On a country road in the southeast corner of Massachusetts, just outside the tiny, coastal village of Padanaram and about two miles from my family’s home, there's an ice cream stand that looks like a milk can. It’s called Salvador’s, and it’s my summertime favorite.
Though you may not have heard of it if you’re not from the area, Salvador’s is hard to miss, not only because of its shape, but also because of the life-size fake cow, named Smith Neck Nellie, who stands on top.
The ice cream stand wasn’t always located here, however. Established as a dairy farm in 1890 by Joseph Salvador Sr., the original Salvador’s was built in nearby New Bedford, Massachusetts. It wasn’t until 1935 that then-owners Augustine (“Gus”) Salvador, Joseph’s son, and his wife, Lillian Brasells, physically uprooted the milk-can-shaped stand and relocated it. In 1936, they established the stand-alone ice cream business that exists today. Though it’s passed through different hands over the years, the heart of the place—and the iconic milk jug itself—remains the same.
My family’s been going to Salvador’s for more than 15 years. Cones or afternoon milkshakes are almost a daily ritual when we’re all together. We also go for the food: simple stuff like hot dogs, burgers and really good lobster rolls. It’s farmland to be sure, but the ocean’s right across the way.
Checkerboards painted on the picnic tables out front keep my nieces and nephews occupied, if they’re not looking over the fence outback at the animals roaming on the farm next door. Cars and groups of kids on bikes pull in and out of the gravel parking lot all day long, but everyone lingers over their treats at the tables. Salvador’s is just that type of place: one where the choice whether or not to get sprinkles feels like the most important decision of the day and where summer feels like it’ll last forever.
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