A fork in the road in Vermont started it all.
Susan Scacchi’s partner asked which way he should go and her answer led her down a path to make something happen that she had only ever talked about.
“I told him that I wanted ice cream,” Scacchi said. “And said, wouldn’t it be great if there were a book you could keep in your glove box to tell you where you could get ice cream?”
Scacchi, of Dover, published The Big Scoop Book the first week of May, a spiral-bound read that fits perfectly into any glove compartment and guides ice cream lovers through the Rocky Roads of the Granite State. The book focuses on places in New Hampshire that either make their own ice cream or have other unique attributes.
“There are some cool places out of the way that people don’t know about, and there are some places everyone knows about, like Hayward’s, The Puritan Backroom and Arnie’s, that you couldn’t do an ice cream book without including them,” said Richard Colfer, of Warner. Scacchi invited Colfer, her former neighbor, to join her in developing the book last year.
Their research led Colfer, Scacchi and Scacchi’s assistant Robin Lindsay, of Concord, to many places they might not have known about otherwise. Even though 40 shops are featured in the book, many shops and their offerings stand out in their minds — like the old soda shop feel of the Central Square ice cream shop in Hillsboro, a shop in Sunapee opened by a 9-year-old, the oatmeal cinnamon ice cream at Brick Farm in Newport, soft-serve ice cream made using cream instead of ice milk at Rick’s Gourmet in Keene, Cremeland in Manchester, where Cofler had chocolate ice cream that brought him back to his childhood, and Moose Alley Cones in Pittsburg, the last place you can get ice cream in New Hampshire before the Canadian border.
“It’s kind of amazing how far people will go for a good ice cream cone,” Lindsay said.
Scacchi noted the book as something that would be handy during weekend drives and road trips.
“With the situation in the economy, so many people are gong on ‘staycations’ — I hate that word — so this is just something fun to do for families,” Scacchi said.
Scacchi and Colfer once visited six ice cream shops in one day, with intentions of only sampling their flavors. “I had ice cream at four of them because someone forced me to. Someone had ice cream at all six and they are sitting at this table,” Scacchi said, nodding toward Colfer. “We were both a tad bit under the weather the next day.”
If you are overwhelmed by the number of flavors listed on a shop’s menu, Colfer said, don’t be afraid to ask for samples or suggestions.
“This is one business where everyone is friendly, helpful and outgoing,” he said.
Ice cream shop staffers were even helpful in suggesting other places for the team to check out, Colfer said.
“They’d say ‘Have you been to Bobby Sue’s in Freedom?’ I didn’t even know where Freedom was,” he said, adding that the staff at Bobby Sue’s suggested he swing by the Sandwich Creamery, another place he had never heard of. Colfer later noted the Sandwich Creamery as the most fun-to-find shop.
“The directions are go to the center of town and follow their signs,” Scacchi said. The small-town creamery, Colfer said, is unmanned and asks customers to put their money into a slot after fixing up their own ice cream from a chest freezer.
“Hopefully we have been able to provide people with a snapshot of every place,” Colfer said.
Inside the book’s cover is a map of the state, broken down by region, with ice cream cones marking each shop featured in the book.
“Our intent was to highlight a few places in each region, and we attempted to list every ice cream place in that region,” Colfer said. Owners of ice cream shops they missed in their regional indexes are encouraged to fill out a form in the back of the book with their information so they may be included in future printings.
Also in the back of the book is a section of children’s activities such as word games, mazes and pictures to color in.
“It’s something to occupy kids away from the DVD players and PlayStation 2,” Scacchi said. Readers are asked to submit name ideas for the ice cream-holding cow pictured in the front of the book and to send in photos of themselves eating ice cream, to be printed in future editions.
The front of the book gives a brief history of ice cream, “sort of.”
“We don’t really give one because no one really knows … but we list a few books related to it,” Scacchi said.
“I read somewhere that more people eat ice cream in New England than anywhere else in the country,” Colfer added.
As some statistics show that the average American consumes 48 pints of ice cream annually, Scacchi and Colfer realized they can’t just stop at New Hampshire. There are plans in the works for creating ice cream guides for Maine, Massachusetts and perhaps one of the entire New England region, Scacchi said.
“[Making this book] didn’t feel at all like work,” Scacchi said.
“Not at all,” Colfer agreed.