Region releases list of top ice cream stops, producers, and sweet spots for July
Pittsford, N.Y. - In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated the month of July as "National Ice Cream Month," with the third Sunday as the country's official "National Ice Cream Day." In honor of the holiday and the start of summer, the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council, the official 14-county tourism promotion agency as designated by I Love NY, is supporting the recognition by releasing a list of its top ice cream stops, producers, and sweet spots across the region - as well as the region's own contribution to the world of ice cream over the years.
Ithaca, NY, is home to the first ever Ice Cream Sundae created in 1892. The oldest written evidence of the dessert appeared in the Ithaca Daily Journal on Apr. 5, 1892, with mention of a 10 cent "Cherry Sunday" specialty - though historians pinpoint two days earlier, Apr. 3, as its true date of creation.
Over 100 years later, the city of Ithaca is still serving up sundaes and ice cream specials - and the rest of the region, and the country has followed suit. Whether townie or traveler, the best places to celebrate this sweet dairy treat in the Finger Lakes are:
- Purity Ice Cream - Known as "The Ice Cream of the Finger Lakes," serving small batch ice cream with local, high quality ingredients in Ithaca, NY. They are celebrating 80 years in business.
- Cayuga Lake Creamery - Located on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail just north of Ithaca, NY, the creamery serves up sweet flavors and creations - including a wine sorbet created with locally made Finger Lakes wines with the assistance of local wine makers.
- Tom Wahl's - Since 1955, Tom Wahl's on Rts. 5 and 20 in Avon, NY has been a must-visit summertime stop for ice cream and home-made root beer. The combination of both makes for the ultimate summer-time treat.
- Sweet Melissa's - Found in Ithaca's unique Press Bay Alley, this little shop is producing small batch hard ice cream in unique flavors (like Lemon Ricotta and Strawberry Basil) and creamy soft serve.
- Spotted Duck Creamery - Custard made from duck eggs and local, organic ingredients from scratch. Located in Penn Yan, NY, Spotted Duck raises their ducks right on property, and even offer flights of their creative custard flavors like Mistletoe, Grog Nog, and Emu Tracks.
- Mac's Dairy Bar - At Mac's putt-putt golf and ice cream come together. Enjoy soft or hard flavors, and then play a round at their 18-hole mini course.
- Seneca Farms - Voted Upstate NY's #1 Best Ice Cream Stand, Seneca Farms is a neighborhood counter-serving over 50 homemade ice cream flavors in a cozy setup in Penn Yan, NY.
- Keuka Candy Emporium - Open all year-round, Keuka Candy Emporium is a fan favorite, carrying 24 flavors of Hershey Ice Cream, along with homemade fudge, candy, and chocolate.
- The Great Escape and Everything Ice Cream - Located just steps from the main entrance of Watkins Glen State Park, The Great Escape has been serving up delicious ice cream since 1982 - including vegan options and a coffee flavor made with locally-roasted coffee from Seneca Sunrise Coffee. They also offer a food truck at Clute Park during the summer.
- Colonial Pottery and Creamery - Famous for homemade, small batch ice creams, fresh custards, and homemade waffle cones. Colonial has vegan options and creative flavors like Biscoff, Chocolate Hazelnut, and Chocolate Coconut.
- The Elf in the Oak Ice Cream Cottage - Located in Burdett, NY, The Elf in the Oak is serving up the best ice cream in the region - from Ithaca's Purity Ice Cream to Watkins Glen's The Great Escape. The hot caramel sundae is all too good - especially because it's made and sourced locally.
- The Glen Dairy Bar - Originally opened in 1948 and remodeled in 1999, the Glen Dairy Bar is located on the south end of Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. They have enormous sundaes, and delicious low-fat flavors of the week (for those trying to be "good" but still want to indulge.)
- Cheshire Farms Creamery - Super premium, home-churned ice cream in Canandaigua, NY. Every July, Cheshire creates an ice cream flavor for the Ontario County Tourism Office, Finger Lakes Visitors Connection. Last year, they created "FLX Visitor Confection."
- Ice Cream Works - Located in Owego, NY, Ice Cream Works uses seasonal and locally sourced ingredients to make their desserts (when available), and 14% butterfat for the creamiest ice cream around. They feature flavors like Blueberry Crumble with pureed local blueberries and Earl Grey Lavender made with Earl Grey tea steeped with local lavender. NY Potholes is another favorite - a treat with a tease directed towards the state.
- Reese's Dairy Bar - Family-run ice cream shop, featuring homemade ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, French custard and Frace, using local products when possible. Reese's celebrates National Ice Cream month with special flavors and desserts and is one of the staples on Cayuga County's Sweet Treat Trail.
- Dippity Do Dahs - Found on Market Street in the Gaffer District of Corning, NY, Dippity Do Dahs makes homemade ice cream along with seasonal specialty flavors. The #1 seller is Salted Caramel - or try specialty products that are No-sugar Added, Vegan, or Yogurt. In true Finger Lakes fashion, they also have Rotating Beer and Wine Sorbet flavors.
- Abbott's Frozen Custard - Abbott's got its start in 1902 when Arthur Abbott traveled with carnivals along the eastern seaboard. He set up shop permanently in Rochester in 1926 and has since expanded in 26 locations in the city alone! Abbott's custard is creamy, sweet, and churned more slowly than ice cream for a thicker, smooth, and more intense treat.
- Hedonist Ice Cream - Founded in 2007, Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream crafts high-quality, handmade, small-batch ice cream. A hedonist is someone whose life is devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasures - in Rochester, that bliss can be found in ice cream sourced locally.
- Eat Me Ice Cream - A Rochester ice cream company created by Amber Odhner and Catelyn Augustine, Eat Me is dedicated to cultivating and inspiring creative thinking and imagination. Eat Me creates funky, fabulously fresh ice cream in NYS dairy and dairy-free each week. Inventive flavors include Lilac (fitting for the Flower City), Crystallized Ginger and Cashew Curry Coconut, Lavender Goat Cheese, and I Dream of Italy (Olive Oil and Basil).
- Pittsford Farms Dairy - Locally-owned farm, dairy and bakeshop synonymous with fresh, rich, and creamy ice cream. Located in the heart of the village of Pittsford, NY, the dairy is just steps away from the historic Erie Canal. Ingredients are sourced locally, from the same farm where the product is sold.
For more sweet spots and information on the Finger Lakes Region, visit www.fingerlakestravelny.com.
The Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council
The breathtaking Finger Lakes takes its name from eleven lakes spanning the region like a giant handprint, stretching from its easternmost point in Onondaga County to its westernmost border in Livingston County, near Letchworth State Park. Boasting a mix of nature trails and natural beauty, wineries and breweries scattered across the region, and quaint villages close to large metropolitan areas, the Finger Lakes Vacation Region has a plethora of tourist attractions within its borders.
In January 2014, the 14 Official County Tourism Promotion Agencies of the Finger Lakes Vacation Region formed a 501(c)(3) organization known as the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council (FLRTC). The FLRTC Board includes representation from all 14 TPAs and counties: Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne and Yates. For information about attractions and events throughout the Finger Lakes region, visit www.fingerlakestravelny.com or call 1-888-408-1693.
Executive Director, FLRTC