(Note: Go to the ice cream stands page on Boston's Hidden Restaurants to get more information on some of the ice cream stands and parlors listed below, as well as others not included here.)
It's nice to see the days getting warmer in the Boston area. The Boston Red Sox are playing, the trees are sprouting leaves, and snow is a distant memory. And, of course, ice cream stands are opening as they do every spring in Boston and New England.
While there are literally hundreds of ice cream stands and ice cream parlors in the New England region, some are definitely better than others. One of my favorite places for an ice cream cone is Kimball Farm in Carlisle (there's also one in Westford, but the Kimball's in Carlisle is quieter, and in a more scenic location). They have a petting zoo there, a farm, and some of the tastiest ice cream in New England.
Not many ice cream stands match Kimball's, but Bubbling Brook Restaurant in Westwood comes close. Set in a pastoral area, Bubbling Brook not only has great ice cream (including soft serve), but also delicious sandwiches.
A few other top ice cream stands in the Boston area include Dairy Joy in Weston, which is truly a classic place for ice cream, complete with wooden benches outside; Richardson's in Middleton, which has outstanding ice cream, and a driving range to boot; The Dairy Barn in Randolph, which is a true hidden gem of the Boston area, and has Richardson's ice cream as well as soft serve; Bedford Farms in Bedford, which some say has better ice cream than nearby Kimball's; Erikson's in Maynard, which has a fantastic ginger ice cream; and Crescent Ridge in Sharon, which gets crowded at times, but is worth the wait.
A bit further out from Boston is The Ice House, a classic ice cream stand in the beautiful town of New Castle, NH; The Docksider Restaurant in Northeast Harbor, ME, which has terrific seafood to go along with their tasty ice cream; Hallet's Store, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor on Route 6A in Yarmouth Port with a soda fountain and museum; Oxford Creamery, another classic ice cream stand, this one in Mattapoisett, near New Bedford; Mountain Mist, in Saranac Lake, NY, which is on Lake Flower, a pristine body of water high up in the Adirondacks; and, well, too many others to mention here.
Well, after all that, now I'm really craving an ice cream. Perhaps I'll hit Sullivan's on Castle Island after the Walk for Hunger on Sunday. Or maybe Peaceful Meadows in Whitman. Or....
Boston's Hidden Restaurants: A Boston Restaurant Guide