A Cape Cod summer isn’t complete without some homemade ice cream.
In the hot summer months, the beat of Cape Cod’s drum is beach, dinner, ice cream, repeat! With the vast variety of options here on the Cape, the prosepct of narrowing down your favorite beach and restaurant is hard enough–let alone choosing your favorite ice cream vendor. Join us as we get the scoop behind each of these special shops, diving into their histories, traditions and the years of fond memories they have provided for locals and visitors alike.
At the very tip of Cape Cod in the busy bustle of Provincetown you will find Lewis Brothers, a family owned ice cream shop that has been in business since 1999. Just like the majority of local ice cream shops, Lewis Brothers is seasonal, only open April to October. “We make all our own ice cream, including specialized ingredients,” says owner Davis Lewis. San Diego resident, Bonnie Reminton who has been coming to the Cape for years shares, “I always stop at Lewis Brothers to enjoy their homemade ice cream after I go to the Lobster Pot Restaurant and explore Provincetown.”
A Nice Cream Stop, located in Wellfleet, offers a wide range of options, from their fresh mango smoothies, to their hard serve butter pecan; ensuring options for the whole family! West Newbury resident, Brendan who has been visiting the Cape for a while now shares, “Visiting A Nice Cream Stop is a tradition, it’s the best ice cream we have found in and around Wellfleet.” A Nice Cream Stop’s manager Erin Gallagher explains, “41 years ago a local family decided to convert a bedroom in this 1840 historic home into the most unexpected thing–an ice cream shop.” She continues, “We are a very much family-oriented business. Since the shop’s original days, family and friends would all gather here to share in the memories.”
Sundae School in Harwichport is one of two locations that serves their homemade ice cream, and it is no surprise that they always seem to have a long line of eager customers. Meghan, of Abington, shares it was her first time visiting Sundae School, hearing praise about the shop from her sister, she couldn’t wait to visit. In business since 1976, there is great history and strong family values at the heart of this business. Mike Endres, Sundae School’s Harwichport manager says, “We are known for our friendly employees and great service. We are fortunate to have the same kids come back year after year to work, giving customers that consistent, great service.” Just as with any business, it is important to stand out, “We try to make it more than just getting ice cream,” shares Endres. “With options of eating either outside on the patio or in our historic barn at the Dennis Port location; it really adds to the overall experience.”
Schoolhouse Ice Cream has been in business for 26 years. Located in Harwichport, the shop makes all of their own ice cream, “A high quality premium ice cream with 16% butterfat,” remarks Schoolhouse employee Dani Healy. “We also hire locals,” which is what she believes makes their shop stand out amongst the competition. Originally from Massachusetts, Schoolhouse customer Liz shares, “I came here many years ago, and I reassured my kids the ice cream was good!” Reconfirming the phrase “Mom is always right.” There are many who dream about their summer trips to the Cape all year long, carefully planning out their visit. Some visitors are here to see family, tour the beaches, while others simply enjoy savoring the sweet summer months on the Cape. For the Ginsberg family visiting from Colorado, their visit is a combination of all of those wonderful things. Daughter Emma shares, “We have been coming here for as long as I can remember. We visit family, and we always make a point to come to Schoolhouse.” Her father laughs, “The whole family talks about our visit to Schoolhouse over the course of the year.”
Cape Cod Creamery is one of the many different delicious ice cream shops available for you to choose from on the Cape. Alan Davis, owner of Cape Cod Creamery, says he names some of the ice creams after Cape Cod. The Orleans Oreo, or Allen Harbor Almond Joy are common favorites in his South Yarmouth and Hyannis stores. South Yarmouth, being the original location, has been in business for 17 years. “We make all of our own ice cream and gelato,” Davis explains. “It is the visual presentation, that keeps customers coming back for more.” New York resident Terry, with her husband and grandchildren in tow shares, “We have been avid vistitors to Cape Cod for years, we’ve been to this shop in the past and continue to come back.” The Sandy Neck Snickers and Cake Batter were favorites of these happy customers.
FourSeas Ice Cream, in Centerville, is located just five minutes from Craigville beach. Marstons Mills resident Devan shares, “I love the fact that the ice cream is made right in the shop. The ingredients are really fresh and the interior gives you a feeling of nostalga.” Devan was highly impressed not only with the owners’ dedication to great service and customer satisfaction, but their commitment to keeping their shop competitive. “They melt their chocolate and pour it onto the cold ice cream, giving it its texture, it is not just pre-formed chocolate chips. Every chip has a different size, thickness and texture.” It is these seemingly small details and efforts that keep customers coming back for more. Proud owners Peggy and Doug, mention that Four Seas has been in business for 87 years. Doug is confident that his great products, amazing employees, and attention to detail is what keeps his shop unique, and the lines wrapped around the door.
Smitty’s is the next gem to stumble upon when you venture a little further up Cape. Their Mashpee location is on the Mashpee rotary on Route 28 and their East Falmouth location, is impossible to miss just off of East Falmouth Highway. Owner, Richard Smith, who has been running the business for 30 years, mentions how making all of their own ice cream is what creates their unique image and sets them apart from the others in town. Smith, or better known as “Smitty,” shares that the Coffee Oreo ice cream is his best seller. One of his second best sellers, is actually a creation of his own, the Red Raspberry with Chocolate Truffles. It is not just the locals that are fond of Smitty’s, Maria Lewis and her family from New York, mention how the homemade aspect of Smittys really drew their attention, enticing them to stop for ice cream at that particular spot.
Sea Scoops in West Falmouth launched their brand new ice cream boat service on the recent rainy Memorial Day weekend. Sherry Brown, who started the business with daughter-in-law Sierra, says despite the horrible weather, they still sold all of their stock each day. The idea for the new venture came from a desire for the two medical professionals to find reasons to spend more of their free time on the water. “Sierra and I get out on the water every chance possible,” Brown shares and when she suggested we come up with a business idea that involved the beach and boating, she suddenly said, ‘Well, ice cream. People need ice cream.’” The next step involved enlisting Mashpee’s Polar Cave to supply and package the homemade flavors they have become known for. Sea Scoops provides 11 different flavors of ice cream including sorbet and some sugar-free varieties for those with dietary concerns. Beachside and dockside parties have become a popular service the innovative business offers, including a beachside wedding scheduled for this fall. Schedules and contact information can be found at facebook.com/seascoops.
The Somerset Creamery is located just before the Bourne Bridge rotary, in the quaint town of Cataumet. Jason Berube, one of the proud owners of this family run business says, “When it was established in 1937, there were locations in Fall River, Somerset, and Tiverton, Rhode Island.” Berube adds, “My father and I opened up our location in Cataumet in May of 1997.” To diversify the shop, the Cranberry Bog ice cream with cranberries, dark chocolate, and walnuts was introduced in 1998, becoming one of their best sellers. Another popular distinction of their shop is the homemade waffle cones and old fashioned highly craved flavors like Butter Pecan and Orange Pineapple. The originality of Somerset Creamery is admired by so many, including locals and out of state visitors. Jim Callahan, of North Falmouth, came with his grandchildren Vivian and Chip, of Johnson City, Texas mentioning how he typically comes for “bulk,” and having loved the products for so long, he wanted to share the experience with his grandchildren, “We thought it was a great treat.”
Each year locals and visitors alike rush to the beautiful beaches, waterfront restaurants and favorite ice cream shops to get a taste of a Cape Cod summer. Whether you are stopping at any of these delicious pitstops or one of your personal favorites, you will be sure to find smiling faces of friends and family soaking up those summer memories with their favorite ice cream in hand.
Nikki Walsh is a freelance contributor for Cape Cod Life Publications.