Sweet Melissa's Ice Cream shop is open in Ithaca, marking for me the beginning of ice cream season. Owned by Melissa and Matt Kenny, Sweet Melissa's has been an Ithaca ice cream institution since it's opening in 2009. Making delicious homemade ice cream and offering dairy, vegan, hard serve and soft, Sweet Melissa's balances variety and flavor in a delicious way. Their serving sizes are just right, and the location outside The Commons (next to Short Stop Deli) features picnic tables with umbrellas, providing a nice place to stop and enjoy a cold treat.
Another popular ice cream destination in Ithaca is Purity Ice Cream, which began producing ice cream in 1936 and lives on today honoring the original ice cream recipes used since it's conception. Purity is unique in that it features a brunch and lunch menu, offering a variety of food including pancakes, eggs, salads and sandwiches. It has recently added additional seating to accommodate more guests. Purity is located on Cascadilla Street, and but if you can't make it to that location its ice cream is offered at all College Town Bagel locations.
A little outside of Ithaca, along Route 89 in Interlaken, is Cayuga Creamery. They offer delicious, homemade ice cream, soft serve, and fast food. There are a considerable amount of hard ice cream flavor options to choose from and they are willing to allow their customers to sample. My favorite flavor is Seneca Salt Caramel, an ice cream of a delicious, gooey, sweet and salty consistency. There are picnic tables for guests outside, as well as a pond and a wooden train structure beside the building for kids and adults alike to explore. Something I find particularly special about Cayuga Creamery is that it collaborates with local wine makers to provide seasonal wine-flavored ice cream options. Yummm.