Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Let's Go Out for Ice Cream

Rookies Cookies and Cream

This is a picture of my current favorite ice cream stand. This picture was taken a couple of years ago. They have since added a huge chocolate/vanilla twist cone to their roof and a drive thru window. This is Rookies Cookies and Cream in Fort Edward, NY.

For as long as I can remember, going out for ice cream has been a way to spend time on a hot summer day or an after dinner drive. "Let's go out for ice cream," could be heard many days each summer in our home. The first place I remember going on a regular basis was what I called "the stand" when I was about 8 years old. I loved getting my cone dipped in the cherry coating that hardened. It was so good, but probably the messiest choice I could have made.

Our family moved to a little town called Tomhannock, NY and our new place to go was the local Stewart's Soda Shop in Schaghticoke, NY. They are a large chain in New York and I think they have spread to Vermont. They have "make-your-own sundaes" and I loved it when they brought out the tray with all of the syrups, sprinkles, whipped cream, cherries and nuts. Stewart's shops all have tables inside to enjoy your ice cream in comfort. We also sometimes drove about a half hour away to a restaurant called Bubbles, We would get dinner and always knew we could have ice cream too.


We moved again when I was in 8th grade. Our new ice cream places to go were the Stewart's shop within walking distance in Glens Falls and the very famous Martha's in Lake George. I loved the root beer floats at Stewart's. They had a root beer float flavored ice cream for a while. I can still taste it! Martha's was the place to go for the best soft ice cream in a variety of flavors. The lines were always long, but the wait was worth it.


I moved away from upstate NY in 1991 and returned in 1999. While I was away, I lived in Hawaii and in Florida. They do not have such a thing as local ice cream stands in these places! If they do, they are not easy to find! Hawaii did have great Shave Ice Shops, but it's not the same! It seemed so funny to me that the states that could sell ice cream year round did not have the number of places that we had in the cold north. There were food court Dairy Queens or Baskin Robbins shops. You could buy ice cream in the supermarket, but there was not the family tradition of going out for ice cream and sitting outside eating it feverishly while it melted. There was no sense of summertime being different from other seasons, so ice cream was no big deal. I missed that!

In 1999 we moved back home. I took my husband to Martha's and we also explored other local ice cream shops. He was amazed at the lines of people waiting for ice cream on back country roads and out of the way places. He spent most of his life in Florida where this is not a phenomenon! Upstate New Yorkers love their ice cream!

We currently like to support our local ice cream shop, "Rookies" pictured above. They open on April 1st every year and the lines are usually steady until they close around labor day. They are known for their unique soft ice cream flavors, such as mocha, creamsicle and maple. They also have sugar free ice cream. One April, they opened on a day with a foot of snow covering their tables....they had customers!!

We also live only a few minutes away from "The Ice Cream Man" shop in Greenwich, NY. It is a beautiful log cabin stand. In 2007 it was featured on an episode of the Food Network's show "Throwdown with Bobby Flay." They have excellent homemade ice cream flavors using as many local ingredients as possible. I love their strawberry with huge chunks of fruit from a local strawberry farm!

There are great ice cream shops in every town around here. If there isn't a Stewart's shop, there is a local stand. There is a local joke that when you give directions to someone in upstate NY, you use the landmark "Stewart's" at least three times in your explanation ..."Go to the intersection, there will be a Stewart's on your right. Turn right and go about 5 miles. Take a left at the Stewart's..." I have also found myself using local ice cream shops in directions I give because everyone knows where Rob and Deb's, Martha's , Sprinkles, Rookies, Farmer's Daughter, and many, many more are in this area!

We moved back to NY when my son was 4. We kept the ice cream tradition going with him. It's just a fun thing to do!

The Ice Cream Man


  1. Love, love, love checking out local ice cream shops! It is a favorite memory of my dad! When we went on vacation every summer my dad and I would seek out an ice cream shop! Sometimes my mom and brother would come along, but usually it was just the two of us! This is my first summer since my dad passed away. I will be sure to get to some ice cream shops this summer, but it will never be the same! Embrace the day!

  2. I think it might be an Upstate NY thing. Maybe it's dairy farm related? Not sure, but we live in IL now and we quickly map out where we're going to get ice cream cones in the summer. No chains here-not even Friendly's- where we live, all Mom & Pop ones (which are the best).

  3. p.s. oops, probably should have said I'm from Upstate NY too and we lived in Glens Falls for a bit (I remember Martha's, delicious)

  4. Yummm, the Ice Cream Man is the best, I also love Humpty Dumpty's in Saratoga.