Monday has become my day to do what I call “field work” for the blog – I call it Monday Funday. The only downside is, there are not that many people who have that day off and can spend it with me! However, Shiloh happened to have taken that day off this week, with previous plans cancelled. Looks like it was time for us to go on another adventure! Last week, we went to Salem. This week, we decided to travel to Newburyport, another coastal Massachusetts town. Although I had lived close to Newburyport for multiple years, I had never really explored it. Better late than never, they say!
Our major plan of the day was to get a seafood lunch. I was craving fresh haddock – I, unfortunately, am allergic to shellfish. As tastebud enticing as the summery pictures of lobsters, oysters and clam chowder that appear throughout my Instagram feed seem, I will look like I was stung by bees if consumed. Sometimes it makes me feel as if I’m not a true New Englander because I can’t have the “chowdah” and “lobstah”! But I digress. We arrived in Newburyport a little too early to have a meal, so we browsed around the downtown for a bit. We stepped inside various gift shops, featuring items like unique or handmade home decor, jewelry, clothing and accessories. Scarfs were on display in what seemed like every store. It reminded me that fall (my favorite season) is next on the calendar. Exciting!
It was a hot day, and all the walking around made us desire a respite from the sun. We found it under an umbrella on the top deck of Michael’s Harborside, one of Newburyport’s most popular restaurants for seafood. It certainly satisfied my craving. After our round of sangria, I ordered the fish and chips basket, which was made up of fried haddock and my fry of choice, sweet potato fries. I savored every bite. Shiloh ordered a lobster roll and fries, and from what she told me, she was highly satisfied as well. The view was perfect – our table overlooked, well, the harbor of course, and I gazed down upon the myriad boats, wishing I could take a ride on one.
After we were more than full, we ventured back out into downtown. We went for a peaceful walk along the water, then perused more stores. Amongst the shops, we found more cute gift ideas, and I saw so many things I would love to decorate my apartment with. However, there’s a possibility I will be moving soon, so I decided to hold off on that end. One of the shops we visited, which was actually a flower shop aptly titled Saracy’s Flower and Gift Shop, was where we made a couple of purchases. Between all the flowers, the store also sells jewelry, accessories and other unique items for gift-giving. Shiloh bought a new wallet and I found a great present for Nick – a backscratcher in the shape of a bear claw. He loves it! And I love supporting local small businesses.
We strolled further along, and came upon a shop that I was instantly fascinated with – New England Ice Lollies. They had an eye-catching sign out front that featured their brightly colored logo, which depicted that they were not a traditional ice cream place, but a maker and seller of popsicles. I’d never seen anything like it in the area. Inside the just as vibrant shop was a counter display of every single flavor they currently made, and cute chalkboard signs with each flavor written.
It took me awhile to decide. There were dairy based flavors and fruit based flavors. While the fruit based flavors looked absolutely delectable, Shiloh and I were feeling more in the dairy mood. I ordered cookies and cream, while Shiloh got the peanut butter popsicle, dipped in dark chocolate. One word – AMAZING. These “lollies” reminded me of the pudding pops my mom used to make when I was a child. A bit of nostalgia was brought to me this day in Newburyport. Oh, New England Ice Lollies also carries dairy free and sugar free kinds for those of you who would prefer them!
I liked the concept of New England Ice Lollies so much, that I emailed one of the managers, Kami Land, to get her thoughts on the business. She and her brother Michael, both store managers, hail from Kentucky. Kami had been living in Florida when her parents moved to Newburyport after their youngest daughter went to college. “My dad had some business up there, and they wanted a new adventure and a change from Kentucky,” explains Kami. A few years later, Kami and Michael followed suit and opened the family business, with father Mike Land as owner.
A visit to this younger sister in Alabama is what spawned the idea of New England Ice Lollies. After going for dessert at a store that focused solely on popsicles, the Land family “got very inspired there,” says Kami. They believed the people of Newburyport would feel the same way, and they have, as Kami cites the incredible amount of support that has come from the community.
According to Kami, the best-selling flavor is Salted Caramel Coconut, with Blackberry Lemonade coming in second, and Watermelon Cucumber closing out the top three. Other customer favorites include Cookies and Cream, Lemonade, Chocolate Fudge, Key Lime Pie and Strawberry. “Also, our dark chocolate dip is super popular,” says Kami. Customers can get this dip on any flavor of their choosing.
If you visit the Facebook page of New England Ice Lollies, you will see photos of their portable popsicle cart parked at events like the Drink Craft Beer Summerfest in Boston, and the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament. The next event to feature lollies on the go will be Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming, from July 27-August 3. If you get a chance to attend, make sure you stop by their cart – Kami and Michael plan to have over 5,000 lollies in stock to satisfy the sweet tooth of the masses. And if you have to miss out? New England Ice Lollies can bring their cart to you, for special events like parties, weddings and more.
Back to closing out our Newburyport trip – Shiloh and I made a couple more stops before calling it a day. We browsed around a store (I can’t find the name of it online for the life of me) which sold very original what seemed like South American gifts along with a selection of jewelry and garments. My father’s family is from Colombia, and I saw several of the beautiful, handcrafted items they would send me on display here. Our last store visit was to The Book Rack, which had the great idea of posting index cards with handwritten book reviews or notes about various books on display. I smiled the whole way back to the car. A sunny day spent in the company of a good friend, fabulous food and quaint stores will do that to a girl. My first trip to Newburyport will not be my last!
Places Mentioned (in order)
Michael’s Harborside – 1 Tournament Wharf, Newburyport, MA 01950
Saracy’s Flower Shop – 19 Market Square, Newburyport, MA 01950
New England Ice Lollies – 9 Liberty Street, Newburyport, MA 01950
The Book Rack – 52 State Street, Newburyport, MA 01950