EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated too include the physical addresses of the ice cream shops listed.
Welcome everyone to The New Jersey Adventurer. I’m starting a new column where I explore Jefferson and the surrounding area to give you, the readers, advice on where to and how to travel to certain places in and around our town. I hope these adventures will help you make plans for day trips and nights on the town and give you a bigger appreciation for exploring, even in your own backyard. For my first adventure, I took a few of my very own amateur ice cream connoisseurs to explore the wide variety and array of ice cream shops in the area.
After a long summer day of being active in the sun, or maybe beating the heat in your air conditioned home, a nice, refreshing scoop of ice cream from one of your local ice cream parlors may be needed to cool off. You could always count on AJ’s Country Cone and the Jefferson Dairy to satisfy your sweet tooth in town, but if you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of other ice cream places to try out.
With the help of my amateur ice cream connoisseurs, I explored the many options nearby to let you know what to expect from each of their frozen delicacies and give you our ratings for each them.
For each ice cream store, we bought a cup of soft serve chocolate and vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles as our constant and a cup of one of their many hard ice cream flavors. As we ate, the ice cream enthusiasts reviewed numerous factors that make a good ice cream store and gave an overall rating out of five stars.
Address: 34 Broadway #A, Denville, New Jersey 07834
From Jefferson Township Library: 24 min
From White Rock Elementary School: 27 min
From Lakeside Fields: 16 min
Parking: Although there is parking along the street near Denville Dairy, it’s limited, but there are a couple of free parking lots nearby that are a quick walk away from the store. The walk is fairly safe with sidewalks and crosswalks available for pedestrians.
Line/wait: When we first arrived, we were excited to begin our ice cream tour around the area and were happy to find that the line was somewhat short since we started earlier in the day before peak ice cream eating time. However, the line can get long later into the night as expected for any popular ice cream store, but the store maintains order by using a number system. At the entrance, customers can pull a ticket and look at a small display near the register until their number on the ticket appears. This eliminates the traditional line at an ice cream store, allowing for the customers to look around at the different flavors and products the store has to offer.
Price: Based off of a small cup of soft serve ice cream with one topping, Denville Dairy ranked the most expensive of the five ice cream stores that were reviewed with a price of $4.20.
Soft Serve: The amateur ice cream connoisseurs believed that the chocolate and vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles from Denville Dairy was creamy, but a little thicker than some of the other ice cream stores we went to. The variety of soft serve flavors were limited to the classic chocolate and vanilla flavors, which makes sense since the store owners pride themselves on “making the best possible homemade premium hard ice cream” and have more of a focus on those flavors.
Hard Ice Cream: The ice cream connoisseurs chose cookie dough ice cream as their flavor for Denville Dairy and described it as very creamy. Denville Dairy offered a lot more flavors of hard ice cream compared to their soft serve and even had seasonal flavors as well. They offer approximately 25 to 30 flavors at one time.
Other Offerings: Denville Dairy sells many other products besides ice cream. These products include cakes, pies, ice cream sandwiches, special sundaes, bulk ice creams, Italian ice, milkshakes, and sherbets.
Surrounding Area: Denville Dairy is located in the hub of downtown Denville. It’s surrounded by many restaurants and shops, making for a perfect night out. With sidewalks and crosswalks, the area is very pedestrian friendly.
Rating: Taking all of these factors into consideration, Denville Dairy was given an average of a 3.3 out of 5.
Dover Dairy Maid
Address: 240 US-46, Dover, New Jersey 07801
From Jefferson Township Library: 21 min
From White Rock Elementary School: 24 min
From Lakeside Fields: 13 min
Parking: There’s a parking lot reserved for Dover Dairy Maid customers across the street, but the street is somewhat busy. You can park along the street near the Dover Dairy Maid as well.
Line/wait: We didn’t wait long to get ice cream, but that’s because it was still a little before the big crowds came in. The line can get pretty long, but there are a good amount of workers to keep it moving quickly.
Price: Compared to the prices at other ice cream shops for a small soft serve of chocolate and vanilla twist with sprinkles, Dover Dairy Maid ranks the fourth most expensive place with a price of $3.40.
Soft Serve: The amateur ice cream connoisseurs were thoroughly impressed with the soft serve ice cream. They thought it was the most creamy and whipped ice cream out of all of the ice cream shops we went to. It was “nice on the tongue,” according to one of the ice cream connoisseurs. The variety for soft serve is also impressive at Dover Dairy Maid with up to eight flavors at one time.
Hard Ice Cream: We selected salted caramel as the hard ice cream for Dover Dairy Maid. Although it was hard as the name would imply, it was soft on the tongue, much like their soft serve ice cream. However, the variety of hard ice cream is pretty typical, and the flavors are generic.
Other Offerings: Other offerings at Dover Dairy Maid include floats, milkshakes, cakes, pints of ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, and Italian ice.
Surrounding Area: The area around the ice cream shop is not pedestrian friendly. Although there is a diner nearby, most of the immediate surrounding area is residential and the traffic on the roads can get heavy.
Rating: The amateur ice cream connoisseurs gave Dover Dairy Maid an average of 4 out of 5, particularly because of how soft and creamy their ice cream was.
Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream
Address: 1475 US-46, Ledgewood, New Jersey 07852
From Jefferson Township Library: 23 min
From White Rock Elementary School: 26 min
From Lakeside Fields: 15 min
Parking: There was plenty of parking right next to the ice cream shop even when it appeared to be busy.
Line/wait: The line went really quick, and the workers seemed to work efficiently in order to minimize any wait time.
Price: Between the five ice cream shops, Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream ranked the second most expensive for a small soft serve with sprinkles with a price of $3.80.
Soft Serve: Cliff’s soft serve was near the top, but not as good as Dover Dairy Maid. The amateur ice cream connoisseurs believed it was still really creamy and good. The variety of soft serve was good with about twenty flavors being served at a time.
Hard Ice Cream: The amateur ice cream connoisseurs chose holy cannoli as their flavor of choice for Cliff’s. They thought not only was it really inventive, but it was the best hard ice cream they had. On top of their great taste, Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream offers about 56 flavors of hard ice cream at any one time. This includes the essential basic flavors like chocolate and vanilla, but it also includes about 25 fantasy flavors that are unique to this ice cream shop. Some of these flavors include Morris County mud, chocolate gusher, oreo cheesecake, and so much more.
Other Offerings: Cliff’s offers other products including floats, milkshakes, and cakes.
Surrounding Area: Although there is not much to do within walking distance because the store is located on a highway, behind the ice cream shop and parking lot, there is a nice seating area full of large picnic tables.
Rating: Overall, the amatueur ice cream connoisseurs gave Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream a 4.3 out of 5.
Address: 71 NJ-94, Vernon Township, New Jersey 07462
From Jefferson Township Library: 27 min
From White Rock Elementary School: 26 min
From Lakeside Fields: 28 min
Parking: Dairy Swirl has a parking lot adjacent to the store, but it can get full if too many people come at once.
Line/wait: If there is a line, there can be a bit of wait to be served.
Price: Dairy Swirl ranked the least expensive for a small soft serve with sprinkles with a price of $3.35.
Soft Serve: The amateur ice cream connoisseurs thought that the soft serve was okay but nothing special. They agreed that it was still creamy, but they thought Dairy Swirl’s hard ice cream was better. The variety was limited with only two flavors, chocolate and vanilla.
Hard Ice Cream: They chose coconut fudge and black raspberry as their flavors of choice. They thought it was soft and nice and ranked near the middle for best hard ice cream out of all of the ice cream shops. Dairy Swirl does have a good amount of variety with some unique flavors.
Other Offerings: Dairy Swirl offers many other products including pies, Italian ice, floats, frozen yogurt, milkshakes, ice cream sandwiches, smoothies, and cakes.
Surrounding Area: There isn’t much to do in the area near Dairy Swirl, but there is a small seating area next to the parking lot for customers to relax and eat their ice cream. The road next to the store can get a little loud, but it is mostly quiet enough for customers to enjoy their ice cream.
Rating: Taking all of this into consideration, Dairy Swirl got a score of 3.8 out of 5.
Curly’s Ice Cream
Address: 30 NJ-23, Riverdale, New Jersey 07457
From Jefferson Township Library: 25 min
From White Rock Elementary School: 22 min
From Lakeside Fields: 38 min
Parking: There was plenty of parking provided around the entire ice cream shop.
Line/wait: It seemed to take a while to get served even when there were only a few people on line.
Price: Curly’s Ice Cream was the third most expensive with a price of $3.50 for a small soft serve with sprinkles.
Soft Serve: The amateur ice cream connoisseurs thought that the soft serve ice cream from Curly’s “doesn’t beat the best, but it was still up there.” The variety was limited for their soft serve ice cream.
Hard Ice Cream: The hard ice cream was cake batter, and the amateur ice cream connoisseurs thought it was significantly better than Curly’s soft serve ice cream, but their variety was fairly average.
Other Offerings: Curly’s Ice Cream offers cakes, floats, shirts, hats, and Italian ice.
Surrounding Area: Curly’s Ice Cream is right on a busy highway, making it loud if you choose to stay and enjoy your ice cream there. Curly’s provides some tables and benches for seating, but it is limited compared to the size of the parking lot and the amount of people who could possibly come at one time.
Rating: Taking all of these factors into consideration, Curly’s received a 3.3 out of 5 from the amateur ice cream connoisseurs.
Have you had any of these before? Do you agree or disagree with the amateur ice cream connoisseurs’ criticisms and ratings? What do you think is the best ice cream place around? Comment below with your thoughts.