Maryland’s Ice Cream History

Maryland's Ice Cream History

The History of Ice Cream in Maryland

Maryland has a rich ice-cream history. The first scoop in America was served up in Annapolis by Governor Thomas Bladen in 1744. The treat was expensive and reserved for the elite.

A Baltimore milkman, Jacob Fussell, began the commercial selling of ice cream in 1851. One hundred years later, Maryland’s governor declared a centennial celebration held in Baltimore as National Ice Cream Day.

Today, Maryland is leading the way with the Ice Cream Trail, which highlights cow-to-cone creameries with their own dairies. 

Maryland’s Ice Cream Trail

If you are an ice cream lover, consider hopping on Maryland’s ice cream trail this summer. Now in its 10th year, the trail is designed to promote the state’s dairy industry. It stretches more than 290 miles from Washington County in the west to Worcester County in the east. Maryland’s 300-plus dairy farms generated over $157 million in sales in 2022. 

The goal of the trail is to educate the public on dairy farming and the important contributions dairy farms in the state make. Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail 2023 features 10 dairy farms that produce and sell their own ice cream.

Maryland Dairy Farm Locations

Maryland’s dairy farms are located across the state. The highest concentration is in Washington County, followed by Frederick, Carroll and Garrett counties. Several others are located in Harford and St. Mary’s counties. The state dairy industry has a direct economic impact of $3.1 billion.

The History of Maryland Snowballs

If you prefer a different cool treat, hundreds of flavors of snowballs are served across the state. Snowballs started out as a Baltimore tradition in the 1800’s. Kids would beg for ice shavings when ice houses shipped wagons with huge blocks of ice through Baltimore. Moms caught on and topped the shavings with a sweet custard made of eggs, vanilla and sugar. 

During the Great Depression, snowballs were called “penny sundaes” or “hard-time sundaes.” Their popularity skyrocketed.

Snowballs are still a hit today.  Flavors range from the traditional egg custard and blood orange to passionfruit and coconut. For a true local twist, top off your snowball with marshmallow cream or chocolate sauce.

The Maryland Lollipop

A different kind of ‘snowball’ is served up in Western Maryland. The Western Maryland “lollipop” is usually made of four layers of ‘snow’ and cream. Locals like to add a twist of sweet, soft-serve ice cream on top for a truly delicious flavor.

Popular Ice-Cream Destinations

If you prefer to venture out of Maryland, there are a few cool ice cream-themed destinations to put on your travel list. The Ben & Jerry’s Factory is located in Waterbury, Vermont. It offers 30-minute guided factory tours and folks are treated to a sample of ice cream at the end. 

The Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia is set in a historic building and guests are transported to 1910. Flavors from the past are served up including Teaberry, a bubble-gum pink ice cream with a minty flavor.  The soda fountain has 23 kinds of ‘homemade’ soda on tap. Try out a true ice-cream float!

You can find Presidential Scoops near the White House in Washington, D.C. This tiny ice-cream shop, which opened in 2018, has a presidential theme. Featured flavors include JFK’s America’s Birthday Cake, and Trumango Apricot Sorbet. 

Craving a Maryland Ice Cream Treat?

If you want an ice cream treat or are celebrating a special occasion, Norwood Ice Cream is here to serve you! We are a small ice cream shop, located in Eldersburg, Maryland. Each unique ice cream flavor is handcrafted in small batches right in our store. We cater weddings, parties, special celebrations, corporate events and more. Drop by for a visit or call us at 410-875-7238 for more information.