August 17, 2017
Kone Kompany, Skagway, Alaska
Kone Kompany is a small shop that sells fudge, candy, nuts and ice cream. They feature Dreyers ice cream which comes from Seattle. I got Tiger Tiger (orange ice cream with black licorice mixed in) and Triple Tornado (Banana, Orange and raspberry ice cream swirled together). Great place to visit in Skagway!
In the area: Skagway is a small town in southeast Alaska, It is about 22 by 4 blocks surrounded by water and mountains. It can either be a tourist trap (it has lots of shops to buy jewelry and crafts and other items. I particularly liked the fur shop – I was thinking of buying a $4000.00 fur to remember my vacation, but I did not want to carry it.) or a really cool place – The National Park Service runs a variety of fascinating exhibits about the gold rush of 1897 to 1898 which I highly recommend – do not forget to visit “Soapy” Smith’s parlor. There are also lots of great hiking trails varying from the easy (Lower Reid Falls, Yakutania Point) to more difficult ones (Upper Dewey Lake, Upper Reid Falls). I even enjoyed their bridges over the Skagway River and the historic cemetery.
August 20, 2017
Rusty Compass Coffee House, Haines, Alaska
open all year
Walking into the Rusty Compass Coffee House in Haines, Alaska gave me a good feeling, the place was warm and nicely decorated. It had three rooms with seating – the room with the order counter which was like a typical nice cafe, a second room with more formal seating and a third set up for more intimate conversations – a couple of people were in there having what looked like an informal business meeting. The shop sold sandwiches and other food. coffee (hence the name “coffee house”), giftware and ice cream (the reason we came). There were four flavors of ice cream that the server told me that it was made in Alaska, but she was not sure where. They could make milkshakes in any of the flavors, which sounded tempting, but we went for the ice cream straight up. I had caramel caribou (toffee flavored ice cream with caramel cups) in a waffle cone. It had a great flavor and texture. Don had Huckleberry Heaven, which he also really enjoyed We chose to forgo all the comfortable seating options and eat our ice cream while we walked around the town. I never did find out why it is called the Rusty Compass.
In the area: We arrived in Haines Alaska on the Marine Highway Ferry and rode into town on the Haines Shuttle. Our driver was kind enough to drive us around to see the town before he dropped us off. He showed us the set for the Disney movie White Fang at the state fair grounds, Fort Seward which is now a run by the National Park Servce, and the scenic waterfront. Haines has three museums – we visited the Hammer Museum at the recommendation of a local family we met at our hotel. I learned the difference between a hammer and a mallet (a hammer is harder than the material you are hitting, a mallet is softer), I learned about rock hammers and rock-climbing hammers. I also learned that for any topic I could think of, someone is passionate enough about it to make a museum (including hammers and ice cream). I wonder if there is a plastic fork museum somewhere?
August 6, 2017
Ben’s Fresh, Port Jervis, New York
When we arrived at Ben’s Fresh on a Sunday morning it was not yet open. We went to the diner next door for breakfast and returned for ice cream. Now Ben’s was crowded. There were a gazillion motorcycles outside, and a few more than a gazillion people inside ordering food. There was a walk up counter to order and a large seating area with plenty of tables and chairs, and walls nicely decorated. There was also and outdoor seating area. Munchies, burgers and fries on the food menu looked and smelled great – but we were only interested in ice cream. There was a large selection of Welch Farms ice cream flavors, sundaes, milk shakes – you get the picture. I had a chocolate fudge sundae with Panda Paws ice cream, everyone else ordered some type of ice cream – plain or fancy. We enjoyed sitting in this bustling place and eating our treats.
In the area: We were in Port Jervis for the Tristate Triathlon. I was on team “Ice Cream” with Renee (swimming) and Brenda (running). I biked. Don (running) was on team “Got Pulse?” with my brothers Tom (swimming) and Chris (biking). The swimmers got the raw end of this deal – some flood gates were opened the night before and half mile swim in the Delaware River was very challenging! I was glad to be a spectator for this event – both Tom and Renee finished impressively – Now it was my turn (and Chris’s) to bike – Our mountain bikes were out-classed by the beautiful racing bikes, when I jumped on my bike some big round thing that goes around part of the chain broke off. I could not have been that important – the bike rode just fine. The ride up to Hawk’s Nest was fun and the scenery great. Don and Brenda finished the run without incident. Next year we plan to actually train for the race.
August 21, 2017
McCool’s Ice Cream, Madison, New Jersey
Today is a special day – for a change Americans are obsessing over something other that politics – it is the day of a solar eclipse: the moon will cross in front of the sun at 2:44:52 pm and with the proper glasses it can be viewed. I chose to do this in the style of any good ice cream blogger – to pick a ice cream shop in a great little downtown and enjoy a treat while I obsessed with the rest of the country. My choice was McCool’s Ice Cream in Madison, New Jersey.
When I entered the shop my first impression was – wow they have a lot of Hershey ice cream flavors! The second thing that impressed me was all the nice seating they had – indoor seating including tables for little kids, tables for big kids (like me). and outdoor seating with umbrellas and comfortable chairs – perfect for watching an eclipse. The ice cream menu featured both sundaes and summer ice cream flavors. They were out of bananas so I could not get my first choice of a “Monkey Meets the Moose” sundae -who could resist a name like that? so I got a “Green Mint Grasshopper” sundae. Portion sizes were large, which was good – eclipses are not fast. Don got a “Peanut Butter Explosion” sundae. We sat outside and shared our eclipse glasses with everyone who passed by, and heard the word “awesome” a lot- and I must agree, what could be more awesome that enjoying a fancy sundae on a beautiful day with a solar eclipse going on in plain site?
July 23, 2017
Ochs Orchard, Warwick, New York
“open most of the year”
I have always associated Ochs Orchard with apples – they are an “orchard” after all and advertise pick-your-own-apples in the fall. I have passed their sign for years, and never actually gone in for a visit, even when I saw the “ice ream”sign – until today. After making the trek up their long drive way, I arrived at their farm store. (The pick-your-own was a short distance farther – I think it was blueberries today.) The farm store appears to be a converted barn, and entering brought me into a room that had fresh produce, honey, maple syrup, cider donuts (like all NY/NJ orchards) and other items – but not so much that it felt like a Walmart instead of a farm stand. Continuing to the back of the store, I arrived at the ice cream parlor room – complete with an apple mural (I guess my view of Ochs was right after all), a counter for ordering, and a seating area. It featured plenty of flavors of homemade ice cream. I chose “Jessie’s Donut a la Mode” with Coffee Chip ice cream because I really like the smell and taste of cider donuts, but I cannot resist homemade ice cream! Even through they served the donut under the ice cream, I ate it sort of like an Oreo cookie – the donut first and then I dug into the ice cream, which was excellent. I do not know who Jessie is, but his choice of ice cream and donut together was a good one! – especially for those of us who have a hard time making decisions. I was pleasantly surprised with my experience at Ochs Orchard – I found it charming and not over commercialized.
In the area: We spent the day kayaking in Wawayanda State Park, technically a New Jersey State park, but the northern entrance is near the New York State border. We usually visit Wawayanda “off season” for hiking, this was our first time kayaking there. Lake was a little small for this, but we were with friends, so the whole afternoon was relaxing and enjoyable.
August 3, 2017
Ronan’s Boat, Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey
‘”All it takes is a fancy boat and some ice cream cones to lure the women” – an observation from the men we were with. We were jumping a car with a dead battery, when a stranger came along and asked us if we needed help. We thanked him and said we we fine, so he offered us ice cream or espresso (sort of like asking a kid to help you find a lost dog). What?? free ice cream? this was a deal too good to pass up!! We all went to Ronan’s beautiful boat, and true to his offer, he produced lots prepackaged ice cream novelties – hagan daz bars, vanilla and chocolate cones with nuts, all-fruit Popsicles – you get the picture. Tommy took him up on his offer for espresso – espresso over ice cream? some men I will never understand. Ronan told us that he used to own a chain of ice cream stores in Texas – I guess he likes ice cream too. When we were leaving his boat, we all got a parting gift of Israel chocolate! I like Ronan.