By Susan Landry, Published in September 2012 Issue Cruising World Magazine.
How many of you will admit to planning your overnight stops along the ICW to coincide with your favorite ice cream shop? I know there are more than just the two of us who think about that creamy, delicious cone waiting at our next favorite stop. After cruising up and down the ICW for almost 20 years, we have definitely found some yummy temptations.
But first, some interesting ice cream tidbits. Although the Chinese have been making flavored ices well before the birth of Christ, the Italians and French claim to have made the first containing milk or cream in the 1600s. Ice cream’s first mentions in U.S. history were around 1700.
Also, have you ever wondered why the ice cream you get in parlors is so much tastier than anything you ever find at the supermarket? That is because many of those creamy concoctions never see the inside of a grocery store. Ice cream manufacturers, such as Greenwood in Georgia and Working Cow in Florida, produce their ice creams only for restaurants and parlors. But now, down to the business of identifying those special places to feed your cravings.
We found a new “add to the top 10” ice cream shop on our recent trip down the ICW – Chitterchats in Reedville, VA. We had been eating dinner in the nearby, Crazy Crab restaurant, and I had been tempted to try their Key Lime Pie (hmmm…another whole article on “Best Key Lime Pie on the Waterway”). Our dining companions said, “oh no, if you are craving sweets, you must go to Chitterchats.” This shop is exactly what one would expect from an ice cream shop. Plenty of tables and chairs, brightly painted and smiling faces behind the counter. The owner is usually there with her staff to great customers. Then, the big decision; which flavor to chose. My husband always goes for the chocolate. And the more chocolatey (is that even a word?), the better. I tend to go for really sweet and decadent. I overheard the word coconut, even though I hadn’t seen that particular selection as I gazed longingly through the glass at the creamy, dreamy selections. “Coconut?” I asked. “We have all of the flavors on the board, not just the ones in the display case,” the smiling young girl said. “I’ll have one scoop of coconut and one of peanut butter/oreo/white chocolate,” I replied. My husband went for, you guessed it, Chocolate Decadence. In retrospect, I think this shop may be in our top 5. Word has it, locals also go here for the latest gossip, hence the name. I’ll go back for the ice cream, thanks. What a treat!
After you come down the Cape Fear River, preferably not in rolling, breaking waves with wind and current opposed, and you pull into the Provision Company for some nice fresh seafood, why not top off your meal with, wait for it, ice cream! All you have to do is walk out the front door of the restaurant, which by the way has great food and service, turn left and you will see ICE CREAM, in big letters at Flava’s. You can’t miss it. This day’s selections would be Rocky Road for the hubby (chocolate all the way) and Birthday Cake for me. I have a confession to make. I really have a thing for Birthday Cake ice cream. You get the painfully sweet icing part, usually blue, little bits of yummy cake and, if you are lucky, some crunchy bits of brightly colored white chocolate. My granddaughter and I share this passion. I tried their Birthday Cake and it was good. A nice end to a seafood meal.
After you pass through the hustle and bustle of Little River and the Rock Pile, you’ll need to stop at Barefoot Landing. Otherwise, you’ll have difficulty passing the Maggie Moos beckoning you right next to the Waterway. You may save your waistline if there is no room to tie up, but rest assured, another stop awaits you less than a day’s cruise away.
I can not count how many times we have been into Harvest Moon ice cream in Georgetown, but there is a second shop, Sweeties, there as well. When nothing but a cold cone will do, either of these shops will fit the bill. Both shops are right on Front Street. The selections are plentiful and again, service with a smile. Who wouldn’t like working in an ice cream shop??
Beaufort has their ice cream shop, Southern Sweets Ice Cream Parlor, hidden in the Old Bay Marketplace on Bay Street. Across the street from the waterfront, you will enter the mall. Near the entrance on the right, tucked quietly away, is the ice cream parlor. They have many selections to chose from and this is a true, old-fashioned store. Marilyn and Jack Sheehy started the parlor in 2001 and are wonderful hosts. They serve Greenwood ice cream and Marilyn has even added a lunch menu with homemade salads. Stop by to say hello and sample one of the many flavors. You are also invited to create your own frozen concoction and have it named for you.
It is well worth the trip up the Savannah River to sample Leopold’s Ice Cream. They have been in business for almost 100 years and all of the ice cream is made on the premises from their own secret recipes. A short walk down Abercorn to Broughton Street from the waterfront will have you there in no time. This place is a feast for the eyes and ears as well with 10 cent jukebox and original décor.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go far into Florida to get your first fix. Fernandina Beach houses probably one of the most visited ice cream shops along the Waterway. About four blocks from the marina, this gem, Fantastic Fudge, makes and sells fudge and other candy. Their Birthday Cake ice cream is some of the best that I have ever had. Fantastic Fudge proudly sells Florida’s own Working Cow ice cream. You will likely find a line here, which is fine. One, you get more time to make up your mind and two, you know it must be good if this many people are waiting in line for it. I have to recommend the Raspberry Haze.
You won’t have to walk far from the Stuart waterfront to find ice cream. It boasts a Kilwin’s, G&G Gelato and Kelly’s Kones all within a three or four block radius! One’s too crowded, keep going to the next one! We just can’t walk past Kilwin’s without stopping.
Although not technically ice cream, it is a frozen treat and also my other fave dessert - the frozen key lime pie on a stick dipped in dark chocolate. Of course, this had to have originated in Key West. The Blond Giraffe and other key lime pie companies sell this sweet feast for the taste buds. You can find this in the Keys at a number if locations. I had the good fortune to find dipped cheesecake on a stick at a boat show on the Chesapeake last summer. I suggested to the guy he might want to branch out into key lime pie…