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Top 5 Ice Cream Stands in New England

Top 5 Ice Cream Stands in New England
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Ice Cream ConeTravel and cookbook authors Jane and Michael Stern travel thousands of miles for their popular Web site,, so we asked them for their five favorite places to get scooped.

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Ridgefield Ice Cream Shop

The vintage soft-serve machines quite simply define chocolate and vanilla at their simple best.
680 Danbury Road, Ridgefield, CT; 203-438-3094

Gray’s Ice Cream

Gray’s must-haves are ginger and coffee. The former packs an eye-opening bite from bits of ginger root, while the latter is just-right sweet.
16 East Road, Tiverton Four Corners, Tiverton, RI. 401-624-4500;

Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream

Ah, burnt-sugar ice cream. Seconds must include Mexican chocolate, khulfi, and banana-cinnamon.
1255 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA. 617-492-7021;

Bishop’s Ice Cream

Check out “Bishop’s Bash”: chocolate chips, nuts, and brownie chunks in dark chocolate.
183 Cottage St., Littleton, NH; 603-444-6039;

Hodgman’s Frozen Custard

Big on classics such as a sundae royale featuring hot fudge, sliced bananas, whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry.
1108 Lewiston Road, New Gloucester, ME; 207-926-3553

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32 Responses to Top 5 Ice Cream Stands in New England

  1. robert campbell August 20, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    i would add kimballs ice cream in littleton ma.

  2. Jenifer Lewis August 6, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    My husband and I used to live near Littleton NH, and when we heard Bishop’s had been written up in Yankee as one of the Best Ice Cream Shops Ever, we thought we’d check it out. We each ordered our benchmark flavor: mine is vanilla and my husband’s is chocolate.

    Neither of us found anything special about the experience: not the ice cream, not the surroundings, not the service. It wasn’t awful, and it was better than mediocre, but it certainly didn’t deserve any rhapsodic write-ups. We gave it a B.

    I find it difficult to believe that there was no ice cream parlor in Vermont worthy of inclusion, and I can only assume the Sterns never visited Treadwell’s in North Andover, Massachusetts.

    And no mention of Old Colony in Winthrop, Maine? Horrors!

  3. Don Goodrich May 14, 2010 at 8:01 am #

    You have missed Connecticut’s best ice cream stand; Dr. Mike’s in Bethel. It is not all about exotic flavors. Dr. Mike’s starts with the best basic vanilla, so creamy, then expands from there with it’s signature “chocolate lace and cream”. Come try it on Greenwooe Ave in Bethel.

  4. Eric Schatzlein June 1, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    You have also missed the Best Ice Cream in New England at England Microreamery at 109 Washington St in Haverhill, MA. 100% fresh narutal ingredients only. As well as the normal vanila, chocolate and strawberry (made with real strawberries) there are flavors like Mango, Sweet Cream, Guinness, Cantalope, among many others.

    I have also been to Bishops in Littleton, NH and their icecream was really nothing spectacular, it was good, better than most grocery store ice cream but definitly not something to brag about.

  5. David Levesque July 6, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    Hayward Farms In Nashua, has the best Dutch Apple around and Frozen Pudding…
    King Kone in Merrimack, NH, great soft serve…
    But Durochers Ice Cream of years ago was the bomb…

  6. Jane Franks July 6, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    They definitely missed a winner! Richardson’s is legendary with over 40 flavors, and their own dairy right there (Middleton), complete with farm animals! The best ice cream anywhere, plus all kinds of activities. Check out their web site:

    Richardson’s Ice Cream
    156 South Main Street (Rte 114)
    Middleton, MA 01949

    Richardson’s Ice Cream
    50 Walker’s Brook Drive (Jordan’s Furniture)
    Reading, MA 01867

  7. Cynthia Ware July 6, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    Is Doc Davis’ Ice Cream Stand still there in Pepperell, MA? When we moved from MA to Brookline, NH, we used to go there all the time! They had great ice cream, big servings, & low prices. I live in Florida now and you’d think there would be a lot of ice cream ‘stands’ because of its hot climate, but I have a devil of a time finding good old-fashioned ice cream stands. Sure, there’s Dairy Queen, but I’m talking about the kind like in New England. I agree with Dave L in previous comment. We used to go to the Hayward Farms in Milford, NH before they built their new building. King Kone was a fave, too, when I lived in Merrimack.

  8. Cheryl Smith July 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    Can’t miss White’s Farms on Rt. 133 Ipswich, MA. The freshest and they used to have a reverse chocolate chip, chocolate ice cream with white chocolate chunks, to die for. Not sure if they still have that, its been 5 years since we were back, but it was the BEST!

  9. Paul Deschenes July 6, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Not many people are familiar (thankfully…) with Cherry Hill Ice Cream in Lunenburg MA but they certainly land in my all-time top 5 ice cream stands. They feature many outstanding (and unusual, e.g., graham crunch) flavors, friendly service and an idyllic setting in which to enjoy their offerings.

  10. Bill Shepard July 7, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    When I was a kid growing up in Charlestown, N.H, our family would go down to N. Walpole for ice cream cones at Ernie Almonds sporting goods shop. They had the best ice cream there, many flavors, and large scoops for only .5 cents, and 2 for .10 cents. Will never forget that place……

  11. Sue DAgostino July 7, 2010 at 10:50 pm #

    The best ice cream I have ever tasted is at Rich’s Farm, Oxford, CT. I love the chocolate peanut butter. Also, everything else is creamy and delicious.

  12. Sheila Lambert July 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    We have a few locals worth mentioning, as in the previous posts; Kimball’s in Westford and now in Lancaster, MA, and Cherry Hill in Lunenburg, and now Cherry Hill 2 in Townsend, MA. I think Kimballs always wins out!

  13. Alison Ward July 12, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    Benson’s Ice Cream Stand in Boxford, MA has the best Black Raspberry ice cream as they pick the berries locally.. Should be on your next “do stop by and have an ice cream” road trip..

  14. Jean Walsh July 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    UCONN ice cream at the Uconn campus, you must go to the dairy bar!! and Tullmeadow farms in SimsburyCT

  15. Robert Platt August 6, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    Gellars, in Manomet MA.

  16. Michelle Lajoie August 10, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    I think I would have to add The Sandwich Creamery In Sandwich, NH. Creamy icecream made on location. It’s kind of in the middle of no where but the location makes it great. The place runs on ‘the honor system’ so you won’t see any employees there working the counter, scooping your ice cream. You open the freezer, pick your tub/flavor & drop your $$ in the drop box. It’s really kind of neat.

  17. kevin willett August 15, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    The two practically holy and among the very greatest ice creams stands in New England.
    1.) Richardson’s Ice Creams in Middleton, MA
    2.) Brown’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Inc in York, Maine.

  18. Mary Sue Schaefer October 7, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    Kimball’s is absolutely the best and I think Yankee probably knows that!

  19. David Iacovelli March 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    My vote goes to…Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream, 471 Shetucket Turnpike, Griswold, CT

    The dairy cows are onsite and fresh ingredients….just doesn’t get better than that!

  20. May 10, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    The UNH Dairy Bar. Far and away the best. End of story.

  21. Suzanne Morrissey June 23, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    I think it’s sort of dangerous for my health to know of all these wonderful places! But I’ll throw my 2 cents in anyway: Kimball’s Mocha Almond Explosion is a must-try. And the UConn Dairy Bar Mint Chocolate Chip will make you slap your granny. And let’s not forget JB Scoops in Meredith, NH with their Kahlua ice cream with fudge sauce. Heaven.

  22. David Stone June 23, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    White Farm’s in Ipswich, MA on Rt 133/1A. Great staff, huge selection of flavors, even huger scoops. Key Lime Pie alone is worth the trip. And it’s just down the road from the famous Clam Box…dinner and dessert.

  23. Anne Melamed June 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Richardsons in Middleton MA is the best, and still going strong. As a kid we would take rides over there on Sunday afternoons and see the cows, get ice-cream, etc. I live in MD now and its hard to find good ice cream here (they are all about snow cones). I always visit Richardsons when I come back to MA!

  24. Miki clements-collier June 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    I consider Connelly brothers Ice Cream in Temple, NH diet ice cream . It is so rich, so creamy, so delicious that once you have had Connelly’s you don’t want anyone elses. Since it is not always convenient for me to drive over to Webster hwy (near Pony Farm) I don’t eat as much ice cream as I have in the past, hence the diet. Those who have been Pony Farmers know how great Connelly’s ice cream is. A big treat for the campers every summer.

  25. lisa collins-valencia June 24, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    Yes…UConn Dairy at the University…not only the best Ice Cream but also the best basketball!! Also glad to see Gellars in Manomet MA mentioned…

  26. Lion Pharm June 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Wasmesco (sp?) on Rt-110 somewhere between Lowell & Hampton Beach was the best Ice Cream I have ever tasted, and this was 50 years ago! LOL
    This was A MUST STOP ON OUR WAY HOME FROM THE BEACH. Home made flavors like
    Butter Pecan, Orange…with bits of orange & Pistashio were my favorites!
    (Must have been good…..My Cholesterol level is fine)

  27. susan iverson June 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    I have two favorites – The Dairy at UConn (great mix-ins!) and Rose Orchards in North Branford, CT (the vanilla custard is awesome!)

  28. Mark Cohagen June 26, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Here’s another vote for Rich Farm Ice Cream in Oxford, CT. I love their toasted almond, my wife thinks their maple walnut is delicious (when she can’t get coconut)…then again their razzamatazze (sp) is the most popular and it’s pretty good, too!.

  29. Arlene Herrick July 3, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    I vote for Rich’s Farm Ice Cream i Oxford, CT. I love their peach ice cream. But everything is fabulous!

  30. July 14, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Gray’s takes me down memory lane. I was pleased to see it mentioned. My family would often venture to Gray’s just about twilight. I remember the tasty treats and the sun setting, the lights glowing and the wonderful taste of coffee ice cream. I can honestly say that it was a wonderful experience. I have been long removed from the area but I still think of those summer nights with friends and family.

  31. Sherry Smith July 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    David S., are you married….:) The clam box followed by Whites Ice Cream is my favorite combo too.
    What I have found this year, to my dismay, is that many of my old favorite stands like Bensons in Georgetown, Goldenrod in York, ME and Socs in Saugus, just are not up to par. I’ve been served frappes with little or no syrup, which ruins the frappe. If I wanted just plain ice cream and milk blended, I could make it at home in my blender.
    Toppings on sundaes have also been pitifully small. The banana splits and sundaes are loaded with whipped cream but when you dig under the whipped cream, there is about a tablespoon of hot fudge.
    Ice cream is very expensive now, so when I order a sundae, I want a good amount of the topping, and I want a thick, flavorful frappe. I’m guessing that skimping on syrups and toppings has to do with saving money because the price of sugar has skyrocketed.
    Brown’s at the Nubble Light was also a favorite, as was Crescent Ridge in Sharon, MA.
    There’s still several weeks left of summer; hope to explore more stands!

  32. Kippi Fagerlund January 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Soft serve ice cream?? That and those “styrofoam” cones are what passes for a treat where nobody knows anything different.

    How I miss all the ice cream stands in New England! Growing up in Sudbury, MA, Eriksons’s ice cream on Rte 117 at the Maynard/Stow line was our typical destination. They had ice cream for dogs too! I ordered toasted walnut fudge for a long time, then other chocolate variants, and black raspberry. Going on a hot summer evening, seeing all the cars with tops or windows down parked in scattered lines across the mostly sand parking lot. It’s the atmosphere of these stands, almost as much as the ice cream.

    A couple of decades later I would take an elderly friend to Kimball’s whenever I came up to Massachusetts. It was good, but the atmosphere entirely different. And the portions huge!! A small sugar cone was always more than enough.Oh, and I visited Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, MA; it has a dairy but I can’t remember anything about the ice cream.

    A family wedding a few years ago fit in a few visits to Lone Oak ice cream in Rochester, NH.
    Now I really need a long summertime trip to New England to try a good number of these. I do have one helping of Trader Joe’s coffee ice cream in the freezer to finish, packed in a real half gallon!

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