Ice cream from Velvet Ice Cream in Utica, Ohio. CONTRIBUTED

WORTH THE DRIVE: The best times to visit one of nation’s best ice cream factories coming up

One of the nation’s most visited ice cream factories is located just two hours from Dayton, and we have the inside scoop on some of the best times to visit.

Velvet Ice Cream will open the doors to its Ye Olde Mill and factory to travelers starting May 1 for its 2019 season.

Named by Frommer's as one of America’s 10 Best Ice Cream Factory Tours, Velvet Ice Cream's Ye Olde Mill welcomes 150,000 visitors each year for tours, tastings, events and live entertainment on weekends. Family-owned and operated, Velvet produces and distributes more than five million gallons of ice cream every year from its headquarters on the grounds of Ye Olde Mill.

Velvet Ice Cream's Ye Olde Mill in Utica, Ohio.
Photo: HANDOUT

The Utica, Ohio-based ice cream maker is celebrating its 105th anniversary and four generations of leadership. Here are some special events coming up this spring to potentially time a visit:

MAY 1 — The first guest to arrive at Ye Olde Mill on Wednesday, May 1, will receive complimentary lunch for two and Velvet’s signature ice cream sundae, the Messy Mess Sundae, a massive goblet, dripping with hot fudge, rolled in peanuts and filled with Original Vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry.

MAY 11 — Free Cone Day on Saturday, May 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where each guest will receive one free kid’s cone of their choice at Ye Olde Mill’s ice cream parlor and full-service restaurant.

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND — The Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival draws about 30,000 annually for a celebration of ice cream, including contests for kids, ice cream eating contests, over 90 local artisans, pony rides, classic car show with more than 400 cars and live entertainment. And of course, the fun is all topped off with ice cream.

Velvet Ice Cream milkshake served up at Ye Olde Mill.
Photo: HANDOUT

If these don’t work, you can plan a visit anytime. Ye Olde Mill is open in May from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; June-Aug., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; September, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.; and in Oct., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Throughout the season, Velvet visitors can enjoy family-friendly events, such as live music and entertainment on weekends and holidays; Mother’s and Father’s Day specials; and special deals during July for National Ice Cream Month.

Here are a few things to expect on a visit to the mill and ice cream shop:

• Free Velvet Ice Cream factory tours 

• Watching ice cream being made in the viewing gallery (Monday-Friday) 

• Free play on the Ye Olde Mill playground 

• Three shelter houses for picnics and family gatherings 

• A Historic 1817 grist mill with water wheel 

• An updated, modern ice cream parlor 

• Interactive Ice Cream Museum 

• Fishing and feeding the family of ducks at two catch-and-release ponds 

• Nature trail

Ice Cream Festival crowd at Ye Olde Mill in Utica, Ohio, Sunday, May 27, 2007. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
Photo: HANDOUT/TIMOTHY E BLACK

WANT TO GO?

What: Ye Old Mill and Velvet Ice Cream Factory

Where: 11324 Mount Vernon Road, Utica

Hours: Ye Olde Mill is open in May from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; June-Aug., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; September, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.; and in Oct., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 

More info: FacebookWebsite

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