There are few things as symbolic of summer as a cone of ice cream – eaten quickly on a hot day before it drips onto hands and clothes.
For us here at NRI NOW, there’s always been something nostalgic about the messy treat, reminiscent of those special summer days when dad would surprise everyone by pulling the car into Janets or Dairy Queen. (Lifelong locals should know just what we mean.)
And northern Rhode Island has some of the best spots for the ice cream in New England, with stops that offer a cone with a view, Rhode Island’s only “cow to cone,” business, and new shops popping up to make summer 2021 the best yet for fans of the cold stuff.
Harmony Corner Store, on the border of North Scituate and Glocester, now serves hard and soft ice cream, and outdoor tables with umbrellas offer guests an escape from the sun.
In Pascoag, Cow’s Tail Deli offers one, two or three scoops of Gifford’s brand ice cream, bought from a family-owned creamery in Maine. The deli is now serving 20 flavors, along with non-dairy sorbet, and a no fat/no sugar option. Grab a picnic table overlooking Gonyea Memorial Park at the site of the former Granite Mill, and enjoy.
Wright’s Dairy Farm in North Smithfield makes ice cream right on the premises using milk and cream from the cows that live there, creating the state’s only fresh, “cow-to-cone,” experience. The entire process takes two days.
“The base consistency is somewhere between heavy cream and vanilla pudding,” notes a write-up by Wright’s on the chilled snack. “The ice cream base is cooked in 30 gallon batches in a large kettle in the bakery.”
In 2019, the business purchased a 1966 Streamline trailer, and had it fully renovated into an ice cream shop. The full-time scoop shop now serves up the homemade stuff each year from April through October, with hours Monday through Thursday from 1 to 8:30 p.m.; and Friday through Sunday from noon to 9 p.m., weather permitting. Once you grab your flavor, take a stroll on the farm grounds for a peak at the cows responsible for the indulgence.
Catch them when you can – the Dinolicious Food Truck, run by two Burrillville natives, offers soft serve and floats.
At Black Forest Cafe in Chepachet, 20 flavors of hard serve can be scooped into gluten-free cones, along with options for soft serve and sundaes.
The soon-to-open new Beef Barn location on Industrial Drive in North Smithfield has plans to sell ice cream, offering guests the chance to stroll the grounds of the former Homestead Gardens while enjoying a dish. According to restaurant owners, the new building is now nearly complete, with a move from its current location on Greenville Road slated for August.
It’s all part of what makes for a perfect, and oh-so-sweet, summer in northern Rhode Island.