I scream, you scream…actually, there’s no need to scream for ice cream at all because there are a number of excellent ice cream shops on the Island to satisfy your craving. In order to make sure my information was accurate, I investigated a few shops for tastings. It was a tough assignment, but someone had to do it.
There are three locations of Mad Martha’s Homemade Ice Cream to choose from — Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven. Mad Martha’s has been in business since 1971 and has grown into one of the most popular ice cream shops on the Island. General manager Nate Thompson shared that they have customers who have been returning to their shop since the 1970s.
“It’s nostalgic for them. They love that they can return year after year and still get their favorite flavor,” Thompson shared. Some of their most popular flavors are mint chocolate chip, black raspberry, and sea salt caramel. The salt for their sea salt caramel ice cream comes from local business, M.V. Sea Salt. They also collaborate with other Island businesses, like Back Door Donuts for their apple fritter ice cream, and Chilmark Coffee for their coffee ice cream. Mad Martha’s products are aplenty: milkshakes, sundaes, fraps, specialty drinks, and dairy-free ice cream for lactose intolerant folks. Each week there is a Flavor of the Week, and during my visit, strawberry was the star. It was deliciously smooth and creamy and had the perfect strawberry-to-ice cream ratio. Mad Martha’s merchandise is for sale as well and includes frisbees, stickers, t-shirts, hats, magnets, and more.
They also sell pints in their shops, and wholesale to stores across the Island, which is great news for anyone trying to recreate a Mad Martha’s dish at home. Simply buy a pint of your favorite flavor and some Mad Martha’s Toppings to Go — packages of candy, sprinkles, chocolate chips and more — and create a masterpiece of your own. Lastly, If you’re someone who orders the largest ice cream sundae size available and it’s still not enough, then Mad Martha’s Pigs Delight is for you. This delectable creation consists of 12 scoops of ice cream with as many toppings as you want. This dish is popular for kids’ birthday parties and for adults who aren’t afraid of a good challenge. They’ll even ring a bell for you when you order it.
Bobby B’s Restaurant and Bakery in Vineyard Haven has some of the best homemade ice cream around. Maria Lainez, a counter staff star and ice-cream scooper extraordinaire, shared that their most popular flavor is the coffee oreo. I was not even remotely surprised to learn this. I order this flavor every single time. It’s off the charts yummy. After nearly every bite, I close my eyes and moan. Sometimes people stare but I don’t even care. It’s that good. Some of Bobby B’s other bestselling ice cream flavors are cotton candy and coconut. Right next to the ice cream counter are shelves filled with delicious baked goods as well. I know. So many treats, so little time. Can’t decide? Just order a little of everything.
In the quaint Menemsha fishing village, sits a cozy order-out restaurant called the Menemsha Galley. Tony Saccoccia, the manager, told me this family-owned eatery has been in business since the 1950s. Aside from their famous lobster rolls and chowder, they carry soft serve ice cream that sells like hot cakes, especially in the evening, when people from all over the Island come to watch the sunset. “People sit on the beach, watch the sunset, and then make their way over to us. We love when little kids come up to the window and order themselves. It’s fun seeing how excited they are,” Socciccia said. I ordered a hot fudge sundae and enjoyed it while sitting on the stoop of an old rustic fishing charter business, as shorebirds stared at me, hoping I’d share. Nope.
Other delicious ice cream shops on the Island include: Tisberry Frozen Yogurt and Bernie’s Homemade Ice Cream in Vineyard Haven. Carousel Ice Cream Factory, Big Dipper Ice Cream & Cafe, Nauti Cow, Vineyards Best Ice Cream, Rosie’s Frozen Yogurt, and Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium in Oak Bluffs, and in Edgartown, Scoop Shack, Ice Cream and Candy Bazaar, and Murdick’s Fudge. You can stop screaming now.