If you are visiting the Coolest Coast, you have to experience the dairy industry of Wisconsin, and in particular, the ice cream. There aren’t too many places where folks can get up close and personal with every step of the ice cream making process, but a showcase of the Coolest Coast’s dairy industry can do just that! With there being 1.14 cows for every one person in Manitowoc County, you can’t avoid the fact that dairy is truly a cornerstone of the local lifestyle.
Ice cream has to come from somewhere, right? That’s where the dairy farms come in. Any drive into the countryside will mean driving by fields and barns of all sizes, with farms being home to anywhere from 20 to 5,000 cattle a piece. If an educational experience about dairy is something you desire, then the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is the place to explore! From interactive experiences to farm tours and more, Farm Wisconsin can guide visitors through a snapchat of the dairy journey that happens on the Coolest Coast.
Once you’ve learned all about the dairy industry, it’s time to try some samples. In particular, it’s time for some ice cream! Not only can one find countless flavors of the frozen treat, there are multiple forms to explore as well! From the classic hard packed ice cream, to smooth soft serve, to even rich custard made with egg yolks, there’s no wrong choice to explore for your ice cream needs!
Pine River Dairy is situated in the fields of Manitowoc County’s countryside, a small treasure to be found amidst the forests and acres of corn. The ice cream parlor and shop are connected directly to the very processing plant in which the products are made, therefore, promising fresh products for any customer that walks in. Cones for 25 cents means that Pine River Dairy is the go to location for an inexpensive treat that can be enjoyed at the outdoor seating area across the quiet stretch of road.
Cedar Crest is another ice cream parlor and processing plant, featuring an ever-changing multitude of hard pack ice cream varieties. The southside Manitowoc location is home to Bernice the Big Cow, an iconic 10-foot tall sculpture that towers above those who choose to enjoy their ice cream in her presence. A wonderful photo opportunity, Bernice is always ready to pose with those who want to bring a little bit of the Coolest Coast back home with them.
If you are looking for something that provides a bit more flair to your ice cream experience, Beersten’s Confectionary is the place to go! Nearly 90 years of passion and tradition have cultivated an incredible assortment of ice cream and candy that have stayed true to their history. A mini-paper known as the “Sundae News” holds all the ice cream specials, with fan favorites such as the “Opera” and “High Tower” sundaes. Many options for customization are available, and ice cream can be enjoyed in the historically maintained original interior of the confectionary.
For a more modern take on ice cream, folks should look out for the newly founded Scream N’ Conuts in Two Rivers, ran by local Emilee Rysticken. Guests are served Cedar Crest ice cream in a doughnut cone, otherwise known as a “conut.” A new take on ice cream’s role on the Coolest Coast, Rysticken is leading the way for future innovation regarding the local dairy industry.
When looking for a truly unique dairy experience, look no further than the Manitowoc County Fair. A long cherished tradition of an event held every summer on the Coolest Coast, includes a passion for animals and handcrafted goods such as the Ice Cream Parlor. Situated right by the dairy barn, the small ice cream stand has remained a favorite for animal caregivers and fair goers alike. It isn’t uncommon to find a cow being milked on the other side of the building, or a beaming child holding an ice cream cone in one hand and a first place ribbon in the other
Dairy and ice cream are truly ingrained in the history of the Coolest Coast. A three-story immigrant hotel found in Two Rivers holds a surprising history in regards to one of America’s favorite frozen treats. Built in the 1850s, the Washington House was where Ed Berners invented the ice cream sundae in 1881! Beautifully maintained, the Washington House now serves as a historical site, complete with original features such as an ice cream parlor (where you can enjoy a hand-dipped treat), saloon and ballroom. Visitors are able to take a step back in time as they explore the many rooms full of antiques, photographs and other bite-sized pieces of the Coolest Coast’s rich history.
Whether it be visiting the birthplace of the ice cream sundae, or seeing how many licks it takes to get to the middle of a 25 cent cone, the Coolest Coast is your destination for ice cream paradise!