By Meg Walburn Viviano
What is it about Chesapeake Bay towns and … ice cream? An ice cream shop seems a requirement for any quaint town with a scenic waterfront to walk around. Annapolis? Check. St. Michaels? Check. North Beach? Check.
It must be the versatility of ice cream. It’s a dessert, it’s a treat between meals, it’s an excellent food to carry around while window-shopping up and down the street. In some small towns, boutiques have had to put up signs asking folks to finish their ice cream before coming into the store. Mint-chocolate chip drippings and beautiful blouses don’t mix, I guess.
I had my first-ever ice cream cone in Annapolis (naturally) at age 3. At home, my mother was a 1980s health nut and only fed me organic foods. But just one time, we stopped for ice cream near City Dock.
Needless to say, that first chocolate ice cream cone was a shock to my sugar-deprived system and things didn’t end well. My mother recalls carrying me, kicking and screaming in a sugar-induced tantrum, when it was time to go home. As we passed an Annapolis police officer, I shouted to him, “HELP MEEEE!”
The officer must have had kids of his own, and simply gave my mother a knowing look.
Today, my ice cream experiences are much happier, and the flavors out there are much more fun than plain ol’ chocolate. They’re multi-scoop rainbows just begging to be photographed and posted in food selfies. They’re eyebrow-raising flavor combinations that work together surprisingly well. Some aren’t ice cream cones at all, they’re milkshakes, floats, or fro-yo.
In honor of National Ice Cream Day (mark your calendars—it’s this Sunday, July 18!) we’re picking some of the most popular and inventive frozen treats for sale in Chesapeake Country’s shops. In the depths of these 90-degree days, do yourself a favor and sample some!
And lest we forget what ice cream is really about, you can read the inspiring story of Mr. Solo’s ice cream truck—a community fixture in Crofton. His story centers around the kindness of strangers—and shows how much the families in the community cherish his presence.
At CBM Bay Weekly we make a point to tell the stories of such institutions—places that make a community stand apart from the rest. In Deale, one of those is Good Old Days Auto Service, which turned out to be more than just a place to get your car fixed. Now that it’s changing hands, the full impact of the family who ran it is being felt.
Speaking of community institutions, I’m planning to get my National Ice Cream Day treat at one of the best (and oldest) around. Ann’s Dari-Creme, celebrating an incredible 70+ years in its little red-roofed building on Ritchie Highway, still serves up the best vanilla soft-serve. We encourage you to open these pages and find the treat that appeals to you—and don’t forget the napkins!