Finally, spring has arrived in North Carolina. The yellow haze blanketing frost-tipped pansies that more often than not thaws into a steamy precursor of summer is here. There is nothing like warm temperatures and sunshine to wake you from hibernation, to make you want to get out and go somewhere, and to make you want…ice cream! And the answers to all of these season desires can be had in just a short trip down the “double nickels.” That’s Highway 55 to those of you new to the lingo!
Venture through rural Wake County through Fuquay-Varina and 7 mils until you are ALMOST (literally a few yards from) to the Harnett County line to Sunni Sky’s. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the bright yellow, sunglass-wearing ice cream cone sign on the side of the road and the parking lot full of happy people and equally happy (and often sticky) children. A seasonal operation, Sunni Sky’s is open March through December, until 11:00 PM Sunday-Thursday, and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Sunni Sky’s has no shortage of flavors either and you can taste them for free before committing! It might be hard to decide however, with choices like brownie batter, key lime pie, sour apple sherbet, crumb cake, pumpkin pie, oatmeal cookie, tiramisu, and margarita sherbet, not to mention the unique and short run special flavors advertised on the chalkboard outside the door. They also have sugar free in several flavors so those on dietary restrictions can enjoy a treat as well. Generous single scoops here are $2.50 (double is $3.50; triple $3.75) and kiddie cones are $1.50. Or get creative with an avalanche or sundae! Sprinkles are always free! They also sell bottled water and canned soft drinks.
For you brave souls out there…or those without sinuses and tastebuds…ask for a sample of the cold sweat. Made with habanero and Thai chili peppers, the pencil point-sized sample will live up to its name (and they will even give you a sample of vanilla to chase the heat away). If that is not enough adventure for you though, ask to try exit wound…and don’t say you weren’t warned. To even be able to taste this scorcher made with ghost peppers and a type of pepper spray extract, you have to be able to eat a full teaspoon of cold sweat AND sign a waiver! It is rumored to live up to its name…so taster beware!
One of the nicest things about Sunni Sky’s – besides the delicious ice cream – is the seating. Chairs in adult and kid sizes adorn the patio and lawn. Sit a spell and enjoy the creamy coolness while meeting new friends. The kids can even pose with the giant hot pink ice cream cone for silly pictures mom can post on Facebook!
Haven’t had enough road trip or ice cream yet? Well, keep on trucking down Highway 55 (turn left out of Sunni Sky’s) through the town of Angier (sound like a local; pronounce it “AN-jerr”) and into Coats. Both towns have cute shops and thrift stores if you want to work off a few calories before your second course. Just outside of Coats, on the left you’ll see Smith’s Farm. Again, you’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the ginornous ice cream cone beside the parking lot and the equally large strawberry under the sign!
Smith’s is a working family farm and they use as much of their own produce in their famous wood-churned ice cream as they produce. Yes, wood-churned – with a tractor motor right inside the barn! You have to see it to believe it!
At Smith’s the flavors are as seasonal as the fruit in the fields, but they always have chocolate, vanilla, and a few other special treats with loads of toppings to choose from as well. Child’s cup or cone is $1.50; single cup $2.25 (double $3.25 and triple for $3.60). Waffle cones are available for $0.60 more than the scoop price. In addition to water, Coke, diet Coke, or Sprite, Smith’s also whips up some delicious milkshakes ($3.00) with whipped cream and, of course, a cherry on top! Also they serve fresh squeezed lemonade, strawberry lemonade, and cherry lemonade. You will not be disappointed – giving in to temptation here is never a bad thing!
As with Sunni Sky’s, Smith’s is very family friendly. They have Ma & Pa Blueberry (more Facebook pics, mom) and a small playground area for the kids. Seating is overlooking the crop fields (and being “overlooked” by the Harnett County water tower – an easy landmark!) or in the barn, and there is plenty of it! While you are in the barn, take a look at their other offerings too and bring home a souvenir…hot sauce, pickles, jelly, bottled cider…take your pick! It ALL looks delish!
Smith’s is closed on Mondays and open Tuesday-Thursday from 12:00-9:30, Friday and Saturday from 12:00-10:00, and Sundays from 1:00-8:00.
So hit the highway and give in to that spring fever! There is nothing like bonding with the family over larger than life produce and dairy products…and ice cream! Try something new…get out there and enjoy!!