By Susie Hinz and Courtney Hobson
It’s hot outside—really, really hot. I’ve lived in Maryland for twenty-four years and still every summer about this time I’m amazed by our collective ability to not melt. I distract myself from the heat by reading—voraciously. I consume almost as many books in the summer as I do ice cream cones.
One of my favorites so far is This One Summer, a graphic novel by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. The beautiful indigo panels inside follow Rose, a girl who is reluctantly growing up, on her yearly family vacation at a lake-side cottage (Deep Creek Lake, anyone?). This book is full of love, friendship, growth, and a bit of tragedy, too. It gave me some pretty serious nostalgia for my girlhood summer vacations. My summer days were always punctuated with a cold sweet treat. To satisfy my nostalgia (and my sweet tooth), I started looking into the best places to get ice cream in Maryland.
Did you know Maryland has its very own ice cream trail? There are NINE stops! Last weekend, I visited my first stop, Broom’s Bloom Dairy in Bel Air. The farm and house date back to the colonial era, the name itself coming from the colonial land grant. Broom’s Bloom is a beautiful piece of Harford County history. During high school, I even took a few field trips there to learn more about farming and agriculture in our county. Broom’s Bloom offers classic ice cream flavors, but has a wide variety. I got cherry vanilla and it was delicious!
For my next stop, my colleague Courtney and I made a quick trip to Prigel Family Creamery. The Prigel family has been farming in Baltimore County for over one hundred years. John Mathias Prigel, the creamery’s founder, first moved to the property as a sharecropper in 1895. The farm has remained family owned and operated ever since. Courtney and I discovered that we have a favorite ice cream flavor in common: mint chocolate chip.
When I first found out about Maryland’s ice cream trail a few years ago, I was excited. Ice cream is one of my favorite desserts and has long been a staple in our state. In 1744, Maryland’s Thomas Bladen was the first governor to serve ice cream at an official state dinner. In 1851, Jacob Fussell opened the first commercial ice cream factory in the United States in Baltimore. Maryland’s rich history with this sweet treat continues today with the creation of the ice cream trail. As a lover of history (and ice cream), I was eager to dive in.
On a recent trip out to Garrett County, I made a pit stop at Misty Meadows Farm Creamery. Located in the town of Smithsburg in Washington County, this family-owned business is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and adorable cows and goats. Surrounded by this picturesque scene, I decided to extend my break and relax in one of the many rocking chairs on the front porch. Joining me in the chair was one of my favorite things to read—a comic book.
I have been a consumer of comic book culture, by way of television and films, for my entire life. But it has only been recently that I have become a regular fixture at local comic book stores. Like ice cream, comic book readers tend to have a favorite flavor. While most people are familiar with comic mainstays such as Superman and Batman, I prefer indie comics—especially those with storylines that center on young girls. One of my favorite series, Lumberjanes, is perfect for summertime because it tells the story of five girls, their friendship, and the wacky (supernatural?) shenanigans they get into at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The girls look up to a wide range of awesome female figures such as Bessie Coleman and Joan Jett. Although I never went to sleepaway camp like the Lumberjanes, I do remember the fun that summer brought: pools, plenty of books to read, rollercoasters, fireflies, and ice cream.
Ready to explore the ice cream trail for yourself? Check out the 2016 Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Tour and hit the road. Let us know what you thought, what treat you enjoyed, and—as always—what you’re reading!