November 19, 2017
Sip and Swirl, Little Falls, New Jersey
open all year
Sip and Swirl has a great street presence- as one drives by, they cannot miss the “Homemade Ice Cream” banners around the building (to be real, I cannot even miss very little “homemade ice cream” signs). When we entered, we found the shop very appealing – brightly lit and pleasingly painted and decorated. For eat-in customers there were two small tables inside and several more outside. It was a blustery day so we chose inside. All the ice cream was home made with standard flavors like mint chip and vanilla plus interesting flavors like banana Oreo and Whitney’s Latte (unfortunately the server could not tell me who Whitney was). They featured a “Sundae Smasherwhich” great for anyone who is chronically indecisive or “wants it all” – a warmed lava cake with soft ice cream and toppings with whipped cream in a cup – Don got a peanut Butter Sundae Smasher which he enjoyed. I chose a peanut butter sundae with hard ice cream – Whitney’s Latte and Butter Pecan. I found the ice cream to be refreshingly delicious – both the flavor and the texture. The butter pecan had lots of large pieces of pecans (to me the more the merrier) in a delicious base. I found the server to be very friendly.
Sip and Swirl offers catering service where you can have a Sip and Swirl truck come to your next event. I am wondering if I can just have that truck park outside my house.
June 12, 2017
Chatterbox Drive-In Restaurant, Augusta, New Jersey
Open all year
The Chatterbox Drive-In Restaurant has always been a favorite of mine – great food, great milkshakes, great atmosphere. It features 1950s motif which includes period music, a model train and an old car (in mint condition) in the center of the service floor. The car changes regularly – I think anyone can apply to have their car featured, but I am unsure. During the Christmas season, a Christmas tree occupies the spot of honor. The restaurant has large booths around the circular perimeter and a few tables toward the center. It also has a soda-fountain style counter. It is spacious, giving it a relaxing atmosphere. There is some period merchandise available for sale before the hostess station – I frequently get gifts there for a relative who restores old vehicles.
The food is always good – burgers, sandwiches, munchies, the best milkshakes around and ice cream for dessert! They have about six flavors of Hershey’s ice cream, several toppings to chose from, and ice cream sodas, root beer floats, and milkshakes. I had a sundae with black raspberry ice cream and chocolate syrup. Pat and Mary Lou had sundaes as well. Sundae were nicely sized and presented, and made a great ending to our delicious dinner!
December 17, 2017
Hubcap Cafe, America on Wheels Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Seasonal (closed January, February, March)
When we decided to experience the America on Wheels Museum, we were happy to find it came with its own ice cream parlor – the Hubcap Cafe! After entering the museum, we made this our first stop – even more exciting, because it was almost time for ice cream with Santa!
Entering the Hubcap Cafe feels a little like entering an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with bar with stools by an ice cream counter and tables around the room. It even came with a Christmas Tree made of hubcaps – charming in a transportation museum! We went to the bar and were greeted by a server sucking on a candy cane – can he be called a bar tender if there is no alcohol? The menu listed ice cream flavors, and sundaes. We asked the server about the sundaes and got the reply “the sundaes are nothing special, just a brownie, two scoops of whatever kind of ice cream you want, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a cherry.” I am not sure this guy has a future in sales. He was not copping an attitude, just explaining it to us like it was. He then prepared our sundaes, I had mint chocolate chip and Don had vanilla, prepared with Jack and Jill ice cream. We went to a table to eat it, and our experience was enriched when Santa came in for the “Ice Cream with Santa celebration!” I guess Santa was fat enough – he did not eat ice cream. Although the bartender did not know it, all sundaes are special! We enjoyed them, enjoyed the simplicity of the cafe, and hoped the server continued to enjoy his candy cane.
In the area: America on Wheels Museum is a history of travel. It has displays of old cars, toy cars (both model and rideable), bridge designs, and lots more.
There was a model train set up that came with a scavenger hunt where you had to find things like Spongebob. There were several volunteers at the museum, mostly older men who were knowledgeable about the exhibits seemed to be good friends and enriched our experience there.
December 7, 2017
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Brooklyn, New York, NY
Open all rear
Location, location. location, location… Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory has those going for it – located in a scenic building in a delightful park right near the water (East River?) under the Brooklyn Bridge in the rapidly developing borough of Brooklyn. The perfect place for and ice cream shop! It looks like they had an outdoor serving area for the warmer weather, adding an extra charm to the waterfront park.
We entered the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory into a room with three tables and chairs, two random bar stools and a good size ice cream counter. Signs reading “BROOKLYN ICE CREAM FACTORY using only the finest, purest, natural ingredients” were placed around the room. Even though is it chilly outside, lots of people are eating and ordering ice cream. I think I would like living in Brooklyn. The ice cream is all homemade upstairs – you can sort of see it through a window on the second floor.
If you have never ordered ice cream before, and are a little afraid to do it for the first time, The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is a great place to get over your phobia – the have posted “Ice cream ordering etiquette”. All you need to do is follow the directions, and the ice cream cone or dish you desire shows up in your hands! I ordered Peaches and Cream with peach puree topping. Renee ordered vanilla chocolate chip (their best seller the server informed me) with chocolate sauce. The chocolate sauce was more of a dark chocolate flavor than I normally associate with ice cream toppings. Perhaps that means it is more healthy – it does mean that Renee really liked it. While the peach ice cream was creamy, and had a lot of small pieces if peaches (say that three times fast), I thought it had a bit of an unpleasant aftertaste. Renee’s vanilla chocolate chip was more to my liking.
In the area: I took a vacation day from work today to walk around NYC looking at all the Christmas displays. Somehow we ended up walking across the Brooklyn Bridge
first because I wanted to see what it was like. It was a really cool – the bridge was very old , I am told that building this bridge is where “the bends” that SCUBA divers experience were first discovered. Anyway it was awesome bridge, and we were not the only ones with this idea today. after walking around the Brooklyn waterfront for a while, we took the ferry (best deal for a scenic boat ride) to 34th street and walked to Macy’s ( the world’s largest store) to see their decorated windows – amazing creativity, delightful to watch!
August 27, 2017
Temptation Cafe, Nyack, New York
open all year
Nyack, New York has a pleasant downtown with plenty of stores for window shopping, and plenty of restaurants to eat at. We chose the Temptation Cafe. This evening, it is a busy place with customers eating at outside tables with colorful umbrellas. The only way to identify the place was by a sign painted on the window. Is it a new place waiting for an official sign? I do not know. Entering into the galley-style shop was delightful – It featured two large display cases with lots of flavors of ice cream (Hershey’s and Perry’s). The back of the shop was wider with some nice indoor seating, and the cafe offered a full menu that looked good, but we were only here for ice cream. In addition to the plethora of ice cream flavors, they also offered sundaes, toppings and cones of various colors. I had Chocolate Covered Pretzel ice cream in a sugar cone. It was both nice to look at and nice to eat!
In the area: today we went visit Don’s mother and were thrilled to find the new Tappan Zee Bridge was opened west bound – east bound will not be open for another year. We then got a better view of the bridge and the Hudson River walking along the Old Erie Path and trails on either end of it that make up a Hudson River Greenway. The trails offered stunning views the river and the bridge, and ends in
Piermont New York which is a great town to walk around. This day was made extra special when walking along the trail, we ran into our daughter’s friends Yulena and Dan with their baby daughter!
October 21, 2017
Clinton Fudge Company
The shop is open all year, ice cream in season
Entering the Clinton Fudge Company is an feast for the eyes with delectable-looking chocolates in impressive showcases – and a delectable ice cream counter featuring Gifford’s ice cream (from Maine). We were cheerfully greeted by the staff member asking us what kind of ice cream we wanted. I got a scoop of coffee fudge and a scoop of Campfire S’mores (graham ice cream with marshmallow ripple and chocolate chips). Both scoops were creamy and smooth. I loved the coffee fudge flavor, but the S’mores did not quite capture the graham cracker flavor. We enjoyed chatting with the customer who came in after us, also looking for ice cream and our server – it gave the shop a nice and friendly atmosphere. Our fellow customer took the picture, but did not want to be in it with us – maybe he is in the witness protection program (my mind is already set for the haunted house tonight!) There is no no indoor or outdoor
seating, but Clinton is a delightful town to walk around, and we happily window shopped while we ate.
In the area: The Red Mill Museum is a picturesque historic site in Clinton, I was first here with my children many years ago. Be tech junkies, we loved seeing the gears and inner working of the water wheel, and how it powered, among other things, a talc factory.
Their major fund raiser is an annual Halloween haunted mill, and I love volunteering to scare people. This was our night, and it was a lot of fun as usual – I was a scary janitor and Erica was a scary maid.
November 12, 2017
Dilly’s Corner, New Hope, Pennsylvania
The best way to Dilly’s Corner is to start in Stockton, NJ, walk the bridge over the Delaware River and go straight. Sure lots of folks come by car or motorcycle, but they may have missed the beautiful river. When we arrived on a chilly day in November, they were set up for for cold weather – plastic sheets were placed around the outdoor covered porch, and propane heaters were installed. The walk-up ordering window was also likewise nicely enclosed. The year-round indoor seating area had cute pictures painted on the wall as well as art work from a featured local artist (Jarad R. Dellaratta).
Today there was a steady stream of customers, most getting fried things that looked quite good – but we were only here for ice cream (like most places we go). They had hard and soft ice cream, shakes and sundaes. The featured flavor of the day was soft pumpkin spice (quite surprising for fall), which I had in a blueberry sundae (of course I want whipped cream and a cherry!). Don had a coffee milkshake. The ice cream was good – not sensational – creamy but a bit short on flavor. To me the best thing about this place is location, location, location. A great place to get ice cream on a chilly day to enjoy while walking across a beautiful river.
In the area: My favorite rail trail has always been the Delaware and Raritan Canal trail which runs along much of the Delaware River in New Jersey. There is a parallel trail which follows the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania side, newly opened after a closure lasting several years. This is really nice – one can do loop trails using the many bridges with pedestrian walkways. Today we walked from Stockton to Lambertville in New Jersey and returned via the PA side for a total of just over 7 miles. It was a wonderfully scenic walk on a trail with a nearly perfect smooth crushed stone surface.