Summer time brings thoughts of ways to stay cool and refreshed. There is no better way to accomplish this than by checking out all the ice cream choices in the Shenandoah Valley. Plus it is the right time of the year since July is National Ice Cream Month, designated by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
This time of year is just made for the partaking of all types of ice cream. Soft serve, dipped scoops, yogurt, and gelato are easy to find and delicious to sample. In a cone or dish, this delectable delight can be part of a sundae, banana split, or just by itself, whatever the ice cream aficionado desires. That cold refreshment is just waiting for the licking it deserves as it melts down the cone.
Nothing is as enticing as seeing an old-fashioned ice cream stand on the side of the road that beckons “Stop!” The taste buds start to work overtime, and family members or whoever is taking up seats in the car plead for the driver to “Please, pull over.”
It is a relatively short season for these tempters of tasting so it is best to make the most of the situation. Experimenting can also become a habit by trying all the different locations as well as flavors. Remember it is only for the short season, usually March to September, so time is of the essence. Outside seating areas usually provided add to the atmosphere of freshness and keeps the cars devoid of any spills. Most of the locations become destinations that require a short drive, but some are walking distance within city limits.
If unsure about locations and days and times of operation, most all of the businesses are listed on Facebook or have a web site so check it out before heading out on an ice cream run. If you are really serious about ice cream, consider this listing as a tour to be taken at leisure or all in one trip.
Soft serve or frozen custard is the most common form of the summer treat offered by the roadside stands. Pack’s Dairy Corner on U.S. 50 west, 2580 Northwestern Pike, and U.S. 522 north, 2021 North Frederick Pike, feature weekly flavors as well as all the usual products involving the creamy mixture.
Willie’s Ice Cream is located on Virginia Route 7, heading into Berryville, and offers soft serve and more. The stand also sells hand-dipped cones and snowballs.
Instead of a stand, Cooter’s at 29 Weems Lane is located in a house with a walk-up window. It offers a huge assortment of flavors that are hand dipped and served in a waffle cone. Hershey’s and South Mountain Creamery Ice Cream are sold at the new location in Winchester.
Another walk-up window in the area is Red Fox Too on Cork Street in Old Town Winchester. It offers only soft serve in this location. The original Red Fox Creamery, 146 N. Loudoun St., still sells hand-dipped ice cream made at the restaurant.
Also in downtown Winchester is the new Jolato’s Gelatoria at the Taylor Hotel location, 120 N. Loudoun St., on the pedestrian mall. Gelato uses more milk than cream so it is another treat to enjoy during the warm months. While the word gelato means ice cream in Italian, the process and ingredients vary.
Pack’s Dairy Corner on Virginia Route 7, 177 Dairy Corner Place, is just passed the Winchester city limit line and offers several flavors including banana. It has operated in the same location since 1957.
Heading south, Middletown has A and L Scoops and Swirls, 7597 Main St., which is more of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, offering the usual favorites.
Some people enjoy making ice cream at home, and Mt. Crawford Creamery, 795 Old Bridgewater Road, offers a non-flavored ice cream mix to add own flavoring. In addition, Smiley’s Ice Cream is set up at the creamery on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons throughout the summer, selling made onsite ice cream, using the creamery’s mix. There’s great milk at Mt Crawford as well.
The Harrisonburg area offers Kline’s Dairy Bar, 2425 S. Main St. and 58 E. Wolfe St. Established in 1943, John Kline began Kline’s Frozen Custard with the help of his father, Grover. Other locations include Staunton and Waynesboro. Each Kline’s makes its own fresh ice cream flavors each morning in the tradition established in the 1940s.
Neighbors to the north have Jules Frozen Custard of Inwood, W.Va., 4976 Gerrardstown Road, which offers soft-serve treats and much more. The stand has a full menu of milkshakes, sundaes, and much more.
Also north of Winchester, Scoops Ice Cream Parlor, 173 Potomac St., in Harpers Ferry, W.Va. has homemade ice cream as well as soft serve. The parlor also serves some sandwiches, floats, and the usual ice cream delights.
Now is the time to take a drive up and down the Shenandoah Valley to sample and get totally immersed in all the ice cream offerings in the area. You don’t have to do it all in one day. Plan your route and savor every delicious bite. Check out Go Blue Ridge Travel’s choices.
Thanks to Frances Lowe and her husband who had a wonderful time writing this article. Just a few pounds heavier.