From soft swirl to hand-dipped flavors, these old-school modern ice cream spots are bound to quench any ice cream cone cravings on a hot day. Vegan options are also available.
Here’s the inside scoop on the lickiest ice cream cones:
Urban Artisanal Dairy
At Silver Creek Plaza on the Pike near REI, 6391 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg, 717-884-9396
and 1004 North 3rd Street, Harrisburg 717-884-9396
Owner and number one ice cream maker, Adam Brackbill, has managed to create wonderful, diverse and creative flavors that will tantalize your taste buds, from Mi Amor, a combination of cinnamon and lavender to cold brew coffee, to tart with lime, chai and Indian. Flavored kesar pista mixing rose water, cardamom, almond and pistachio purees in the ice cream churn. Vegan ice cream is temporarily off the menu, but watch for new tasty batches arriving soon.
The restaurant sources dairy products and produce from local farms and orchards. If you want to try one of the best ice cream cones in central Pennsylvania, head to one of two Urban Churn Craft Creameries in downtown Harrisburg or the latter near the new REI in Mechanicsburg. I was going to have just a small bite of the hand-dipped salted caramel ice cream nestled in a thin and crispy homemade waffle cone, but instead I ate it all. Clean and healthy ice cream prevails here.
Cubby’s Ice Cream Cafe
295 Main Street East, Hummelstown
This year-round neighborhood gathering spot draws family and friends to the welcoming, inviting front porch or the clean, cozy ambiance of the cafe. Games and sidewalk chalk keep little ones entertained while parents sneak in time to chat or catch up with friends who have come to join them.
Beck’s family high fat (or higher) 16% ice cream is served here and there are a myriad of freshly churned flavors available by the pint, cone or dish. My suggestion is a cake cone topped with two scoops of potato ice cream. This extra creamy vanilla-based ice cream buried treasures of chocolate-covered pretzels and peanut butter specks. This marriage of flavors is exceptional.
Haine’s Shoe House located along Route 30, Hallam Exit (462)
197 Shoe House Road, York
Visit this unique shoe-shaped roadside attraction built in 1948 by “The Shoe Wizard” Mahlon Haines. Take a self-guided tour through the five levels of this unique museum. Beck’s premium ice cream is also served here. Choices are Chocolate Marshmallow, Vanilla, Peanut Butter Ripples, and Mint Chocolate Chips served in a cake cone or regular cone. The seasonal fresh peach ice cream cone is a flavor to watch for in July. There is an indoor dining area or head to a lovely picnic area on the grounds surrounded by an ornate shoe fence.
by Shirley Rae
1347 Saxton Road, Mechanicstown
You’ll find this lovely full-service ice cream parlor (they also serve sandwiches, paninis, and salads) in Lower Allen Township, Arcona Shops at Arcona Crossroads, by Charter Homes & Neighborhoods. The ever-popular Thea Restaurant is a few doors down.
A sweet-sweet aroma perfumes this modern shop. Homemade waffle cones (or bowls) are the perfect vessels for intensely flavorful choices such as Bordeaux Cherry, Buttered Pecan, Salted Caramel Truffle, or Vegan Wild Berries. Sit indoors or at tables shaded by umbrellas.
Shops at Susquehanna Market, 2537 Brindle Dr, Harrisburg
Regular Shoppes at Susquehanna Marketplace shoppers already know the flavor of Penn State Berkey Creamery ice cream they want without looking at the lengthy menu. All my questions regarding the flavors were answered by the two ladies queuing at the counter.
Monkey Business, a combination of chocolate, peanut butter and banana was one of their favorites, but they had stopped for the latest taste of strawberry cheesecake. Everyone loves the Seasonal Peach Paterno, they said. I opted for a profusely studded mini chocolate chip WPSU coffee break that had a gorgeous coffee ice cream base. Solid chocolate chip sugar cookie cone held together throughout the many licks.
Annie’s Soft Serve Ice Cream
10 Lynmar Ave, Campbelltown
Opened in 1972 by Harold and Annie Patrick, this popular ice cream parlor celebrates 50 years of activity. Generations of families keep coming back for more, and in the heat of the day there are queues all the way to the road. Fluffy swirls of shaky soft serve ice cream are offered in vanilla, chocolate, vanilla-chocolate or customer-favorite seasonal black raspberry.
Cone sizes are generous and kids know how to order nuggets. On hot summer days, ice melts and drips quickly if you don’t lick it off.
Lapp Valley Farm dairy and ice cream
244 Mentzer Road, New Holland
Sweet scents of vanilla emanate from the clean, elongated shop facing the family farm where Jersey cows are milked and calves are bottle-fed. Waffle cones and super creamy hormone-free ice cream are made on site.
Taste chewy chunks of peanut butter mixed with vanilla ice cream layered on homemade sweet cones, and when you’re done, stroll through the manicured gardens and roaming animals. It’s cash only, but no worries – there’s an ATM.
Fox Meadows Creamery and Country Market
2475 Main Street West, Ephrata
Fresh cow’s milk from the nearby farm is the secret to the rich, silky homemade ice cream. The all-natural artisanal ice cream is made from “happy” cows that graze the surrounding farmland. Inside the creamery and store, watch the making of ice cream from the viewing window to the processing room.
The large store has a wraparound porch near the children’s play area. For truly over-the-top flavor, try the delicious melty Belgian Cookie Butter hand-dipped into a sugar cookie-like waffle cone.
404 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg
This popular ice cream stand stop is a welcoming site after visiting the battlefield. Housed in the historic Twin Sycamores house, hand-dipped soft serve and homemade ice cream flavors are displayed and available until they last.
Kid-friendly favorites are cotton candy and peanut butter and jelly, while more mature taste buds crave rum raisin (if available) and maple nuts in a waffle cone.
Reeser Soft Serve Ice Cream
880 Old Rossville Road, Lewisberry
Donald and Harriet Reeser opened the little take-out window store on the hill in 1969. Check their Facebook page to see the soft drink schedule with flavors ranging from peanut butter, raspberry and banana to strawberry and in coffee.
On weekends and during peak hours, expect to line up for homemade soft cones, dozens of creative sundaes (fresh peach is coming soon), and chunky straw milkshakes. Their slogan: “The more you lick us, the more you love us.”