photos courtesy Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour
The oldest ice cream shop in Minnesota is nestled about 30 minutes east of the Twin Cities near the St. Croix River. Established in 1913 in Afton, Minnesota, Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour is red-trimmed, perpetually busy, and full of smiles. Pick from more than 30 premium ice cream flavors—try not to get overwhelmed looking at their yards-long chalkboard menu—and just days ago, WCCO gave its sundaes the title of Best in Minnesota. (While the Selma legacy may have had something to do with it, it’s difficult to deny the pleasure you get from menu items like the Dirt Sundae, which is Ultimate Oreo ice cream, Oreo toppings, gummy worms, and homemade whipped cream.)
While the building was originally built to store ammunition for the Civil War, the decades of ice cream-filled memories for the young (and young at heart) have created a haven of nostalgia. Grab a seat outdoors or at one of the pink dining tables inside—before the current owners Becky and Paul Nickerson reopened the place in 2012, they had set their family team of six to stripping the tables’ four layers of paint to prime it for a pink they saw in old photos. The walnut counter is original, the Selma’s sign behind the counter is pretty dang old, and if you know whom to ask, you can still hear tales about the spunky founder Selma Holberg.
For many in the community, Selma’s is iconic. The seasonal spot is only open from April through October, so go for a drive and get your taste of unique flavors like carrot-mango Italian ice, Fat Elvis, and Zanzibar chocolate while you can. Even though their ice cream desserts may melt in your car, you can grab a specialty drink from the cafe or some candy to bring a little bit of Selma’s goodness back home.
Make sure to check out other ice cream spots throughout the state during the dog days of summer with the help of our guide.