Best Bristol Spots for Ice Cream and Sweet Treats

June 7, 2022 6:19 am

It’s not summer if there’s no ice cream, and being a popular destination for summer vacationers, Bristol, NH has plenty of it. Whether you’re looking for a cone after a day at the beach or something sweet for after dinner, there’s plenty of locally-owned businesses to choose from in town.


At this roadside stand just off the shores of Newfound Lake, you’ll find plenty of ice cream flavors to choose from, as well as savory summertime favorites like fried seafood, burgers and salads. The “Shack” is hard to miss, located on West Shore Road across the street from Shackett’s Supermarket, a family-owned store since 1945. It offers all the essentials for your lake camp stay, including the Shackett’s famous donuts.

Basic Ingredients

Located on Lake Street in Bristol, Basic Ingredients has fresh, homemade food to leave even the biggest appetite satisfied. If you love fresh-baked breads, pies, cookies and scones, make sure to stop by, and stop by early. Basic Ingredients doesn’t like leftovers and items do run out. Don’t forget to order a sticky bun, named best in the state by New Hampshire Magazine.

As you can see, there are plenty of options to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re looking for a great spot to grab a meal, we can recommend that too. Check out our post, Great Places to Eat in Bristol, NH.

Idle-a-While Country Antiques and Ice Cream

Bringing two New England favorites together–antiquing and ice cream–the Idle-a-While has been offering ice cream seasonally for years. Located on the Mayhew Turnpike in next-door Bridgewater, you can access the store by car or by boat on Newfound Lake. Here you’ll find favorite ice cream stand favorites, from cones to root beer floats. 

This is a seasonal spot, so check their Facebook page for updates on new items, hours and opening dates.

Purple Pit Coffee Lounge

Looking for a more grown-up option for your sweets? The Purple Pit Coffee Lounge, located in Central Square, has cannolis, cookies and other desserts, as well as a full offering of espresso drinks to cap off an afternoon out. While the coffee shop closes mid-afternoon, the Purple Pit Jazz Club is open later, offering live music from 7-9 p.m. Check out the website for ticket info. 

Cardigan Country Store

Open Wednesdays through Saturday, from Memorial Day until December, the country store specializes in delicious, home-cooked goods. Grab some donuts, apple cider, pies and jams, made with ingredients from their mountainside orchard. Not looking for sweets? They also have great barbecue, made on site during certain months. Make sure to check the website for hours and menu items.

Looking for more information about business in Bristol, NH? Please contact our Economic Development Committee to schedule a call.

Want to have your business featured on the Bristol NH Business website? Please contact Beth LaMontagne Hall at