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Ice Cream Recommendations in Merrimack Valley?

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.


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. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

      1. 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. 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

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

          2. 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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                  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

                    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. 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.

                Clam Box
                789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

                1 Reply
                1. re: treb

                  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

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

                2. 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.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: amljml

                    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. Hodgie's in Amesbury, of course!

                    1. 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

                        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

                          Very nice, thank you - I'll have to ask Hubby why he hasn't mentioned this place

                          1. re: lexpatti

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

                      2. 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

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

                          1. re: wide load

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

                            1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                              They are opening a new kimballs in lancaster too

                          2. 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.


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

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: tatsu

                              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

                                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