It’s getting to be that time of year again: The nights are growing longer, the days are starting to get hot, and pretty soon the kids are going to be done with school until September. That’s right: Summer is almost here in Connecticut!
Ever since I was a wee lad, summer never felt real until that first trip to an ice cream shop for a freshly-scooped cone. And because everyone’s got their favorite joint to hit up for that first treat of the season, it’s easy to forget that Connecticut is full of some pretty amazing ice cream shops. Here are 6 amazing ice cream shops that you should check out to celebrate the beginning of summer.
Ashley’s Ice Cream in New Haven has been serving delicious hand-crafted frozen treats since 1979—a whopping 38 years! In addition to their all-natural ice cream, Ashley’s is known for their whipped cream (whipped daily!), fresh-baked waffle cones, and bittersweet hot fudge.
Though the first Ashley’s was on College Street in New Haven, today there are locations at 280 York Street (New Haven), 2100 Dixwell Ave (Hamden), 1016 Main Street (Branford), 942 Boston Post Road (Guilford), and 724 Boston Post Road (Madison).
Rich Farm in Oxford is, personally, my favorite ice cream shop in all of Connecticut. It has been since I was a kid. Even today, summer doesn’t truly start until I get a sundae from Rich’s for the first time.
Rich Farm was opened in 1994 by David and Dawn Rich. The dairy farm itself has been in operation for more than five generations, having been started by Dave’s great-grandfather Raffaele Ajello, first in Seymour and then in Oxford.
Rich Farm is known for their amazing everyday flavors like cake batter, chocolate peanut butter swirl, Cookie Monster, Razzmanian Devil, and more than 80 special flavors that they serve on a rotating basis. Rich Farm is located at 691 Oxford Road, Oxford.
Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream—Mystic
Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream has a long history of ice cream making, spanning all the way back to the 1800s when Randall Brown Jr. began selling homemade ice cream from the very same spot. In the 1900s, the shop was taken over by Ebenezer Morgan, who continued the tradition, before transferring to John Koulbanis in the mid 20th century.
Known for making ice cream in the “European tradition,” Mystic Drawbridge uses premium ingredients to create the rich and creamy treats that they are known for. Some of their well-loved flavors include Vermont Maple Nut, White Pistachio, Jamaican Me Nutty, Barbados Rum N’ Raisin, Pumpkin Pie, and more. In addition to ice cream and custom ice cream cakes, you can also get ice cream sodas, floats, egg creams, and smoothies.
Mystic Drawbridge is located at 2 West Main Street, Mystic.
Tipsy Cones bills itself as “The Grown Up Ice Cream Truck,” and with good reason—most of the 27 flavors that they offer incorporate some kind of alcohol, making for a sweet, creamy, boozy treat for any adult lucky enough to get a night off of diaper (or soccer) duty. Most of the actual alcohol is cooked off during preparation, but some remains; they do make non-alcoholic flavors for those teetotalers out there.
They are known for flavors like creamy whiskey vanilla bean, maple stout swirl, strawberry merlot sorbet, Mississippi mudslide, and more, as well as a line of vegan-friendly treats.
Milkcraft opened its first location in Fairfield in 2016 (located right next to the Mecha Noodle Bar), to a lot of fan fair. The ice cream is made to order for each customer by blending together fresh milk, selected ingredients, and food-grade nitrogen, making for a creamy, smooth, one-of-a-kind treat.
The premium flavors include S’mores Campfire, strawberry balsamic, blue cookie butter, milk & cereal, Vietnamese Coffee, and more. The made-to-order ice cream is served in your choice of a cup, a thick, soft waffle cone call a “bubblecone,” or a creation known as the “creamibun,” a glazed donut that is filled with ice cream and then sealed shut.
Milkcraft is located at 1215 Post Road in Fairfield and will soon have a second location at 967a Farmington Ave, West Hartford.
Sweet Ashley’s—East Norwalk
Sweet Ashley’s has been an East Norwalk staple for more than 20 years, known for their handmade ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, soft-serve, shakes, sundaes, and countless other treats. In addition to the typical ice cream flavors, Sweet Ashley’s gets creative with flavors such as pumpkin pie, Cinnabon, and Lemon Dream.
Sweet Ashley’s is located at 248 East Avenue in East Norwalk.
Did We Miss Any?
We chose to highlight these ice cream establishments based off of our own experience and the suggestions of our readers, so we are bound to have left out some other, amazing places. Let us know if your favorite CT ice cream shop didn’t make it on the list and we’ll do our best to add it!