The Super-licious Ice Cream Trail of New Haven, CT (and beyond) 2017
[[ Note the 2019 Updates through this list for accuracy ]]
This insanely delicious ice cream trail will take you from ocean front creameries along the CT shoreline - to city scoop shops near amazing restaurants and free world-class museums - out to grassy tree studded homemade ice cream shops in quiet surrounding towns. Taste your way through old-school roadside stands and shops bursting with ice cream innovation alike.
Need something to do between ice cream eating stops?
Check the Nearby & Notable suggestions to make a day, a week or a season out of your ice cream adventuring!
Scroll to the bottom for Tagan's Favorite Picks - And, please comment below with your favorite flavors and spots!
In New Haven
Ashley's Ice Cream - 280 York St, New Haven, CT - (203) 776-7744
A New Haven favorite with excellent super premium ice cream. Most people don't realize this creamy Philly style ice cream contains no eggs and is all natural. Also, their fresh whipped cream (not a spray can), and hot fudge are by far the best around. Old school signature flavors like sweet cream and bittersweet chocolate are always popular, and new hits like Nutella chip, lemon pie and Grapenut have gained a cult following. Non-dairy sorbet offering daily. Fruit from Bishops Orchards are used to produce seasonal flavors. Excellent assortment of toppings. Frozen yogurt, soft serve and Ice cream cakes available as well. Outposts in Branford, Hamden, Guilford, and Madison...some even sport the frisbees on the wall for the flying disc catching dog "Ashley" the shop was named for in 1973!
2019 Update: Ashley’s now has non-dairy coconut milk based ice cream options available
Nearby & Notable: Sit by the "Women's Table" Fountain in honor of the first women at Yale and grassy lawn by Sterling Memorial Library, or turn the corner by Toad's Place into a grassy and tree filled courtyard, perfect for a quiet sit or stroll Broadway for lots of shopping. Thali Too has amazing vegetarian Indian food (try the dosa's) and there's tons of fresh and quick eats nearby: Junzi Kitchen, Yorkside Pizza, Fresh Tacos, Blue State and Mason Mathis for excellent coffee and more.
Arethusa - New Haven Location 1020 Chapel St, New Haven, CT- (203) 390-5114
This slick white tiled outpost of the Litchfield farm-based ice cream business opened in downtown New Haven and their fresh waffle cones with enormous servings of super premium "ice cream like it used to taste" have gained great popularity (and long, but fast moving lines). The coffee ice cream and mint chip are particularly popular. Smaller wafer cones are available if the fresh waffle cones are too big for you. Hard scoop only and no artificial ingredients, colors or stabilizers, great classic flavors and a seasonal specials like sour cherry chocolate chunk. Along with the hand made from the farm ice cream, you'll also find cheese, milk, yogurt pints in their shop. No non-dairy option. Additional location in Bantam, CT.
Nearby & Notable: Atticus bookstore and cafe, Yale Art Gallery & British Art Museum, Candytopia, tons of great downtown restaurants including Claire's Cornercopia (vegetarian), The Ordinary or Anchor Spa for cocktails and snacks, go one more block for great Ethiopian food at Lalibela's on Temple St.
Chip in a Bottle 837 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT - (203) 460-0665
2019 Update: This location has closed and will be reopening further down Whalley Avenue in late summer. Details to come soon.
This newly opened chocolate and gelato shop is located in the heart of Westville Village and run by the talented Darrell Nurse. Gelato and Sorbets are frozen on site, and many are made from scratch. The plum sorbet is to die for, and neighbors love the Caramel Shorty (caramel custard with fleur de sel and chocolate covered shortbread pieces), Spring Fling incorporates of bits of fresh made french macaron cookies (also available for sale), lavender, Nutella and Guinness Caramel are among the many fun flavors here. The shop also sells house made chocolates, espresso, and makes custom ice creams and sweets for events. Darrell is a passionate and talented chef and has the only black owned ice cream shop in the New Haven area. Street parking and a free lot with an entrance just past the shop.
Nearby & Notable: Edgewood Park free tennis courts and skate park, West Rock Ridge park, Common Ground School and Urban Farm (free open farm days Saturday mornings), great brunch and lunch at Manjares, Bellas & Lena's, Kehler Leddell and DaSilva Galleries and many other great shops on the street.
Bill’s Carousel 1185 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT- (203) 891-7302
An old school roadside spot on busy Whalley Avenue. Large selection of hard scoop and flavor burst soft serves available, as well as ice cream truck variety popsicles. A drive thru option, seating at a few picnic tables and off street parking make this a favorite of neighborhood folks and people passing through alike. They also serve up hot dogs, burgers and fries.
Nearby & Notable: Drive or hike to the top of West Rock for an amaizing view of the city Peak. Drive a little farther to a beautiful walk around Lake Wintergreen, or stop off in Westville Village and check out Kheler Liddell and other art galleries and shops. , House of Chow for great Chinese Food, Manjares for fabulous breakfast and lunch. Dayton St Pizza and Cilantro Mexican restaurants are right across the street, and Katz’s Deli, House of Chow and Manjares are some other great eateries a short drive away.
Cositas Deliciosas - 271 Grand Avenue New Haven, CT - 203 782 4757
A bright and inviting fruit, smoothie and ice cream shop featuring Latin American flavors and special items in the heart of the vibrant community on Grand Ave in the fair haven neighborhood of New Haven. The double case of gorgeous fresh fruits might just deter you from eating ice cream at all, but it's worth trying out some of their special Mexican frozen treats to wow your tastebuds. Mangonada (pictured above) has fresh slices of mango topped with mango sorbet, chamoy sour plum sauce, hot sauce and Tajin a sprinkle of chili lime salt - sweet & sour with a touch of heat and salt, it's wonderful. Or try the Chamoyada, which is the same dessert but with shaved ice instead of mango sorbet. a Diablito is a Tamarind or Mango Mexican snow cone (also with sour and spicy toppings), and if you are feeling adventurous, but are looking for straight up sweet, try the Cholado Colombiano with crushed ice, fresh fruit, fruit syrup and sweet and creamy condensed milk. They also serve up a selection of Hershey's ice creams and sherbets in cups or cones. A full selection of fruit salads, smoothies as well as great savory food is on the menu as well like raostedthe pepinos locos - crazy cucumbers are refreshing and delicious). Don't be scared off by the busy street, it's great for walking and there is always parking curbside close by.
Nearby & Notable: La Tapatia is a fabulous latinx bakery, jam packed with treats (you grab tongs and pick your own), and there are numerous lunch and dinner spots with stewed and roasted meats, rice, beans, plantain, empanadas and more: some favorites are J&J Spanish Restaurant (Dominican), Salsa Authentic Mexican and la Molienda (Peruvian). Two fabulous grocery stores are located on either end of Grand Ave, C-Town only a few blocks away, and Ferraro's Italian Meat Market back towards downtown. Before you leave, head down Grand Ave till you hit the Quinnipiac river park...it's beautiful, and a nice place to stroll or sit and eat your treats.
Catch the Flava Carts Grand Ave & Ferry St New Haven, CT and many other locations
This team of family owned Caribbean flavored Ices carts can be found around town, and on every corner of one section of Grand Ave in Fair Haven. Inexpensive and refreshing ices are scooped high into paper cups and flavors typically include: mango, passion fruit, rainbow, tamarind, coconut, cherry and vanilla. Regular spots: Grand Ave at the corners of Ferry, Poplar and Blatchley streets, and in The Hill at Kimberly Ave near Howard Ave. You’ll often find them near sports fields when games are happening. Try Criscuolo Park on Chapel & James and the fields on Ella T Grasso Blvd near route 1.
Check the Nearby & Noteable comments by Cositas Deliciosas above
Photo credits: thanks to Melissa Bailey of the New Haven Independent and Foodanddrink.blogspot.com
Froyo 46 High St, New Haven, CT - (203) 777-4040
Ok, frozen yogurt is not ice cream (and this one is a chain), but the serve yourself nature of froyo spots make them fun, and the tart flavors add some variation to the sea of chocolate and caramel that dominates the ice cream landscape, so this place deserves a mention. This shop is bright, modern and located on High St downtown, just below the Yale British Art Museum. They typically offer an assortment of 8 flavors, and always have the tart original, vanilla and chocolate. A huge variety of toppings dry and wet toppings including fresh fruit, popping bobas, mochi, cereals and the usual candies and sauces. Just remember these are sold by weight, and you can ask at the counter for a tiny sample cup to try flavors before making a commitment. Note: Summer of 2017, they set up some nitro ice cream mixers on the front counter (much like Milkcraft in Fairfield mentioned at the end of this list), and a poster for bubble waffles (although the machine is always broken... so not sure if it's good or not) If you try it here, please post below to let readers know how it is!
Nearby & Notable: Froyo is located just below the Yale British Art Center and around the corner from the Yale Art Gallery, both of which have free admission for everyone. Two blocks away shops not every town has: Group W Bench a New Haven classic hippiesque gift store packed to the rafters with jewlery, statues, mugs, clothes, bumperstickers and so much more ...and on the next corner Alternate Universe comic book and game card store. If you need some food before your sweets, check Atticus Bookstore for great salads, soups and sandwiches, or the many other great downtown offerings, just around the corner.
Libby's Italian Pastry Shop 139 Wooster St, New Haven, CT - (203)772-0380
This Italian American shop scoops up classic Italian Ices just like they have since 1922. Their location on historic Wooster St, down the block from Pepe's and Sally's famed pizza shops, makes this a popular stop for many visitors and natives to the Elm City. The decor is a throwback to 60's ice cream parlor kitch, and you can grab espresso, cannolis and rum cakes as well as the standard selection of Ices flavors. Sit inside or out on the sidewalk and enjoy the company.
Nearby & Notable: Pizza of course...if you have managed to go through life with out eating at either Pepe's or Sally's Apizza please remedy that situation immediately - for a little extra fun, order a pie from each spot to go and eat them in the playground in the middle of the block...then walk over to Libby's for dessert, oh, and don't forget to grab some local Foxon Park Birch Beer soda (made with real sugar). Saturday mornings (9am-1pm) check out the award winning CitySeed Wooster Sq farmers' market (grab veggies, shell fish, bread, pastry, cheese and meats), or head over to long wharf for a peak at the ocean, a stop at any of the numerous taco trucks and Jordan's Furniture & IT (indoor ropes course).
Photo credits: thank you wonderful Yelp users
The Mochi Ice Cream Store (inside Jake’s Diggity Dogs) 216 Crown St, New Haven, CT - (203)782-1111
2019 Update: This location has closed. Asian mochi ice cream is available at all of the asian markets in town. Million Asian Market at 15 Orange St has a good selection.
Once upon a time this store only served their fabulous Bubbie’s Hawaiian style mochi ice cream (yes, the same ones now sold in bulk at Whole Foods), now you’ll find the ice cream wedged into the popular Jake’s Diggity Dogs shop in downtown New Haven. Mochi ice cream is a scoop of ice cream wrapped in delicious thin chewy mochi (a sweet rice dough). Mochi originated in Japan, but these flavors come by way of immigration and cultural fusion in Hawaii. You’ll find more than the average, strawberry and matcha here. Check out the coconut with chocolate mochi, passion fruit and the Li Hing Mango among many others.
Nearby & Notable: Bar serves of thin charred crust New Haven Pizza, great beer and a super salad just up the street. Jeera Thai is a good tiny restaurant right next door, and across the street is Mecha Noodle with exceptional Ramen & Pho, excellent snacks and great drinks. Tons of other outstanding restaurants (at all price points) and the Criterion Movie Theater is just around the corner (as are multiple other ice cream spots and vivi bubble tea).
Katalina’s Bakery 74 Whitney Ave, New Haven, CT - (203) 891-7998
You’ll find more than just fabulous cupcakes at this independent bakery coincidentally located in the old Clark’s Dairy spot on Whitney Ave in the Audubon Arts district of New Haven. Owner Kathy Reigelman bakes fresh cookies and packs them with handmade ice cream for a nice selection of cookie sandwiches and she serves up an assortment of fabulous all-natural popsicles. Rotating ice cream sandwich flavors can include chocolate cookies with mint chocolate chip ice cream, cherry vanilla in sugar cookies, matcha green tea and more. Popsicles are an inspiration and studded with fresh fruit and fun flavors. Grab some fabulous fresh cupcakes or baked goods to take home. A modern space with nice tables and chairs and a huge window for people watching.
Nearby & Notable: The Audubon Arts district is half a block away: sit in the courtyard behind Neighborhood Music School or check out the front gallery at Creative Arts Workshop. A long row of quick food spots dot the street including the excellent Hong Kong market and Great Wall restaurant across the street (the one real dim sum spot in town) as well as Caseus famous cheese shop and restaurant on the corner, 0 Degree Thai rolled ice cream and don't forget vintage clothes shopping at Fashonista. If you're feeling brave check out Escape New Haven and adventure space where you "escape a room by solving a series of puzzles that will challenge your mind and confound your senses".
0 Degree Thai Ice Cream - 48 Whitney Ave New Haven, CT - (203) 535-1413
Thai rolled ice cream has sprung to popularity in the past few years, and this modern shop is the first to pop up in the city of New Haven, right in the Audubon Arts district (and down the block from Katalina's Bakery - see above). Custard is poured onto round freezer plates and ingredients (like fruit, chocolate or red bean) are chopped in by hand, spread, mixed and spread again in a thin layer, then, a metal spatula is used to curl the frozen treat into three inch wide rolls and they are placed upright in a cup....Then over to the toppings counter where you get to pick as many treats as you like. In addition to the usual candies and sauces, they have fresh fruit, mochi, pocky matcha and chocolate sticks, and more. Flavors include American favorites like vanilla, chocolate and key lime, and thai flavors like matcha (green tea) and red bean, and thai ice tea with condensed milk. This treat leans more towards ice milk than rich premium ice creams. The shop also has bubble tea made with real milk, rather than non-dairy creamer like most places.
Nearby & Notable: The Audubon Arts district is directly across the street, grab an espresso from Koffee, sit in the courtyard behind Neighborhood Music School or check out the front gallery at Creative Arts Workshop. A long row of quick food spots dot the street including Caseus famous cheese shop and restaurant a block away, and don't forget vintage clothes shopping at Fashonista.
Nica's Gourmet Market
Located on Orange street in the heart of the East Rock neighborhood, this Italian gourmet market serves up 16 flavors of gelato including Blood Orange and Hazelnut Biscotti. Get yours in cute and colorful striped cups and enjoy it out on the patio at one of the many tables with umbrellas. You might even pick up some special ingredients for dinner, or grab lunch at their very popular deli counter with excellent prepared foods and hot and cold sandwiches.
Nearby & Notable: stroll along Orange street to any of the great markets and coffee shops. Beyond the numerous good Italian spots be sure not to miss the Bi Bim Bop and Japche noodles at Ms. Kim's Oriental Pantry (near Bradley St). East Rock park is a short walk and you can venture by foot or by car up to the summit to get a view of the whole city. If you're feeling brave check out Escape New Haven an adventure space where you "escape a room by solving a series of puzzles that will challenge your mind and confound your senses".
What is Real Various spots in New Haven
A new seasonal ice cream cart with all-natural carefully crafted flavors, lovingly scooped out by artisan (and musician) Netta Hadari. Favorite flavors include Sun-Kissed Strawberry, Bombay Butter Pecan (with a hint of curry), Dulce de Leche, Banana Cabana and Coffeelicious. Follow on facebook at Whatisreal_icecream to find his scooping location around New Haven through the end of summer. Listen to my interview with Netta about this new business!
Greater New Haven Area
Jennifer's - East Haven, 388 Main St - (203) 468-1573
Classic, family owned New England ice cream shop with plenty of sprinkles and candy toppings. Friendly staff, low prices and simple indoor seating make it a neighborhood favorite. “Flying saucer” ice cream sandwiches (individual or in packs) and ice cream cakes available in their freezers. You'll find the usual selection of hard scoop flavors and soft serve, and friendly staff.
Nearby & Notable: East Haven beach with shaded benches and a splash pad for kids in the park next door. A few miles away is the Trolley Museum where you can ride an old train through beautiful marsh land.
Photo credits: Thank you yelp users and Jennifer's website
Gutiz Bakery - East Haven - 545 Main St- (203) 745-0977 Pics coming soon!
While this is not a scoop shop, if you are in the mood for a great assortment of Paletas (popsicles) in latin American/ Caribbean flavors, pull over to this Latin American bakery and lunch spot and snag one from their packed freezer! Paleta flavors include mango, strawberry& cream, coconut, tamarind, passion fruit, soursop, peanut and more. Grab some snacks: cassava bread, empanadas, guava pastries or lunch: arroz con frijoles and sopa de pollo (rice, beans and chicken stew) while you’re there too….
Nearby & Notable: Head over to lighthouse beach (free if your car is registered in New Haven) or over to the beach in East Haven. Circle Lanes Bowling Alley is just down the road and the Trolley Museum is only a five minute drive away.
Sandpiper - East Haven, 161 Cosey Beach Ave - (203) 469-7544
This take-out ice cream parlor connected to a fish and chips restaurant, sits right across from the beach in East Haven and has an ice cream and seafood take out area as well as a sit down restaurant (inside and outside seating). Order your ice cream and enjoy a classic selection of hard scoop and soft serve ice cream, as well as Italian ices.
Nearby & Notable: The beach with shaded benches across the street and a splash pad for kids in the park next door. A few miles away is the Trolley Museum where you can ride an old train through beautiful marsh land.
Photo credit: Sandpiper facebook page
Wentworth’s - Hamden, 3697 Whitney Ave - (203) 281-7429
A wonderful local favorite - small batch ice cream spot with nearly 30 flavors, many changing daily. Ice cream is rich and creamy with some unusual favorites like Lemon Custard, Root Beer Float, Pot Hole (oreo and nutella swirl) and the amazing Graham Slam (brown sugar graham ice cream with chocolate covered honeycomb crunch). They love to get creative here, so flavors change regularly. Choose from sizes starting with teeny (a whopping 4oz!), to kid to single, double or triple scoops to get just what you like. Enjoy your treats inside at one of the cozy tables or out huge grassy area with a gazebo and lawn swing. Some fruit ice creams like strawberry, use berries from local farms. Non-dairy sorbet available.
Nearby & Notable: Hang out on the lawn or... head over to Brookvale Park with animals, a swing set and fields, the Farmington River Canal Bike Trail (ride this old rail line from New Haven to Northampton, MA!), and Sleeping Giant State Park.
Cherry on Top - Hamden, 1654 Whitney Ave - (203) 230-8772
2019 Update: This location has closed. (Scoop Girl opened near by at 1242 Whitney Ave, back towards New Haven in the same location as The Soup Girl)
This little neighborhood spot sells more than a dozen flavors of Bucks ice cream, made in Milford, CT. Their special draw, fresh Belgian waffles, made to order...get them in a sundae, or in a warm ice cream sandwich. Feeling crazy? Go for the fluffernutter sundae. One non-dairy sorbet available daily, as well as one sugar-free offering. A few tables and chairs inside, and outside on the large shaded sidewalk.
Nearby & Notable: There are a few restaurants and delis next door or across the street, Rascals Gym - indoor play for little people, and Best Video Film & Cultural Center (and coffee shop) is not far down the road. Sleeping Giant State Park and the Eli Whitney Museum (where kids and build and play on water tables by the falls) are both a short drive away.
Kelly’s Cone Connection - Hamden, 2538 Whitney Ave - (203) 287-0872
This pay by weight ice cream shop run for 30 years by Kelly Ciccione is connected to her father’s fish & chips restaurant. Ice Cream is flavored and frozen on the premises, with cookies and chips mixed in by hand. Some seasonal flavors including blueberry, strawberry and peach made with fruit from near-by orchards. You’ll find the classic selection of New England flavors here as well as a few new coconut milk based non-dairy ice creams and brightly colored sorbets for non-dairy treats. Seating inside, and easy walk through into the restaurant if you want lunch or dinner to go with your cone.
Nearby & Notable: Sleeping Giant State Park and Dixwell Ave shopping centers. Many restaurants line this strip of Whitney Ave, including Midori Korean and Japanese Restaurant (with the best Korean hot sauce around), and check out the other independent businesses next door: The Fat Robin Wild Bird & Nature Shop next door, or CT Prints, a Black owned business that still prints good quality photos (ask the owner how much he likes P-Funk).
Walnut Beach Creamery - Milford, 17-19 Broadway - (203) 878-7738
This special handcrafted small-batch premium ice cream shop is tucked into a spot only a block from the ocean. Walk to the beach or sit in their cozy garden. Creamy classics are always in stock and inventive and delicious flavors change regularly and include: Banana Foster, Butter Beer (Harry Potter’s Butterscotch), D-Cup (light chocolate cake batter with cupcakes), Cantaloupe & Cucumber and Lavender Fig, among so many more… Sorbets and vegan flavors vary and are always available. Open late April with the last day of the season on Halloween (free ice cream if you come in costume)!
Nearby & Notable: The fab ice cream and Walnut Beach are the main draw here. The Lazy Lobster take-out joint is across the street, and many restaurants on the Milford green & Boston Post Rd.
Photo credits: www.ladynod.com and Yelp users
Scoopy Doos - Milford, 37 Helwig St - (203) 882-8009
This small stand right on the Milford Marina serves up a large selection of Buck’s French ice creams (made in Milford since 1950). Dozens of different flavors of ice cream, gelato, sorbet, sherbet, and yogurts, as well as soft serve vanilla, chocolate. Dairy free ice creams (Tofutti) also available. Outside seating only (great water/boat views), cash only.
Nearby & Notable: Walk along the Milford Green for small shops and eateries, or head down River St to the fav breakfast spot The Corner, or a little farther on to Scratch Baking Co. Silversands Beach (free year round, with a great boardwalk and huge natural sandbar for low-tide walk towards an island) and Walnut Beach are great spots for walking or hanging out any time of year and only a short drive away.
Photo credits: Yelp users
Sundae House - Milford, 499 New Haven Ave - (203) 878-0143
A long time Milford seasonal ice cream stand serves up Buck’s ice cream (made in milford since 1950), hard scoop and soft serve with your usual sweet treat toppings. Beyond the parking lot is marsh and then ocean...
Nearby& Notable: Not far from the quaint Milford Green, shops, restaurants, and Silversands (free year round, with a great boardwalk and huge natural sandbar for low-tide walk towards an island) or Walnut Beaches.
Photo credits: Yelp Users
Cone Zone - Milford, CT 408 Boston Post Rd - (203) 783-3971
A purple ice cream shack covered in cows is easily visible on the side of the busy Boston Post Rd in Milford. They serve Giffords brand ice cream and flavor burst soft serve with your standard assortment of toppings. Free parking and some benches for outdoor seating.
Nearby & Notable: Silver Sands State Park beach (free year round, with a great boardwalk and huge natural sandbar for low-tide walk towards an island) and Walnut Beach are a short drive down the road. Check out the Dumpling House for a great assortment of Chinese dumplings (meat, fish and vegetarian), and be sure to ask for the vinegar and spicy sauces.
Photo credits: Yelp users
B&B Flower Farm - West Haven, 668 Jones Hill Rd - (203) 937-9794
This hidden gem of an ice cream stand and third generation family farm in West haven serves up Buck's and Gifford's ice cream in dozens of flavors, and has chocolate and vanilla soft serve with all your standard toppings. What’s really special here is the farm animals to visit in barns right next the ice cream stands. A sweet taste of country on the edge of the city. Free hay rides every Sunday in the fall. Ice cream served May 1st through Halloween.
Nearby & Notable: A short drive up Kelsey Ave to Painters Park playground, or continue on to the ocean front beaches and boardwalk...great for "rock climbing" and low tide wandering in tidal pools. Drive further down the waterfront to Stowe's seafood shack for great Fried fish and seafood, eat inside, out front or walk across the street to the beach. Gerogie's diner is also close by and serves the usual offerings plus gluten free and vegetarian options.
Photo credits: Yelp users
Sweet Claude’s - Cheshire, 828 S Main St - (203) 272-4237
This special ice cream house perched on a grassy hill on Whitney ave (just across the Hamden line in Cheshire) serves up joyfully crafted flavors of super premium ice cream, frozen on site by a second generation of ice cream lovers. Shop co-owners Kelly and Stephanie bake their own banana bread for their Banana Icebox Cake and use fruit and honey from local farms for seasonal favorites like peach or apple pie. Inventive flavors show up regularly, some favorites are: salty pretzel caramel, Nutella crunch, Mississippi Mud, and many kid’s favorite “Smurf” creamy blue ice cream with mini marshmallows. Four flavors of non-dairy Toffuti always available with their own flavor variations made on site. Sorbets and Ices also available. A few indoor seats and numerous benches on the porch and picnic tables (and umbrellas) on the lawn. They also make ice cream wedding cakes! This spot is only 3 minutes away from Wentworth’s ice cream in Hamden, and well worth the visit!
Nearby & Notable: Hang out on the lawn or... head over to Brookvale Park with animals, a swing set and fields, the Farmington River Canal Bike Trail (ride this old rail line from New Haven to Northampton, MA!), and Sleeping Giant State Park. There are a number of small restaurants and stores right near by as well.
Photo credit: 2 ice cream pix from Sweet Claude's FB page
Ferris Acres Creamery - Newtown, 144 Sugar St - (203) 426-8803
This farm based ice cream shop was started in 2003 by the same family that had been working the land here since 1894, and raising dairy cows since the 1930’s. A huge selection of hard scoop ice cream, batch frozen and flavored on site. They carry all the classic flavors (including fun ones like Campfire (Vanilla ice cream with fudge swirls, graham cracker pieces, and mini marshmallows) and a rotating selection of special flavors such as peppermint stick, Sunset on the Peach (Peach with raspberry swirl, new for 2017) and Bad Attitude (ark chocolate ice cream with salted caramel swirls). Parking can be tight, but people don’t seem to mind the wait for the ice cream and the wide range of toppings in this beautiful farm setting complete with cows, and friendly staff. Outdoor seating. Gluten free cones, dairy free sorbets, and multiple types of premade popsicles for people with various other allergies.
Nearby & Notable: Stroll along historic main street in Newtown for cute shops and restaurants. Head over to Fairfield hills to hike up an appetite for your next ice cream spot, or in late summer and fall head over to Castle Hill Farm to wander through the corn maze or Blue Jay farm for apple picking before you sit down to relax with your cone at this beautiful country spot.
Photo credits: Yelp users
Milkcraft - Fairfield, 1215 Post Rd - (475) 888-9091
2019 Update: Location now in New Haven too at 280 Crown St)
This fairfield shop is part of the new wave of frozen-to-order liquid nitrogen ice creams sweeping the fancy (and expensive) ice cream loving part of the nation. The hip and highly designed shop features a row of large electric mixers behind a glass wall, with frost covered pipes releasing the liquid nitrogen to be mixed with custards, creating individual servings of instantly frozen ice cream. The rich and creamy treat is then scooped from the bowl into a cup or a warm cakey soft “bubblecone” or a “creemee bun” (yeast raised doughnut), and passed on to the topping station where they are adorned with special treats for each set flavor combination on their roughly 14 flavor menu. The Smores Campfire Cone is topped with a large toasted marshmallow, the Sea Salted Caramel with maple candied popcorn, the Strawberry Balsamic has a drizzle of tart balsamic glaze and the Sokin’ Choco du Leche is topped with smoked black sea salt flakes, just to name a few. (Notice I’m not mentioning the neon Blue Cookie Butter that kids and teens seem to flock for). Flavor combinations are listed in detail on their website if you want to check them out before making the trip. Strawberry Sorbet is always available as a non-dairy option, as well as espresso for pouring on ice cream to create an Italian Affogato. Lines can be long, there are a few stools inside and a modern patio with numerous seats and benches outside.
Nearby & Noteworthy: Mecha Noodle is an exceptional ramen restaurant right next door (the red oil dumplings, kfc bao, pho, ramen, snacks and drinks are all exceptional). The Fairfield public library is on the corner and makes a wonderful spot to relax and read while you try and digest the copious amounts of ice cream you just devoured with bits of warm waffle.
Rich Farm Ice Cream - Oxford, 691 Oxford Rd - (203) 881-1040
Located on a fifth generation dairy farm, this large ice cream bar which opened in 1994, features an impressive list of flavors with many special items rotating through daily. People travel from long distances to enjoy this busy rural ice cream spot. Lines can be long (but move pretty quick) and parking on weekends and summer nights can be tight. Outdoor seating at numerous tables, along stone walls, or on surrounds grassy areas. Mostly classic flavors, with a few inventive ones thrown in. The farm around the stand is not operational, and although there are barns, there were no animals on site when we visited. Cash only.
Nearby & Noteable: Check out Ovens of France bakery for daily baked goods, and stop off at Ketltown State Park for a hike, swim or picnic.
Photo credits: Yelp users
Note: This list focuses on independently owned or CT “chain” ice cream shops. There are numerous national chain shops along these routes too such as Dairy Queen and Rita’s frozen Custard, as well as restaurants such as Shake Shack and Terry Lodge that offer ice cream...that’s another list for another day... If I missed a scoop shop you love, please comment below!
There really does seem to be a time and place for ice cream of all sorts. Soft serve off a truck, black sesame from chinatown, super premium infused with lemon verbena, or a Klondike bar... seriously I can hang with all these scenarios and a thousand more, so as you can imagine, writing up this list of local ice cream shops was nearly impossible. There are dozens of spots that didn't make the cut: little markets with an incredible assortment of pints and prepackaged frozen treats like kulfi or green mango popsicles from Bharat Bazaar Indian Market, or red striped boxes of Little Baby's non-dairy ice cream at Good Nature Market on Whitney and Audubon (pricy but fun and vegan), not to mention green tea waffle ice cream sandwiches at numerous Asian markets, and old school chain spots like DQ too numerous to include...
So, here's my paired down list of special ice cream scoop shops to hit up in the New Haven area if you can't make it to all of the great spots listed above. If you want to stick just to the 13 spots in the city, just follow the list at the top.
Tagan's Top 10+ New Haven Area Ice Cream Picks 2017
2019 Update: Milkcraft now has a New Haven location and The Mochi Store is closed.
listed from south to north
Milkcraft | Fairfield
Walnut Beach Creamery | Milford
The Mochi Store | New Haven
Arethusa | New Haven
Ashley's | New Haven
Cositas Deliciosas | New Haven
0 Degree Thai Rolled Ice Cream | New Haven
Wentworth's | Hamden
Sweet Claude's | Cheshire
Rich Dairy Farm | Oxford
Ferris Acres | Newtown
AND, if you are wandering through other parts of the Northeast and want to try some totally amazing licks, check out some of these spots:
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory | NYC hard scoop with lots of Chinese flavors like ginger, red bean or durian
Taiyaki | NYC - fresh waffle cakes shaped like fish and filled with amazing flavors of soft serve.
Fomu | Boston amazing vegan ice cream (nut, coconut and avocado based) like NOTHING vegan you have ever tasted before
Toscanini's | Boston fabulous rich flavors and a great environment
Christina's | Boston exceptional ice cream and flavors, fresh mint ice cream and concord grape sorbets are amazing.
Herrell's | Northampton, MA the original mix-in spot with great super creamy flavors, the chocolate pudding ice cream is not to be missed.
Mt. Desert Island | Portland, ME the boat with five tiny scoops is the way to go in this inventive scoop shop
CT shop I've never tried and most want to go to: Grassroots in Granby - check out their incredible list of creative flavors....and if you make it there, leave time to go tromping at Enders Falls (waterfall) too.
And just incase you haven't had enough, check out this article on amazing ice cream treats migrating from all over Asia to the US in this NY Times article or this fabulous new book on Mexican Ice Cream from Fany Gerson of Dough and La Newyorkina.
Share your favorite spots, flavors and other ice cream tips in the comments below!