We all scream for ice cream — even if we’re not chasing a Good Humor truck down the block. After all, this sweet, chilly indulgence is to summer what champagne is to New Year’s Eve; even non-aficionados want to partake in the very ceremony of it. It’s no wonder that on Martha’s Vineyard purveyors are in abundance. Especially in Oak Bluffs, where you can’t swing a cat without knocking some jimmies off a cone.
Right in the middle of the Dockside Market Place mini-mall, Little Dipper will make you drop your gift bags and grab a little present for yourself. If you’re not too bogged down with packages, walk right out to the harbor and enjoy your banana split on a leisurely stroll past pleasure boats and ferries.
A stone’s throw away at 23 Lake Street, the Big Dipper is packed into a snug storefront across from the Flying Horses Carousel. More than just an ice cream shop, Big Dipper opens at 6 am for breakfast. Lunch includes a variety of creative made-to-order favorites, which you will want to eat close by so you can return to order your choice of homemade frozen deliciousness.
The Carousel Ice Cream Factory at 15 Circuit Avenue will delight little ones with genuine carousel animals right in the store and a wall of gumball machines, eye level to a toddler, filled with a variety of plastic encapsulated prizes for a quarter. The friendly staff have been well trained in the art of cone piling and easy-on-the-milk, heavy-on-the-ice-cream frappe making.
Across the street at 20 Circuit Avenue, local chain Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium graces Oak Bluffs with their unfathomable tribute to New England: lobster ice cream. Not to worry, the list of enticing homemade flavors goes on and on. If that’s not sweet enough, salt water taffy, gourmet jellybeans, gummy aqua life, and to-die-for homemade chocolates are sold by the pound.
While others boast in-house production, Vineyard’s Best Ice Cream and Coffee Company at 12 Kennebec Avenue (across from Giordano’s Take-Out) proudly scoops Richardson’s ice cream, which is made in Middleton. Regardless of its origin, the taste is sensational. The wraparound porch provides a perfect vantage point for people watching while savoring breakfast, lunch, or a fabulous frappe.
Mad Martha’s has been an Island fixture since 1971. Legend has it that original owner Bob Young used to drive a Mad Martha’s emergency vehicle much like the “Ghostbusters” ambulance. Although the store has changed hands and locations several times over the years, some things remain constant, such as their famous Pig’s Delight ($28.95). The aptly named feast consists of 12 scoops of ice cream, tons of toppings, and a couple of bananas hosed down with whipped cream and topped off with a nose full of nuts. This and other signature specialties can be found at 7 Water Street in Edgartown, 12 Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, and 20 Union Street in Vineyard Haven.
How is it that Dairy Queen managed to transcend the anti-establishment conviction that pervades the Vineyard? Well, it’s the Blizzard, of course. Or is it the Dilly Bars or the dipped cones? Maybe it’s the ample supply of birthday cakes with those wonderful crunchies in the middle. Whatever your pleasure, you’ll find it all at 242 Main Street in Edgartown.
For 17 years, Vineyard Scoops has occupied the charming corner storefront at 56 Main Street in Edgartown, where the huge cartoon cow on the wall welcomes you through open doors. Moms and light eaters will be relieved to know you can get a true kid’s portion here (and a good latte too)! Every summer, Scoops sponsors the 5K road race in Katama to benefit various child-related charities. The familiar cow now appears at a second location — Vineyard Scoops Candy and Fudge at 22 Main Street in Vineyard Haven offers all the famous Scoops flavors as well as countless bins of confections and huge slabs of fudge ready to be sliced and boxed to your specifications.
Tisberry is the brand new frozen yogurt shop in Vineyard Haven that will change the way you think of ice cream’s low fat cousin. The base flavor, called tart, has a delightful sweet-sour nuance that’s delicious by itself, but with 25 toppings to choose from, it’s hard to resist some adornment. Yogurt flavors, like mango, coconut, and pomegranate change daily. Toppings run the gamut from vibrant fresh fruits like kiwi, strawberry, and pineapple to decadent favorites like macaroon, Captain Crunch cereal, and toffee. Located at 29 Main Street, this is a must-try treat for everyone.