As the weather warms up and summer is officially underway, what better way to celebrate this time of year than with a tasty, cool treat? I'm talking ice cream!! July is National Ice Cream Month and all is right with the world. Thanks to (I'm not making this up) the passing of joint resolutions in both the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, on July 9, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed Presidential Proclamation 5219, declaring July, 1984, as "National Ice Cream Month" and July 15th, 1984, as "National Ice Cream Day" (for those of you watching your weight). And from that historic moment till now, the ice cream industry has kept the celebration going. My only question is, what took so long? Ice cream has been around forever.
Many believe ice cream had its humble beginnings in Ancient Greece as a simple blend of snow, honey and fruit. By the 16th century, ice cream as we know it, appeared on the scene. Nearly 100 years later, King Charles I of England was apparently so taken with the new treat, he paid to keep the recipe a secret - ensuring it would only be enjoyed by royal blood. But despite the greedy efforts of Charles, recipes for the frozen treat can be found dating back to the 18th century, finally making ice cream available to the people - take that aristocracy. Now fast forward from the 18th century to today. Ice cream can be found around the world and in just about any flavor imaginable. It has become the iconic summer treat. And since we're hoping you're planning on spending at least a part of your summer here, with us in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, let's take a quick look at some of the best places to find that creamy, frozen treat in Nature's Mountain Playground.
Jack Horner's Corner
Located alongside the Greenbrier River Trail in Seebert and less than a mile from Watoga State Park, Jack Horner's Corner operates as a convenience store and rental center for bikes, kayaks and river inner tubes. As you browse through the assortment of souvenirs and gifts, you can't help but smell the fresh baked pizza be prepared behind the front counter. And it's behind that counter where you'll notice the soft-serve ice cream machine. Nothing hits the spot better on a hot summer day than a tall frosty cone of soft-serve vanilla, chocolate or the two classic flavors swirled together. Once you've made your choice, head on out to the deck and enjoy a view of the passing Greenbrier River. A perfect end to a hot summer day.
Last Run Restaurant
Tucked away in the town of Cass and a highlight of the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, is the Last Run Restaurant. Known for their delicious home-cooked meals and great atmosphere, the Last Run also serves some of the best hand-dipped ice cream in the county. With classic flavors like chocolate and vanilla, to the local favorites of butter pecan and blackberry, you'll have a hard time deciding which flavor to try. In that case, I say give in to temptation and try more than one. And for something really special, why not try a maple milkshake or a brownie caboose?
For a truly unique experience on your next outing for that summertime frosty treat, give the Dirtbean on 2nd avenue in Marlinton a try. Walking through the front door, you might suspect some kind of a theme going on in the little café (the kids bikes mounted to the wall will be your first clue). But bikes are more than just a theme here. The Dirtbean actually doubles as a bike shop for sales, rental and repairs. Once past the bikes, a quick visit to the counter reveals a menu full of both savory and sweet choices including vanilla, black-raspberry and expresso chocolate chip ice cream - flavors as unique as the Dirtbean itself.
Just up the road and across the street from the Dirtbean, you'll find Rayetta's Lunchbox. This little, family-operated eatery is open for lunch service only and also specializes in catering for weddings and other events. Along with a changing daily lunch special, Rayetta's features delicious desserts and a nice variety of hand-dipped ice cream. Be sure to stop by for a hot dog or the daily lunch special, but make sure you finish off with a couple scoops of your favorite frozen treat.
Also located on 2nd avenue in Marlinton is S&D Diner. You'll enjoy the relaxed, easy-going atmosphere of the diner after a long day of hiking, biking or touring through Nature's Mountain Playground. S&D's menu covers breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as delicious pies for dessert. Be sure to check out their banana split for your next ice cream fix.
Little Rainbow Treat Co.
If you prefer your ice cream shop to be a moving target, then you'll love the Little Rainbow Treat Co. This recent addition to Nature's Mountain Playground is a pop-up business featuring candy and ice cream (what more do you need in life?). The Little Rainbow Treat Co. is housed in a pocket-sized food service trailer, complete with a pink and white striped awning, neon-colored signs and yes, even a bubble machine. It's so much fun you'll think Willie Wonka has come to town. This kid-friendly business features classics like the ice cream cone and ice cream sandwich as well as popsicles and make-your-own floats - not to mention a wide assortment of candy. Locations and hours of operation for the Little Rainbow Treat Co. can be found on their Facebook page.
And speaking of new additions to Nature's Mountain Playground, be sure to check out Sweet Scoops located on 4th avenue in Marlinton, not far from the Mason Jar and the 4th avenue Gallery. Sweet Scoops offers more than fifteen flavors of ice cream as well as sundaes, floats, banana splits and milk shakes. Open weekends and on special occasions when their flags are flying, Sweet Scoops is not far from the Greenbrier River Trail and would be the perfect place to grab a well-deserved treat after a day riding the trail.
If you're looking for a familiar, quick stop that you don't have to get out of the car for, be sure to swing by Dairy Queen on Route 219 North heading out of Marlinton. You can pick up one of their signature Blizzards or a cone and be back on the road before your ice cream even has time to think about melting.
Heading North on Route 92 to Frost, just before the turn off to Route 84, you'll find Dean's Den. Established in 2018, this eatery not only features a savory lunch and dinner menu, it also stocks a selection of organic groceries as well. Be sure to stop in for one of their delicious sandwiches or hearty entrees, and don't leave without ordering some of their hand-dipped ice cream. Black-cherry is a local favorite.
Station 2 Restaurant
Next time you're in Durbin to see the sights or catch a ride on the Durbin Rocket, be sure to stop by Station 2 Restaurant. No matter if you're looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Station 2 has you covered. And don't forget dessert! Station 2 has a wide and changing selection of hand-dipped ice cream - a perfect ending to a summer excursion on the rails.
With so many things to do and see in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, what better way to round out your summer adventures than with a cool, delicious serving of frosty ice cream? So, whether you've got store-bought or homemade ice cream, a cup or a cone, raise that ice cream high this July and thank President Reagan for National Ice Cream Month - what a country. Yes, sometimes good things do come out of Washington D.C., and in this case, it may even include sprinkles.
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