August 18, 2017
Caribou Crossing Cafe, Carcross, Yukon, Canada
Caribou Crossing Cafe is located in the Caribou Crossing tourist site in Carcross, Yukon, Canada. If there are actually caribou here I did not see them today (they are probably with the moose and grizzlies that I also did not see). The cafe is nicely decorated in a camping theme with lanterns on the tables. They sell varied coffee options for weary travelers and Nestles ice cream for happy campers – I went with the ice cream – Cappuccino Flake and Don got Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Surprisingly, I do not think I have had Nestle’s ice cream before – and I was presently surprised, the texture was excellent – but the flavor could have been stronger. Portion size was okay. Being a tourist trap and serving folks from the world over, they were happy to accept my American money – I wonder if they accepted Chinese money from some of my fellow travelers. We got our ice cream “to go” so that we could walk around the grounds while we ate it – we only have about an hour to see all that Caribou Crossing has to offer!
In the area: Today we continued our Alaska vacation. In the morning we walked out to Yakutania Point which has lots of really cool rock formations on the waterway in Skagway. We then took an excursion into the Yukon with some interesting stops along the way – Emerald Lake with incredible colors, Carcross Desert with sand fields like a desert that are somehow related to glacier activity (like everything else here), a log cabin where the White Pass Trail met the Chilkoot Trail, waterfalls, the Tormented Valley – desolate and relatively barren landscape, and Caribou Crossing with sled dog puppies we could pet, sleds pulled by adult dogs, an interesting museum on the Canadian Mounties and their life during the gold rush, a small wildlife museum and an ice cream shop. We finished the day visiting the Skagway Gold Rush Cemetery, Reis Waterfall and walking the length of Skagway to see where the locals lived.
One fascinating observation – the road from Skagway Alaska to Carcross was open in 1979 – before that Skagway was only accessible by air and water. We traveled about 70 miles along this road with no major cross roads or towns. This road has one of 5 suspension-cantilever bridges in the world. It goes over a fault and is prone to earthquakes so a full suspension bridge would not work. The United States customs is about 20 miles from the Canadian one – the road travels through barren land between them.
August 12, 2017
Donna’s Restaurant, Juneau, Alaska
We actually were not planning on ice cream today – after flying into Juneau, walking to our hotel and then a short distance on a local rail trail, we were tired. We planned to eat dinner and call it a night. We chose Donna’s Restaurant because it was close to our hotel – a diner with breakfast all day. I was not super hungry, so I ordered halibut from m the senior menu – I have never ordered from a senior menu (I am not old enough, but there was no age listed). The waitress did a double take but said nothing – I guess I wanted her to tell me I was too young but she unfortunately did not. I wonder what would of have happened if I ordered from the kids menu. Anyway on
the table was a special ice cream menu, and it looked really, really good. So even though I was not hungry enough for a full dinner, I was able to save room for dessert!. The waitress, who was really fun and friendly, seemed thrilled that no only had we found the ice cream menu, but we planned to order from it. They served Seattle’s Best ice cream. I got a Brownie Sundae with Bubble Gum (I guess I ordered from the children’s menu after all) and Express Almond Fudge ice team. The portion was very large – I thought they gave me the family size instead of the individual! – and a tasty combination. I guess I saved lots of room for ice cream after all! The shop had lots of comfortable seating: booths, various tables and counter service. I was a nice surprise for two tired travelers!
In the area (why we were here) – today we excitingly started our Alaska vacation, leaving the house at 3:30 AM. We drove to Newark Airport and got through security quickly only to find out our plane had mechanical issues. After some standard traveler woes we were very fortunate to get to Juneau the same day albeit a few hours late. We had one incident where we asked a stewardess if we could be the first off the plane because we had a very close connection. We were told that there was a guy in first class (therefore way more important than us) who already missed his connection – he was going to a wedding in Maui – and being in coach we were scum she did not care about. She pissed me off – we made sure we were the first off the plane, even beating that first class people – we still missed our connection, and got very nastily glared at by the stewardess, but were somehow satisfied none-the less. I am still not sure how us missing our connection would help the guy in first class, but I sincerely hope he somehow made it to the wedding. I guess airlines are like the Titanic – third class is scum and should die. The rest of our trip to as nice . Flying into Juneau was amazing – the snow capped, breath-takingingly beautiful mountains and water near by. I cannot wait to start exploring tomorrow!
July 30, 2017
Gelotti, Paterson, New Jersey
The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Gelotti Ice Cream in Paterson, New Jersey was their large parking lot- was this a catering hall or an ice cream joint? We went inside and found a long narrow area with display cases of home-made Italian ice, frozen yogurt, gelato, and most importantly ice cream. We perused the flavor selection and then stepped up to the counter to order. Although it was crowded, there was plenty of friendly help and they worked together nicely, so we did not feel like we inconvenienced anyone in asking to try various flavors. They used full size spoons for samples – not the tiny ones most places use! There was a very large variety of flavors, both traditional and creative including several featured, seasonal flavors which we honed in on. I sampled Cinnamon Toast Crunch – it sounded weird but it was excellent – cinnamon flavored ice cream with Cinnamon Toast cereal mixed in. There were several fruit flavors like Mango and Orange Pineapple and Blueberry Cheesecake – I tried the latter and it was filled with real blueberries. I then ordered a “Reeta” with Red Velvet ice cream layered with Lemon Ice. The ice cream was amazing – they got the texture/flavor thing down perfectly! The seating, which was outside, was limited to a few benches scattered around the parking lot perimeter or any landscaping features one could find (such as rocks), it would have been nice if there was more seating available. When I left Gelotti, the parking lot was filling up, and I could understand why – Gelotti is worth a visit!
In the area: We stopped here on our way to visit Garrett Mountain. While I cannot say the hiking was great, we were thrilled when we reached the locked Lambert Tower and said “it sure would be fun to see what is in there!” and right then, someone took out a key and opened it up. We were able to go in and climb the tower. The views were great, and the tower was really cool – apparently the guy who built it lived in the Lambert Castle and came up here to relax and watch his silk mills in the town below. We hope to visit the Lambert Castle some day in the future.
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?