July is National Ice Cream Month, and there’s no sweeter place to celebrate than Ohio. It ranks among the top ice cream-producing states, and with scores of indie ice cream makers sprinkled from Lake Erie to the Ohio River, Ohio even boasts a new Ice Cream Trail. Want to explore – and enjoy! – Ohio’s unique scoop shops? These outstanding destinations dish up a wide array of cool, creamy, and delightful melt-in-your mouth treats.
Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant, Canton
While Canton is renowned for being the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I think one of its best-kept secrets is Taggart’s, a hometown favorite for homemade ice cream since the 1920s. With its nostalgic marble counters and curlicue wrought iron chairs, Taggart’s remains a throwback to the decade when team owners met in Canton to form the National Football League.
Today, when NFL greats come to Canton every August for the Hall of Fame’s Enshrinement Week, they often score Taggart’s signature creation: The Bittner, a gloriously gooey combination of vanilla ice cream and made-from-scratch chocolate syrup topped with roasted pecans. www.taggartsicecream.com
Toft’s Ice Cream Parlor, Sandusky
Whenever I’m headed to Lake Erie, Toft’s is a must-stop.Dating to 1900, Toft’s is one of Ohio’s oldest dairies, and the ice cream parlor located at its Sandusky production facility sells 70 different kinds of ice cream and frozen yogurt.
Many of the flavors – think Lake Erie Islands Cherry Amaretto Fudge – give a nod to local attractions, and it’s great fun to sink your spoon into something scrumptious while sitting in the old-time wooden seats lined up underneath the parlor’s big barnyard mural.Tip:Toft’s also operates ice cream parlors in Port Clinton and at Cedar Point.
Ollie’s Fine Ice Cream, Delaware
Tucked away on a downtown Delaware side street, Ollie’s is a true mom-and-pop shop located in an old Victorian house that looks like an enchanted cottage.
The tiny shop’s selection is limited, but folks gladly stand in line for freshly made scoops of Ollie’s luscious Chocolate Silk or decadent Cake Batter ice creams.
In fact, the owners change flavors so frequently that they simply write their ice creams’ names and descriptions on the glass cover of the dipping case.
Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl, Zanesville
Tom’s is the ultimate retro ice cream experience.
From the chrome counter stools to the soda jerks wearing white aprons and bow ties to the giant portions of ice cream served in the soup bowls, everything in this small but mightily popular ice cream shop remains frozen in the 1950s.
Tom’s Tin Roof Sundae with homemade ice cream, house-made chocolate syrup, and house-roasted peanuts is a Zanesville classic, but you can’t you wrong with Tom’s banana splits, which come in several varieties and feature bananas cut in circles instead of slices. www.tomsicecreambowl.com
The Dairy Store at Young’s Jersey Dairy, Yellow Springs
There no more family-friendly activity than going for ice cream, and Ohio’s most family-friendly dairy farm is probably Young’s.
Years ago, the Young clan started selling ice cream made with milk from the jersey cows raised on their southwest Ohio farmstead. Now Young’s produces and sells more about 100 different ice creams in flavors ranging from Cow Patty to Bourbon Vanilla; concocts all kinds of cones and sundaes; and is famous for its trademark cow shakes and bull shakes.
Visitors also get to feed the farm’s goats, play “Udders and Putters” miniature golf; ride the “Moovers and Shakers” barrel train; and experience seasonal events that include a corn maze and bountiful Thanksgiving buffet at Young’s barn-style Golden Jersey Inn. www.youngsdairy.com
For more sweet treats, follow the Ohio Ice Cream Trail. Click here to find out more!