RISING SUN, Md. — In 1744, Maryland Governor Thomas Bladen served the first ice cream ever in the U.S. at an ice cream social.
That's according to the Maryland Office of Tourism, which has a whole section of its website dedicate to Maryland's love for the cold, creamy dessert.
More than 270 years after the first ice cream was served in Maryland, the state boasts dozens of creameries, 10 of which are farm-to-cone. Those 10 creameries are featured in the Maryland's Best Ice Cream Trail.
"These are places where folks can come to get really fresh ice cream right next to the cow that produced that ice cream as well," said Matthew Scales, public relations specialist with the Office of Tourism.
One of those creameries is Kilby Cream in Cecil County. The dairy farm is a few miles down the road from the ice cream shop in Rising Sun. Liz Flahart, co-owner of the farm and store, says it takes just a couple of days for the cows' milk to be turned into a variety of ice cream flavors.
"I don’t know if it can get much fresher. We make fresh mix every week and that week it is made into ice cream and it goes out to either our store or our wholesalers," she said.
They sell ice cream in scoops, pints and shakes. The store has plenty of outdoor space for families to come hang out, play games and interact with farm animals in the petting zoo.
Flahart says she enjoys giving people tours of the farm to see how their products are made and says being part of the Ice Cream Trail helps to attract visitors.
"Unless you’re local to them, you [might not] know that it is an on-farm creamery, so it gives them an opportunity to visit different farms and taste the different flavors they offer and have different experiences," she said.
Kilby Cream is planning a celebration on Sunday July 18 in honor of National Ice Cream Day with giveaways, specials and family-friendly activities.
There is also a contest going on right now to become an Ice Cream Trailblazer. Ice cream lovers can visit all 10 creameries on the trail, snap a picture at each location and submit their photos to get in the running for prizes. The contest ends September 30.
The state tourism office also has an Ice Cream Lover's Guide that features almost 30 creameries in different regions of Maryland.
"They take a lot of that Maryland culture and culinary scene and entwine it with those recipes, such as making crab seasoning in ice cream and really paying homage to Maryland’s culinary scene," said Scales.
One such creamery that has grown in size and popularity, and happens to have an Old Bay Caramel flavor, is The Charmery.
"I love ice cream. I love thinking in ice cream, I love thinking about ice cream," said David Alima, co-owner of The Charmery.
Alima is best described as a mad ice cream scientist. He and his wife Laura opened their first shop on The Avenue in Hampden in 2013. Eight years later, they now have five locations in Baltimore, Baltimore County and Howard County.
The Charmery is known for its unique flavors, like the Spicy Peanut Brittle featuring fried garlic peanuts from Heritage Kitchen. The flavors are often created through collaborations with local chefs, musicians and other makers. And many of their specialty flavors are tied to local charities.
"There’s a plethora of amazingly talented people right here that we haven’t even scratched the surface," Alima said. "Its just amazing to see different communities kind of come together over ice cream."
The Charmery is releasing its newest flavor on July 16 in collaboration with The Corner Pantry.