Handel’s Ice Cream

February 15, 2020

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, Northfield, Ohio

Being winter, I called Handel’s before going, and was surprised to actually hear a human voice – I did not even have to ‘press ‘0’ for operator!’ … And they were open

Handel’s was my kind of place for several reasons: they are an ice cream shop; they are open year round; they have ice cream samplers (sort of like a flight of beer, but much better); they have friendly, fast and efficient service; they make their own ice cream in a variety of creative and fun flavors.

I went with their sampler which let me try four flavors in one convenient container. I had Graham Central Station (interesting texture of graham cracker crumbs), Peanut Butter Brownie (our server’s favorite flavor – good, but not very much of a peanut butter flavor), Coffee Chocolate Chip (strong, awesome coffee flavor with lots of chocolate chips) and Cherry Magnolia (lots of cherries, great ice cream texture). I had no problem finishing it!

Ordering was at a walk up window, and there were benches outside to sit at – probably more used in the summer, when there is no snow on them. I totally enjoyed their ice cream, and even the cold, snow covered bench.

In the area: we were driving around Pennsylvania and Ohio and saw lots of amazing things! Our first goal was to learn what we could about the Pennsylvania Oil Rush – we learned a lot, but were sorry that there were no experts around for us to talk to.

Pennsylvania Oil Rush sites: Oil Creek State Park – we went to north western Pennsylvania to learn about the oil rush here in the mid 1800’s (1865 ish). We knew that PA was the first place on the United States to have commercial oil wells, and we were really curious to learn more. In Oil Creek State Park we saw numerous oil well remnants and placards showing where various saloons and houses were situated near the wells. According the signs, in 1865 they were pumping up to $25,000,000 a day out of the ground! The town buildings burned down several times and even the surface of Oil Creek was flammable!

Pithole State Park- Pithole was a community near Oil Creek. where many of the workers lived. We trudged through the snow to learn a out the city and the oil rush – it started in October 1865 and lasted about a year. Many of the Pithole residents lived in boarding houses and many owned horses which they used to transport oil barrels. Eventually a pipeline was made to transport the oil which eliminated the need for horses. When Pithole closed up, the buildings were moved elsewhere or burned down.

McClintock #1 Oil Well – in Oil City the oldest ‘continually’ operated oil well is available for the curious to explore. We are the curious. We learned a bit about how these things worked by signs placed on the grounds.

Pennsylvania and Ohio farms- thought our travels, we noticed that many farms had single oil wells with the signature two collection tanks. We are not sure if they are using or selling the oil, but if they are using it, how are they doing it without refining it? If they are selling it, why not run more than one well? I am so fascinated!

According to a site on-line, a town we were driving through, Franklin, Pennsylvania has Tiffany stained glass windows, not sure if it is true.

Heisey Glass Museum, Newark, Ohio – there is a brand of glass that was made in Newark, Ohio for about 100 years ending in the 1950’s. In the 1970’s people who collected this glass got together and created a museum with that glass. We actually visited here interested in the technology behind glass production. In the museum we learned about molding processes and etching processes for making glass. They even left out the molds with the glassware created by it for nerds like us to play with it. The museum was very interesting and friendly. We learned about etching techniques and glass coloring techniques including flamingo glass (my favorite!)

Licking County Historic Jail flashlight tour, Newark Ohio – if you are into ghost hunters and paranormal activity this is the tour for you. But we are not into this, so it was just a nice jail tour with a lot of stupid crap thrown in.

Blackhand Gorge State Park. – breathtaking scenery – worth a visit!

Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio – a river, a canal, a railroad, waterfalls, towpaths- this park has it all!


February 23, 2019

Commonwealth, Cambridge. Massachusetts

Our tour took us to a variety of interesting places!

While I would. Of consider myself a “foodie”, I do enjoy trying new food, but even more, new restaurants. Today I got to.do both by taking an Off the Beaten Trail Food Tour in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts.. So this time my ice cream stop was part of something bigger. Let me start my discussion with “the elixir of life” ( ice cream of course) and then I’ll fill you in on the rest if the tour.

Our Ice cream stop was at a shop called Commonwealth – Ok, Commonwealth has more than ice cream, in fact their menu of sandwiches made with locally sourced food looks scrumptious, The shop has a relaxing and fun atmosphere with long picnic tables, very attractively furnished with antiques (which are available for purchase) my favorite was the plaque with a recipe for a main dish that fed 800 to 1000 people and had ingredients such a 2 casks of red wine, a pig and a boar).

Oh, back to the ice cream- it was made locally at another one of their eateries and probably delivered hourly. Their signature flavor was mint chocolate chip – saying this was the best mint ice cream I have ever had is an understatement! They start with mint leave purée and extract the mint flavor, which resulted in a herbal minty flavor, crisp and refreshing. Then they add the most delectable chocolate chips. The result is an ice cream that I want more of. – lots more!

Now for the rest of our afternoon: This tour consisted of an overview of Kendall Sauare and sampling its food at seven restaurants with our guide Arthur. Cambridge has a lot of high tech stuff going on. My favorite was the huge Apple Computer Building going by up across the street ( “in spitting distance”) of Google. We also saw the headquarters of a company that made sensors for the first Apollo mission to the moon, and is presently working on sensors for self-driving vehicles – Draper Labs

Our first restaurant on the tour was Mehewah -“ a modern Jewish Deli, which sold “nice Jewish Boy” socks. Here we met our tour guide Arthur and were introduced to each other and Kendall Square – And to rugalach pastries. One for the owners of the deli told us about the history of Jewish delis and how they made the pastries by hand. They were quite tasty , and a wonderful appetizer for our food trek.

Ous second stop was to the State Line Brewery – here we had pickeled eggs. – a new taste and texture that I decided I liked- some in the group came to a different decision. Here the manager introduce himself to us and told us about his quest for traditional pub food, and pickled eggs certainly would go well with beer!

Our third stop was Dumpling Daughter. Here we were treated to big dumplings including ones with vegetables or bar-b- que beef with dipping sauce, And then little dumplings with lots of tasty filling also with dipping sauce – I loved these dumplings and this restaurant – as did Don who loves all dumplings.

Our next stop was Za Pizza and Salad Spot – food was locally sourced, chef inspired variations on a theme that made for great combinations. We each had a slice of pizza with cheese – amazing pizza!

Our next stop did not even require us to getup from the table. , Evoo and Za had an overlapping dining room. Evoo was the more “upscale” restaurant, and here we sampled a pate with a chef’s hand making it fancy. The menu listed their local sources for vegetables, meats and seafoods. They feature a different menu each night.

After our ice cream stop, we finished our tour with Apple Mules at Glass House. My favorite part was the crisp apple garnish. This bar was interestingly simple and nice to hang out at.

Thanks for a great tour Arthur!

Silamar Farm

July 14, 2019

Silamar Farm. Millerton New York

I always find it particularly enjoyable getting locally made ice cream at farm markets. Somehow it feels special to peruse locally grown vegetables and locally crafted cheese while enjoying ice cream. We were therefore pleased when we stumbled upon Silamar Farm. They had ice cream locally made, available in prepackaged containers or by the cup or cone.

I got Holy Cow and Chocolate Almond Fudge.. This ice cream was smooth, tasty – an overall very enjoyable experience! And we even had the pleasure of shopping for locally grown veggies as we enjoyed it! It made the ice cream seem healthier. There was limited seating outside available.


Vincent J. Herbert Arboretum Pittsfield, Massachusetts- Nice gardens with some plaques that taught me somethings about gardening. Many of the plants were labeled and there was a small hardwood area to walk through (with a gnome or two😀). A large house- like building was undergoing renovation. so there may be interesting happenings on the future. Kudos to whoever did the social media for this place- it made it look much nicer and larger than it is in real life!

Bartholomew’s Cobble, Sheffield, Massachusetts: National Natural Landmark with a large variety of plants and interesting geologic formations including caves and outcroppings. It is a fun and interesting place to go on a short hike.

Pleasant Valley Wildlife Refuge, Lenox, Massachusetts- nice place for a walk- pretty water, boardwalks in anyplace that was wet. We wanted to see a moose, which they said was there, but no such luck. We even played the moose mating call we found on the internet, but, my search for a moose was once again thwarted.

Skipper Dipper

August 11, 2019

Skipper Dipper, Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Skipper Dipper

Our friends Phil and Dianne Lorello have a beautiful home on Long Beach Island – being that that they have good taste in everything else, we figured they could recommended the best ice cream on the island. Their favorite was Skipper Dipper – a place that always has a line out the door – we were not disappointed.

Shortly after they opened on a Sunday morning, we climbed the few stairs to Skipper Dipper and read the sign that clearly told us the decisions that we had to make and the order we had to make them in to get the perfect ice cream experience. It made it less scary for those who never did this before.

In addition to hard and soft ice cream, they also had frozen yogurt, vegan ice cream and no sugar added ice cream. There was also a large assortment of cones to choose from such as salted blue corn and birthday cake.

We were cheerfully greeted by an “Authorized Dipper”, as stated on the back of her shirt (is there a class for that?), who asked us if we would like to try any flavors – I tried a seasonal flavor – Blueberry Cobbler – they caught the flavor very well with the same type of cobbler topping as I use (so that I can forego making a crust.). I then ordered a medium cup (step 1) with Java Chunk and Caramel Brownie (step 2) with marshmallow topping (step 3) which resulted in a large, beautiful creation. I loved the ice cream and our whole experience here.

There were plenty of benches and picnic tables with umbrellas to eat at outside,

In the area: Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge -in Galloway, NJ – 8 mile gravel road through both wetlands and forest that we rode our bikes on. Beautiful and interesting with flying things – monarchs, swallow tails, egrets, seagulls, ospreys, things I could not identify and too many Canadian Geese.

Hillside Sweet Shop

July 21, 2019

Hillside Sweet Shop, East Haddam , Connecticut

East Haddam Connecticut is a scenic small town I hope to eventually explore more of. Today I visited two sites not to be missed – The Nathan Hale schoolhouse and the Hillside Sweet Shop. From the street the Hillside Sweet Shop looks wonderful – large, colorful ice cream cones and charming pink umbrellas adorning small tables. Upon entering, I knew I was in the right place, with ice cream cases and candy shelves. Normally candy shelves have no interest for me, but these had pens shaped like ice cream cones ( not – edible,) and I had to have one.

One of things I enjoy most about writing an ice cream blog is the interesting people I meet. At Hillside Sweet Shop I met Richard Mason. He told me about his dad who was an Ancient Mariner. This refers to members of a Fife and Drum Corps that model themselves after sailers in colonial days. They have is a cannon, which makes a lot of noise and thrills their audiences. Richards’s dad made the cannon they used for years in the 1970s and 1980s. It has since been replaced – I would have loved to see his dad’s handiwork. I had such an enjoyable conversation with him about his dad and fife and drum! Even better since he shares my passion for ice cream.

Ancient Mariner cannon today.

Hillside a Sweet Shop has a variety of ice cream including Gifford’s Ice Cream from Maine, which is always good and comes in a variety of fun and tasty flavors. I had Kitchen Sink and Connecticut River Mud. The ice cream was totally enjoyable with a nice texture and flavor. I left happy.

While I ate my ice cream I played one of their two arcade games – an old pinball machine that released a small bouncy ball that was played with. I hit into a hole which gave an award of a second bouncy ball – not bad for a quarter! They also had an old Ms. Pac-Man machine which I did not play, to be honest I am hooked on this game on my computer.

In the area: Nathan Hale Schoolhouse. I have heard of Nathan Hale before, but I knew nothing about him except him saying he only regret is that he had but one life to give for his country. Now I have the rest of the story: After high school he taught for a year in East Haddam, Connecticut and nearly a year in New London Connecticut. He left teaching to help the colonies win their independence from England. He was a spy. – but never quite mastered the art of spying. His second day on the job he got caught by the other side and hanged. I guess his training was inadequate. I stoped by his East Haddam schoolhouse for a tour.

The Lantern

August 3, 2019

The Lantern, Wanaque, New Jersey

The statue in the lobby of The Lantern let me know it was my kind of place.

The walls were also decorated nicely

Food is ordered by walking up to a counter – one counter for sandwiches, salads erc., and one for ice cream. We started with sandwiches and fries since Erica biked about 70 miles this morning and was very hungry. We ordered our sandwiches and went to the outside tables to wait. In no time our sandwiches came through the little window. They were quite good.

This was followed up by ice cream. Erica and I ordered “Peanut Buster Parfaits”. They did not have any hot fudge, so we happily substituted chocolate sauce. Peanuts and chocolate on ice cream – a great combo!

The Lantern has a great atmosphere, friendly staff, comfortable tables inside and outside and creative artwork adorning the walls.

We love ice cream!


October 21, 2019

Culver’s, The Villages, Florida

The Villages is cool retirement community – when they say ‘active senior living’ they are not kidding! With 92 pools and more holes of golf than anywhere else on the planet… Between swimming and shuffleboard, we decided to stop at Culver’s. This was a chain restaurant that I had never been to ( or even heard of ) before this trip. I was informed that it was a great place for ice cream (and soup , burgers etc.)

Nice menu

Culver’s ice cream is made in small batches in the store. Each day three flavors of soft ice cream are offered – vanilla, chocolate and a featured flavor – double strawberry today, chocolate crunch tomorrow. There are plenty of toppings, mix- ins and sundaes. I ordered double strawberry (soft strawberry ice cream with slices of beautiful , fresh strawberries – (the freshest strawberries I have ever had in ice cream)). My dad had vanilla /chocolate twist and Don decided on a milkshake which was more like a giant dish of ice cream. We all totally enjoyed the ice cream, and were very impressed that it came from a burger joint.

Great treats!

The restaurant was clean with plenty of comfortable seating inside and outside.