Editors’ Choice (Tie)Harbor Creamery, Newburyport Standout Qualities: Owner Merri-Lee Steeves keeps her walk-in shop open year-round, so you can get your ice cream fix just about any day in downtown Newburyport. Steeves makes her ice cream in small batches, with plenty of classics like coffee and mint chip as well as a steady rotation of specialties including sea salt, hot cocoa crunch, and piña colada. What’s Unique: Try the Spaghetti Sundae—a sundae of vanilla ice cream squeezed through a specialized German press into noodles, topped with strawberry puree, grated white chocolate, and a Ferrero Rocher chocolate to make for a delightfully engaging plate of “pasta.” 39 Pleasant St., Newbuyport, 978-255-2440, harborcreamery.com Melt, Salem Standout Qualities: Special flavors made with local ingredients, like Salt & Ayre, a slightly salty chocolate ice cream made with the chocolate-covered almond specialties of Salem’s Harbor Sweets. There are usually good options for vegans (like ice cream made with a coconut milk base) and dieters (like no-sugar-added pecan). Fun Fact: Owner Christiana Kroondyk had her ice cream epiphany a decade ago on a Jersey Shore vacation. She went home, bought an ice cream maker, and started experimenting. She quit her corporate job five years later and started selling at local markets, and then opened the storefront two years ago. 60 Washington St., Salem, 978-826-5703, meltsalem.com
Readers’ ChoiceRichardson’s Ice Cream, Middleton Standout Qualities: Their ice cream is available at ice cream stands throughout the North Shore as well as at the Richardson family farm, and its ubiquity—and its more than four dozen flavors—hasn’t affected its much-loved quality. 156 South Main St., Middleton, 978-774-5450, richardsonsicecream.com
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