Manning Farm – Scranton PA

11 08 2008

Google maps don’t always work out. We pulled off the highway in Snow Shoe hunting for an ice cream parlor there, but were sent the wrong direction and I drove downhill on country roads paralell to the highway for about 15 miles. I ceded control of the wheel to my brother and we didn’t stop again until we got here. I got a Graham Central Station cone and Tim got the Burgandy Cherry.

We probably drove within a block of this place when we were driving out, but better maps steered us right to this place. Actually we pulled into the parking lot after we sighted the store as it is tucked in the end of a strip mall in a territory within a stone’s throw of the highway.

What makes it far more promising than the thought of Pennsylvanian exhaust is that this place is just a scoop shop for an actual farm 15 miles up the road in Dalton. It looks as though they’ve been at this a while, even if all the menu boards are dry erase. With pictures of the fields and the herd on the walls, it’s disarming to walk back outside into a paved panorama.

Usually I get a taste of a cone that I’m intrigued by before I get the actual cone that I really want. With them being out of the Charlie Brownie, I was set to go for the Praline N Caramel and thought that the Graham Central Station was worth a taste. The cinnamon ice cream with actual graham cracker pieces won me over and I went for a cone of it instead.

As a break in a long day of driving, this was an amazing cone. A rich cream that was loaded with a sweet cinnamon flavor and flaky crispy graham pieces, I was knocked out by how good this was. I even forgave the drips that landed on my jeans. The cherry was a rich red cream with real chunks as well, thanks to easily accessible spoons and my brother.

When I woke up at home the next morning, there was a story about America’s new ghost towns and we drove through three of them (Canton, Youngstown, and here). Scranton at least has the benefit that as soon as The Office goes off the air, they’ll be able to set up a Dunder Mifflin museum to spur the tourist economy. Too bad it’s not a bar like Cheers that they could franchise.

Cone – baby $1.80 single $2.25 double $3.25

Sundae – small $3.10 large $3.85

Milkshake $3.50 (malt extra $.15)

Manning Farm Dairy Ice Cream and Milk

210 Meadow Ave, Scranton, PA 18505

(570) 961-1645

Open year round

Daily 10a-10:30p


Buff’s – Brookville PA

8 08 2008

When you drive around New England, you’re bound to stumble upon an ice cream shoppe within a pretty limited amount of time. If you’re crossing Pennsylvania by interstate, you need to plot a route and hope that your information is correct. We got close and asked for directions and were told that Buff’s was just on the other side of the creek. There I found a Teaberry cone.

Route 80 goes the entire length of the state of Pennsylvania, but doesn’t pass through any cities other than Scranton. Even State College is too significant a detour when all of the daytime hours are going to be spent in the car. A little pre-planning and I located this spot as a place that was close enough to 80 so as not to be too far out of the way. Plus I figured we could make a bathroom/gas break out of things if we needed.

If it weren’t for the weathering apparent on the sign outside of this place, it would be easy to think a time warp had landed us back in 1985. It’s got a retro olde timey feel, but seems like that first revival of classic Americana. This place is full of apparatus and candies that you half expect to be covered in an inch of dust. I was only bummed that I didn’t see any of those Pennsylvania Dutch lemon drops that I recall from country stores in my childhood.

This really is a Dairy Queen land. Most places don’t provide any other options, so finding a home made ice cream place in this territory is a treat. Walking in, the scent of nuts is strongest and there is a heated carousel with more nut options than you find outside of Fenway Park on game day. They do seem to charge for everything here, aas this is the first time that I’ve been charged extra to get a sugar cone.

Teaberry seems like a good flavor to try here, heck, I’m actually surprised that I don’t see Beemans gum by the register. The pink hue to the ice cream is obviously artificial, but it is the same color choice that Beals uses for their take on this same flavor. The results are sweeter, with less of the bite of the mint in the taste. It’s more like eating the gum than chewing on actual teaberrry leaves (they grew rampant in my backyard so I used to chomp all the time). The cream has got a bit of an icy mouthfeel, but I figured that might be the case as this place doesn’t seem to do as brisk a business as it might if it were in New England. All told a great treat to find in the middle of nowhere and a worthy stop if you ever make this trek.

Downtown Brookville is restricted to one street and there seemed to be a few places I would check out if I were less harried. The aforementioned creek runs parallel to this street down the hill a few blocks. There are lots of hills as this is about as high in elevation as the Appalachians get. Oh, and as an added bonus, Buff’s makes their own root beer (lots of vanilla, moderate bite) and probably makes a mean float.

Cone – child $1.30 1-scoop $1.85 2-scoop $2.85 3-scoop $3.85 (sugar cone +$.25)

Sundae – child $1.60 small $2.25 medium $3.40 large $4.60

Milkshake – small $2.95 medium $3.95 large $4.95

Buff’s Home Made Ice Cream & Candies

1 Mabon St, Brookville, PA 15825

814 849-8335

Open year round

Monday-Saturday 11a-9p Sunday noon-9p

Buff’s online