Visitor's centers are to the travel addict like candy stores are to the candy lover. We happened to stop to peruse one as we waited to meet family for lunch halfway between our place and theirs. I picked up several pamphlets of attractions and things to do in the area. I live in Ohio but I am still discovering new places to see. One of the pamphlets showed an old grist mill with an ice cream factory. A little history and a great treat. What better combination?
On our way to Columbus that next week, we decided to stop off and check out the grist mill and factory. We'd been to the Mount Vernon area often but never traveled Route 13 further south than that. It was beautiful countryside on a clear and sunny day. The grist mill turnoff was well marked near Utica just past the Route 62 junction. We pulled in and found we had arrived just in time for a factory tour.
Our energetic guide took us out of the shelter where a video of the history of Velvet Ice Cream usually plays and suggested that she give us the information herself since we seemed to be invaded by some pesky wasps. She did a great job of filling us in as we sat on a stone wall and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine.
In 1914, Joseph Dager began Velvet Ice Cream in the basement of a confectionery shop in Utica, Ohio, using a hand cranked ice cream maker. He would make just enough to quickly run out and sell it before it melted. Finding a supply of ice eventually led to a wider distribution and the business began to grow. In the 1930s a small factory was built behind the confectionery and Dager expanded even further reaching groceries and restaurants as far away as Columbus.
When they needed to expand, the next generation of Dagers found an old 1817 grist mill near Utica that fit their company's reputation of old fashioned goodness and moved their factory next to it. It became their trademark.
Our guide took us into the viewing area of the factory where we watched as ice cream was put into containers, capped and sent off to an instant freezer that freezes the mixture within minutes.
We stopped in the restaurant and enjoyed terrific trail bologna sandwiches being careful to save room for ice cream. I tried the sweet and salty caramel flavor that was heavenly. As we enjoyed our cones, we wandered through the small display of old ice cream makers.
All in all a perfect oasis for a summertime outing.