For Adirondack locals and visitors alike, Donnelly’s Ice Cream Stand is an invaluable summer institution. Located between Lake Clear and Saranac Lake, and with a stunning view of Whiteface Mountain beyond picturesque open fields, owner Pete Donnelly’s white wooden stand has remained pretty much the same since his two aunts founded it in the 1950s. Local teenagers serve famously creamy soft-serve cones and dishes from the same vintage machine that Pete’s aunts purchased at a dairy show almost 60 years ago.
The machine makes one flavor a day, always twisted with vanilla, and locals know the schedule by heart or keep it posted on their refrigerators: chocolate on Wednesdays and the weekends, raspberry on Tuesdays, strawberry on Fridays, and a surprise on Mondays and Thursdays (Monday is always a nut flavor; Thursday is a fruit).
The classic dairy barn and farmhouse on the land have been in the family for generations. Pete grew up there and worked in all aspects of the dairy, including the ice cream stand. He continues to live there and acknowledges that the establishment has become a local landmark, but insists it is the customers that have made it that way.