The Ice House, Route 1B (Wentworth Road), Rye, NH
by Monique Meadows
Who doesn’t love a neighborhood ice cream stand complete with small sliding windows and service from cheery college-bound teenagers and their Styrofoam tip cups and piles of dollar bills next to their magic markered names. Good ice cream; great even. Too many choices, a line of people three and four deep, especially in the late afternoon or early evening when it’s not quite dark but just the right time at the end of a summer one early Fall day to get an ice cream. While my local favorite place is Brown's near York’s Nubble Lighthouse, who doesn’t love a divergence? On a breathtakingly crisp autumn drive near Portsmouth, NH along Rt.1B near Newcastle you’ll find The Ice House. It all there - the gravel parking lot, two to three service windows, ice cream choices that on this early Fall afternoon included Apple Crisp and Pumpkin. Moostracks? Of course. Tollhouse, yep. Coffee Kahlua Brownic, Totally Turtle, Raspberry Cheesecake and Birthday Cake? Yes, yes and yes.
What the Ice House also has at the “outside” stand is a enormously extended list of pleasures from its inside restaurant. Temptations at the window include lobster roll, native shrimp roll, native crab melt, fried haddock, and a Spicy Boom Boom Burger (you’ll have to go to find out). On this afternoon, my partner and I sat in the car, people watching, while digging into two large styrofoam cups of the Ice House Seafood Chowder. It’s all in there - local white fish, clams, even a few clam bellies, and lobster, in a thin milk-based broth. "Chock full" as my mother would say. On this particular afternoon a crow sat on the overhead wires above the deck entertaining the patrons with squawking stories of its day. So charm is included. He probably wanted the remnants of their cones, not that I can imagine he'd find any, and would wait, if not for this group of people, then the next arrivals of minivans and Mercedes. Friendly service, a picturesque spot on Route 1B, and a menu that will make you consider more than just ice cream, get to the Ice House before it closes for the season on Oct 17th and taste their pumpkin ice cream, spiced with ginger and nutmeg. This is what Fall drives, and ice cream stands, are all about.