Sweet! Celebrate Ice Cream

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It is reported that nearly 90 percent of Americans love ice cream.

Whether in our hometown or on the road, a trip to the local sweet shop is often on the itinerary. If you and your family are in the majority, consider incorporating the cool confection into your next holiday. 

Here are five sweet spots to consider:

Mount Rushmore, SD.

Thomas Jefferson was a man of many talents. Among them? Ice cream making.  At South Dakota's Mount Rushmore, the memorial commemorates Thomas Jefferson's legacy by serving vanilla ice cream based on his original recipe from 1780. Instructions for his version of the cold concoction now reside in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress. But you can taste for yourself at the park’s Memorial Ice Cream Shop. According to records, Jefferson helped popularize ice cream by serving the sweet treat at Monticello and the President’s House. Contact: www.TravelSouthDakota.com; www.NPS.gov.

Salt & Straw, Portland, OR, Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA.

Billed as  “farm-to-cone ice cream”, the delectable and creative flavors regularly result in lines out the door as patrons debate their new favorite concoction. Launched by cousins Kim and Tyler Malek, the pair use local, sustainable and organic ingredients to deliver hand-made, small batches of Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero (a fan favorite), Meyer Lemon Buttermilk with Blueberries, Strawberry Cilantro Lime Cheesecake, and Double Fold Singing Dog Vanilla. Contact:  www.SaltandStraw.com.

Velvet Ice Cream, Utica, Ohio -- 

Located on 20 picturesque acres in Licking County, Ohio, the Velvet Ice Cream Center at Ye Olde Mill, hosts more than 150,000 visitors each year. A museum, musical entertainment, nature trails, an historic 1817 grist mill with a water wheel, a 19th century-style ice cream parlor and a children’s playground entice ice cream loving families to this Midwestern sweet spot.  This year’s favorite flavors include Lemon Cheesecake, Spicy Caramel and Sticky Pudding. Contact: www.VelvetIceCream.com.

Little Man Ice Cream. Denver, Co.

Visit this Coney Island inspired creamery for hand made and locally sourced taste treats, crafted within a 28 ft. tall silver cream can. In addition to putting smiles on the faces of their local customers, Little Man has been committed to a Scoop for Scoop program.  Since 2008, for every scoop of ice cream purchased, the organization has provided a scoop of rice or beans to those less fortunate in developing parts of the world. Contact: http://www.littlemanicecream.com

Ben & Jerry's, Waterbury, Vt.

Two guys named Ben and Jerry turned their mail order, values-driven ice cream business into this state’s number one tourist attraction. The kids will have fun outside engaging in fun activities that include spin art, a tie-dye tent, temporary tattoos and a playground. Inside the “cow to cone” process will mesmerize them. And who doesn’t want to sample the goods? Don’t miss the ice cream graveyard where has-beens and wanna-be flavors are given their due with colorful grave markers. Word is that employee’s at Ben & Jerry’s can’t avoid the “Ben Ten”. Testing the latest flavor innovations is a hazard of the job.

Contact: www.BenJerry.com