Our Favorite Spots for Homegrown Ice Cream at the Beach
The First State churns out some of the best cups and cones in the country, in our humble opinion.
When Chip Hearn decided to open a shop specializing in ice cream, he knew exactly which supplier he would use. About 15 years ago he’d tasted Hockessin-based Woodside Farm Creamery’s products, and it was love at first bite. “I went nuts over how spectacular their stuff was,” recalls Hearn, owner of The Ice Cream Store in downtown Rehoboth Beach.
The Ice Cream Store keeps Woodside Farm Creamery busy, creating more than 100 flavors, including green mint chocolate chip with cookie dough and Oreos, and a Death by Peanut Butter flavor. “Chip keeps coming up with some crazy flavors,” says Jim Mitchell, who owns the farm with his wife, Jane. The dairy devotes up to three days a week to the orders. As a result, you will find some of the wildest options in the state.
King’s Homemade Ice Cream in Milton has been a fixture since 1972, when Earl King bought a general store in the downtown district. The quaint A-frame structure is Sussex County’s oldest continuously operating commercial building. At least 25 feet of the building’s front was built in the late 1600s. The attic beams were cut by hand, and there’s a wrought-iron hitching post out front. Initially, the store sold such items as penny candy, canned goods and about five or six ice cream flavors. It later focused only on ice cream. Earl’s son, Tom, and his wife, Chris, opened a second location in Lewes in 1981, which has the same old-fashioned ambiance.
Just a few miles outside of Lewes, off Route 1, is Hopkins Farm Creamery, where you can see the black-and-white Holsteins up close while ordering your favorite flavor. The dairy is located at Green Acres Farm, which the Hopkins family has owned for four generations. They started making ice cream in 2008.
This summer, Marina and Petru Cornescu opened a Hopkins Farm Creamery shop—Cakes by Marina—in Dewey Beach in the old Dairy Queen spot. There are 23 flavors, along with ice cream cakes, crepes and baked goods.
Vanderwende’s Farm Creamery is another Delaware farm with a coastal presence. The family started selling ice cream in 2012 on their Bridgeville farm. In 2015, they added a Dewey Beach location. (Vanderwende’s recently opened a Greenwood site, and the family has a food truck that goes to festivals and fairs.)
And just off Holland Glade Road, you’ll find Rustic Acres Farm Market, the home of Rehoboth Dairy. This is another Century Farm owned by the same family for generations. Along with your ice cream, you can buy bottled milk, fresh produce, grass-fed beef and barbecue—everything you need for a summer meal at the beach.