We had an expert on generations come to town not that long ago.
Specifically, he was a salesman whose pitch was generational-based content.
His lecture was designed to reach targeted demographics based on the common traits and shared experiences of people raised in the same basic period of time.
It was interesting. However, I had a hard time believing that people from a wide array of backgrounds, diverse experiences and a myriad of other influences could be so homogenous.
Then he got to Generation X and he might as well have been talking directly about me.
Latchkey kid of young parents? Check.
Working mother? Check.
Not a joiner? I’m not a group guy.
It turns out I’m not nearly as special and unique as I thought.
But what does all that have to do with ice cream?
I’m getting there, Chachi.
The year was 1983 and mom had to be at work super early while dad usually got in late.
I was nine. I’d get up, make myself breakfast, check on my infant baby brother and get him in his jumper. And then make my way to school … eventually.
I don’t remember being aware of this at the time. But apparently, I was almost always late. I can remember walking to school but I don’t remember seeing other kids doing the same.
It’s all a little vague.
I do remember one morning being extra late because I wanted to see the world premiere of the Men at Work video “Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jive” on MTV. It was good. But probably not worth the trouble I got into.
And now we get to the ice cream.
Cable TV was relatively new then and we had HBO. It wasn’t like today with child locks and stuff. We got the full bore cable experience.
So in the early days, even at the age of nine, HBO was the place to go for standup comedy. I loved, particularly, Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious” which I watched over and over and over and over. I memorized it. In fact, I can still recite large chunks of it today, nearly 40 years later.
I don’t know how much of Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious” you’ve seen lately but large parts of it have aged poorly.
However, nine-year-old me found it uproariously funny, especially the section about the ice cream man. Sure, I didn’t really understand all the jokes about the more adult themes, but the ice cream man material? Right up my alley.
So much so that today, all these years later, deep in my latchkey kid Gen X soul, if someone mentions going out for ice cream, I get a mental picture of Eddie Murphy – resplendent in tight red leather pants – taunting his childhood friends with a song.
“You don’t have no ice cream.”
I imagine there are large swaths of you reading this right now who have no idea what I’m talking about. But if you’ve made it this far – for my fellow Gen Xers? Gunny Goo Goo.
Best ice cream places in the Smoky Mountains
It turns out that if those kids from Eddie Murphy’s routine couldn’t get any ice cream at home, they should have just come to Gatlinburg.
Like pancakes, moonshine and go karts, ice cream in Sevier County is big business.
From the Old Mill Creamery in Pigeon Forge and the Apple Valley Creamery – part of the Apple Barn Village in Sevierville – to the various premium ice cream purveyors in the Gatlinburg area, the Smoky Mountains are where it’s at for your sweet, sugary, ice cream fix.
In particular, some of the best ice cream shops in the area are in Gatlinburg, close to the national park, making it a perfect way to cool off after a long day hiking and exploring the mountains.
Whether your dessert of choice is a simple vanilla soft serve, a homemade ice cream cone or one of the classic ice cream sodas served in downtown Gatlinburg, the best Gatlinburg ice cream shops can compete with anywhere in the world.
Here are some of our favorite places to get delicious ice cream in the Gatlinburg area.
4. Glades Soda Fountain
A portal to the past, this shop in the Gatlinburg Arts and Craft Community is like something out of an Archie comic.
They offer old-fashioned sodas, a variety of ice cream flavors and malts and shakes and sundaes as well as a classic banana split.
This nostalgic soda fountain, which harkens back to the day of the friendly soda jerk, offers a variety of ice cream cones that make for a fabulous sweet treat.
3. Maddi Mae’s Cafe and Creamery
Formerly known as the Village Cafe and Creamery, Maddi Mae’s is a great place to stop and chill out with a wide variety of shakes, floats and other heavenly ice cream treats. You can also perk up with locally roasted coffees and espressos.
They also offer slushies which is especially important when your middle child has a dairy allergy and is always wondering whether the ice cream shop will have something he can eat.
They also have Dole Whip flavored treats which are small orange-pineapple slices of heaven.
Maddi Mae’s is located in the Village Shops.
2. Mad Dog’s Ice Cream and Donuts
With locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Mad Dog’s is a great place to come if you want ice cream or other delectable treats.
As one of the few dog-friendly places in the area, they even have treats and toys for your four-legged friends.
Choose from 24 unique flavors of ice cream like white chocolate raspberry, black walnut, moose tracks, Yellow Brick Road, chocolate chip cookie dough, Smoky Mountain fudge, blueberry pie, peanut butter cup and more.
In addition to shaved ice that comes with a choice of flavors and toppings, they have funnel cakes, a wide variety of donuts and donut holes and much, much more.
1. Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar
This chain with locations in the Carolinas and Virginia is all about sweet excess.
They are best known for milkshakes that tower far above the mason jar they’re served in. But they also serve a variety of ice cream concoctions, including treats that use ice cream sandwiches of chocolate chip cookies for the “bread”.
Forget waffle cones or waffle bowls, at the Crazy Mason, they serve your sundae on top of a freshly prepared waffle.
Do you have a favorite ice cream place in Gatlinburg? Let us know in the comments!