Whether it’s plain or with sprinkles, sundaed, waffled or in a dish, ice cream remains a summer staple for just about everyone. Fortunately for Bay boaters, waterfront (or nearly) ice-cream shops have been on the increase lately.
I won’t speak for anyone else, but I know that after my sweetie and I have been tooling around on the water for a few days, we’re both susceptible to sudden and uncontrollable sweet-tooth attacks. Maybe it’s nature’s way of telling us that our blood sugar levels are getting dangerously healthy. Whatever the case, when this happens we must find a place that sells ice cream or kill each other trying. And not just any old ice cream. We want the good stuff, with sprinkles or hot fudge. Over the years, we’ve probably ferreted out every ice-cream parlor within walking distance of the Chesapeake waterfront (and some that aren’t). And because it’s summer, what better time to spread the word? So, starting from the top of the Bay, here is (surely you saw this coming) the scoop.
Donna’s Shop (410-378-5505), Port Deposit, Md., just up the street from the waterfront. Sixteen flavors of Hershey ice cream, milk shakes, sundaes and banana splits, plus a cold-cut sandwich menu. Limited seating. Standard scoop $1.25. Sun.–Thurs. 7 a.m.–8 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 7 a.m.–10 p.m.
Ice Dreams (410-939-1525), Havre de Grace, Md., upstairs, one block in from the water at 209 North Washington Street, a few blocks north of most marinas. Twenty-four flavors of Hershey ice cream, milk shakes and sundaes, plus light fare (including eight-time award-winning crabcakes) and other desserts. Indoor and outdoor seating. Standard scoop $1.48. Mon.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. (no cooking on Tuesdays); Fri. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sat. noon–10 p.m.; Sun. noon–9 p.m.
Ice Cream Alley (410-287-3541), North East, Md., next door to Woody’s Crab House on Main Street, three or four blocks from the waterfront [see “Compass Rose,” June 2001]. Fifteen flavors of Richardson’s ice cream, along with old-fashioned milk shakes and banana splits. Limited seating. Standard scoop $1.50. Tues.–Sun. noon–9 p.m.
The Canal Creamery (410-885-3314), South Chesapeake City, Md., on the C&D Canal. Sixteen flavors of homemade ice cream (including such gourmet delights as Kahlua Fudge and Bananas Foster), milk shakes and sundaes, plus fresh pie a la mode and light lunch fare (including crabcakes). Outdoor seating. Standard scoop $2.15. Sun.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Maggie Moo’s (410-276-4556), Fells Point, Baltimore, on the waterfront at the corner of Broadway and Thames. Up to 30 different flavors (16 at a time) of homemade ice cream, milk shakes, sundaes, floats, smoothies and soft ice cream, plus Krispy Kreme doughnuts and coffee. No seating (yet). Standard scoop $2.29. Sun.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–midnight.
Durding’s Store (410-778-7957), Rock Hall, Md., on Main Street, about two blocks in from Rock Hall Creek. This is a circa-1872 store that maintains its original soda fountain. Twelve flavors of a variety of ice cream brands, milk shakes, sundaes, banana splits and ice-cream sodas. Indoor and outdoor seating. Standard scoop $2. Sun.–Mon. 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Tues.–Wed. noon–9 p.m.; Thurs. 10 a.m.– 9 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–10 p.m. (Don’t want to walk? The Rock Hall Trolley runs fairly regularly and picks up and delivers from all Rock Hall and Gratitude marinas for $2 a person.)
Stam Drug Co. (410-778-3030), Chestertown, Md., on High Street, a block up from the public landing. This is another old soda fountain, which serves malts, floats and phosphates in addition to six flavors of Hershey ice cream in cones, cups and sundaes. No seating. Standard scoop 90'. Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.–2 p.m.; closed Sunday.
Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory (410-263-3376), Annapolis, on the north side of Ego Alley (the city dock basin). Forty-eight flavors of Hershey ice cream, milk shakes, sundaes and floats. Limited seating. Standard scoop $1.50. Mon.–Thurs.
10:30 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 10:30 a.m.–midnight.
Aromi D’Italia (410-263-1300), Annapolis, located on the harbor, next door to Phillips Restaurant. Twenty-six flavors of homemade gelati and Italian ice, plus freshly baked cookies and treats. Indoor and outdoor seating. Standard scoop $2. Mon.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri. 10 a.m.–midnight; Sat. 8 a.m.–midnight; Sun. 8 a.m.–10 p.m.
West River Market (410-867-4844) Galesville, Md., about a block up from the water on Main Street. Seven flavors of Breyers and Cool N Classy ice cream (cones and cups only), plus subs and sandwiches to go. No seating. Standard scoop $1.29. Sun.–Thurs. 6 a.m.–7 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 6 a.m.–8 p.m.
Justine’s (410-745-5416), St. Michaels, Md., on the corner of Cherry and Talbot streets, not far from the Acme. Sixteen flavors of Jack & Jill ice cream, sundaes, floats, sodas, and about 30 different kinds of milk shakes (the most popular one is the cremesicle shake: a combination of orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream). Limited seating. Standard scoop $2. Open daily noon–9 p.m.
Oxford Market (410-226-0015), Oxford, Md., on Morris Street, across from the town park. Twelve flavors of Blue Bunny ice cream (cone and cup only), plus a variety of carry-out subs and groceries. No seating. Standard scoop $1.25. Daily
7 a.m.–9 p.m.
Cone Island (410-326-2578), Solomons, Md., on the river walk, across from the Lore Oyster House. Three flavors (chocolate, vanilla and twist) of Monticello brand soft ice cream, milk shakes and sundaes. No seating. Standard scoop $1.25. Open daily noon–dusk.
Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Co. (703-518-5374), Alexandria, Va., near the foot of King Street, about one block up from the Torpedo Factory. Thirty homemade flavors of ice cream, milk shakes, sundaes and malts. Look for special seasonal flavor blends-like this month’s red-white-and-blue. Indoor seating. Standard scoop $2.40. Sun.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–midnight; Fri.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–1 a.m.
The Scoop (703-549-4527), Alexandria, Va., near the foot of King Street, about one block up from the Torpedo Factory. Out of a total of 200 possible homemade flavors, they serve 38 at any given time, in milk shakes, sundaes, floats, malts and sodas, plus a full breakfast and sandwich menu. Indoor seating. Standard scoop $2.50. Mon.–Thurs. 8:30 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 8:30 a.m.–midnight; Sun. 9 a.m.–11 p.m.
The Carry-out at Bayside Inn Restaurant
(410-425-2771), Ewell, Md., on the Smith Island waterfront, next to the county dock. Twelve to fifteen flavors of a variety of ice cream brands plus ice cream floats. (A full dinner menu is available inside the restaurant.) No seating. Standard scoop $2. Open daily 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
Spanky’s Place, (757-891-2514), Tangier, Va., on Main Street, about halfway between the public dock and the Chesapeake House. This establishment is modeled on the ice cream parlors of the 1950s, complete with nonstop fifties music. Twenty flavors of Jack & Jill ice cream, milk shakes, sundaes, banana splits, floats and razzles (like a McFlurry only “better”), plus sandwiches and just about anything that’ll fit in a deep fryer, from clam strips to onion rings. Indoor seating. Standard scoop $1.20. Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; closed Sunday.
Truffles (757-787-8440), Onancock, Va., on Market Street, in the heart of downtown Onancock, about six blocks from the waterfront. Eight flavors of Hershey ice cream in cups, cones and sundaes, along with a full lunch and dessert menu. Indoor seating. Standard scoop $1.75. Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m. till whenever; closed Sunday.
River’s Edge Ice Cream Parlor (804-758-1447), Urbanna, Va., on Virginia Street, about four blocks from the waterfront. Thirty flavors of Hershey ice cream, milk shakes, sundaes, banana splits and floats, plus sandwiches. Limited seating. Standard scoop $1.40. Open daily 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Whistle Stop (757-393-3747) Portsmouth, Va., one block from the waterfront, just around the corner from the Children’s Museum on High Street. Twenty different flavors (eight at a time) of Pet ice cream, sundaes, banana splits, malts and floats, plus lunch fare. Indoor seating. Standard scoop $1.50. Open daily 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Look for Ben & Jerry’s at Baltimore’s Harborplace, on upper Main Street in Annapolis, along the Alexandria waterfront, at Norfolk’s Waterside and along the boardwalk in Virginia Beach.
Worth the Cab Fare . . .
Doumar’s (757-627-4163) Norfolk, 1919 Monticello Avenue, about two miles from Waterside. This old-style drive-in diner has been in business for nearly a century and claims to be the originator of the waffle cone. Six flavors of Mellow Buttercup ice cream in cones, milk shakes, sundaes, banana splits and floats, plus a full sandwich menu. Ample seating. Standard scoop $1.22. Mon.–Thurs. 8 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 8 a.m.–12:30 a.m.; closed Sunday.
Vaccarro’s Italian Pastry Shop (410-685-4905) Baltimore, 222 Albemarle Street in Little Italy, east of the Inner Harbor. As its name implies, you’ll find a lot more than ice cream here, and it’s all homemade. Choose from four flavors of Italian ice and 14 flavors of gelati, served in cups or waffle cones. Indoor and outdoor seating. Mon. 9 a.m.–10 p.m.; Tues.–Thurs. 9 a.m.–11 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 9 a.m.–1 a.m.; Sun. 9 a.m.–11 p.m.
Topping Off at Taylor’s
Text Jane Meneely Photographs Starke Jett
There are two things to know about Taylor’s, in Deltaville, Va. One, they serve soft crabs the size of my shoe (71/2 medium). The second thing is more fundamental: It’s been around forever, run by the same family since 1929, so an air of bustling efficiency permeates the place. There’s no practicing; the routines, the spiels, the flicks of the wrists are all down pat. It felt as if someone’s mother was behind it all, watching through the cracks of closed kitchen doors, with a stainless steel stirring spoon in one hand, ready to dole out certain justice if someone flubbed up: the cook’s equivalent to “Mind your manners!” It was a comfortable feeling, actually. And everyone was smiling, so the flash of the serving spoon was clearly a figment of my imagination.
Clint and I ate at Taylor’s twice on a recent jaunt to Deltaville: dinner and lunch. It was midweek, and the number of cars in the parking lot (both meals) suggested that this was indeed the happenin’ place in town. I don’t mean rowdy; I mean home cooked and comfortable. The secret to finding good food around the Bay area (or anywhere, for that matter) is to find where the locals hang out.
Taylor’s is a big boxy building on Deltaville’s main drag, not exactly walking distance from the town’s expansive waterfront, but an easy bike ride or a short hop for any of the marina managers who are willing to play taxi (and we couldn’t find one who wasn’t). It had just undergone a major makeover when we sauntered through the door, hungry enough to eat the menu. Its open room was broken up, cubicle style, by a series of right-angle dividers that sported samplings of local artwork-the most notable being Deltaville denizen John Barber. The array of small tables could be easily arranged for larger parties, and frequently were as we watched families and friends gather for an evening out.
Our hostess couldn’t have been more thoughtful. She seated us and asked what we’d like to drink. I ordered something ordinary, but Clint got a wicked gleam in his eye and asked for lemonade-fresh lemonade. Our hostess gave him a little sparkle of a smile and said she’d see what she could find. Not long after, she arrived with a whole pitcher of lemonade (slices of lemons and all) and the pleasant observation that he would probably be the only lemonade customer that night, so he might as well help himself.
With that little intro, we perused the menu. Clint ordered the soft-crab special; I opted for the crabcakes (plain). Clint asked our server if we could, by any chance, get an order of hush puppies. She looked at him a little oddly and asked if he meant in addition to what she would be bringing to the table anyway. “You mean you’re automatically going to bring us hush puppies?” Clint stammered. The waitress gave him a quizzical you-must-not-be-from-around-here look. “This is the South, you know,” she said. And she brought him an extra basketful.
The food was ample and nicely done; the beans were canned, but the salad was fresh. Clint’s soft crab (large, plump, the season’s first) had been sauteed in a light, interesting, wine sauce. My crab cakes were plain and simple (which is what I’d asked for). When we returned for lunch a day or so later, Clint ordered the chicken salad club and I ordered the soft-crab sandwich. His was fine; mine was spectacular. A large slab of a soft crab (easily a 71/2 medium) arrived on my plate, with a couple of slices of white bread and a tiny cup of mayonnaise. I’d asked the waitress to substitute the sliced bread for the sandwich roll, and asked for the mayo in lieu of the tartar sauce. They handle requests really well here: Remember the lemonade? Jack Nicholson’s character in “Five Easy Pieces” would have been quite happy.
There’s no water view, but the trees and shrubs in the parking lot are mulched with oyster shell, and the snatches of conversation that waft across the dining room tell you that water is not far off. Certainly the menu reflects the bounty of the Bay. More important, Taylor’s is a long-standing family operation in a town booming with long-standing family operations: Nortons, Prices, Doziers. It’s barely a whistle away from any of the kazillion marinas down the road. And it’s where the local folks hang out. Rumor has it that Regatta Point, the new marina being developed at the mouth of Broad Creek, will include Deltaville’s first waterfront restaurant, but no one knows for sure when that’s going to happen. In the meantime, Taylor’s serves up a dose of home cooking and a dollop of charm to everyone who walks through the door. That view looked pretty good to us.
Taylor’s is located on Route 33, across from Hurd’s Hardware Store (True Value). They’re open daily from 5:30 a.m. to at least 9 p.m. The average breakfast runs $4.50–$5.50; lunch sandwiches average $4.95; dinner entrees run $6–$18. Mastercard and Visa accepted. 804-776-9611.