Road Trip to Legendary Martha’s Dandee Creme Just Off the Thruway
A legendary New York eatery located just off the Thruway is a must-stop for anyone passing through.
In the late 1930s, Martha Schoelermann was visiting upstate New York when she fell in love with the region. The young Long Island woman went back home and begged her family to help her purchase some property in the area. The rest is local ice cream history.
Schoelermann and her husband Carl Frieberger opened a small restaurant out of their home in 1946 after the two of them made the move from Long Island to the Lake George region. Eight years later, a man named Charlie Wood purchased property across the street from the couple and opened up a small amusement park called Storytown, which is now Great Escape.
A couple of years later, the Froebergers added an ice cream stand which quickly became the tourist destination known as Martha's Dandee Creme. The business was eventually sold to loyal customers of the business in 1982. The Lafontaine family proudly kept the business going for three decades before eventually selling it to Great Escape in 1999. But that's not where their story ends.
In 2009 a new generation of Lafontaines purchased the business back from Six Flags, putting it back in the hands of the family that had run it for 30 years. Today, Martha's Dandee Creme is a huge roadside grill and ice cream stand that attracts mobs of hungry travelers. The stand has expanded quite a bit from its original window and now features an intricate water fountain out front which shoots synchronized streams of water into the air like something you'd see at Epcot Center.
The food menu consists of burgers, hot dogs, Italian sausage, salads, chicken, seafood and cheesesteaks served in two different ways. You can either get an "original" Philly cheesesteak with shaved ribeye, grilled onions and a choice of cheese or Martha's signature recipe which incorporates red and green peppers and Cheese Whiz.
The real draw, however, is the ice cream. Martha's makes its ice cream fresh every single day. Customers can find out which flavors are available by checking out the big screens at the stand or visiting the restaurant's website, which keeps an extensive list of each day's offerings.
You can expect to find an eclectic menu of ice cream flavors such as black raspberry, salted caramel, birthday cake, maple walnut and Dole Whips. But be warned when ordering a "large." The sizes are way bigger than you expect. A "kiddie" size would be a regular size cone at most other ice cream establishments. The small is actually quite a bit to handle, but if you're brave enough to order a medium or (lord help you) a large, you better be a fast licker. On a hot day, you're going to face an enormous tower of ice cream that will kick off a race against time and the sun's rays.
If you happen to be traveling through the Lake George area and are looking for a fun, delicious place to fill up, you can find Martha's Dandee Creme just off Exit 20 on the New York State Thruway at 1133 Route 9 in Queensbury, across From Six Flags Great Escape.
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