Sarasota County schools are on Spring Break this week. If you’re a parent of a local student then you know firsthand how quickly this one little week rolls by. It’s the next goal for families after the winter holidays and although Christmas seems like yesterday, for school families and personnel, the length of time since the last break seems expansive and this break is much needed. For the past two months kids have tested on paper and have tested the proverbial nerves of their parental units and teachers and are enjoying their current freedom.
What have you been doing to mark the beginning of spring and the homestretch of the school season? Are you on vacation twisting and turning at a waterpark while simultaneously counting on one hand the days you have left before the grind catches everyone again? Or, are you home, hopefully unplugging while you check out the area hotspots? Either way we hope you enjoy these remaining days with your students and that everyone has had a happy time together.
One tradition we try to uphold with our kids either during Spring Break or over summer is one night of unabashed dinner replacement. What do we replace our meal with? No, it’s not a protein filled seaweed wrap or a kale smoothie. We let the kids, and ourselves, of course, splurge on a meal of ice cream. Whether it be in a cone, bowl, in a cup or through a straw we head to our favorite ice cream parlor and let the fun commence for one glorious meal. In honor of all Sarasota County students enjoying these last days of fun in the sun, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite ice cream joints in Sarasota, Venice, and North Port. No matter where you are hanging out these last few days of Spring Break 2019, mark another great vacation with your kids with a delicious ice cream cone. Photos courtesy of I Love Ice Cream Facebook page.
Sarasota: Kilwins Chocolates of St. Armand’s 312 John Ringling Blvd, St Armand’s Circle
This is my favorite place to grab an ice cream cone for a variety of reasons. First, location, location, location! Strolling around St. Armand’s and perusing the storefronts showcasing pricey finds is fun in and of itself. But then, add in the ambiance of the salt air blowing through from the Gulf of Mexico so close you are torn on whether to shop or sunbathe, and the charming architecture and history of the shops and statues and you are literally shopping in heaven. But, wait! What is that gorgeous smell wafting through the air? It’s the delectable scent of homemade waffle cones, a trademark of Kilwin’s. Just look for the line perpetually formed outside of Kilwin’s door and you’ll see what all the fuss is about. Perhaps the creamiest, dreamiest, most original sweet concoctions come out of Kilwin’s and ice cream is one of its stars. Always made in small batches, even to this day, customers feel like a hand-dipped cone is special just for them. Whether you’re into vanilla or like your flavors a little wild, Kilwin’s will tantalize your taste buds and send you home satisfied. People watching on St. Armand’s while you enjoy your treat– Talk about the cherry on top of the ice cream!
Venice: The Soda Fountain of Venice, 349 W. Venice Ave, Venice
The term “soda jerk” conjures up the idea of some skinny kid with a boat-shaped hat on his head mixing ice cream and milk and a healthy dose of malt to create something wonderful. Located on Venice Island, the Soda Fountain allows for a nostalgic experience, complete with high, swiveling bar stools and window seats so you can see all of the hubbub along Venice Ave. I’m not much of a malt person, so my go-to ice cream treat at this venue is definitely a chocolate shake. So thick and creamy–the kind of consistency that doesn’t rush through your straw no matter how much suction you apply. As the shake snake makes its way into your patient mouth, you are certain it was worth your wait. Aside from shakes, you can get cones, sundaes, malts, and of course, famous ice cream sodas in a host of flavors.
North Port: Sweet Scoops, 171 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte
Though this one has a Port Charlotte address, most consider it to be a North Port haunt. Sweet Scoops is famous for its homemade ice cream and not so much the ambiance. No luxury of St. Armand’s or charm of Venice Island, but they do know how to serve up unique and tasty ice cream. My favorite part of going to this place, aside from the butter pecan ice cream which I love to get from here, is getting the dog dish for my favorite Florida Brown Dog, Gracie. A beautiful swirl of vanilla ice cream accompanied by a pint-sized dog bone in a cute bowl lets her know she’s important. The interior of this place is lined with license plates from states that actual guests have visited from. It is a true testament of the power of ice cream and how it is a draw for snowbirds and locals alike.
Photos courtesy of I Love Ice Cream Facebook page.