Like lobster, hamburgers, and watermelon, ice cream is a quintessential part of summer. Instead of driving to the coast to find ice cream by the beach, head inland to Connecticut to discover a handful of family-run farms specializing in handmade ice creams. Whether you prefer fruity indulgences or nutty praline treats, you’re sure to satisfy your sweet tooth in Connecticut. All of these ice cream stops are worth the drive and you won’t be able to find ice cream this fresh anywhere else.
Starting in 1975 as a dairy farm, Buttonwood Farms began making fresh ice cream in 1997. With fresh ice-cream cones and premium ingredients like Maine blueberries, Buttonwood Farms concocts the best ice cream in the area with flavors like Frozen Pudding, Jungle George (made with banana), and almond coconut.
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Rich Farm is worthy of a culinary pilgrimage for any New Yorker. One bite of the sweet churned ice cream in a waffle cone, and you’ll understand why there are 50-plus cars waiting outside the green pastures of Oxford, Connecticut, on any summer weekend. There are around 30 flavors made in small batches, ensuring the creamy texture is just right. Be sure to look out for specialty flavors like Cappuccino Craze,Manny’s Banana, Chunky Peanut Butter, Funfetti, and seasonal favorites on a rotating menu. There are soda floats, ice-cream sandwiches, and custom-made sundaes that can be savored right on the 100-acre dairy farm.
A combination of Jersey, Holstein, and Brown Swiss dairy cows puts Arethusa Farms ahead of any regular ice-cream shop. The Arethusa Dairy farm spans more than 200 acres of grassland with over 350 award-winning cows famous for their full-cream milk. Arethusa farms has slowly expanded from a farm to a restaurant with the opening of Al Tavolo, which opened in 2013 and serves brasserie-inspired dishes.
Wells Hollow Creamery
Family-owned for five generations, Wells Hollow Creamery continues to draw crowds and cause traffic congestion in the tiny town of Shelton. Wells Hollow Farm is located just off the highway, making it convenient for those hankering for some ice cream on long drives. There are 40 different flavors to choose from, including Vermont Maple Butter, Tennessee Toffee, and Cow Tippin’, a local favorite made of vanilla ice cream with caramel and chocolate-covered caramel cows.
Insider tip: Bring a cooler and don’t leave without taking home one of the famouse ice-cream cakes.
With more than 30 flavors to choose from at Robb’s Farm, it’s hard to eat just one scoop. Creamy, dreamy, and totally addictive ice cream on a fourth-generation family farm with over 110 years of history is reason enough to visit. Flavors like cappuccino fudge crunch, Purple Calf (black raspberry ice cream with chocolate chips and cookie dough), and the Grand Slam (vanilla ice cream with caramel, fudge, chocolate chips, and chocolate-covered peanuts) are all best-sellers. Once the sugar high kicks in, kids can play with the pigs, donkeys, and llamas on the property.