If the heat and humidity are getting you down, cool off with summer’s favorite treat – ice cream! In Lancaster County, ice cream is regarded as a vital component of the Food Pyramid’s Dairy Group. From old-fashioned soda fountains to farms and all-American drive-ins, ice cream tops their menus!
The roots of ice cream extend back to ancient times, when crushed ice or frozen milk was made more flavorful with fruit juices. According to food writer Tori Avey, nearly every culture through the ages has developed its own take on an icy dessert, resulting in what we now know as gelato (Italy), sorbet (France) and sherbet (Middle Eastern countries). Immigrants brought the icy treats to America, where, what we now know as ice cream evolved. Avey shares that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson loved ice cream. Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary, made it a practice to host parties during strawberry season that always included homemade strawberry ice cream. Sundaes became a taste sensation in the 1880s, while the waffle cone made its debut during the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
The good news is that ice cream is staying on trend with today’s lifestyles and includes gluten-free, low-carb, sugar-free and vegan varieties.
Oh, and there’s a new taste sensation that apparently is simply intoxicating – alcohol-infused ice cream. Specialty companies such as Bootleg Creamery (Denver, Colorado) and Arctic Buzz (based in Maryland) are livening up America’s favorite flavors with vodka, gin and other spirits. This summer, Coors introduced Orange Cream Pop ice cream that is infused with hard seltzer. You have to be 21 to buy what is being marketed as adult ice cream because apparently it does leave you with a buzz. It’s not available in Pennsylvania, but if you happen to visit a liquor store in D.C. or Maryland, look for it. It’s proven to be a hit at several MLB ballparks, as well.
What follows are some of Lancaster County’s go-to places for ice cream. We’d suggest you check operating hours before taking a drive – because of Covid and manpower issues, hours remain in flux. Also, hours typically change once fall arrives.
3160 N. Reading Rd. (Route 272), Adamstown
Information: 717-484-4227 or Facebook
Menu: Homemade ice cream, milkshakes, sundaes and other desserts comprise the menu, along with hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue, cheesesteaks, subs and French fries. Flavors are not run-of-the-mill and could include chocolate almond amaretto, banana, black raspberry and pineapple. Try to snag a creekside picnic table and be entertained by the ducks. New this year: credit cards and Apple Pay are now accepted!
COFFEE & CREAM
101 N. Front St., Columbia
Information: 717-449-5488 or Facebook
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream, as well as shakes, frappes, fruit smoothies, frozen cocoa and Italian cream sodas. Food menus include breakfast fare, sandwiches, paninis and more. Handcrafted coffee is available, as is latte, cappuccino, chai, tea, London Fog and Parisian Mist. The café makes its home in a former railway station and is just a short walk to Columbia Crossings and the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.
DOTTIE’S SNACK BAR
425 W. Fourth St., Quarryville
Information: 717-786-7274 or Facebook
Menu: Soft-serve ice cream and desserts, plus cheesesteaks, subs, burgers and French fries. Open since 1968, its namesake (and legendary) owner, Dorothy Tomlinson, passed away in March at age 88. Apparently Dottie considered ice cream to be her fountain of youth – she continued working until the age of 80!
DOWN ON THE FARM CREAMERY
226 Gap Rd., Strasburg
Information: 717-687-7829 or Facebook
Menu: Brothers Jonathan and Daniel Lapp make more than two dozen flavors of ice cream (plus seasonal flavors) at the family farm on May Post Office Road, where they also operate a farm store. The Gap Road location is a new venture for them. The menu offers hand-dipped ice cream, shakes, Italian ice, sundaes, yogurt slurpees and soft pretzels.
FOX MEADOWS CREAMERY & COUNTRY MARKET
2475 W. Main St., Ephrata
Information: 717-721-6455, foxmeadowscreamery.com or Facebook
Menu: Handcrafted ice cream made from farm-fresh milk, custom milkshakes and floats, affogato and café drinks. In the market, you’ll find pints and half gallons to go, as well as a large selection of locally made food products. There’s also an extensive lunch menu. The inventive ice cream menu includes such flavors as banana cream pudding, brown butter almond brickle, grasshopper, honeyed lavender, meadow tea sorbet, monkey bread and strawberry rhubarb crumble. One of their signature desserts is the Baked Fox: a hot-pressed outer shell made from brownies, cookies or shortcake and filled with your choice of ice cream.
FREEZE & FRIZZ
2250 New Holland Pk., Lancaster
Information: 717-656-4491 or Facebook
Menu: Choose from soft-serve or hand-dipped (from Hershey’s) ice cream and other desserts. Hamburgers, hot dogs, soups, sandwiches, barbecue and French fries are also on the menu.
GIGI’S ICE CREAM BAR
2 S. Second St., Bainbridge
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream, sundaes, floats, shakes and a concoction called the Falmouth Banana Fudge Boat will tempt your sweet tooth. Hamburgers, hot dogs, wings, fried mushrooms, nachos and crab cakes are also on the menu at this nostalgia-filled destination that’s just two blocks from the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.
GOOD LIFE ICE CREAM & TREATS
2088 Fruitville Pk., Lancaster
Information: 717-735-1999, goodlifelancaster.com or Facebook
Menu: Handmade ice cream, combos, sundaes, splits, shakes and floats and treats such as cakes, cupcakes, ice cream sandwiches and ice cream tacos are available. In addition to regular ice cream flavors, summer offerings have included dill pickle, watermelon, meadow tea, bubblegum and mermaid.
GRECO’S ITALIAN ICES & HOMEMADE ICE CREAM
9 E. Kleine Lane, Lititz
Information: 717-625-1166 or Facebook
Menu: Owner Mike Greger makes his own ice cream and Italian ice (inspired by the water ice he enjoyed while growing up near Philadelphia). Choose from hand-dipped ice cream, several soft-serve options, sundaes, Italian ice, flurry-blended desserts, floats, milkshakes, Italian-ice shakes, ice cream coffee drinks and ice cream sandwiches. Summer flavors have included Irish cream, mudslide, cappuccino chip, chocolate-covered cherry and caramel delight.
HAYLOFT ICE CREAM TREATS & SOFT PRETZELS
95 S. Groffdale Rd., Leola
Information: 717-556-8236, haylofticecream.com or Facebook
Menu: Soft-serve and hand-dipped ice cream, sundaes, banana splits, cold-brew shakes, Barn Blasters, Italian ice, gelatis and more, plus soft pretzels and dips. Food menu also includes pretzel logs, sandwiches and soup. For the kids, there’s a duck-filled pond and and a playground. All profits benefit Allegany Boys Camp, a year-round residential wilderness camp in Maryland, for boys ages 9-15 who are struggling with home situations or school.
ISABELLA’S ICE CREAM PARLOR
110 E. Main St., Lititz
Information: 717-627-1668, isabellasic.com or Facebook
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream (from Hershey’s), shakes, sundaes and floats. Summer flavors have included strawberry fields, mint Oreo grasshopper, salted caramel truffle and oatmeal cookie.
KC’s ITALIAN ICE
617 W. Orange St., Lancaster
Information: 717-617-2912, kcsitalianice.com or Facebook
Menu: KC’s offers numerous flavors of their specialty frozen treat, including black cherry, mango, orange cream, peach, root beer float and many more. Quarts are also available.
LAPP VALLEY FARM
244 Mentzer Rd., New Holland
Lapp’s also operates a stand at Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse
Menu: Handcrafted, small-batch ice cream is made using milk from the family farm. Waffle cones are made fresh. Milkshakes, frozen-coffee beverages, sundaes and more are also on the menu. Kids love seeing the cows and calves.
209 E. Main St., New Holland
Information: 717-354-4986, lickitysplit.info or Facebook
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream (from Leiby’s Dairy), Italian ice, sundaes, splits, sodas and floats are on the dessert menu, while soups, sandwiches, salads, wraps and appetizers comprise the lunch/dinner menu. Highlights include a Flight of Ice Cream, the Plowed Field Sundae (complete with gummy worms) and the Dissinger Family Favorite: seven scoops of ice cream, seven toppings, chocolate chips, bananas, whipped topping and cherries on the top.
LITTLE DIPPERS ICE CREAM
432 W. Main St., Mount Joy
Information: 717-653-6664 or Facebook
Menu: It’s not unusual to see a line of cars winding through the parking lot of this small ice cream stand. The reason? Little Dippers has Penn State Berkey Creamery ice cream on the menu, as well as selections from Turkey Hill.
MAPLEHOFE DAIRY FARM STORE
799 Robert Fulton Hwy., Quarryville
Information: 717-786-3924, maplehofedairy.com or Facebook
Menu: Whether you are coming from hiking the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail or shopping at the many greenhouses/garden centers in the Southern End, a stop at this farm store will restore your energy. It’s ice cream central! The selection includes 40 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream (from Leiby’s Dairy), waffle cones made fresh to order, banana splits, sundaes, milkshakes and more. You can also pick up 56 oz. containers of Leiby’s to take home.
MIESSE CANDIES & ICE CREAM PARLOR
118 N. Water St., Lancaster
Information: 717-392-6011, miessecandies.com or Facebook
Menu: The draw here – besides Miesse’s legendary candy selection – is Penn State Berkey Creamery’s ice cream, as well as sodas (10 syrups to choose from), shakes and egg creams. This is a bona fide ice cream parlor – the 12-foot soda fountain originally made its home in a York drug store and was completely refurbished to do duty at Miesse’s.
OREGON DAIRY’S MILKHOUSE ICE CREAM SHOPPE
2900 Oregon Pk., Lititz
Information: 717-656-2856 or oregondairy.com/ice-cream-shoppe
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream (homemade) and desserts with farm views are on the agenda at this family-friendly shop where you can indulge in an Ice Cream Flight or a Lancaster County Mud Pie Sundae (brownie, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, mini-Wilbur Buds, whipped cream and a cherry on the top), as well as flavors such as cashew & raspberry, coconut almond fudge and magical unicorn.
PINE VIEW DAIRY
2225 New Danville Pk., Lancaster
Information: 717-872-5486, pineviewdairy.com or Facebook
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream (made on the farm), frozen yogurt, sherbet and desserts. Oreo lovers will want to sample the dairy’s espresso Oreo caramel, Oreo mint and Oreo cookie flavors.
ROLLED COLD CREAMERY
24 E. Orange St., Lancaster
Information: 717-208-3805, rolledcoldcreamery.com or Facebook
Menu: Fresh cream and lactose-free milk from local distributors comprise the creamery’s ice cream base, which is made fresh in-house and is 100% free of corn syrup. Several of the flavors are gluten-free and vegan friendly. Here, the ice cream isn’t dipped but is sliced and rolled. The creamery also serves New Holland Coffee Company products, as well as smoothies, shakes, mocktails, frozen hot chocolate and waffles & ice cream. Signature ice cream flavors include s’mores, blueberry Earl Grey, cupcake, maple bacon and red rose, among others.
SCOOPS ICE CREAM & GRILLE
312 Primrose Ln., Mountville
Information: 717-285-2055, scoopsgrille.com or Facebook
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream and desserts, plus soups, sandwiches, burgers, wraps and cheesesteaks. Dare to try the Mountville Meltdown: 12 scoops of ice cream, four toppings and loads of whipped cream. Chocolate lovers will go gaga for the Death by Chocolate Shake: deep, dark chocolate ice cream swirled with chocolate chips and syrup and topped with whipped cream and Oreo cookie crumbs. Afterwards, you can play miniature golf.
319 W. Main St., Quarryville
1991 Miller Rd., East Petersburg
2 Miller St., Strasburg
Information: Quarryville at 717-786-5665. East Petersburg at 717-569-0009. Strasburg at 717-687-5665. Sonsice.com or Facebook
Menu: An amazing selection of homemade ice cream (soft-serve and hand-dipped), Italian ice, sundaes, shakes, avalanches and other frozen desserts. The catchphrase at Son’s – Ice Cream is Cheaper Than Therapy – is put to the test with their 96 oz. Banana Pig Split. If you can eat it in an hour, your money is refunded or you can opt to receive a gift card. Bring your pup along! Doggie Delight – vanilla ice cream topped with dog biscuits – is on the menu. Note: Hand-dipped ice cream is not available in Strasburg.
SPLITS & GIGGLES
500 W. Lemon St., Lancaster
Information: 717-399-3332, splitsandgiggles.com or Facebook
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream (from Hershey’s), Italian ice, sorbet, sherbet, sundaes, shakes and banana splits, plus beverages such as latte, espresso, hot chocolate and cappuccino. Ice cream flavors include vegan chocolate chunk, no-sugar-added butter pecan, graham central station and cotton candy. Enjoy your treats on the flower-filled patio.
STRASBURG CREAMERY, COUNTRY STORE & CAFE
1 W. Main St., Strasburg
Information: 717-687-0766, Strasburg.com or Facebook
Menu: Homemade ice cream – 140 flavors rotate on the menu throughout the year – sundaes, shakes and other frozen desserts. Waffle cones are made fresh. The adjoining café offers breakfast and lunch items. Please bring back your candy corn ice cream this fall!!!
THE LANCASTER SWEET SHOPPE
141 N. Duke St., Lancaster
Information: 717-869-5955, lancastersweetshoppe.com or Facebook
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream (from Pine View Dairy), waffle and pretzel cones, sundaes, banana splits, milkshakes, floats and fruit smoothies, as well as the specialty of the house, the Stroopie Ice Cream Sandwich (a stroopie takes its inspiration from a Dutch Stroopwafel, a cookie that originated in Holland). Coffee and tea drinks abound. If you still haven’t satisfied your sweet tooth, chocolates from Groff’s Candies are available.
THE SALTED SPOON
2301 Harrisburg Pk., Suite 100, Lancaster
Information: 717-693-0039, thesaltedspoonlancaster.com or Facebook
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream (from Pine View Dairy), sundaes, shakes and floats, as well as coffee and tea drinks. Owners Rebecca Mylin and her father, Mike, designed the modern/minimalist space to be a place where guests can “eat, meet and socialize.” Indeed a section of the space mimics a modern living/sitting room.
THE SHACK RESTAURANT & MINI GOLF
662 S. Oak St., Manheim
Information: 717-664-2250, theshackmanheim.com or Facebook
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream (from Kreider Farms), sundaes, milkshakes and floats, as well as broasted chicken, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, platters, kids’ menu, sides, salads and other “great stuff.” Some ice cream flavors include Baron Von Nut, Irish crunch, snickershack and s’more please. The park-like setting makes a round of miniature golf all the more relaxing.
THE UDDER CHOICE
1812 W. Main St., Ephrata
Information: 717-733-4300 or Facebook
Menu: Hand-dipped ice cream (homemade), sundaes with names such as Holstein, Guernsey, Jersey and more, banana splits and The Jigger, which honors the ice cream treat once served at Cox’s Drugstore in Ephrata. The Udder Choice also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
309 S. Main St., Manheim
Information: 717-665-2897, manheimtwinkiss.com or Facebook
Menu: Soft-serve ice cream, sundaes, shakes, floats, root beer and banana splits, plus burgers, barbecue, chicken, cheesesteaks, sides, dinners, salads and soups.
901 N. Hanover St., Elizabethtown
Information: 717-367-1694 or Facebook
Menu: Soft-serve ice cream, sundaes, splits, shakes and floats, as well as burgers, sandwiches, subs, sides, dinners and more.