Maynard is Norman-Rockwell-charming, all rosy red-brick storefronts populated by pizza places, neighborhood bars, and quaint, scrappy retail. And Erikson's. Erikson's is a mile or so from downtown - a pristine white creamery and ice cream stand smack dab in the middle of a pretty, but modest Victorian-era neighborhood.
This is All-American ice cream through and through, and has been for more than 75 years. Neighborhood families flock here day and night, and even though the gravel parking lot is stuffed with cars, half the people arrive on foot. Despite the crowds and the mind-boggling array of flavors and presentations, there's never much of a wait.7 separate lines and registers cover the building and there's a clock-work of teenage bustle inside. A scattering of picnic tables sit out back under the canopy of immense trees.
The ice cream is made in Erikson's creamery right next door. You want local? How's 15 feet? It's good ice cream - really good in some cases - but it's not the variety that will leave you speechless in ecstasy. Particularly loved the Strawberry, which despite a shock of color not found in nature tasted like it was mixed from farmer's market berries that morning. Vanilla was more sweet cream than vanilla bean, without a lot of zing. But you don't come here because of the killer hot fudge or the mountain of whipped cream on your sundae. You come here because the sun is setting on a long sunny day and there's a breeze rustling the leaves. You come here because the fireflies are out. You come here because it's still light after dinner and nobody's really paying that much attention to bed time. You come here because it's summer, and that's just how it's done.