Things to Do in Martha's Vineyard

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Searching for the Perfect Ice Cream Cone on Martha’s Vineyard

BY VSH | 24 August 2009

ice-cream1Okay, yes. We are Newbie parents. We kept as much sugar our of our baby girl’s life as possible during the first year. I have already received mockery from friends and family for this (no TV either. How shocking…) so no taunting the blog-guy!

Now, however, we have discovered the joys of “Icey Creeem” as Kate calls it. We can no longer share a cone with her. She seizes the cone and burrows into it. She can spot an ice cream shop at a hundred yards it seems and gives us a look that says: “So where’s my cone?”

Therefore, our quest for the Best Cone Ever began. So let me review the Shoppes we have purchased our bits ‘o freezy goodness from so far. I will list them from my least favorite to my most. Although I bear no ill will to any…someone has to be last! Remember: I am evaluating by Travelling-With-Toddler criteria. My main concerns are: how hard is it to keep track of Kiddo in this shop and how expensive will this child’s new outfit moistening snack be, since she will wear most of it (not to mention anoint us as well).

Mad Martha’s- This is a popular spot on North Water Street and has a wide array of sundaes and frappes available as well. It shares the space with a sandwich shop so it is usually crowded. The ice cream is great but a tad pricey. (Okay it is the Island so everything is a little more expensive than other places, but I dislike waiting in a crowded shop to pay quite a bit more for ice cream.) They also have no kid’s cone option.

Scoops- They have a great location on the corner of Main and South Water Streets and are a lot roomier inside as you enter. They have a great selection of flavors but not as wide an array of non-cone choices, but that’s okay. They are called “Scoops”. They have a great price on a kid’s sized cone. The only problem I have with their cones is this: they are always super melty. The freezers are open topped and are open all the time and when we buy a cone, it is a race against time to consume any of it before it has liquefied and is dripping off my hands. Maybe the ice cream staying softer prevents the full-time scooping staff from strained wrists or something. (I am not a big fan of sticky mess, as anyone who knows me can attest. Okay…it is ice cream and summer and that combination is never a good combo for anti-sticky lobbyists, but I feel that having to perform bottom-of-the-cone melt control slurps before you have stepped away from the building is asking a bit much of me.)

Carousel- I don’t often get to Oak Bluffs in the summer, but we made a special trip one Sunday afternoon and had a delightful time at Carousel. The kid’s cone was a good size for a great price, the flavors were numerous and the shop was big enough not to seem too crowded. The person who served us was what made us enjoy our “icey creeem” the most. He was more than happy to let us try a few different flavors as samples before we committed to a full cone of that flavor and was more that willing to sell al three of us kid sized cones. Some places have to be cajoled into that deal. (Let’s face facts. I am a large, round man. I don’t NEED three whole scoops of ice milk and sugar in my system…the less I have the better, frankly. A small scoop is treat enough for me). When we said we had experienced reluctance from other shops about small cones he grinned and said “Come on! It’s ice cream! They shouldn’t be so serious. I love this job!”

It was a refreshing bit of friendliness during the busy middle of the summer doldrums and it made us instant fans. So many servers and clerks reach that tired point that it felt good to smile at his enthusiasm. He made our day!

So there you have my findings thus far, from least favorite to most.

“There’s one more,” he says in a whisper, casting furtive glances over his shoulder. “The Quarterdeck has a small soft-serve, $2.50 street value. Perfect for when the kid needs her ‘icey creeem’ fix and yer short of cash. It’s our secret vice! Tell them Kiddo sent ya!”

Image courtesy of tedkirwin


November 14, 2009 09:34 am

You’ve got your priorities all in perfect order, Michael. No TV, lots of IC. Little Kate will miss nothing without Dora the (Lame) Explorah or Sponge Bob, but she’d be deprived if she had to go without Mint Chocolate Chip or Moose Tracks! (I’ll put in my plug for the Peanut Butter Cup at Ben & Bill’s across the street from Carousel. Kid size, of course. :^)

November 14, 2009 09:16 am

HAve you tried the Favorite Brand made right here on Martha's Vineyard? Featured at Down Island Farmers Market in Tisbury this summer, the Favorite Brand is now offered at Cronings Market and probably a few other stores. Great "icey creeem".