Fancy ice cream concoctions and simple scoops in a cone aim to please.
ARCATA SCOOP Arcata, Calif. "Cute shop, great local ingredients, and amazing flavors," promises Lauria Gehr of Eureka, Calif. "Try the cardamom and the vanilla almond rose. The staff even posts updates—twitter@arcatascoop—so you know when your favorite is in the case." (707) 825-7266.
BIG DIPPER St. Helena, Calif. "Greg, the owner for five years, serves all the favorite ice creams, sundaes, shakes, and drinks as well as Hawaiian shave ice and hot lunch items," says Helen Weires of St. Helena. "I'd be just as enthusiastic about this shop if I weren't Greg's mother." (707) 963-2616.
BI-RITE CREAMERY San Francisco. "Not even fog and wind can deter fans from lining up on 18th Street to get their licks of organic ice cream," writes Ada Duan of San Francisco. "With flavors such as salted caramel, honey lavender, and toasted coconut, it's no wonder that people keep coming back." (415) 626-5600, biritecreamery.com.
MARIANNE'S ICE CREAM Santa Cruz, Calif. "Homespun, mom-and-pop appeal," says Christine Lee of Sonoma Valley, Calif. "My favorite flavor is 1020—the address on Ocean Street—which is caramel ice cream with crushed Oreo cookies and ribbons of caramel and fudge." (831) 458-1447, lovemariannes.com.
MUNNERLYN'S ICE CREAMERY Pine Grove, Calif. "This place rocks!" writes Jayne Spears of Pine Grove. "They have awesome flavors: Jungle Love, Spookies 'n Cream, and Kit Carson Crunk. For me? Coffee fudge and rocky road." (209) 296-4400.
LA REINA DE MICHOACAN Fresno, Calif. "The flavors are delicious," says Bonnie Bedford-White of Coarsegold, Calif. "Options, in both Spanish and English, include mango, avocado, guayaba (guava), piña (pineapple), and coco (coconut)." (720 E. Belmont Ave. (No phone or website.)
REED'S DAIRY Idaho Falls, Idaho. "You know the ice cream here is fresh—the cows are right outside," says Donna Sager of Helena, Mont. "There are tables inside and picnic tables outdoors on the lawn—great for summer. You won't be sorry you stopped." (208) 522-0123, reedsdairy.com.
SARSAPARILLA ICE CREAM PARLOR Idaho City, Idaho. "Walk the wooden sidewalks, taking in the history of this old mining town while licking your three-scoop ‘single' cone," says Jennie Daniels of Caldwell, Idaho. "Try the Huckleberry Heaven flavor, a cold treat at its best." (208) 392-4484.
BIG DIPPER ICE CREAM Missoula, Mont. "Personifies this college town's eccentric character," says David Parsons of Missoula. "Its Cold Smoke ice cream is made to mirror the taste of the local Kettlehouse brewery's popular Cold Smoke beer. Other flavors have included coconut lemon curry, chipotle chocolate, mango habanero sorbet, and—a perennial favorite—yellow cake." (406) 543-5722, bigdippericecream.com.
EDDIE'S CAFÉ & GIFTS Apgar Village, Glacier National Park, Mont. "No trip to West Glacier is complete without ice cream at Eddie's," says Bonnie Meznarich of Cut Bank, Mont. "We run in if we're just driving by." (406) 888-5361, eddiescafegifts.com.
MOCONES Laurel, Mont. "Only open in summer but worth the wait," says Gloria Vaughan of Billings, Mont. "My favorite flavor here is Montana Moose Moss, a great combo of mint and chocolate chunk ice cream." 704 1/2 First Ave. (No phone or website.)
PARROT CONFECTIONERY STORE Helena, Mont. "Not only is this spot in Last Chance Gulch a wonderful candy shop, it also offers delicious hot fudge sundaes, sodas, and many ice cream delights," says June Johnson of Helena. (406) 442-1470, parrotchocolate.com.
VIRGINIA CITY CREAMERY Virginia City, Mont. "Watch ice cream being made in an antique engine-powered freezer," says Anne Kish of Twin Bridges, Mont. "Once the base is ready, employees build all sorts of delightful concoctions, but nothing beats a chocolate milk shake." Opens Memorial Day. (406) 843-5515, goldwest.visitmt.com/listings/15534.htm.
COOL MOON ICE CREAM Portland. "This family-owned shop offers ever-changing flavors including mango, lemon ginger, and kulfi, which is based on an Indian dessert," writes Emma Steen of Portland. "I especially enjoy coffee caramel on a waffle cone." (503) 224-2021, coolmoonicecream.com.
K & R DRIVE INN Rice Hill, Ore. "Travelers and truckers on Interstate 5 between Eugene and Roseburg know this spot is a must stop," writes Ed Thompson of Keizer, Ore. "Go there hungry—the scoops are gigantic." (541) 849-2570, krdriveinn.com.
PRINCE PUCKLER'S GOURMET ICE CREAM Eugene, Ore. "Go for the French roast ice cream," says Dave Gingold of Eugene. "Or try the Euphoria Sundae: any flavor topped with fudge sauce. A certain presidential candidate wisely stopped here, and now the mint chocolate chip is billed as ‘Obama's Favorite.' " (541) 344-4418, princepucklers.com.
SERENDIPITY ICE CREAM McMinnville, Ore. "Takes me right back to childhood," writes Joyce Nikula of McMinnville. "There's the old player piano, nickel and dime candies, homemade cookies, waffle cones, and an atmosphere that makes me feel hugged." (503) 474-9189, serendipityicecream.com.
TILLAMOOK CREAMERY VISITOR'S CENTER Tillamook, Ore. "What more could an ice cream lover want?" asks Kris Richardson of Albany, Ore. "Fifty or more flavors, many of them made with natural Oregon agricultural specialties such as huckleberries and marionberries." (503) 815-1300, tillamookcheese.com.
CLOVERLEAF CREAMERY Buhl, Idaho. "Absolutely worth a stop," writes Chris Brady of Boise, Idaho. "An amazing array of flavors at just the right temperature. All-American Cherry may be some people's favorite, but the vanilla is unbeatable." (208) 543-4272, cloverleafcreamery.com.
FARR BETTER ICE CREAM Ogden, Utah. "When the line goes out the door, you know you're in for a treat," says Miles Constantine of Ogden. "The more than 50 flavors—kids often go for Playdough—are generously scooped." (801) 393-8629, farrsicecream.com.
Photography by Ian Britton FreeFoto.com
This article was first published in March 2010 and updated in May 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.