By Rob Montana
Firmly in the middle of a three-way debate about where the ice cream sundae was born – Ithaca is fending off claims for residents of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and Evanston, Illinois, for that honor – Tompkins County is a land of opportunity when it comes to the frozen treat.
From Cornell’s Dairy Bar to Purity, and all the ice cream stands in between, there are plenty of places for someone to test their tastebuds’ affinity for the dairy dessert. With National Ice Cream Month underway – President Ronald Reagan declared July so back in 1984 – and National Ice Cream Day coming up on Sunday, July 16, we decided to take a tour of stands throughout Tompkins County.
During our travels we saw how each of these places uniquely fit into their community, offering a place for people to not only get their ice cream fix, but also come together with neighbors and watch their children play. No matter the place, it was easy to see the happiness and enjoyment on customers’ faces as they enjoyed the company of others and tasty concoctions that were served up.
Here are some spots to try out this summer:
The Groton Red Caboose
Located at 108 W. Main St. in Groton, this stand is – as its name implies – housed in a former caboose. It is open noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 2-9 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/littlered.caboose.3.
Located at 104 Auburn Road in Lansing, Scoops has ample seating, with a goldfish pond and a trailhead to connect with the town’s trail system. It is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/scoopsny.
LakeBreeze Ice Cream
Located at 2305 E. Shore Dr. in Lansing, LakeBreeze has a playground for the kiddoes behind the stand with benches under shade trees for those looking to sit. It is open from 2-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/lakebreezeicecream.
The Frosty Cow
Located on Route 13/Livermore Crossing in Dryden, just north of Tompkins Cortland Community College, the Frosty Cow has a gazebo overlooking farm fields, and a drive thru for customers who are interested in ice cream on the go. It is open from from noon to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheFrostyCow.
Located at 18 Railroad St. in Freeville, Toad’s Too has a covered seating area – and a goldfish pond that children will enjoy looking at – for customers. It is open from noon to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/Toads-Too-Ice-Cream-Oasis-308648372493/?rf=403217576386079.
Not My Dad’s
Located at 203 E. Main St. in Trumansburg, Not My Dad’s shares a parking lot with longstanding video rental store, Rent-a-Flick, and is across from the Trumansburg Fairgrounds and Henry A. Smith Woods. It is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/Not-My-Dads-Ice-Cream-112897727210.
Located at 9833 State Route 96 in Trumansburg, less than a mile past the Trumansburg Farmers Market, Trimmer’s has a number of tables covered with umbrellas, as well as a basket of outdoor toys for customers to enjoy. It is open from noon to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/trimmersicecream.
How Sweet It Is
Located at 44 E. Main St. in Trumansburg, How Sweet It Is is the newest addition to Trumansburg’s ice cream places, and has its origins from Sweet Melissa’s (located next on our list). Co-owners Melissa Kenny and Sarafina Payne met at the Ithaca ice cream stand, when Payne began working there in high school. It is open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/howsweet607.
Located at 200 W. Seneca St. in Ithaca, next to Shortstop Deli, Sweet Melissa’s is co-owned by husband-and-wife team, Matt and Melissa Kenny. They’ve created special flavors for special events – for example, coming up with a special ice cream to commemorate Tompkins County bicentennial. It is open from 1-9 p.m. daily. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/sweetmelissasicecreamshop.
Purity Ice Cream
Located at 700 Cascadilla St. in Ithaca, Purity has been open for 80 years, becoming a food icon in the county seat and known throughout the region. It has plenty of seating available with its expansion in recent years, and offers covered seating outdoors as well. It is open from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. For more information, visit its website at PurityIceCream.com.
15 Below Ice Cream
Located on downtown Ithaca’s Commons, 15 Below Ice Cream offers a unique experience for customers, that can see the liquid ice cream turn into its frozen form – through a cold plate mixing procees – in front of their eyes. It is open from 1-10 p.m. daily. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/15-Below-Ice-Cream-1626633867655276.
Scooby Steve’s Ice Cream
Located at 1415 Danby Road in Danby, Scooby Steve’s has seating set up for customers to enjoy the sunsets from the top of South Hill, as well as a pair of horses and a mule for people to visit. It is open from 2-9 p.m. daily. For more information, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/Scooby-Steves-Ice-Cream-on-South-Hill-882301811853868.
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