Who doesn’t love ice cream? Whether it was the little ice cream shop that we would walk to when visiting my grandparents in Southside Virginia, or it was eating my great-uncle’s old-fashioned homemade peach ice cream on the back porch, ice cream is one of the best memories of my childhood. These 12 ice cream shops bring back that nostalgia in full-force. They all feature homemade frozen treats, most made on-site and many using locally sourced ingredients. But whether they serve ice cream, frozen custard or gelato, one thing they all have in common for sure is that they make some of the most amazing frozen desserts you can find anywhere in the country. Lucky for us, they’re all right here in Virginia.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream and Café, Richmond
Bev’s ice cream comes from Beverly Mazursky’s own recipe, developed after she graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in her 50s. Now, at 76, Bev is still serving her homemade ice cream and it is quite arguably the best in Richmond.
2. Carl's Frozen Custard, Fredericksburg
It’s hard to find anyone who attended the University of Mary Washington who doesn’t know Carl’s – or anyone who’s been through Fredericksburg in the last 60 years for that matter. Serving up delicious soft serve frozen “custard” (although it’s technically ice cream) since 1947, Carl’s is still family-owned and lines can still be found stretching around the building, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
3. The Dairy Godmother – Frozen Custard and Nostalgic Treats, Alexandria
In addition to standard vanilla and chocolate custard, The Dairy Godmother, a retro-style shop in Alexandria, serves up daily specials including Cherry Blossom (in honor of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival), Carrot Cake, Banana Pudding and Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie. Be sure to check the online flavor forecast to see what’s coming up – in the meantime stop in for other treats like homemade marshmallows or sorbets. If you’re traveling with your pup, Puppy Pops are available in banana and pumpkin flavors.
4. Island Creamery, Chincoteague Island
This family-owned ice cream shop has been known since 1975 for fresh ingredients, including cream from local Lancaster County cows, and island-inspired flavors. Island Creamery has long been a favorite for locals, as well as the thousands of visitors that come through the island every year.
5. Kline’s Dairy Bar, Harrisonburg
I don’t know anyone who attended James Madison University who doesn’t know Kline’s. Since it began in 1943, Kline’s has been dishing up premium ice cream for locals and visitors alike, and continues to be a favorite today. Now available in 2 Harrisonburg locations, as well as Waynesboro and Staunton, there’s no excuse not to try this amazing ice cream when you’re on the road this summer.
6. Moo Thru, Remington
If you’ve driven Route 29 through Remington, then you’ve seen Cool Lawn Farm’s Moo Thru. As well known for it’s cow-chic décor as its ice cream, Moo Thru is a must-try for anyone who appreciates ice cream straight from the cow. Cool Lawn Farm provides the cream from its own grass-fed herd to make the deliciously creamy ice creams served every day but Monday.
7. Doumar’s, Norfolk
While the name of this shop is technically “Doumar’s Barbecue”, it is known as “the” ice cream shop for Hampton Roads. This curbside service restaurant is home of the first ever waffle cone and you can still watch cones being made on the original machine, built in 1904.
8. Pack’s Frozen Custard, Winchester
Pack’s Dairy Corner, as it’s also known, is an old-style circus cart serving up delicious frozen treats – perfect for an after-hike cool down or just an anytime treat. Stop in for a milk shake, sundae or just a good ol’ soft serve in your choice of a regular cone, waffle cone or pretzel cone – that’s one you don’t hear often! A second location serves the same deliciousness from an old-fashioned circus style trailer.
9. Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, Alexandria
Old-fashioned ice cream is served alongside old-fashioned ambiance at Pop’s. With everything from ice cream to egg creams to baked goods, Pop’s is a true ice cream parlor for the ages.
10. The Split Banana, Staunton
Located in historic downtown Staunton, The Split Banana serves up unique flavors like Sticky Rice and Mint Stracciatella with new flavors popping up every month. All of the shop’s gelato is made fresh onsite daily, earning them recognition as one of Trip Advisor’s top 10 gelato shops in the United States.
11. Chap’s, Charlottesville
This local favorite on the historic downtown mall in Charlottesville has been serving delicious flavors for more than 75 years using family recipes and fresh ingredients. A full service grill and coffee shop make Chap’s the perfect one-stop shop. With more than enough flavors to choose from, you can even take your favorite home with you.
12. Homestead Creamery, Wirtz
Served at the Homestead Creamery Farm Market, this is some of the best ice cream around. Can’t make it to the market? No worries. Homestead Creamery takes service to a whole new level with a home delivery service for their unbelievably fresh ice creams and milk, as well as availability at Kroger grocery stores and Whole Foods Markets throughout the state. Located in Southwest Virginia, near Smith Mountain Lake, this one-of-a-kind dairy and farm market is a must-try.
Everyone has their favorite place for ice cream and I’m sure we’ve left some off the list. Tell us where you like to go and maybe we can check them out for ourselves!