The unofficial last week of summer is upon us -- that time between August and Labor Day, when the calendar says it is time to sharpen our pencils and pull sweaters out of storage, but the weather claims cut-offs, beach towels, and ice cream.
The Capital Region is flush with classic ice cream stands, but few stand out the way Martha's Dandee Creme, just outside of Lake George, does.
Martha's has been a storied stop for those traveling between Lake George and Glens Falls along Route 9 dating back to the 1930s. The advent of the Northway has not deterred visitors, and with Six Flags (The Great Escape) just across the road, crowds continue to stop in to enjoy Martha's.
The first thing to note about Martha's is that there are separate windows for ice cream and fried foods. Neon signs point hungry patrons in the right directions, showcasing some of Martha's best offerings. Multiple windows means that long lines move quickly. (And yes, despite the vintage vibe, they take credit cards.)
If you are looking for hard ice cream, you won't find it here. Soft serve is the primary focus at Martha's and a rotating list of house-made flavors change every few days. Classic recipes like chocolate and black raspberry are offered next to more the unusual red raspberry, coconut, and marble cake. The texture is smooth and lush, like custard. Its density means it can hold up to layered creations like Boston shakes, suspend nuggets of candy in Flurries (try peanut butter cups in peanut butter ice cream), or precariously balance on the edge of a cup in a root beer float.
Martha's puts the day's flavors on its webpage, so you'll know what available before you venture out. Dole Whip and soft-serve sherbet is also available, and Martha's has ice cream cakes and sandwiches available for special order.
But with soft serve ice cream that is true to flavor, rich, creamy, and fairly priced -- a small Boston shake, two small cones with sprinkles, a Flurry, and a large root beer float that a grown man couldn't finish came in at $19 with tip -- it is hard to argue against splurging on that late-season hot fudge sundae.
The rooster sign is as well-known as the delicious ice cream. Seeing it lit in neon glory in the evening plays into some of the nostalgic charm of the Lake George area (replete with tchotchke shops and mini golf courses).
The last rites of summer are here, and there is no better time to take a car trip north to Warren County to spend time in the foothills of the Adirondacks. Explore Lake George for a day, and on your way home, cap your day with a visit to Martha's before ice cream season slips away.
Martha's Dandee Creme
1133 US Route 9
Queensbury, NY 12804
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