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We All Scream for Ice Cream

We All Scream for Ice Cream

The summer season is fast approaching and has signaled the opening of the area’s ice cream shops. Everyone appreciates a cold creamy ice cream treat on a hot summer day or night. 

Here is a summary of the places visited in Waterford, Niantic and New London. 

We’ll start the ice cream journey at New London’s longtime favorite place: Michael’s Dairy at Mitchell College on Montauk Avenue. Michael’s Dairy began operation at their New London location in 1938 as Mitchell Dairy. 

It later changed hands and became Michael’s Dairy in 1943. The red barn that processed milk until the 1970s has been rebuilt and is now used for plays and other entertainment programs. Michael’s boasts that it hand scoops over 35 flavors of ice cream and also serves shakes, sundaes (like Build Your Own and Banana Boat), floats, and pints and quarts.

It only features hard ice cream. Michael’s has an 4 star rating with a large parking area and outside seating. Some of the ice cream flavors available include their own original Coconut Almond Bar, Graham Central Station and Birthday Cake. 

For the kids they feature Cookie Monster – a blue colored vanilla with choc chip cookies and mini chocolate chips. Cost is comparable to other ice cream shops. With cups starting at $4. They are open from 12PM- 9PM, 7 days a week.

Reviews are favorable: “I think Michaels Diary is a very good ice cream place to have an excellent tasting ice cream but there can be a very long line and every time I’ve gone the line has been excessively long,” says sophomore Dominic Munsell. Aneeb Mirza also goes on by saying, “It is a very good place to go after a hot summer day at the beach, the flavors are amazing and so tasty.”

Traveling west to our town of Waterford is the popular Cowlicks. This is a locally owned business that not only serves terrific ice cream, but has a large outdoor area in the back where patrons can hold private parties with all manner of ice cream treats.

Cowlicks serves both soft serve and hard ice cream with prices ranging from $5 to $8.50 for soft serve, small to extra large, and $6.50 to $10.75 for hard ice cream. They offer hot fudge and banana split sundaes ranging from $8.50 to $11.25. In addition to those flavors, they also offer moth special sundaes like Peanut Butter Bomb, Mint Oreo, and Banana Pudding.

 Another unique choice is Pup Cups for $2.50 which is very popular. Cowlicks is open seasonally from 12 -8 everyday. Reviews state: “I think it’s good, but if you prefer soft serve ice cream over hard serve then it might not be the best choice,” says Sadie Tiven. Gavin Valentine also adds on to that saying, “Very good, I love it, if you prefer soft serve ice cream then don’t go there.”

Niantic has 3 ice cream shops in very close proximity to each other and attracts a seasonal tourist crowd as well as the locals. First up is Tony D’s Creamery on Main St. Tony’s is open 7 days a week from 12:00 to 9:30pm. It explains on their website that they are a “small batch creamery located in Niantic, CT, creating artisanal premium ice cream for retail, wholesale and catered events. 

Service is with a SMILE.” Tony”s flavors have clever names, Poetic Justice, St. Thomas S’More, Foster the People, Cherry Sinatra, Cherry Seinfeld to name a few. Flavors rotate, but they always feature Vanilla Envy and Bluesberry. 

The only soft serve is vanilla and chocolate. Prices range from $4 to $8 for the regular homemade and $3 to $5 for the soft serve. There is on site parking and outdoor seating. Tony’s has an overall 4 star rating. 

Patrons enjoy the unique flavors and creamy texture as evidenced by online reviews: “Delicious fun flavors. Soft serve was super creamy. I appreciate the affordable child size option.” “Tony D’s isn’t your typical whole bunch of flavors Ice cream location but they look fun. 

“Service was quick and efficient but I wish she would have suggested options since I was lost. The actual location has no seating but the house next door seems to be where you can go and sit, and it looked comfortable. What I liked about this place is that it is just outside the hectic downtown Niantic and accessibility is perfect and has ample parking”

A short distance down Main Street lies Gumdrops and Lollipops. This is the only open year round shop. Gumdrops not only features ice cream but also has a wide variety of candy and gift shop items in the front of the store. The ice cream area is in the back of the building. During the warm months customers order from the back deck. 

There is limited seating on the deck, but the Hole in the Wall Beach and Boardwalk is behind the shop and many people like to stroll there or sit on the benches along the boardwalk to enjoy their ice cream. Gumdrops also makes their own ice cream and has a large amount of flavors to choose from.

Prices range from $3.99 for a kid’s cup to $5 for a one scoop cup.There are also pup cups for $3.50. It has an overall 4 star rating, but as the following reviews show, it is considered pricey. Reviews state: “This review is just for the ice cream portion of the business. 

As I sometimes say, ice cream is almost always good, and that was the case with the cookies and cream, and cupcake flavored ice cream waffle cones I ordered. The ice cream was about average for CT. I have no issues with it. The flavors and textures just didn’t pop for me like the best CT places.

 It would be a decent place to visit if you are in the area.” “Stopped here after the beach, good service and great ice cream! We also stopped by during lunch time and got burgers and chicken tenders which were shack style-food and pretty good! They had a pup cup on the menu as well as gave my pup water. Great post beach spot.”

Going down Main St. takes a left turn down Pennsylvania Avenue to the wildly popular Dairy Queen as indicated by the long lines you will encounter at just about any time of the day. This is the only franchise ice cream place mentioned in this article. Dairy Queen was founded in Joliet, Illinois in 1940 and has over 6,000 locations in the US, Canada, and in 20 other countries. 

The Niantic Dairy Queen has existed in its location since the 1950’s. Dairy Queen only serves its soft serve brand of ice cream with only chocolate, vanilla, and twist flavors. 

They offer cones, shakes and sundaes, but their most popular item, according to their web site, is the Blizzard which comes with a chocolate or vanilla base packed with a variety of every imagined combination of fruit, candy, cookies, or brownies. 

Prices are reasonable with cones ranging from $2.69 to $3.89. Blizzards range from a mini at $2.89 to the large at $4.69. There is on site parking and a few benches to sit on  Reviews are favorable for this soft serve establishment which is open from 11:00 to 10:00 daily: “Are there better ice cream places?

 Sure … there are many creameries, farms, and specialty ice cream stores and stands. But at 7:00 pm, when the sun is still up in the warm summer evening, there is something just right about a DQ soft serve cone, or Blizzard, or shake. Simply put – it’s not summer without an evening visit to your local DQ.”

 “So many delicious choices but I mainly go back to a Blizzard. Hot fudge sundae is always my 2nd choice.

 I recently tried a funnel cake sundae. It was okay but you can definitely tell the cake was from the microwave but no complaints except maybe on a really hot day there are just too many people!”

It’s time to look forward to the wonderful days of summer. Plan and visit all the great ice cream places we are lucky to have close by, and while you are at it smile and remember the old saying, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”

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About the Contributor
Zoey Cone
Zoey Cone, Reporter
Zoey Cone is a sophomore at Waterford High School. She has lived in Waterford, CT her whole life. Although this is Zoey's first year  taking journalism, Zoey has always had a passion for writing of all formats and genres. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, shopping, being outdoors, running, and relaxing on the beach.
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