The Ice House
Written by Penny Gourmet
Admittedly it is off the beaten path to newcomers, but hey, it's not really hard
to find. And if you know what's good for you, you will find it. The scenic ride
is matched only by the ice cream.
The Ice House
112 Wentworth Road
Rye, NH 03870
We can’t remember one person ever saying one bad word about the Ice House, with
the exception of – we couldn’t find it! The food is consistently good and affordable
and the service is always friendly. Family businesses tend to be that way. Guess
it has something to do with family values.
We hit the Ice House at least a half dozen times per summer and it has been fascinating
watching it grow over the years. Visitors to the "old" Wentworth by the Sea, just
up the road, remember it as a little ice cream shack. Visitors to the new Wentworth by the Sea find a much more sophisticated diner-style restaurant with indoor eating – especially
fried seafood, chicken, chowders, chili, sandwiches and burgers. And of course,
some of the best ice cream on the Seacoast.
The name hearkens from the days when the hotel ice house was on a little man
made pond near this spot. Victorian hotel owner Frank Jones figured it was cheaper
to build his own ice making facility and store up the ice in winter, than to buy
it from local vendors during the summer season.
Our standard bike-by dinner is a mocha frappe and a fish sandwich, sometimes
fish n’ chips. You can sit under the trees at a picnic table unless the mosquito
season is in full swing. Locals tend to drive by as soon as the snow begins to
fade in the spring just waiting for the OPEN sign to appear. There is always a
whisper of sadness in the fall when the sign is suddenly gone.
Like in the olden days, outdoor diners stand in line and order through a counter
window. If you stand too far from the window, you may not hear your number, so
don’t wander off. It’s hard for us not to bump into friends and find ourselves
still sitting an hour after lunch – which, of course, means getting back in line
People new to the region often put the Ice House in the "best kept secret" category.
That’s likely because, if you approach from the Rye side, it’s easy to miss the
small building tucked down a slight incline just as you come out of a sharp turn
on the winding Wentworth Road. So when approaching from Sagamore Road (turn at
the gas station following the Wentworth by the Sea sign). It’s easier to spot
if you take the Newcastle loop from Portsmouth (at the end of Marcy Street) that
winds onto "Great Island", through Newcastle village, past the hotel and the golf
course. Those who jog or bike the eight mile "loop" regularly know the way well.
For a "secret" spot, it sure has a long line.
Pictures and text (c) 2005 SeacoastNH.com
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