All of my favorite places in the world serve ice cream. Union Dairy in Freeport, Illinois is probably my all-time favorite. But, luckily for me there’s a close by close second.
The Sidney Dairy Barn in Sidney, Illinois.
Sure, there are even closer places for us to get ice cream, but proximity isn’t my priority. I can get a Blizzard anywhere. But where else are you going to get an ice cream cone so brightly colored it turns your teeth and lips unnatural colors?
Sidney is a tiny town (population of about 1,300) 10-ish miles southeast of Urbana. Google says it takes us 14 minutes to get there, but the drive honestly doesn’t feel that long to me, especially on a day like today. The clouds were poofy, the sky was blue, the wind was warm, and the fields of corn on highway 130 were shiny and green after last night’s rain.
Dan and I were on a mission to try the Dairy Barn’s wild cherry soft serve ice cream. (Last week’s limited run of Blue Moon ice cream hooked us, and we vowed to try as many flavors as possible this summer.) I got a regular cone; he got a large, chocolate-dipped waffle cone. We sat at a picnic table trying to eat our confections fast enough that they weren’t melting all over us but slow enough that we didn’t give ourselves headaches.
Dan wore some of his. I got brain freeze. And our lips turned red from the “vitamin red”—that’s what Dan calls red food coloring—while Janet Jackson’s “Escapade” played on the radio.
It’s one of the happiest places on earth. In fact, I’m pretty sure cancer has to shut up and take a seat at the Sidney Dairy Barn. At least until you finish your dessert.