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Scoopalicious:A Sandhills Ice Cream Tour

Posted On June 7, 2020

A county-wide look at summer’s frozen delights

By Ray Linville   »   Photos by Mollie Tobias



Did you shed a tear when the Pinehurst Sundry & Soda Fountain (where Drum & Quill is now located) or Two Scoops (now Stubbs & Son BBQ) in Carthage closed a few years ago? The Sandhills still has its fair share of great ice cream places as new ones have opened, but we need all of them to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

When you and the family need to get outside, remember that ice cream shops are very compatible with the requirements for social distancing. After all, they’ve always been serving “to go.” In this area, their personalities match their styles whether they are farmed-based, traditional, creative, or unusual.

FROM FARM TO SCOOP

Although farm to table is the choice of some foodies, farm to scoop is important for ice cream aficionados. What better way to enjoy nature than eating ice cream at the farm where it’s made? In the Sandhills, farms that serve ice cream seasonally have been discovered not only by locals but tourists and beachgoers as well.

The stand of HIGHLANDERS FARM, being operated now by the seventh generation of Blues, didn’t open until 2007. Near the airport, it became more popular when Sam’s Creamery began serving homemade ice cream. Caroline Holder, who helps serve the customers and is a niece of the owners, says, “The strawberry ice cream is made fresh from berries on the farm, and peach is also a popular choice in June.” With the strawberry fields next door, you know the berries don’t have to travel too far.

Kalawi Farm in Eagle Springs is famous for its seasonal crops, but watch how many cars come for only BEN’S ICE CREAM next door to the produce stand. With 5,000 peach trees on 30 acres, the farm never runs out of peaches to make ice cream, although Ben’s does serve more than one flavor. Guess which one is my favorite!

For more peach ice cream, travel farther west toward Candor and find the stand of PARSONS FARM. A few minutes away is the store of JOHNSON’S PEACHES. Visit the town on the third Saturday of July for the N.C. Peach Festival and discover more ice cream than you’d imagine.

THE TRADITIONAL

Nothing is more traditional than THE ICE CREAM PARLOR less than a block from the train station in downtown Southern Pines. Locally owned since 1976, it’s the place to sit outside and enjoy people-watching. Its homemade ice cream with all the traditional flavors is a favorite of all ages. Don’t miss the Shake of the Day.

You’re “done roving” when you stop in Vass at the DUNROVIN COUNTRY STORE, which has a little bit of everything for sale, including ice cream. Enjoy yours in the park built by owners Patrick and Jo Milcendeau for their customers. Where more than 100 tropical birds have been rescued, it’s the perfect place to sit and chat as you enjoy a frozen delight.

Can you remember when the DAIRY QUEEN in Southern Pines once occupied the side of a gas station on U.S. 1? Even before the chain introduced the Heath Blizzard in 1985, my family has been making regular stops, although I still like a cone with a “Q” swirl on top. The company says that because its soft-serve has only 5 percent butterfat, it doesn’t qualify to be called ice cream (must be at least 10 percent).

THE CREATIVE

Have you tried an ice cream roll? Originating in Thailand in 2009, it’s made by pouring milk on an ice grill and adding fruits and other ingredients for extra flavor. At SCROLLICIOUS in Olmsted Village, more than a dozen ingenious choices await you. Think mango, pineapple, coconut, avocado and more selections than you can imagine.

At COLD STONE CREAMERY in Aberdeen Commons, the ice
cream — made fresh in the store — is mixed with your choice of candy, cakes, fruits, or nuts on a frozen granite stone. The Signature Creations are the most celebrated masterpieces, such as the Surrender to Strawberry.

SWEET CAROLINA ICE CREAM in downtown Aberdeen has definitely increased the foot traffic in this town’s historic district. A 1950s-style, family-owned shop, it has more than 20 imaginative flavors as well as 20 toppings. Try the smoked maple pecan bourbon. It’s definitely creative.

At PURPLE PENGUIN PREMIUM FROZEN YOGURT in Southern Pines Village, it’s not ice cream, but it is delicious, and the kiddies go crazy with the add-in options. With more than 50 toppings and 14 flavors of frozen yogurt, the combinations are almost endless.

RITA’S ITALIAN ICE AND FROZEN YOGURT in the Center Park Shopping Center of Aberdeen offers another creative approach for something cool and delicious on a hot day. Try a Blendini, which is Italian ice blended with creamy frozen custard and selected toppings.

THE UNUSUAL

Have you wondered where walkers in the historic business district of Pinehurst found the ice cream cones they’re enjoying? At the quaint shop of CAMERON & COMPANY, the casual shopper walks in looking for home accessories, jewelry, or gifts but often walks out with an ice cream cone (or two if accompanied by a young family member). It’s the best way to shop.

Need a drive in the country? Head to THE BERRY PATCH in nearby Ellerbe just off I-73/74. Proclaimed as the world’s largest strawberry, the store in the shape of a 24-foot-tall berry certainly is an eyecatcher from the highway. Inside the shop find rich and creamy homemade ice cream made in wooden Amish churns. Without a doubt, a popular flavor here is strawberry, although it’s only one of 20.

AND DON’T FORGET

Want ice cream with your barbecue? Head to DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT in Southern Pines. A vanilla soft-serve cone is free with your meal. What a bonus!