Best Ice Cream Parlors in Two Pennsylvania College Towns

Dickinson College has a Farmers Market with homemade Ice Cream

College towns often have the best ice cream shops, and Carlisle, Pennsylvania is no exception. There are three outstanding ice cream shops keeping Dickinson College students happy. The oldest is called Massey’s Frozen Custard in a vintage drive-in style parlor right on campus. They make both hand dipped and soft serve ice cream, with flavors like pumpkin and hot apple. Leo’s Homemade Ice Cream Parlor is another popular shop producing unique flavors like chocolate chili pepper, cinnamon, grapenut, snickers and cornbread. Leo’s sells cones and brownie sundaes, along with decadent ice cream pies. Then there is Bruster’s, a Pennsylvania chain that also sells hot dogs, frozen yogurt, milkshakes and smoothies. Brusters has a stand-alone shop and also sells inside Dickinson Events Center.

Carlisle is in the heart of Cumberland County with dairy farms and orchards surrounding the town, so all the ice cream shops boast that their ingredients are fresh and local.

Ice Cream Parlor in Gettysburg
Mr. G’s Ice Cream Parlor in Gettysburg

Another college town with great ice cream is Gettysburg. Gettysburg College students have five exceptional ice cream parlors from which to choose, and you’ll see lots of tourists waiting there too. Sunset Ice Cream Parlor creates every flavor in-house, with entertaining names like Rebel Yell and Yankee Hurrah. Kilwin’s is a popular fudge shop that also sells ice cream that you can combine with their freshly made candies and chocolates. Mr. G’s Ice Cream is known for its high quality ice cream and also for its building that withstood the Battle of Gettysburg; there are bullets in the brickwork, and many people believe it’s haunted. Half Pint Creamery is new, and they rotate nearly 50 different homemade flavors including Dirt, Dunkaroo, Turtle and Thin Mint. Don’t miss Cannonball Malt Shop in the heart of downtown Gettysburg; celebrities have been spotted there enjoying milkshakes, including “Abraham” and “Mary Todd Lincoln”.

One reason that Pennsylvania has so many terrific ice cream shops is because of the Penn State Ice Cream Short Course. Ice cream makers come from around the globe to learn the latest techniques in  ice cream making from the experts. Students learn every step from “Cow to Cone.”

Did I make you hungry yet? Let me know if you have a favorite ice cream store.

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Freelance writer and photographer specializing in vivid, deeply reported stories about food, travel and family.

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