I recently visited Estes Park, CO as part of my visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. I presumed I knew what Estes Park would be, and while it is indeed touristy, I really enjoyed it, because it still had a lot of character and reminded me of New England tourist and ski towns.
The biggest surprise? Estes Park is FULL of ice cream shops – and many of them carry homemade ice cream! After a visit to urgent care, I felt I had earned some ice cream, so I got online and started researching. Hayley’s looked great, so off I went. I was surprised to see several other stores with homemade ice cream (according to their signage) on the walk to Hayley’s, but I stuck with the plan.
Hayley’s had really friendly staff. They let me do up to three flavors in one scoop! The store was relatively small, but the street is lined with benches perfect for enjoying a cup or cone.
They had several distinct flavors, and it was those flavors that clued me in, when I visited Laura’s Fine Candies, that it is Laura’s who makes Hayley’s homemade ice cream! Laura’s is a gorgeous candy store, with fantastic popcorn, lots of homemade treats and a beautiful section in back for their forty flavors of homemade ice cream.
So here’s what I got at Hayley’s, but could have also gotten at Laura’s, which is the more beautiful and impressive store on the opposite side of the street.
Huckleberry – This was super creamy. I think it tastes similar to blueberry, as a fruit. I’ve only had it occasionally. The ice cream has a nice balance, living somewhere between creamy and fruity. It manages to be pretty smooth, taste super creamy, have really great flavor and a nice texture. Honestly, I could eat this every day. It’s probably in my top ten favorite fruit ice creams right now!
Sea Salt Caramel – This was a more subtle flavor. There’s no cheap caramel aftertaste here, and the Black Sea salt crystals are a nice touch. I found a couple of ice crystals, but it was otherwise creamy, so the crystals surprised me and kind of didn’t bother me.
Mexican Chocolate – This is about a medium chocolate base, with cinnamon and some heat that comes after the rest is completely gone. It’s a really surprising kick and I enjoyed it a lot. I got a big ice crystal though.
Overall, Laura’s is a truly solid ice cream company. Even if the ice crystals aren’t their fault (perhaps it was how they were stored), I wouldn’t rate any of these ice creams as a top five selection. But I would enjoy eating Laura’s any day of the week, and I’m especially fond of that Huckleberry. Yum!
I enjoyed a second homemade ice cream in Estes Park as well. Stay tuned for next week’s entry for the full scoop!
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