This summer, FarmCoast invites you to take a tour of our ice cream stands, road trip style, and the local businesses that make this delightful summer treat a beloved gathering for friends, family, and strangers alike. The shops along the rural south coast boast awarding-winning, homegrown flavors and charming atmospheres, not to mention smiling small-town service. If standing in line for a sugar cone is your idea of an evening adventure, the four towns of FarmCoast welcome you to experience their unique, drippy summer treats…
We start the tour in Dartmouth, where Salvador’s Ice Cream has been serving up cones since the 1930′s. Yep, serving ice cream for over 70 years will make you an expert. Dartmouth locals recognize the giant milk urn-turned-small-business from miles away, and travel to hangout with the food, ice cream, and wooden game tables. Owned and operated by Len and Beth Gauvin and family since 2005, the building has a long history of ownership. Len and Beth restored the building to it’s original black and white appearance, and were meticulous enough to win a restoration award for their efforts. They now serve more than just ice cream (visitors love the lobster rolls and hearty burgers) but strive to keep it simple. “This place has a lot of history,” says Len, “people have been bringing their children and grandchildren here for years.” Salvador’s is located next to Cornell Farm, so you can watch baby sheep graze against a picturesque landscape while you climb the trees, play checkers, or enjoy a cone on one of the picnic benches. Salvador’s is entirely family friendly.
Next, make your way to Handy Hill Creamery in Westport where locals swarm (usually from Horseneck Beach) for salty snacks like salt water taffy and oyster bellies. “People are usually lined up all the way to the street,“ says a Handy Hill employee. Handy Hill is family owned and operated but employs dozens of happy faces for the summer to accommodate their enormous popularity. Each summer they feature specials, like this summer’s $1 soft serve cones. Handy Hill is on Hixbridge Road, a quick stop off the highway with tons of space to park, and plenty of room for a large crowd. Pets welcome!
Next stop, Margaret’s Corner Cones in Little Compton. On the corner of Willow Ave. and Simmons Road this little shop is a perfect destination or pit-stop for bikers roaming the hills and backroads of the FarmCoast. The shop features a wide assortment of unique flavors including “Graham Central Station,” and “Purple Cow.” Margaret’s is a rare, peaceful and quiet outdoor place to relax while enjoying an ice cream. If you do make the stop, be sure to try the Black Rasberry Yogurt, otherwise known as a happiness on a cone.
Our last stop is in Tiverton Four Corners at Gray’s Homemade Ice Cream, now in the Rhode Island Monthly‘s Hall of Fame for Best Ice Cream. Not only has it been voted the best year after year, it’s one of the oldest too. For 88 years, the ice cream at Gray’s has been handmade in Tiverton, now featuring over 40 flavors. The historic establishment has been in the hands of Marilyn Bettencourt since 1981 but has never lost its authentic mom-and-pop charm. Behind the outdoor ice cream stand, Gray’s has a small general store where you can get everything you need to make a perfect sundae at home, including containers of Gray’s homemade flavors. We recommend one of the original four: Vanilla, Chocolate, Coffee, or Strawberry. Marilyn stays open 365 days a year.
After a long, hot day at the beach, or wherever your days take you, stop by one, or all, of our ice cream stands and enjoy some local flavor. After all, summer’s never complete without a melty cone and beautiful sunset. FarmCoast is proud to be a part of this timeless New England tradition, eating (good) ice cream.