I did a blog post on ice cream recently and it got me to thinking about Dresser Hill Farm in Charlton, Massachusetts. I remember Dresser Hill fondly. When I was a kid, it was on the way to Aunt Helena and Uncle Ken's farm in nearby Dudley and if I was good … really, really good (which was most of the time), we could stop for an ice cream cone en route. The cones were huge and delicious and it was an effort on a hot summer's day to lick them quickly enough to keep them from melting all over. I always managed to win the melting race. I was a good ice cream cone licker … even then. So, on a quiet summer's afternoon when David asked, “What do you girls feel like doing?”, I suggested Dresser Hill Farm and no one argued.
I remembered the way there not by street names or route numbers, but solely by childhood memory. “Take a right here. Bear left there.” Some things had changed, but many of the landmarks had not and we arrived without a hitch. It's situated on the top of a hill, Dresser Hill, in fact. Duh! It wasn't until now that I realized the name of the ice cream stand and the farm were based on the geographical location at the top of Dresser Hill. I think neither the geographical name nor the location was as important as the ice cream when I was a kid.
Things hadn't changed all that much. The ice cream stand has been enlarged and there was more emphasis placed on selling fried clams. There were two order windows: one for ice cream and one for “food”. The stand is still open for just the summer and early autumn months, May through October. David stood in line while Bea and I sought a picnic table in the shade.
There's not much of a parking lot and cars park haphazardly in the tiny lot and along the side of the road, their rear ends many times hanging out onto state Route 31. The picnic tables look like the same ones we used to sit at 40 years ago, but they've added an additional sitting area. We usually sat in our cars to eat our cones, invariably dripping ice cream on the seats despite our best efforts. This time, we dripped on ourselves and the picnic table. I asked my Mom if it was as good as she remembered. “Better!” she said. It was pretty darned good.
The old Dresser Hill Farm barn sits desolate across the street. Once the epitome of a pastoral scene with cows grazing in the fields surrounding it, the dilapidated structure sits idle with broken windows and a faded name painted on its roof. I'm not sure where the ice cream really comes from now.
I heard one fellow order a Super 8. This concoction include eight scoops of ice cream, 8 toppings, whipped cream and 8 cherries … all for $8.88. What a deal! We settled for cones today, but next time ????