The Hudson Valley Ice Cream Trail

Posted by Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty Webmaster on Monday, August 30th, 2021 at 12:17pm.


One of the best excuses for a summer drive is ice cream! I remember back in the day, going out after dinner with my mom and sister to little wayside places in the woods - our favorite flavors were Mocha Almond and Maple Walnut – no “Moose Tracks” for us! Call me old-fashioned! As an adult I can indulge in variety with frequency because I'm lucky to live in the Hudson Valley which is loaded with amazing ice cream places. Any excuse is a good excuse for a drive and a cone. These days, with the craze for artisanal everything, there are oodles of home-made varieties of hard ice cream in wild flavors to be explored! I'm one of those equal opportunity ice cream-lovers, I like it hand-dipped or smooth and twisty! Both species of dairy goodness (hard and soft) are served up from barns, trucks, garden centers, and landmarks across the region. We’ve put together a delicious map of ice cream sweet spots for you to follow, from Dutchess up through Columbia County, then over the bridge to Greene, Ulster, Orange and Sullivan counties. Enjoy!

 


 

Stop 1: Zoe's Ice Cream Barn

Maple walnut remains my favorite flavor, and I’ve found it’s nearly always on the menu at Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn, right on the main drag in Lagrangeville! I had to try it.  Zoe’s a local farm gal grown up, and she makes everything from Hudson Valley Fresh products, supporting the dairy farm partnership that’s dedicated to preserving the agricultural heritage of the region. You gotta love home-made that’s made from local! And there’s a big, grassy seating area and lots of space inside, too.

 
 
 
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Stop 2: Kelly's Creamery & Kelly's Husband's Truck

I’m all about the drive (it makes you feel like you deserve the ice cream when you get there), and one of the coolest things about Kelly’s Creamery & Kelly’s Husband’s Truck in Dover Plains is that it’s on Route 22, one of my favorite New York roads. It starts in White Plains and can take you just south of the Canadian border. That kind of road, that vacillates between rural and a town’s main street, I love. Kelly’s serves “premium handcrafted artisanal ice cream” in fun flavors like Banana Oreo Cookie and Strawberry Cheesecake. They also have almost 20 flavors of Italian ice! The bonus here is Kelly’s Husband’s Truck where you can satisfy your salt craving with such yummies as truffle parmesan fries and some of the best chicken tenders I’ve encountered! You’ll love the large, covered seating area and, best of all, a cute mini-golf course in the field out back!

 
 
 
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Stop 3: Mapleview Café

Just east of Poughkeepsie on a side street off Route 44 at Mapleview Café I had a Black Sesame Tahini ice cream, a dense, creamy, blue-grey concoction packed with crushed black sesame seeds and tasting of mild tahini - textural on the tongue. Have a seat under the tent and enjoy their homemade flavors like Sweet Potato Pie, Lemon Lotus and Cannoli Cream... very evocative! Here’s another place where you can get both the sweet and the salty; check out the Fish Taco and home-made specialty dishes cooked up by transplanted New Yorkers Christina and Dominic.

 

 
 
 
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Stop 4: Fortune's

Two former Bard College students moved to Brooklyn and then back to the area with their children and, because he happens to be a great ice cream maker, they decided to seek their Fortunes with a Tivoli ice cream shop because Tivoli had a need. What a good idea! Fresh, seasonal ice cream flavors come pouring out of the machine in the back of the shop for the dozens of happy people who crowd around the pretty blue building on Broadway in this historic and adorable village. I tried the Sour Cherry and was shocked! The cherries weren’t sour, as you would imagine, but the white ice cream was! Kind of like a sour cream-ish taste with chunks of dark cherries… not swirled. I love an ice cream that’s not too sweet. Then I can also have a cookie!

 
 
 
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Stop 5: Culture Cream

Inspired by the seasons, by the landscape and by the desire to eat healthfully, the folks at Culture Cream in Hudson believe “ice cream is a blank canvas waiting to be infused with herbs, fruits, fungi and fermented add-ons.” It’s a “living” ice cream, fermented before churning. Hence, such specialties as: Melon Mint Kombucha Sorbet, Sage Honey Kefir Ice Cream, and Miso Ice Cream with Honey Roasted Strawberries. How beautiful is that! Right down the road from one of the great Hudson restaurants, Le Perche, on wonderful Warren Street.

 
 
 
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Stop 6: O'Kenny's Express

Car people, perk up! O’Kenny’s Express in Valatie is an old-fashioned, home-town place with spacious deck seating that serves soft-serve vanilla, chocolate and twist; the classics, served at a local landmark. Their slogan is “Good Food Fast” (as opposed to good fast food!), and they host classic car gatherings three nights weekly throughout the summer. O’Kenny’s is around the corner from Main Street in Valatie, where I would suggest you check out Filli’s Jersey Baking Co.; I don’t think they have ice cream, but they do have a lot of other good food! Anyway, if you haven’t been to Main Street, Valatie, there are several places worth visiting there.

 

 
 
 
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Stop 7: Samascott's

Samascott’s year-round Garden Market in Kinderhook makes their Blueberry, Peach, Raspberry and Strawberry hard ice creams with fruit grown on their own farm, Samascott Orchards, and if that isn’t the epitome of local, I don’t know what is! Just outside of beautiful downtown Kinderhook, drive onto their farm and find the ice cream in a little barn where you’ll also find their home-made doughnuts and cider (YAASSSSS!). There's also an autumn corn maze, seasonal pick-your-own produce and surrey bike rentals for rides around their 1000+-acre farm!

 

 

Stop 8: Cone-E Island

Our first stop on the west side of the Hudson River is Cone-E Island in Catskill, perched at a nice village site overlooking the Catskill Creek. Here you’ll find as many soft flavors—Tropical Orange—as hard—Cherry Chocolate Chunk—and such tempting treats as Blue Raspberry Dip and four kinds of cones, like Specialty Waffle (a waffle cone with extra stuff!). Watch the creek ripple by and dig the local landscape and inhabitants. Afterwards, stroll up the hill and enjoy the shops and gardens of downtown Catskill! Go up to Franklin Street, take a book out of the library, and when you emerge, feast your eyes on the church and rectory buildings across the street. Massively spectacular!

 

 
 
 
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Stop 9: G-Jimmies Ice Cream Shop

G-Jimmies Ice Cream Shop is in a handy little mall in Prattsville, across from the Schoharie Creek and right near the local supermarket, liquor store and What The Soap, a great gift and handmade body-products shop. If you like a long list of “specialty sundaes,” this is the place for you! Choose from the Hawaiian (vanilla ice cream, pineapple, coconut, whipped cream and a cherry), Great American (blue raspberry, vanilla and strawberry ice creams with red, white and blue sprinkles) and many more named after local folks.

 

 
 
 
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Stops 10 & 11: Nancy's Artisanal Creamery & Sweet Dreams

We’ve got two places for you to try in Woodstock, Nancy’s Artisanal Creamery and Sweet Dreams. Sweet Dreams is right in town in one of the village’s charming wooden houses; they serve organic, local, artisanal ice cream handmade from “grass-fed, ethically raised cows” as well as homemade organic pastries and coffee. I’ve had the ginger, and it was super-flavorful; the Mexican Chocolate Chip is a popular favorite. They have a great hang-out porch and a sidewalk with chalk! Nancy’s is at the Bearsville end of Woodstock in a pretty building that’s had many lives where you can sit outside on the grass or at the tables or inside in their spacious parlor whilst enjoying their Popcorn Caramel ice cream or a homemade Boston Crème donut. Or how about Blackberry Basil sorbet. Wow! And they have an art gallery, because….it’s Woodstock.

 

Stop 12: Alleyway

Alleyway is a small-batch handmade ice cream shop tucked away down—you guessed it—an alley in Saugerties. It’s not hard to find and well worth the effort, because they’ve got vegan and dairy choices in old-fashioned sounding selections like Buttermilk Strawberry and Ovaltine Brownie or avant-garde creations such as Thai Tea Cookies and Cream. Of course, you have to go there to know what’s on the flavor menu, because it changes often. Saugerties is a very happening place these days, and Alleyway is just one of many places you should visit. If you’re still craving sweets, don’t miss Lucky Chocolates’ truly beautiful pistachio truffles.

 

 
 
 
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Stop 13: Rainbow Drive-In

A surprising and delightfully charming place to come across just as you’re leaving Kingston and about to hit Route 9W in Port Ewen is the Rainbow Drive-in. With colorful, umbrella-topped tables under trees on the front lawn, a cute Art Deco-ish building and an enormous parking lot (for an in-town restaurant), the Rainbow has a lot going for it even before you look at the menu. When you do, you’ll need some time getting through it, even if you’re just after ice cream and not interested in breakfast, lunch and dinner! But let’s say you’re after ice cream or some variant thereof, you have a smorgasbord of choices: Specialty Sundaes, Specialty Drinks, Boats, Floats and even Ice Cream Cupcakes! How about a Cream Puff sundae? That sounds pretty darn good!

 

 
 
 
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Stop 14: Twistee Cone

Dairy and vegan soft-serve flavors change weekly at everyone’s favorite, Twistee Cone in New Paltz. Loved by everyone from little kids to SUNY students to their parents, grams and gramps who come to visit, Twistee Cone has old favorites and new, like Coffee soft serve, Vanilla vegan, Yellow Cake Batter and Orange Creamsicle. Ice cream cakes are a big hit here, too, for special occasions. But get your orders in early, because they’re very busy!

 
 
 
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Stop 15: Tantillo's Farm Market

Sometimes one of the great things about the place you get your ice cream is the view! At Tantillo’s Farm Market in Gardiner, the Shawangunk Ridge provides a dramatic backdrop to Tantillo’s fields and orchards. As you enjoy your hard scoop or soft-serve ice cream cone, sundae, shake or malt, you can drink in one of the Hudson Valley’s most beautiful vistas. Try a Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae, a 2021 debut: A warm chocolate chunk cookie topped with soft-serve vanilla ice cream, drizzled with caramel and hot fudge with whipped cream over all. Yummy!

 
 
 
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Stop 16: IceMother & Sons

The folks who created The IceMother & Sons truck in Monroe had fond memories of the summer treats they grew up with in Brooklyn and created The IceMother (like The Godfather, capisce?) to bring their old favorites to a whole new audience. You’re not under any pressure to try their “Flavors You Can’t Refuse,” a mouth-watering menu of traditional ice creams, Italian ices and spumoni in categories like Fixers, Shakedowns and Ice Picks. How about some Tony Spumoni? Like a Wise Guy Sundae? You better had!

 

 
 
 
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Stop 17: American House Ice Cream

How about a big waffle bowl filled with a banana split at American House Ice Cream in Chester? All ice cream places are known for one thing especially; at American House it’s milkshakes. The Town of Chester is known for being the birthplace of cream cheese, so see if you can get some cream-cheese ice cream at American House! If they don’t have it yet, maybe they will some day soon!

 

Stop 18: Ice Capps

Real fruit goes into the Italian ices, gelati and creams at Ice Capps in Goshen, with flavors like Raspberry-Passionfruit, Berries and Cream or Mango. You can find them outdoors at Goshen Farmers Market, at Emporium Square Artisan Market in Middletown or at their storefront in Goshen. A specialty there is ice cream served in a chimney cake. Hot stuff! Meanwhile, the Emporium Square micro-mall is filled with artisans and their products, from art galleries to jewelers, bodycare products to clothing boutiques, coffee to crystals… and Ice Capps’ ices!

 
 
 
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Stop 19: Bellvale Creamery

What you get besides delicious homemade ice cream at Bellvale Creamery in Warwick is a stupendous view from your picnic table over the Warwick Valley. Waffle cones and ice cream are made fresh daily at this mountaintop barn just up the hill from the 200-year-old Bellvale Farms. There’s more than dairy here; there’s family tradition, I love that. If you haven’t had enough, take home ice cream quarts or gallons, pies, cakes and ice cream sandwiches. How about Banana Ice Cream with Whiskey Caramel Swirl? Sounds good, right!

 

Stop 20: B-Line Ice Cream

You’ve got to love a place that uses honey from their own hives to sweeten their homemade ice cream! That’s what they do at B-Line Ice Cream. If you’ve always thought of going to Narrowsburg, right on the Delaware River, here’s a good reason. Using local, fresh milk and cream, B-Line conjures up flavors that blend nicely with honey, combinations like Pure and Simple, just honey, milk and cream; or Café con Leche, honey ice cream steeped in dark roast coffee beans provided by 2 Queens, a local Narrowsburg roaster and beekeeper.

 

 
 
 
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Stop 21: Ollie Grey's

As they say, last but not least: Take a seat on the deck overlooking the Delaware River at Ollie Grey’s in charming Callicoon, a town well worth visiting no matter what you’re there for. At Ollie Grey’s, whether you feel like ice cream or something more substantial, you won’t be disappointed. The hard-working owners cook up fresh food like kale-lentil soup, buttermilk chicken and crispy fish ‘n’ chips, and the locals say it’s the best soft-serve around. Another one on the list that I love for the location. Hope you will, too!

 

 
 
 
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