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Tour de Hard Ice Cream

May 8, 2012

Please be advised: The date of the Tour de Hard Ice Cream has changed. It’s now Saturday, May 26.

Like the Tour de Cider Donut, this might actually need to be split up over multiple rounds. But I’ve finally wrapped my head around all your nominations and have done a little bit of soul searching, and I’m proud to announce the itinerary for the Tour de Hard Ice Cream.

The soul searching involved Stewart’s. For those who live outside of the area, this is our locally based chain of convenience stores. We don’t have 7-11 out here or the Circle-K. We have Stewart’s. And they are known for a small handful of good products at a fair price, one of which is their ice cream. Some will claim they have “The World’s Best Vanilla.” But they don’t, though.

Theirs is an industrial produced product made in mega-batches and distributed through the region. It’s not going to be as good as some of the other smaller ice cream stands that make their own product by hand. But Stewart’s is also a regional benchmark. Much like how I fully expected Kurver Kreme to flame out in the Tour de Soft Serve, they had to be included, because a Tour without Kurver was no tour at all.

But ultimately this is not about hard ice cream as a commodity. It’s about the individuality expressed at each of the ice cream stands on the tour; and this can be tasted in the hard ice cream they make by themselves.

Now let me tell you what I’ve got planned.

Before you say, “Holy shit, that’s a lot of driving,” allow me to provide a bit of context from previous tours.

Making five stops over the course of a day to eat even what seems like a modest treat, can be quite a physical challenge. Two mini hot-dogs seem inconsequential. Ten mini hot-dogs almost killed me. The same holds true with cider donuts. And I don’t even want to think about the cupcakes.

Having some time to drive between destinations is a blessing. It’s a forced break that allows your body to do the hard work of preventing you from slipping into a sugar coma. Tours with a tighter geographical footprint are brutal, because the breaks between eating occasions is significantly shorter.

This tour will also be a good warm up for fall when we head back to Saratoga County for our third round of cider donuts.

At 11:00 a.m. sharp on Saturday, May 19 May 26, the Tour de Hard Ice Cream will commence at The Farmer’s Daughters’ Drive In.  Even though this place wasn’t on my radar, it had some vocal proponents, and just happens to be very close to the spot that drew us up north in the first place, The Ice Cream Man. As people gather, I’ll hand out score sheets for those who want to be counted in the final tally of the day. That’s right, you can come and just hang out and eat some ice cream. But if you want to judge, you’ll have to follow a pretty strict set of rules. More on those in a bit.

After The Farmer’s Daughters’ Drive In, we’ll all take off for The Ice Cream Man. These first two stops really make up the lunch portion of the tour.

Google says it’s a 34-minute drive down Route 40 from The Ice Cream Man to The Snowman in Lansingburgh. We’ll see about that. But coming out of nominations, The Snowman seems to be the favorite going in.

What was surprising was to see all the support for Mac’s Drive In, as this place was completely off my radar. So after The Snowman, we’re crossing the river and heading to Watervliet. I’m quite excited.

From there we conclude the tour at Moxie’s. After finishing your fifth ice cream of the day, you can then collapse in a swing or take a nap on the grass. Those intrepid souls who have an ice cream capacity greater than my own can take on Moxie’s world tour of vanilla ice cream. But I’m going to pass.

Albany, Schenectady and Glenmont all get jilted this time despite the significant support for Scoups, Twist, and Curry Freeze. And as you’ve noticed, there is no stop at Stewart’s.

The map of the day can be found here.

The tour is open to everyone and anyone. All you need is your appetite and transportation. All I’ll be providing is the map above, score sheets, and some color commentary. So I guess that means you also need money for ice cream and a pen.

Please, please let me know if you are coming so I can make sure to have enough score sheets for everyone, and try to make sure we don’t leave anyone behind.

I’m going to call ahead the day before to try and get flavor lists from the shops on the tour. That way when we meet at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 19 May 26 we should have a good sense of the common denominators. Likely they will be simple flavors like strawberry, vanilla, chocolate and coffee. But all of these are important.

For your score sheet to count in the final evaluation, you must taste and completely score all five locations. You must also in good faith try to keep your order consistent at each establishment. If you take a topping, you’ll need to take that same topping everywhere. So choose wisely.

This is a kid friendly tour. So if you’ve got ‘em, and you want to bring ‘em, go for it. Let me know if they want their very own scoresheet, and I’ll bring one for them too. Please be advised, scoring by minors is for entertainment purposes only. The final tally will include only those scoresheets completed by adults.

I hope you can make it. The above may make it sound a bit intense, but these have been a lot of fun. It is why I continue to do them, and presumably why they have continued to grow. Some future tours may need to have restricted attendance, but these ice cream shops are more than equipped to handle our volume.

Saturday, May 19 May 26 we eat ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream. And we will try to settle the question of who makes the best hard ice cream north of Albany. I look forward to seeing you there. Again, just let me know if you are coming.

45 Comments leave one →
  1. Elyse permalink
    May 8, 2012 9:59 am

    You have yet to plan a tour on a day when I am free, which is pretty impressive since I usually am on weekends. Have fun! Maybe I’ll join you for donuts in the fall/

  2. May 8, 2012 10:13 am

    I’m pretty sure we have a grandparent visiting that day. Too bad it’s not Sunday. I probably shouldn’t eat that much ice cream anyway…

  3. May 8, 2012 10:36 am

    DAMN AND BLAST!!! My sister’s graduating from college that day, so I’ll be out of town. Argh. Oh well, I will have to have a mini-tour at some later date.


  4. May 8, 2012 10:43 am

    We will be out of town that day, sorry to say. Have fun!

  5. May 8, 2012 11:05 am

    So sad I can’t do this one! It’s in the middle of my food challenge. Bummer.

  6. May 8, 2012 11:07 am

    Darn. That is my only Saturday work day this month. How ever, the Farmer’s Daughter isn’t far from my work place so I might stop there for lunch & see who is on the tour.

  7. May 8, 2012 11:14 am

    I’m a maybe. My mom is buying a house and is waiting (im)patiently for a closing date. We’re expecting/she’s hoping for middle of next week. In which case, I will be elbow-deep in paint on May 19th. If the closing date is after that, however, I am IN. Not sure if my husband will be returned from his travels yet. If so, he’ll be with me.

    I’ll know for sure in plenty of time for score sheets.

    • May 9, 2012 10:04 am

      Got word. Mom closes on May 17th. I am already jealous of her proximity to he growing awesomeness that is DelSo.

      So, elbow-deep in paint it is. For what it is worth, though, no other weekend in the next two months is any better for me. Oh well. Time to stock up on coffee and hold on til July. :)

  8. May 8, 2012 11:16 am

    Hey, that still sounds like much more of a reasonable drive than the last doughnut tour (the one that took us waaaaaay into South Nowhere). I’m in, with fingers crossed that we’ll wrap it up in time for me to get to work (though we usually do). I’ll have to check with my fiancé whether he’ll want to come, too.

  9. Chrystal permalink
    May 8, 2012 11:51 am

    I’ll be out of town that day as well, I haven’t been able to make a tour date ever either.

  10. Kate Peterson permalink
    May 8, 2012 11:52 am

    Max Sutfin and myself (Kate Peterson) will be coming!

  11. May 8, 2012 12:08 pm

    Darn! I really wanted to participate in this one but it’s the day we may or may not be back from our vacation. :-( Have fun though! Maybe I can catch the next tour but this is one I really wanted in on.

  12. May 8, 2012 1:24 pm

    It’s SUNY graduation and the American Music Festival weekend at EMPAC. I don’t think we’ll be there, which breaks my heart a little. Maybe the first stop or two.

  13. Jessica R permalink
    May 8, 2012 3:07 pm

    I’m in. The FSC Food Swap is in Troy at 4:00. Hopefully 4.5 hours is enough time so that I can go to Moxie’s and have my score sheet count!

  14. May 8, 2012 3:58 pm

    Oh boo-urns. I was hoping to make this one, but I won’t be done with my sugar detox by then. Next time.

  15. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    May 8, 2012 6:56 pm

    Skidmore graduation.

  16. gmdmmrussell permalink
    May 8, 2012 11:49 pm

    Oh I wanted so bad to do this – until I got to the date! We are in Springfield that weekend for a swim meet :( Maybe we’ll do our own personal tour and rate them, and see how we score in comparison to your score! We just went and had “Ice Cream Man for Lunch” this past Sunday after softball!! Definitely worth the drive :)

  17. May 9, 2012 11:33 am

    Maybe this isn’t the best date? So many people who want to make it can’t. Maybe consider another date? June?

  18. May 9, 2012 12:39 pm

    Wow. That’s a lot of disappointed people. And I’ve gotten multiple polite requests from multiple sources politely asking to change the date. Here’s the thing: Ice cream tours need to happen early in the season, so they can be of the greatest use to the greatest number of potential ice cream eaters and ice cream eating occasions. Remember, this isn’t just about fun and games. It’s serious business.

    That said, I do have a little flexibility in the schedule, and am able to move the tour back one week to Saturday, May 26. Hopefully the few people who were able to come the week prior can still come. And hopefully more of those with conflicts can find a way to make it the following week.

    Changes have been made to the post above to reflect this, and I’ll be reaching out individually to those who said they were planning to come on the original date, just to make sure they get the message.

    And if you still can’t come, that’s okay too. The summer tour may be attendance restricted, but the donut tour in fall will be open to all.

    • May 9, 2012 12:53 pm

      While I appreciate having this just prior to Shavuot, the Jewish dairy festival, the date is problematic. I will think about B&J’s White Russian ice cream, if you catch my drift.

    • May 9, 2012 1:20 pm

      It seems like you might have a harder time getting people to come on a holiday weekend (the 27th is Memorial Day). But so far, that Saturday looks clear for me.

  19. May 9, 2012 12:47 pm

    That date would work fine with me. You can pair me up with someone who likes either Strawberry or Chocolate Chip.

    • gmdmmrussell permalink
      May 9, 2012 1:04 pm

      Wonderful! We can make it on this date! We will be there with kids too!

    • May 22, 2012 9:24 am

      @Eric – Sandwiches can easily be cut in half. Ice cream can’t. Plus I personally consider sharing ice cream to be fairly intimate. Ask Albany Jane. I won’t share with her either.

      If you or anyone want to bring someone along to share your ice cream, that’s fine. But as opposed to some other tours, there is no organized effort to team up participants with partners.

      • May 22, 2012 12:01 pm

        Oh- I understand that completely- but ice cream in a dish can be divided. Anyhow, I concede your point and I’ll go it alone, though I’ll car pool anyone who wants to drive with me.

  20. May 9, 2012 12:49 pm

    With the date change, Drew and I are definitely in. We also can probably cart up to six additional people around if anyone wants to car pool.

  21. Jenna C. permalink
    May 9, 2012 12:52 pm

    Yippeeee!! I was going to sit it out because there was no way I was going to be able to spend half the day eating ice cream and get my last-minute, food swap scrambling done. The boyfriend and I will be there on the 26th!

  22. May 9, 2012 1:02 pm

    Wow! Hooray! This is very exciting news. With the new time, it’s a definite maybe for me and my touring companion; postponed Mother’s Day schedule has not yet been finalized.

  23. May 9, 2012 1:13 pm

    Yipppppy! James and I are in. We’ll check with the buddies for a crew total, but we’re at least 2 confirmed!

    Thank you!

    • amy permalink
      May 21, 2012 7:10 am

      The buddies are in! Add two more.

  24. Jessica R permalink
    May 9, 2012 1:17 pm

    Awww, now I am out…. we’re going to San Diego that weekend for Memorial Day. Oh well – I am glad it looks like more people can go. Maybe we will do a 3-stop mini tour on the 19th for the Troy locations.

  25. May 9, 2012 3:41 pm

    Yay! I’m 75% sure we’ll be in town that weekend. Mark me down for a “probable 2,” and I will be sure to confirm later.

    • May 25, 2012 1:15 pm

      We are now a confirmed group of four. See you tomorrow!

  26. May 9, 2012 7:22 pm

    Awww, I was going to be able to make the 19th. Can’t do the 26th.

  27. derryX permalink
    May 10, 2012 9:27 am

    I’m not going to be able to make it to this one. I’ll be out of town. I’m pulling for Snowman and Ice Cream Man, though.

  28. May 19, 2012 2:22 pm

    Count two more in!

  29. May 20, 2012 2:31 am

    I came across this blog when I was searching for more ice cream places. FYI, a map I made: (Ice Cream Places of the Capital District). If you know of any I’m missing, let me know. (My goal is to try all. I have 6 left to go unless I find more.) Thanks. :)

  30. May 21, 2012 10:46 am

    Our crew headcount is 6! See you saturday!

  31. May 22, 2012 9:21 am

    Mental note: Long time tour participant K8 likes to rsvp on Facebook. She’s coming as part of a party of three.

  32. May 25, 2012 10:13 am

    I’m going to have to downgrade from “definite maybe” to “can’t make it,” as some unexpected folks are in from out of town. Have fun, I will make a note of the route and hope to follow it someday myself!

  33. Jenna C. permalink
    May 25, 2012 1:10 pm

    I’m sorry, we’re out as well. We’ve got surprise guests coming too! Hope you all have a great time!

  34. May 25, 2012 5:15 pm

    I’m getting excited. Just got off the phone with the last of the ice cream places, and now we have an official list of available flavors that can be found at all five establishments. There are some unexpected ones, and others which I might have expected are conspicuously absent. Here they are:

    Butter Pecan
    Maple Walnut

  35. Jenna C. permalink
    May 25, 2012 6:22 pm

    No cookies and cream? That’s madness. Now I don’t feel quite so awful about missing it. I will, however, make time to go to The Snowman tomorrow and get myself a cookies and cream Boston Shake. Looking forward to the results of all your efforts!

  36. May 25, 2012 7:09 pm

    Butter Pecan . . . done and done.

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