The crop ice cream

(Photo by Theo Sasano)

With the onset of the summer season, nothing is more inviting than the prospect of grabbing a nice scoop of local ice cream on warm, sunny afternoons. As a city resident, I can confidently state that the Hudson Valley is home to some of the best ice cream parlors in the state. With such a wide selection, it is difficult to determine the perfect location for the whole family. Here is a short list of five of my Ulster and Dutchess favorites that you’ll miss until you try.

jolly cow

1620 Rte 9W Lake Catherine

For those looking for a casual hangout for friends and family, Jolly Cow might be the perfect choice. The Lake Katrine store adapts the retro aesthetic and features ample space for visitors to roam, including designated outdoor seating.

Jolly Cow offers a plethora of classics in both soft and well-packed ice cream, as well as toppings, shakes, and sundaes. “Our most basic flavors are vanilla and chocolate flavors, mint chocolate chips, biscuit and cream, and orange cream,” said employee Mackenzie Perpetua. My family ordered these flavors when we went. They exceeded our expectations, especially when considering the reasonable prices. Cash only.

Alway Ice Cream

135 Division Street, Saugerties

One ice cream shop that particularly caught my eye was Alleyway Ice Cream in Saugerties. As the name suggests, the shop can be found in a quiet alley that offers a relaxing atmosphere and a distinct experience. The flavors line up with this distinction, too. The shop features a variety of unique flavors, including Madagascar vanilla, Belgian chocolate, strawberry milkshake, Thai tea and cream biscuits, Ube health-bar crunch, and more. “Our most popular flavors are Thai and Opi tea,” employee Madison Mattis explained. “People definitely get those two things a lot, especially together.”

Such exclusive flavors have greatly contributed to the store’s success, attracting customers seeking to unravel the mysteries behind these unfamiliar names. “I don’t think another ice cream place here has as many unique flavors as ours,” Matisse said. I’ve sampled their Thai tea cookies and cream and could immediately see why they’re so popular, for the Thai tea lovers out there, it’s definitely worth a visit. And for anyone else looking for a fun and relaxing experience, Alleyway is definitely a great choice.

Fortunes ice cream

55 Broadway, Tivoli

Also famous for its unique flavors, Fortunes Ice Cream is located in Tivoli. Fortunes offers many original flavors in-store including Labne strawberry rhubarb, Campari blood orange, cannoli rind, candied orange ricotta, and honey halva as well as beverages and specials. “All our Labneh Fruits Collections [which] change [are] Core products,” said employee Miranda Beer. “It’s Eastern Central Eastern Europe [that] We mix it with sour cherries and blackberries, which are always very popular.”

These flavors make the shop stand out from its neighbors. “I would say the flavors and how often we exchange them is what [draws in the most customers]Bear explained. “They come and go weekly, so I think that makes people want to come and see what the store is currently in store.” Additionally, the store features gorgeous indoor and outdoor dining areas along with serene landscaping.

Holy cow

7270 S Broadway No. 1, Red Hook

Holy Cow in Red Hook is the perfect place to shop for special occasions; The store’s main feature is the signature half-vanilla and half-chocolate ice cream cake, which is offered in a range of sizes and is readily available. As someone who has chosen Holy Cow ice cream cake at many birthday celebrations, I can safely say that the dessert is perfect for relaxing after a long night of festivities.

The regular shop ice cream didn’t disappoint either; I’ve tried cookies and cream as well as cotton candy which I highly recommend to anyone looking for a lighter alternative. The shop often attracts large crowds of locals, with queues coming out the door at most hours of the day; It is especially busy after dinner hours and on weekends. The store’s popularity is for good reason, and so it’s worth the wait. Cash or local checks only.

Cherry Ice Cream

4162 Route 209, Stone Ridge

Cherries Ice Cream is great for anyone in the area looking for a simple, relaxing ice cream visit to start the day. Despite its unassuming appearance, the Cherries menu is filled with soft and packed ice cream, shakes, floats, sundaes, and more. While its flavors gravitate toward the classics, there are many unique combo options. Including raspberry, lavender, honey and coconut.

The shop is famous for its strawberry ice cream. Rebel strawberry jam was sold out, unfortunately, on the day of my visit. So I chose to try salted caramel and found that it had the right balance of ingredients. I would highly recommend it to all the caramel lovers out there.