10 Scoops of Summer
Photography by Madeline Polss
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Like crowded beaches and Paw Sox games, long lines at the local ice cream stand are a sure sign summer has arrived in Rhode Island. We gladly braved dozens of those queues in our quest for superior scoops. And after all this sweet research, we found ten locally made cones that topped the rest. While the ice cream quality at all these spots is second to none, we’ve given you another reason below to try each one. So whether you’re looking for a quick sugar fix, a leisurely summer drive or an excuse to visit the city, we’ve found the cone for you.
The Sunday Drive Cone
Ice Cream Machine Co.
4228 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland,
Exotic Flavors: raspberry chocolate truffle, brownie batter, amaretto almond
Small serving: $3.19
Scooping Season: year-round
The Melt-Down: Since 1977, this popular northern Rhode Island destination has been serving up ultra-rich scoops of ice cream. And the business’s beginnings are as sweet as its product, which started with the current owner, Gary Caron’s, father-in-law. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he was forced to leave a job as a corporate executive, so he began selling homemade ice cream, using a family recipe, out of a one-car garage. From day one, business was booming, according to Caron. Today, Ice Cream Machine Co. offers more than sixty flavors and is so popular that it wholesales to many businesses throughout the East Coast including Cumberland Farms and Chelo’s Restaurants. Located across the street from scenic Diamond Hill State Park, this ice cream stand is the perfect place to head on a lazy afternoon, when a massive scoop of your favorite flavor is the ideal end to a drive through the historic Diamond Hill area of Cumberland.
The “And Then Some” Cone
The Inside Scoop
1105 Scituate Avenue, Cranston, 944-0707
30 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown, 294-0091
Exotic flavors: pumpkin, blueberry pie, chocolate mousse
Small serving: $2.82
Scooping Season: March to Thanksgiving
The Melt-Down: The North Kingstown location is where all of the ice cream gets made, but it’s the Cranston shop where you get more than you pay for. Every Tuesday at dusk, The Inside Scoop hosts a movie night under the stars. Admission is free, and you can watch a Disney classic projected onto the side of the building while partaking in one of more than sixty-four varieties, including coffee Oreo. The cooler months draw customers inside the Cranston store to huddle around the gas fireplace as they enjoy their ice cream, while the warmer summer evenings see a line of families out the door.
A Swirl of Nostalgia
Some things never change. Especially when it comes to ice cream. While homemade hard ice cream has been a national favorite since the late nineteenth century, there was a time when soft serve and the walk-up stands from which it was sold were all the rage. And though their popularity peaked in the forties, fifties and sixties, stands still exist where you can walk up to the window, read from a menu of flavors and sundaes posted around the takeout opening, and order a swirly cone. Eskimo King, Hill-Top Creamery and Lincoln Creamery are a few of the local shops that have not gone the way of gourmet. Still a lot has changed since the days of Tastee-Freez. Expect many more flavor options than the standard chocolate and vanilla, with lower-calorie yogurts and ice cream on the menu as well.
29 Market Street,
Swansea, Massachusetts, 508-379-0202
5720 Post Road,
East Greenwich, 884-8753
276 Front Street,