"We stared, we squealed, we pointed at the menu wall—for at least ten minutes. It just kept getting better and better."
Weir's Ice Cream
2159 Route 94, Salisbury Mills NY 12577 (map); 845-496-4258; Open all summer, daily 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m
We weren't especially hungry and definitely overdressed, but when you pass a sign for Weir's Ice Cream, you stop. Actually, sign does not begin to describe the nearly two-story high soft serve cone (with a vanilla-chocolate swirly top, naturally) next to the stand. It was visible from many a street light away, and potentially from space.
Ed was driving our Hertz-rented car through the Hudson Valley last weekend when we saw it. We had an hour to kill before Adam Kuban's wedding, and though perfectly satisfied with aimlessly driving and window gazing (ooh, so many trees), once we saw that crazy-big cone, that was it. I don't think a car has ever parked so fast.
Walking up to the window, we were greeted with a dizzying wall of flavor options enhanced by circa-1990s clip art. Shakes, soda floats, sundaes (in marshmallow, hot fudge, pineapple, caramel and, oh, about 11 other varieties), SLUSH (in rainbow font), cherry dip, Cyclone (the Weir's take on a Blizzard), and something that went by Nerdy Bear (gummi bears and rainbow sprinkles involved). Is there anything in the frozen dessert family that Weir's didn't do?
We stared, we squealed, we pointed at the menu wall—for at least ten minutes. It just kept getting better and better. (Evidence: the Rainbow Sprinkles sign.) The regulars behind us didn't seem as entranced by the menu, and were getting all arms-crossed and fidgety, waiting to place orders.
The time had come. For us to make decisions.
Ed was pretty confident from the get-go about the Fluffernutter. Vanilla soft serve layered with peanut butter and crushed-up peanut bits, topped with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Ed's wife Vicki had her eye on the Grape Slush: a cup full of purple ice flakes—the right ratio of syrup to refreshing slushiness.
It seemed only right to order a couple soft serve cones too, but just a small since we had a wedding ahead of us and all. "You want the smallest size? The baby?" The high school-aged Weir's employee pulled out a lilliputian cone, probably not more than two inches.
Can you even fit soft serve in there? Beyond a drip's worth? It would even be considered diet food for a doll. After aww-ing for a bit, we splurged and ordered "the small."
Weir's Ice Cream was founded in 1956 by George Weir and his son Arthur. They stay open daily from the first weekend in April until the Monday after Labor Day in September, rain or shine. The menu started out with ice cream, sundaes, and shakes and between 1961 and 1969, they added a snack bar component. It's probably a good thing they don't sell hot dogs, burgers, and fries anymore (the family decided to focus on ice cream) since, given our giddiness, we were ready to order just about everything.
In the summer of 1977, Weir's added frozen yogurt and slushes, and eventually over the 1980s and 1990s, introduced ice cream cakes, Cyclones, and Italian ice. At some point in there, they must have gone through at least four color ink cartridges printing all the amazing clip art signage, which continued to mesmerize us.
After about four waves of different orders (we couldn't not try the lemon Italian ice! and the Moon Pie!) it was time to pile back into the car and head to the nuptials.
We didn't finish everything at Weir's. The butterscotch dip cone was unexciting. The malt was a maltsplosion—after a few sips, you felt like you had eaten a Halloween night's worth of Whoppers. The Snow Pop was summer camp on a stick, and was staining our lips fluorescent green (probably not a good look for Adam's big day). Plus there was a delicious meal* ahead of us at the reception.
Like all good things, eventually our time at Weir's had to come to an end.
Where did we throw out the melting scraps? Black trash cans spray-painted with stenciled ice cream cones. Just one more little thing about Weir's that made it so, so good.