Even if future trips don't match the epic nature of that trip (thank goodness!), we've always hunted for things to do along the way for our excursions together. On a recent trip into the Cleveland area for various family and friend meetups, my spouse had suggested taking the scenic route through Holmes County to get at least a glance of this state's biggest Amish area. I was all up for that, but since we weren't going to actually stop for any significant time there (we'll save that for a later trip) we searched something else both along the way that could be a fairly quick stop.
I noticed Utica as one of the cities and that proverbial light bulb went off in my head. "Hey, dear, isn't Velvet Ice Cream up somewhere near Utica?" Sure enough, it was, and being somewhat of a last-minute get, we just simply noted their address to plug into our mobile phone GPS and had no clue about what to expect.
|Evoking the past with Ye Olde Mill|
The company, which is now run by the fourth generation of the Dager family, bought the Ye Olde Mill property in 1960. After a fire hit the third construct of the mill in 1986, Velvet found it could not salvage that building and rebuilt the structure to what visitors to the site see today.
Several exhibits can be found on the property. In the middle of the parking lot, a barn-like structure holds the Viewing Gallery, with benched seating (for what I imagine are more formal organized tour groups,) a television playing pre-recorded snippets of the company's history and various company-oriented product exhibits. When we dropped by, a table with what looked to be home-baked goods was set up next to the building manned by Amish vendors.
|Everything you wanted to know about the company, catered to all ages|
|The production facility, plus a couple of company informational postings|
|Numerous flavors; PLENTY of ice cream|
Perhaps we had gone in with a little bit of prejudice that since this was more of a mass-marketed brand of ice cream, they could not be as good as some of the smaller gourmet ice cream producers that we have encountered. In terms of this visit, we got our money's worth both in terms of quantity (yes, that is their "two scoops") and the ice cream holds it own in terms of quality. Their bourbon-laced take on butter pecan was probably the our favorite out of our sampled three flavors.
But then again, perhaps this quote we found prominently displayed on the Viewing Gallery building speaks to the fact that we shouldn't have been surprised at all.
Velvet Ice Cream is pretty darn good, and it is better than a few others that I've tried. I'd probably add a corollary to this quote as well: figuring out which ice cream is better than others is about as good as it gets.
Velvet Ice Cream
Ye Olde Mill
11324 Mt Vernon Rd (Google Maps)
Utica, OH 43080
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