First impressions are important, especially in the world of ice cream shops. At Belle’s Ice Cream our first impressions were (1) wow, this place is friendly (we were cheerfully greeted by the staff) (2) The place is very colorful and tastefully decorated (the way an ice cream shop should be). (3) selecting flavors will be really difficult (sometimes I wish these were the most difficult decisions I had to make). The shop offered many flavors of homemade ice cream from the common to the creative. I chose “Elvis” and “Nutter Butter”. They also offered shakes, sundaes and all sorts of toppings – I was a purist today and had my ice cream plain. The ice cream was awesome – flavorful, creamy. For seating there were little tables inside and tables with blue umbrellas outside, Today was a warm day so we decided to walk around the town while we enjoyed some great treats.
In the area: Spring Lake is a cute little town with a scenic walkway. It also has an ocean beach – we came for the ocean – it was a beautiful day, but the water was cold, and there was a stiff breeze, so we only got partially wet. We also visited the Sea Girt lighthouse, which is always a pleasure – the knowledgeable volunteers take a lot of pride in their treasure – their enthusiasm is contagious!
Cold Stone Creamery is a chain of ice cream shops that take ice cream and mix in items of your choice. You can pick individual items, or select one of their Signature Creations. I had a Signature Creation – the Founder’s Favorite (pecans and other stuff mixed in) with Cream Burlee ice cream. The server put a scoop of ice cream on a frozen board, added the mix-ins, mixed everything in, threw it in a cup and gave it to me – yummy! We ate at one of the small tables inside the shop. Ice cream here is awesome – smooth, creamy, flavorful – Cold Stone does it right!
According to the Urban Dictionary, a ‘bomboy’ is the cool hippie who likes clove cigarettes. I am not sure how that relates to this ice cream parlor, other than sharing a name. We approached Bomboy’s at night when it was all lit up – intriguing. The shop had two sides – one for ordering, one for eating. We entered the ordering side and were greeted by three friendly workers who seemed to enjoy their jobs. There was a large selection of flavors in display cases – I had a difficult time deciding on what to get, but chose on raspberry truffle at the suggestion of the server and pina colata in a waffle cone. The serving sizes were generous (bad since I just had a
large dinner – good thing I left room for dessert!), the texture were perfect, and the flavor was good. There was a large inside seating area with tables and chairs, and additional seating outside. There was a cow statue outside and a cow bench inside, that we used as photo backdrops – it would have been nice to have a kid with us! This place is worth a visit.
In the area: We were invited to Harve de Grace to sail on our friends Karen and Larry’s beautiful sail boat. The boat was awesome and the day was warm with a nice breeze – a perfect sailing day. I never sailed before, and I thought sailboats were supposed feel like you were going to fall off whenever it went fast, but the ride was incredibly smooth – I like this sailing thing! After dinner we explored the charming town of Harve de Grace – a beautiful boardwalk, incredible views of the water, charming shops and restaurants and a neat fitness course in Veteran’s Park. A great town to visit!
Okay, I must be honest, I had to visit Splits and Giggles because its name made me curious (and I needed ice cream). When we arrived, we found a small, friendly ice cream parlor in downtown Lancaster serving sandwiches and Hershey’s ice cream. I got a root beer float with pumpkin ice cream (to me floats require root beer soda!) which was successful at both quenching my thirst and fulfilling my sweet craving. There was seating inside the shop at small tables, and a small bar along the window. Today the shop had a steady stream of customers which gave it an atmosphere of a place the regulars like to visit. We sat at one of the small tables to enjoy our ice cream sodas. As to the intriguing shop name, I saw no one get a split and heard no giggles, but we enjoyed Splits and Giggles none the less.
In the area ( sort of): Today we rode the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail in Gunpowder Falls State Park in Maryland, which just had the honor of being added to the Rails-to-Trails Hall of Fame (which I never knew existed). This was a well deserved honor as the trail is scenic, clean (thanks to numerous unnamed volunteers) with a nice packed dirt surface. Everyone on the trail was friendly and we had a great ride. (I wonder if there is a hall of fame for ice cream bloggers.)
The first thing that hit me when I entered Iceberg Ice Cream was “wow, this is confusing!” People were standing around everywhere – a lady across the room asking for the soft watermelon she ordered, but did not receive (she was very polite, as was the server.) – an ice cream selection board across the room from the ordering area – I wanted to peruse the ice cream choices or at least get a good look at the selection list before I ordered, but this seemed impossible. (“please order here – then pick up there”). I therefore asked the order-taker for her suggestions. She suggested Oatmeal Cookie and Mint Oreo – her personal favorites. We waited for our orders to be processed (the lady was still waiting for her soft watermelon, which I realized was for her young daughter) and went to pick them up. The ice cream was homemade and delicious, and the flavors she suggested were an excellent choice, but I was still not sure what else was available. There was limited seating inside and nice tables to sit at outside, but tonight was getting a bit chilly so most people chose to eat inside. They had a nice selection of ice cream cakes, and an interesting “specialty sundae” list that was posted outside the shop, so it could be read before entering. I was surprised that it did not have some ocean themed choices. I think the problem tonight was that they were just very short of help, which caused the confusing scene. The help that was there was polite, friendly and doing their best, but they were understandably a bit overwhelmed.
In the area: We came to Lavellette to walk along the ocean, one of my favorite things to do. As we strolled, we came upon a wedding – we got to watch Brooke and Pablo get married (if you choose to get married on a beach, you must expect people to creep on you). They had a nice ritual where each wedding guest was given a shell. They then walked to the water, everyone made a wish for the happy couple and throw the shell in the water. I assume they would have given us a shell if we asked. I wish Brooke and Pablo a life time of happiness together.
The evening we visited the Juneau tourist district it was raining (like is usually is in Juneau) but it was fun non the less. When people started walking past us with ice cream cones, I needed to find the source. And I did – The Alaska Fudge Company sells candy, cookies, fudge (shocking!) and Seattle’s Best ice cream. No sample tastings are offered here – tourists were probably wiping out their inventory. I had Huckleberry Haven ice cream which was a pretty color, tasty and creamy. The serving sizes were generous. There is no seating inside the shop and by the time we got our ice cream is was raining much harder so we sat on the ground under an awning and watched people walking by getting soaked – knowing that would be us shortly.
In the area: Juneau is a unique state capital in that is can only be reached by water or air – no roads connect it with the rest of the country. It is probably also the only state capital with its own glacier.
East Glacier Loop Trail through the temperate rain forest and it was one of the most beautiful trails I have ever been on – everything was so green and lush – water falls were breath -taking We then took the city bus into town to the Alaska State Museum – impressive, but we only spent about an hour there because there was so much more we wanted to see. We left there and took the city bus to the Douglas Island and the
Treadwell Mine – an abandoned strip gold mine – very interesting. While here we stayed on the sandy beach (made from rocks pulverized during the mining process) watching wind surfers on the water. Back in Juneau we visited the tourist area in town – walking around the various shops, getting ice cream, and visiting the Red Dog Saloon for drinks – there was a great singer there! One final note – Juneau may also be the only state capital that comes with instructions on how to use a toilet. I have included pictures in case you want to improve your technique.
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.