Island Creamery in Chincoteague, Virginia, has been serving farm fresh ice cream to its customers since 1975. Kelly Conklin now owns the store with his wife Robin, after taking over from his parents Bob and Nancy Conklin. But the Conklin recipe remains a sweet creation made from local cows and ingredients from local farmers.
“Inspiration for flavors come from the local fruit farmers and from the tasty sweets created in our kitchen,” the Conklins state on their website. The ingredients list is short: just cream, milk, plant derivatives and sugar. But their reputation is growing.
Being situated near the popular beachfront vacation destination of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge has contributed to making Island Creamery a tradition among visitors each summer. “We became a part of the vacation experience,” says Kelly Conklin.
And the word spread far and wide. The popularity of their sweet treats led the family to open two more locations, in Berlin, Maryland, and Salisbury, Maryland.
Now their cones are drawing national attention. The creamery has been nominated as the Best Ice Cream Shop in the USA Today’s 10Best Readers Choice Awards. The nominees are submitted by a panel of experts and then the public can vote once per category per day. Island Creamery is currently sitting at No. 1 on the leaderboard. The 10 nominees with the most votes in each category will be announced July 7.
Island Creamery is also featured on the Maryland Ice Cream Trail along with dozens of other “cow-to-cone” creameries across the state. This trail is a 250-year-old state tradition and creates a sweet treat road map just in time for summer. (Visit each creamery and snap a photo to win a prize from Maryland’s Best.)
The communities of Berlin, Salisbury and Chincoteague have been welcoming and supportive of the creamery says Conklin. Some longtime customers have brought in their children to introduce them to what made their childhood sweet.
Conklin praises the community for “warmly” supporting his business and shares the honor of being nominated with them. With three shops, Conklin says he has had many great personal experiences with his customers—ice cream just makes people happy, he says. ”You may come in grumpy, but chances are you’re not going to leave grumpy.”
The creamery offers classic flavors like vanilla, butter pecan and Oreo, but also has some unique flavors popular on the Eastern Shore. Some of their signature flavors are Bourbon Caramel Crunch, Marsh Mud and Pony Tracks which is similar to the popular Moose Tracks flavor but with a nod to the famous local Chincoteague ponies. They also offer seasonal flavors pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie in autumn.