I am a firm believer that ice cream should have a food-group all to itself. It would consist of regular ice cream, sundaes, and milkshakes. Unfortunately, the USDA continues to disagree with me and recommends everyone to consume ice cream “sparingly.” My definition of “sparingly:” at least once a day or I will not sleep well at night. Don’t get me wrong, moderation is important but not as important as enjoying the best milkshake around. As a child of an ice cream loving family, many of our family vacations were planned around visiting the best homemade ice cream shops. While each store brings uniqueness and the exclamation that they are the best homemade ice cream store ever, the following list consists of my top five favorite homemade ice cream stores for a quality and mouth-watering milkshake.
1. Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt
Locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Indiana, Virginia, and Florida
Founded in 1945 in Youngstown, Ohio, Handel’s ice cream is simply the best. With over thirty-five locations across the United States and more than one hundred flavors, the possibilities to fall in love with their smooth and creamy milkshakes are endless. Given high praise from USA Today and National Geographic, the hand-spun delights are made to order and offer a unique sweetness. I went to college five miles away from a Handel’s location. Best freshman fifteen ever.
Must try: Chocolate Buckeye Milkshake – a perfect blend of chocolate and peanut butter
2. Fudge Factory
Bethany Beach, Delaware
Bethany Beach is my home away from home. The Fudge Factory is one of the main reasons why I long to spend every moment of the summer in my favorite little town. Made from a blend of their homemade fudge, ice cream, and milk, the milkshakes are sweet and pure. They remind me of a fine delicacy that kings and queens enjoy. I must confess that I have driven eight hours in one day just to enjoy this beauty; it is that good. Extra bonus: you can enjoy the deliciousness on the beach or boardwalk.
Must try: Vanilla Buttercream Milkshake – a rich, smooth blend of sweetness, like ice cream and icing flawlessly coming together.
3. Mount Desert Island Ice Cream
Bar Harbor, Maine
With flavors ranging from Jack Daniels to chocolate wasabi, the possibilities are endless at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream. Their milkshakes are a precise blend of dense, creamy, and fresh ice cream. President Barrack Obama recently visited Mount Desert Ice Cream and gave a Seal of Approval to the coconut ice cream, which I am sure would make an excellent, tropical milkshake. The uniqueness and originality of Mount Desert Ice Cream attracts visitors and locals to try their many custom flavors.
Must try: Captain Crunch Milkshake – A perfect combination of the leftover milk in the cereal bowl, sweet and innocent like the memories of childhood.
4. Harrell’s Ice Cream
Unlike typical blended milkshakes, Harrell’s Ice Cream makes the drink out of milk and syrup. In the style of Eastern Massachusetts, the delicious beverage is light and frothy. The refreshing, cold drink is designed by founder and flavor- master Steve Harrell, who has perfected more than two- hundred flavors and is constantly coming up with new ones. Every flavor is available in all flavors, and each one is on my bucket list to try.
Must try: Black and White Milkshake – Rich chocolate fudge drizzled trough milk; proves to be the greatest chocolate milk of your life.
New Freedom, Pennsylvania
Located in the front of a renovated old-fashioned movie theatre, this mom and pop sweet treat shop offers a wide variety of homemade ice cream flavors. Taught by the ice cream masters at Berkley Creamery at Pennsylvania State University, the ice cream is creamy and sweet to perfect the delicious milkshake. With flavors like wild hogs bacon and Joe’s garage, Bonkey’s is one- of- a- kind for hand-spun milkshakes.
Must try: German Chocolate Milkshake – German chocolate cake is an absolute favorite sweet treat, what is better than sipping it through a straw.
Throughout your own travels, be sure to check out any of the above ice cream shops to experience a delicious milkshake. And, if you have some favorites you’ve discovered, please be sure to share by telling us about them in the comment section below.
Editor: Thanks to Ann Swade for contributing this very helpful article!