Winter’s finally over, and it’s time to scream for ice cream. Fill your summer with treats from these Connecticut sweet spots, featuring farm-fresh ingredients, crazy flavors and decadent toppings. Here’s a look at 25-plus ice cream shops around the state. (Many shops offer vegan or dairy-free options.)
Kloter’s Ice Cream Barn
The ice cream shop on the grounds of Kloter Farms, known for its furniture, sheds, gazebos and other outdoor structures, is a summertime favorite. The property's seasonal business features about 20 flavors of hard ice cream, along with soft serve, in a variety of cones, cups and milkshakes — and splurge-worthy sundaes like the Peanut Butter Lovers (peanut butter ripple chunk ice cream, generous drizzles of peanut butter and chocolate sauces, whipped cream and a piece of housemade peanut butter bark candy.)
216 West Road, Ellington. 860-375-7240, klotersicecreambarn.com.
Winding country roads lead to ice cream in Pomfret, where We-Li-Kit produces about 25 daily varieties of premium ice cream during its season. Several of its flavors are named for the farm's dairy cow breeds, like the top-selling Guernsey Cookie (coffee ice cream jam-packed with Oreos.) Guests, particularly families with young kids, often linger to see the animals living on the property, like goats, donkeys and chickens.
728 Hampton Road, Pomfret Center. 860-974-1095, welikit.com.
The popular ice cream shop at Collins Powder Hill Farm in a quiet, bucolic section of Enfield (jokingly dubbed “Nowheresville” by co-owner Tony Bellafronte) is a destination in north central Connecticut for flavors like Collins Compost (a brownie batter/Oreo cookie blend); tiramisu and coconut chocolate chip.
9 Powder Hill Road, Enfield. 860-749-8663, thecollinscreamery.com.
Tulmeadow Farm dates back to 1768, but ice cream “put us on the map,” seventh-generation Tulmeadow farmer Don Tuller told The Courant in 2016. During the farm store’s six-month season, guests stand in long lines for such flavors as red raspberry chocolate chip, cookie dough, vanilla M&M and cappuccino with espresso beans.
No matter what the calendar says, Colchester locals know spring has arrived the second Harry's Place opens its shutters for the season. Flattop-seared burgers, grilled hot dogs and fried seafood are favorites, but guests at the venerable drive-in know to save room for a scoop (or two, or three); milkshakes and sundaes with Hershey’s ice cream.
104 Broadway St., Colchester. 860-537-2410, harrysplaceburgers.com.
Sea Swirl in Mystic may be best known for its hand-breaded and golden-fried clams, but the tiny glass-box building at the junction of Routes 1 and 27, a seasonal spot that ramps up during the busy tourism season, also boasts a full dessert menu. Enjoy both hard ice cream and soft serve options in waffle cones, sundaes, banana splits, shakes, floats and “flurries” blended with candy and fruit.
30 Williams Ave., Mystic. 860-536-3452, seaswirlofmystic.com.
Milkcraft is part ice cream parlor, part nightclub and part science lab. Its ice cream, in several gourmet flavors, is made to order by blending fresh milk with food-grade liquid nitrogen, producing an extra-smooth and indulgent frozen treat. The creations are Instagram-ready, with scoops cradled in bubble-textured waffle cones, bedazzled with sprinkles and colorful bits of cereal and drizzled with caramel and Nutella.
Ice cream is an adventure at Grass Roots, with 36 artisan flavors like honey lavender, rose chocolate, key lime pie, blood orange chocolate chip, lemongrass coconut and strawberry balsamic. Experimentation drives the daily flavor board, with suggestions from customers and staff alike.
4 Park Place, Granby. 860-653-6303, grassrootscreamery.com.
Ashley’s Ice Cream
With five Connecticut locations, Ashley’s consistently earns “best of” voter awards in local publications for flavors like Nutella chip, bourbon brown sugar and espresso bean. A lemon pie flavor, with tart lemon ice cream and pie crust, evolved from a seasonal to year-round option due to customer demand. Cap off a perfect beach day with a visit to the Madison store, just down Boston Post Road from Hammonasset Beach State Park.
Multiple locations; ashleysicecream.net.
Main Street Creamery
Main Street Creamery tries to offer something for every customer, no matter their dietary needs. For those who can’t indulge in the shop’s 50-plus traditional hard ice cream flavors, there’s frozen yogurt, nonfat and sugar-free options, lactose-free soft serve and several dairy-free, almond milk-based choices.
271 Main St., in Old Wethersfield. mainstreetcreamery.com/
Arethusa Farm Dairy
Arethusa’s dairy products, including yogurt, cheese and butter, start with “milk like it used to taste,” and its high-end goods are sourced by top restaurants around the state (including its own Arethusa al Tavolo and its accompanying bakeshop Arethusa a mano.) Arethusa ice cream earns “super premium” status at 16 percent butterfat, with flavors like sweet cream with chocolate chips, rum raisin and seasonal options like cherry with dark chocolate chunks and pumpkin with ginger molasses cookies. Grab a cone at the original Bantam retail store or the New Haven outpost, which opened on Chapel Street in 2016.
822 Bantam Road, Bantam, 860-361-66001020 Chapel St., New Haven, 203-390-5114. arethusafarm.com.
Shady Glen’s “Bernice Original” cheeseburger, with its crown of four griddle-fried cheese slices, is the biggest star at the delightfully retro Manchester restaurant, celebrating its 70th birthday this year. But its rich ice cream garners equal recognition. The chocolate chip flavor, with microchips in every bite, even earned a mention in Food Network magazine’s “50 States, 50 Ice Cream Treats” feature several years ago.
Two locations: 840 East Middle Turnpike, 860-649-4245; 360 West Middle Turnpike (Manchester Parkade), 860-643-0511.
Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream
The Mortensen family closed its Newington restaurant at the end of 2013 and reopened as an ice-cream-only shop, serving scoops, cones and over-the-top specialty sundaes: strawberry shortcake, apple cobbler and peanut butter brownie supreme.
3145 Berlin Tpke., Newington. 860-666-8219, facebook.com/mortensendairyicecream.
J. Foster Ice Cream
Unique flavors at this Farmington Valley destination, with locations in Avon and Simsbury, include Graham Central Station (graham cracker flavor base with chocolate-covered graham prices and a graham swirl); Cookie Monster, with chopped chocolate chip cookies swirled into blue vanilla ice cream and Barnyard Brawl, with M&Ms, cookie dough pieces, mini chocolate chips and a fudge swirl.
4 Bailey Road, Avon. 860-676-2663894 Hopmeadow Road, Simsbury. 860-651-1499. jfostericecream.com.
Beez Neez (graham cracker base and chocolate-covered honeycomb candies); the triple-chocolate Thunder and Nightmare (chocolate-peanut butter ice cream with mini peanut butter cups) are among the signature flavors at this Connecticut favorite, with locations around the state.
Multiple locations: pralinesownmade.com.
A.C. Petersen Farms
The family-friendly restaurant’s West Hartford location is a fixture on Park Road for burgers, sandwiches and melts, and its seasonal Old Lyme spot features hot and cold lobster rolls and fried seafood baskets. Both are destinations for ice cream, with flavors like mocha mud pie, tie dye vanilla and salted caramel pretzel.
240 Park Road, West Hartford. 860-233-8483.113 Shore Road, Old Lyme. 860-598-9680. acpetersenfarms.com.
Get Baked’s Get Swirled ice cream adds a summer-ready cool confection to its lineup of brownies, cupcakes and cookies. An auger-style machine blends ice cream base, fruit and mix-ins into a smooth treat, with suggested flavor combinations like strawberry-banana, peach-raspberry and pineapple mango.
25 Central St., Windsor. 860-688-0420, getbakedct.com.
Rolled Ice Cream
Thai rolled ice cream was a hot trend in cool desserts during the summer of 2017. Intricate concoctions are crafted to order, using liquid base and mix-ins to flash-freeze ice cream on a steel ice pan, then scrape it into tightly coiled rolls. Rolled ice cream shops are sprinkled throughout the state, in Granby, West Hartford, Middletown, Wallingford, New Britain and Milford. courant.com/rolledicecream.
Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream
The popular shop has a prime location by the Mystic River Bascule Bridge, capturing tourists strolling through downtown with its homemade flavors: Kona coffee, cafe mocha chunk and Drawbridge “originals” like lemon chocolate kiss and chocolate Chambord. The business recently advertised new vegan flavors on its Facebook page, including chocolate almond and caramel coconut.
2 West Main St., Mystic. 860-572-7978, mysticdrawbridgeicecream.com.
Salem Valley Farms
You don’t have to choose just one of Salem Valley Farms’ indulgent flavors; you can taste your way through three or four thanks to its sampler dish options. But with several dozen rotating flavors (cappuccino fudge, peppermint stick, Kahlua and cream and even basil, which appeared on the menu on Mother’s Day) you’ll still have to narrow it down a bit.
20 Darling Road, Salem. 860-859-2980, salemvalleyfarmsicecream.com.
Ferris Acres Creamery
The Newtown farm creamery first established its ice cream operation in 2003, but can trace its family roots at the farm back to 1703, according to its website. Thrillist recently chose Ferris Acres as one of its 31 best ice cream shops in America, shouting out flavors like its s’mores-style Campfire and the peanut butter-banana based Elvis’ Dream.
144 Sugar St., Newtown. 203-426-8803, ferrisacrescreamery.com.
Wentworth Homemade Ice Cream
The Hamden favorite, located by Sleeping Giant State Park and Quinnipiac University, offers up classics like strawberry, cookie dough and pistachio alongside “flavors of the moment” like lemon custard, cannoli and banana fudge.
3697 Whitney Ave., Hamden. 203-281-7429, wentworthicecream.com.
UConn Dairy Bar
It’s a sweet campus tradition to enjoy this indulgent treat, in flavors like banana chocolate chip, toasted almond amaretto and Husky Tracks (vanilla base with peanut butter cups and fudge swirl.) You can choose a simple cup or cone, sip your preferred flavor in a milkshake or float or go for broke with a Sundae of the Month, loaded with whipped cream, sauces and toppings.
3636 Horsebarn Hill Road Ext., Storrs. 860-486-2634, dining.uconn.edu/uconn-dairy-bar.
The cash-only Cheshire shop features signature flavors like Claude’s Cupcake, coconut creme and caramel cashew, but also accommodates vegans and dairy-free customers with several soy-based Tofutti options.
828 S Main St, Cheshire. 203-272-4237, sweetclaudes.com.
The family farm’s name is synonymous with premium ice cream and sunflowers. Each year, Buttonwood plants over 14 acres of the flowers and harvests them in late July, selling bouquets as a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut. New and returning ice cream flavors include peanut butter and blueberry cheesecake varieties, whoopie pie and lavender honey.
473 Shetucket Tpke., Griswold. 860-376-4081, buttonwoodfarmicecream.com.
The Oxford dairy farm, which rotates special flavors like Chunky Eleaphunky (banana cream ice cream with peanut butter sauce and chocolate chunks) and mint marshmallow brownie with its classic black raspberry and cookies and cream, has a new franchise location in Brookfield and also opened one in Placentia, Calif. in 2016.
Multiple locations: richfarmicecream.com.
Dr. Mike’s Ice Cream
Since 1975, Dr. Mike’s has captured fans with its decadent ice cream, with recent flavor offers like Nilla Nilla Wafer, coffee Heath, caramel cinnamon crumble and hazelnut fudge.The Chocolate Lace and Rich Chocolate flavors are signatures.
158 Greenwood Ave., Bethel. 203-792-4388.