What's better than the beach on a New England summer day? The beach and a trip to an ice cream shack. Some of the region's favorite ice creameries are welcoming the season back with special new flavors. Here are six you'll want to try.
1. Sweet Potato Marshmallow
Ashley's Ice Cream Cafe is taking a late fall favorite and turning it into a summer treat. The new recipe isn't quite ready for stores, says co-owner Joe Ametrano, but for consolation, new flavors Chocolate Mexicali and Cinnamon Churro will be ready for Cinco de Mayo. And soon, you can make the quick — just 10 minutes in good traffic — drive from Hammonasset Beach State Park to scoop up some Sweet Potato Marshmallow at the Ashley's in Madison's town center. And three of the four other Ashley's locales are close enough to a beach that your swimsuit will probably still be damp when you get to the store. 280 York Street, New Haven, Connecticut, 203-287-7566, and other locations; ashleysicecream.net
2. Pretzel Toffee Ripple
After basking at Wells Beach or Popham Beach, pile into your car and cruise off to Mount Desert Island Ice Cream's Portland outpost for a scoop of its new sweet and savory flavor. Or, drop into one of its two Bar Harbor locations on its namesake island. Proprietor Linda Parker combines toffee featuring buttery "Specials" from Tom Sturgis Pretzels and sweet cream ice cream rippled with honey butterscotch and dark fudge. "It'll be a big mess," Parker says. "A big delicious mess." 51 Exchange Street, Portland, Maine, 207-210-3432, and two locations in Bar Harbor; mdiic.com
Beat the heat with Ben & Jerry's continuation of its dough legacy. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough has been one of the company's 10 best-selling flavors since its introduction more than 30 years ago. Now Vermont's most famous ice cream maker is rolling in dough, with the debut of three new limited time flavors. One we hope will stick around past summer is Cinn-Dough-Rella: cinnamon and caramel ice creams chock full of cinnamon bun dough, shortbread cookies, and oatmeal cinnamon cookie swirls. At Ben & Jerry's scoop shops everywhere; benjerry.com
4. Cape Cod Sand
Waiting for the ferry to Nantucket? Craving a sweet mystery? Stop at Katie's Ice Cream in Hyannis and try your hand at guessing what's in its most famous flavor, Cape Cod Sand. The secret is so well-kept we don't even have any hints for you. Not feeling adventurous? The shop has 30 regular flavors, and if you want a little something new, a flavor for each summer month. We're intrigued by July's flavor, Thyme, which is thyme ice cream with a lemon curd swirl. It also takes requests. "We also have flash flavors – five gallons that we make [at customer suggestions] and when they're gone, they're gone," says shop owner Katie Kimball. "We're a little bit more fluid [with flavors]." 568 Main Street, Hyannis, Massachusetts, 508-771-6889
5. Purple Panda
Can't make it to the Cape, but find yourself daydreaming of sand, surf, and sunshine? Stop by your local grocer for Hood's New England Creamery Limited Edition Purple Panda, an homage to the flavor the Cape loves to savor: black raspberry. This delightfully named treat features black raspberry-flavored ice cream with a thick fudge swirl, chocolate chips, and white confections. It melts from stores with the last days of August. Available at grocers and select ice cream shops throughout New England; hood.com
6. Monkey Mess
In New Hampshire, the reopening of Lago's Ice Cream is one of the signs that winter is over. The owners of this brightly colored ice cream stand, just 5 miles from Rye Beach, love to celebrate the season with special flavors of ice cream. This year marks the debut of Monkey Mess, chocolate banana ice cream with Nutella swirled in, which will join some past favorites. "It's fun coming up with new flavors," says co-owner Steve Grenier. We bet it's more fun to eat them. 71 Lafayette Road, Rye, New Hampshire, 603-964-9880, lagosicecream.com
Brooke Knisley is a graduate student at Emerson College and a freelance writer. Send comments to email@example.com.