We're still not sure how exactly this one slipped under our radar, but we thank our lucky stars that we came across the Big Dipper.
Officially named Johnny and Shar's Big Dipper, this fun and unique ice cream shop in Moundsville is something you just have to see for yourself.
A few years ago, owners John and Sharon Yeater purchased the former Marshall Dairy building on Tenth Street (between Mound and Pen) with the intent to use it for storage of equipment John uses in his construction business and amusement park and carnival items that the Yeaters have purchased over the years.
Seeing its potential, several of the Yeaters' friends suggested converting the building into an ice cream shop. Though the interior of the building was in somewhat deplorable condition, John - being the handy building contractor that he is - sought to remodel the structure.
And what an amazing job he did!
Before even getting into the front door, patrons are sure to get an overwhelming sense of nostalgia as the outside features an old telephone booth and a gasoline pump on the sidewalk, an elephant on the front of the building and an amusement park train on the roof. And oh, the fun that awaits on the inside!
Just inside the front door is a train of six cars that came from a roller coaster in Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh. The attraction has become a popular spot for photo op's. The interior is also decked out in old amusement park signs, bumper cars, a juke box, an oldtime gasoline pump, two carnival fun house mirrors and of all things ... a penny-farthing. For those without immediate access to Google, that would be the antique bicycle with a giant wheel in front and small wheel in back.
The Big Dipper offers thirty-two flavors of delicious hand-dipped Hershey's ice cream. Shakes, banana splits and sundaes are also an option. The Buds each enjoyed a large waffle cone. Bud Em went with a scoop of chocolate and peanut butter and a scoop of Play Dough, the former being her all-time favorite flavor (it's the frozen hunks of peanut butter - YUM!) and the latter because the atmosphere put her in a playful mood. The bright yellow ice cream with colored hunks of sugar cookie dough was delish, even if she felt a little silly eating it.
Bud Shaunna opted for a scoop of Coconut Chocolate Almond and a scoop of Muddy Sneakers. What are muddy sneakers? Just a white chocolate ice cream blended with a caramel fudge ripple and crunchy chocolate peanutty nuggets of goodness, that's all. Oh, and it was also delicious, with a capital D! And as if that flavor wasn't enough, the smoothness of the coconut ice cream with slivers of almonds made a nice bottom layer inside the waffle cone. These wonderful indulgences were only $3.49 for a large cone, and totally worth it!
Aside from ice cream, the Big Dipper also offers Sarris Candies, Nathan's hot dogs, pepperoni rolls, an assortment of chips and even a selection of novelty items and candies. The Yeaters have also opened a museum upstairs that includes amusement park memorabilia from Kennywood, Coney Island, White Swan and West View Amusement Parks and a larger number of carnival items.
The Buds advise that you don't wait until you happen to be in Moundsville to check this place out, it's just too cool - go today! They are open Tuesday - Sunday noon to 9 p.m.
The Buds may be reached at tastebuds@ timesleaderonline.com.