fenwick High School means that you should probably not plan to be there at the same time as school lets out every day, unless you don’t mind being in the midst of a swarm of teens.
The surrounding area is pretty non-descript, without other businesses in the area or any real place that you can walk to with a cone. It’s a town ice cream stand with a big parking lot that doubles as an area that you can wander with your cones. Inside there is a bar with a half dozen seats that face out onto Peabody streets. While standing inside I had a sample of the heavenly hash before going for a whole cone.
For an ice cream place that’s open year round, I would have expected more experimenting and seasonal flavors, but their seasonal options were printed on the main board. Relegated to more basic options the heavenly hash balanced a strong chocolate with a soft marshmallow swirl that pulled in big almond chunks and chocolate chips. A similar consistency to fellow north shore ice cream at Richardson’s, Treadwell’s smaller batches give them a greater sense of character without doing much of anything radical. They just do it right.
For a year ending cone, this was just the right taste: a very Massachusetts cone that’s a crazy combination, but wholly traditional at the same time. I may start sharing some of my more successful recipes with my ice cream machine, but with my attempts going to the radical (dragonfruit ice cream with a kiwi compote anyone?) there are some grand failures as well. Even bad ice cream is still edible though.
Cone – kiddie $2.75 small $3.50 large $4.25
Frappe – small $3.45 medium $3.85 large $4.75
Treadwell’s World Famous Ice Cream
Open year round
Monday-Saturday 10a-10 Sunday 11a-10p