Not mentioning Scottish Highland Creamery when discussing where to go on the Eastern Shore is similar to not mentioning putting Old Bay on seafood. Of course, you’ve got to– it’s a tradition! Now, there is one more reason why. The shop voted as the 5th best ice cream parlor to visit in the country by TripAdvisor, is now expanding to the Oxford Mews on Morris St.
This historic building, built in the late 1870s, had been vacant for 14 years. It happened to be across the street from another popular spot in Oxford, the Oxford Social Café, owned by Richard Leggett, who also owns the Creamery. The Mews has a covered porch, he noted; it overlooks the park, and it’s centrally located. Perfect for an ice cream shop, he thought and reached out to the Town.
As it turned out, Oxford already had a blueprint for how they envisioned the building to be put to use. It included three retail spaces and two one-story residential or executive office additions in the back. But Leggett came up with a different renovation plan. Besides the three retail spaces, the rear of the building would contain two stories, an elevator, four residential apartments, and a rain garden (helping to reduce water runoff). In April 2021, a deal was signed.
“Originally,” Leggett said, “we decided to take two of the spaces and rent the other one. Then we started laying out what we needed. Since we make the ice cream on-site, we needed a production area. Then we wanted a serving and a seating area. We also could use a walk-in freezer… It became clear that we needed all the space for ourselves.” Leggett said construction was started during COVID when everything took longer and cost more. But here they are at the finish line, with the grand opening on Friday, March 31st, at noon.
It’s a big moment both for Oxford and for the Creamery. “This building is such an iconic historic part of the Town,” said Leggett. “It’s nice to bring it to life in a way that I think is consistent with Oxford’s Interests and the core values of what they really would like to see.”
Now that it’s completed, there is no doubt when you walk through the doors that you’re entering an ice cream parlor. Notice the display cases, round-top seating areas, ice cream being scooped into cones or cups, and the sound of machines blending milkshakes. There is also Scottish Highland Creamery merch for sale. “We wanted to make sure that it’s a family-friendly atmosphere because that’s what we want our business to be–inclusive, approachable, comfortable, and affordable. But we also wanted to stay in tune with our Town, making it feel slightly nautical, so our merchandise is presented on an upright boat. We were even able to keep some of the original wood from the Mews and made our benches and counters out of them.”
There will, of course, continue to be the full range of everything that has made them so successful. This includes producing handcrafted ice cream on-site and their popular shakes and sundaes. But the new place is allowing new options. There will be more selections as they expand the menu from 16 flavors to 20. They will also sell customizable ice cream cakes that can be ordered in advance. In the future, look for possible ‘flights of ice cream’ that will allow people tastings of various combinations of flavors.
The good news continues. Their other location, on Tilghman street (also known as ‘the window’), will remain open during the summer. “We didn’t want to give that up,” said Leggett. “That building is older and floods a fair amount, but it is such a popular location we didn’t want to close it.”
Plus, it too will have a new feature–soft serve ice cream! “If you taste our ice cream when it comes off the machine, it’s both soft and delicious. And we just want to replicate that into soft serve products. It’s not going to be some cheap mixture. It’s still going to be our recipe, made by us. And it’s going to be really amazing.”
Having two places also means they’re expanding their staff. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be seeing familiar faces. Former Scottish Highland Creamery owner Victor Barlow (and the guy pictured on their logo) continues to provide experience and expertise to the business. General Manager Kendall Gant, who started working summers at the Creamery while in high school, will celebrate her 12th season this summer. Returning as Production Manager is Kate Fritzinger, who oversees adding some combination of fruits, nuts, caramel, etc., to create something interesting and different.
Said Leggett, “We’re constantly challenging ourselves to innovate, improve and come up with new things. We like to create holiday flavors, such as the Fourth of July ice cream, which we make three times a year. In fact, we went to ice cream school in January to learn some new things, including more dairy-free options. There will be more selections for just about everyone.”
As to favorites, it’s still the standard chocolate and vanilla, and strawberry. But Leggett gets a kick out of seeing customers trying new flavors. “The one that always shocks people when they have it is the Italian Lemon Cookie. People don’t naturally order it because most people aren’t thinking: ‘I want lemon ice cream.’ But when they taste it, they fall in love.”
So, go check out the new Scottish Highland Creamery location. Try the new flavors or stick by your favorites, sit on the porch, or enjoy the sunset across the street. Continue or start a new tradition. And as the sign and the Scottish greeting on the exit door says —Haste ye back! Come back soon.
Friday, March 31st at noon will be the opening day at the new location on 103 S. Morris Street. To help kick off the new season, musician Sam Pugh will be playing live music on Saturday, April 1st from 1-3pm! For additional info, check out their website (https://scottishhighlandcreamery.com) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheScottishHighlandCreamery?paipv=0&eav=AfaY62Wqp_JffOuGBTOtzRmi4HrMgXwhjeNYVejdzzS_E5XjCsIThpAxza1eLNpdi1c)
Val Cavalheri is a writer and photographer. She has written for various publications, including The Washington Post. Previously she served as the editor of several magazines, including Bliss and Virginia Woman. Although her camera is never far from her reach, Val retired her photography studio when she moved from Northern Virginia to the Eastern Shore a few years ago.. She and her husband, Wayne Gaiteri, have two children and one grandchild.