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Ice Cream Recommendations in Merrimack Valley?

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shmoops6 May 2, 2010 05:14 PM

My husband and I are purchasing our first home, in Chelmsford. We've heard that there are a lot of good ice cream places around there, but aren't sure which one to try first. We'd love to hear your thoughts - we've already gotten recommendations to try Kimball Farm and Bedford Farms. Gary's Ice Cream seems to be the closest to our new house.

Thanks!

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Gary's Ice Cream
131 Gorham St, Chelmsford, MA 01824

Bedford Farms
18 North Rd Ste 1, Bedford, MA 01730

Kimball Farm
400 Littleton Rd, Westford, MA 01886

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  1. justbeingpolite RE: shmoops6 May 2, 2010 05:18 PM

    All good choices. I'm a particular fan of Bedford Farms' vanilla based flavors. Sullivan Farms in Tyngsborough is also good, and close to you.

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    Sullivan Farms Homemade Ice Cream
    Middlesex Rd, Tyngsboro, MA 01879

    1. t
      three of us RE: shmoops6 May 2, 2010 08:14 PM

      This is a topic that can produce strong opinions on favorites. I am not a fan of Gary's ice cream. I find it so-so. I like some Kimball's flavors better -- their oreo cookie is really tops -- and some Bedford Farms flavors better -- totally into chunky chocolate pudding right now. A nice spot is the ice cream stand at Great Brook State Park in Carlisle. Get some ice cream and then stroll around the pond or nearby trails. The ice cream isn't as tasty as Kimball's or BFarms but it can be quite pleasant to walk about nature eating an ice creamcone at sunset. My favorite Merrimack Valley ice cream place is the Microcreamery on Main Street near River in downtown Haverhill. They charge by the ounce so you can get many different flavors or a smaller serving. Chocolate orange is my favorite there.

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      Bedford Farms
      18 North Rd Ste 1, Bedford, MA 01730

      1. c
        Cheffrank RE: shmoops6 May 3, 2010 05:52 AM

        Kimballs in Westford is excellent. I grew up in that area and EVERYONE went to Kimballs on hot Summer nights. If you want a "Man vs. Food" moment, order the Kimballs Special or Banana Split.

        1. a
          acornhunt RE: shmoops6 May 3, 2010 09:52 AM

          Meadowlands in Tewksbury is great, I think their coffee heath bar is the best I've ever had. Their ice cream pies and pizzas are also an excellent cake alternative.

          1 Reply
          1. re: acornhunt
            CreativeFoodie42 RE: acornhunt May 4, 2010 06:59 AM

            Meadowlands in Tewksbury is pretty great along with Mac's in Tewksbury (which I believe gets their ice cream from Richardson's).

          2. h
            hargau RE: shmoops6 May 3, 2010 10:45 AM

            Im a big Kimball's fan. Especially in the fall when they have gingersnap molassas icecream. If you have any kids they will love the place, so much to do. Also i highly recommend the mini-golf. Amazing course and landscaping. The best i have seen anywhere in the northeast. Lastly if you like fried seafood and onion rings, they do a great job for reasonable prices. Huge portions, split the dinners.

            6 Replies
            1. re: hargau
              Eatin in Woostah RE: hargau May 3, 2010 07:56 PM

              Agreed - Kimball's in Westford is a great night out. Fried clams, onion rings, ice cream, and mini golf. Awesome. But for a more low-key experience we head over to Kimball's in Carlisle. Same great ice cream, nice little farm stand feel.

              About 15 years ago I went to a fantastic place in Tewksbury where you could visit the cows and take a walk through some really nice trails, that had excellent ice cream. I've never been able to find it again. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

              If you find yourself in Methuen, stop by Dolce Freddo for gelato.

              1. re: Eatin in Woostah
                fmcoxe6188 RE: Eatin in Woostah May 4, 2010 08:12 AM

                I have to give another big recommendation for Kimballs- as a former scooper there :-) The prices are a bit steep lately, but the portions are amazing and the ice cream is all made in house- without nasty dyes to make mint flavors and pistachio flavors green :-) It is definitely a summer tradition.

                1. re: fmcoxe6188
                  h
                  hargau RE: fmcoxe6188 May 4, 2010 11:41 AM

                  I dont find the prices steep. Isnt it like $3.25-$3.45? or so for a small which is the size of your head?

                  1. re: hargau
                    fmcoxe6188 RE: hargau May 4, 2010 11:47 AM

                    I might be suffering from the delusion that inflation never touched good old Kimballs and the prices stayed the same from when I worked there. :-) But I thought it was a bit steep for ice cream. Either way- it wasn't prohibitive....at all.

                2. re: Eatin in Woostah
                  b
                  BostonCookieMonster RE: Eatin in Woostah May 5, 2010 12:35 PM

                  Are you talking about Great Brook Farm State Park? It's in Carlisle, not Tewksbury, but the cows, the trails, and the ice cream all match.

                  [Edit: I was TRYING to reply to Eatin in Woostah. Argh.]

                  1. re: BostonCookieMonster
                    Eatin in Woostah RE: BostonCookieMonster May 8, 2010 09:57 AM

                    That could be. It's worth a trip to find out! No drive ending in good ice cream is a wasted trip. Thanks, Cookie!

              2. t
                treb RE: shmoops6 May 4, 2010 04:48 AM

                If you in the mood for a drive there's Benson's in Boxford on rte 133, they specialize in native fruit ice creams and frozen yogurts then there's White farms in Ipswich on rte 133, also excellent and just up the street is The Clam Box.

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                Clam Box
                789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

                1 Reply
                1. re: treb
                  greygarious RE: treb May 4, 2010 11:06 AM

                  Another strong endorsement for Benson's - the fresh native fruit flavors are strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and peach, so I time my visits there accordingly. Their other flavors are fine, too, but I can find as good closer to home.

                  I most often go to Sullivan's. Like Kimball's and Bedford Farms, even a kiddie size is two big scoops. I really DO wish they'd offer somethign smaller....maybe "fetus" size? ;-D

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                  Bedford Farms
                  18 North Rd Ste 1, Bedford, MA 01730

                2. a
                  amljml RE: shmoops6 May 8, 2010 02:03 PM

                  There's also Jay Gee's in Methuen. The have a large variety of flavors that I believe are made on the premises. Like Benson they also do a lot with fruit flavors. Their Peach pie is and blueberry are our favorites. Their prices are reasonable compared to Kimball or Bensons. They have mini golf, batting cages and 2 go cart tracks as well.

                  http://jaygees.com/

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: amljml
                    Eatin in Woostah RE: amljml May 8, 2010 02:20 PM

                    My issue with Jay Gee's is the lack of shade. I'd prefer to pay a little extra and sit under the trees at Kimball. (And I grew up in Methuen...)

                  2. m
                    montuori RE: shmoops6 May 8, 2010 03:37 PM

                    Hodgie's in Amesbury, of course!

                    1. l
                      lexpatti RE: shmoops6 May 9, 2010 04:22 PM

                      my votes are with Meadowlands (coffee heathbar) and Sully's in Tyngsboro. Hubby grew up in Chelmsford and his vote is for Kimballs. Blind taste test would be fun.

                      If you are ever in Manchester, NH - I love Cremelands pistachio - huge, many pistachios throughout!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: lexpatti
                        m
                        momoftwo RE: lexpatti May 10, 2010 04:09 AM

                        Since you are in Chelmsford, Great Brook farm is a must. The trails are great (grab a map, we've gotten lost in there before) There is a state park parking fee of $2 but you can get 30mins free to grab ice cream without paying for the parking. Lots of cool animals, ask if you can see the new baby cows. They are doggie friendly.

                        1. re: momoftwo
                          l
                          lexpatti RE: momoftwo May 10, 2010 07:45 AM

                          Very nice, thank you - I'll have to ask Hubby why he hasn't mentioned this place
                          http://www.farmfresh.org/learn/recipe...

                          1. re: lexpatti
                            greygarious RE: lexpatti May 10, 2010 09:20 AM

                            Just to clarify, Great Brook is on Lowell St. in Carlisle.

                      2. w
                        wide load RE: shmoops6 May 11, 2010 01:30 PM

                        All good suggestions. But I liken Kimball's to Disneyworld...a lot going on, maybe too much. And if one of the seven deadly sins (i.e. gluttony) bothers you, don't watch the customers leaving the window. For a considerably less overwhelming experience, an old-timey atmosphere, and great ice cream, try Sully's out near Chelmsford HS.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: wide load
                          h
                          hargau RE: wide load May 11, 2010 01:34 PM

                          Sullys is Richardson ice-cream, not that there is anything wrong with Richardsons.

                          1. re: wide load
                            Eatin in Woostah RE: wide load May 12, 2010 04:36 PM

                            Or Kimball's in Carlisle. Same great ice cream, much lower-key atmosphere.

                            1. re: Eatin in Woostah
                              h
                              hargau RE: Eatin in Woostah May 12, 2010 04:39 PM

                              They are opening a new kimballs in lancaster too

                          2. tatsu RE: shmoops6 May 12, 2010 04:39 PM

                            I just saw quarts of Shaw Ice Cream at Verrill Farm in Concord MA yesterday. It looked intriguing, so I looked them up later. They operate in Dracut, MA and it looks promising. Very promising.

                            http://www.shawfarm.com/icecream.htm

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                            Verrill Farm
                            11 Wheeler Rd, Concord, MA, MA 01742

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: tatsu
                              greygarious RE: tatsu May 12, 2010 05:02 PM

                              I'll vouch for Shaw's. I haven't been to the main location in Dracut but have bought the quarts, and milk in real glass bottles, at places like Verrill, and East Street Farm in Tewksbury. Shaw's actually has a dairy delivery truck, like the milkman of yore, within a limited radius of Dracut.

                              1. re: greygarious
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                                lexpatti RE: greygarious May 12, 2010 05:34 PM

                                I forgot about Shaws, they are good too. I haven' tried their pistachio and nothing at their stand but have picked up quarts before and enjoyed

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