So just about everyone is back to school by now, and it seems Mother Nature is just getting the memo that summer has arrived. Ah, Baltimore humidity. Keep the summer spark going and cool down with your favorite icy treat, whether that’s an ice cream come, milkshake, gelato, or classic Baltimore snoball. Here are our family’s picks for our favorite spots for frozen snacks around town.
Located in Bel Air, Broom’s Bloom is a bit of a drive from Baltimore (it took us just over a half-hour with no traffic from Towson), but it’s an easy stop off of 95. This dairy farm is part of the Maryland Ice Cream Trail, a network of 8 dairy farms around the state from the Eastern Shore to Frederick County that make their own ice cream. The restaurant has just one line for food and ice cream orders, so depending on the time of day you can expect a bit of a wait. No fear—this gives you plenty of time to study the ice cream board, with temptations like maraschino cherry and chips, salted caramel, cake batter, and even sweet corn (yes, ice cream—you read that right). On our last trip, we opted for chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate malt, and coconut chocolate chip, and all were delicious. There’s an indoor dining room and plenty of picnic tables and benches outside. Broom’s Bloom is open almost all year (closed in January) and hosts live music on the weekends from June through November. If you visit in late August through early September, you can take a stroll through the vibrant sunflower fields after you put away a cone.
(cool) tip: You may have ice cream on the brain, but place a carryout order for the cream of crab soup to take home.
The Charmery also offers ice cream with a view, albeit a very different one from Harford County’s rolling hills and green countryside. Located on the corner of Chestnut and 36th Street in Hampden, you can grab a seat on the outside benches and do some great people watching on the Avenue. With unusual flavor combos (think: Old Bay Caramel and specials using Union Craft beer) there’s always a fun new flavor to sample (and you can get a baby scoop for just a $1 if you don’t want to commit). Our favorites are the Berger cookies and cream, Maryland Mud, and the sweet and tart Lemon Stick. Added family fun: Unique sprinkle options including orange and black Orioles and sparkly pink “fairy sprinkles” and the magic chameleon spoons that change color when they get cold.
(cool) tip: Sign up for the loyalty card and you can spin the wheel behind the counter for free ice cream, milk shakes, and other treats after 10 purchases.
The kids may be skeptical at first—the servings are small, the menu missing flavors that scream out to kids like cotton candy and cake batter, and there are no sprinkles. But just one sample spoon is generally all it takes to convert even the tiniest nonbelievers. The flavors at Pitango are intense and outrageously good, from the classic crema or hazelnut dairy flavors to the bright sorbets including Bosc pear, mojito, and raspberry. My girls love combining vanilla and tangerine sorbet for a fresh spin on the classic orange creamsicle. There’s limited seating inside and plenty of room to take it outside to sit on a bench on the square or take a stroll by the water.
(cool) tip: Pitango also serves a mean cup of Counter Culture coffee if you’re looking to pair your gelato with a caffeine jolt.
It seems we get our Prigel ice cream fix all around town—at Boordy’s Thursday night Good Life farmer’s market, the Govanstowne farmer’s market, or in milkshakes at Touloulou. But a visit to the creamery in Glen Arm is a special experience—you can actually see the cows that make all this goodness possible. Indulge in a decadent brownie sundae, old-fashioned float, or homemade ice cream sandwich stuffed with your choice of ice cream. Borrow a blanket and take it outside for an ice cream picnic. And while you’re there, check the calendar of events for live music and family-friendly fun.
(cool) tip: The creamery is closed on Sundays. Somehow, we forget this every time.
I had no idea what a snoball was when I moved to Baltimore—I was more of an Italian ice girl myself. But it didn’t take long to grow to love Charm City’s quintessential dessert, especially when layered with smooth, melted marshmallow. There are lots of places to get a snoball around Baltimore and everyone has a favorite—ours is the Summer Shack near Greenspring Station. All of the usual suspects are on their list of 50+ flavors, including blue skylite, egg custard, two colors of cotton candy, and every fruit imaginable. The kids can occupy themselves with jump ropes and sidewalk chalk while you wait for your order, and then move on to the picnic tables or benches to dig in to the towering cups of sweet shaved ice.
(cool) tip: Parents of kids with nut allergies can be assured all of the food here falls into the safe category.