Upstaters surely know what harbingers signal the change of seasons.  From winter to spring there is one change in the air that is unmistakable meaning winter is receding in the rear view mirror.

The roadside ice cream stands are opening up!

There are more than 100 of these nostalgic roadside icons across the state.  We know them by their yellow fluorescent bug lights, the menus with dozens of ice cream flavors and offerings, the long lines at the little walk-up windows, and for many of them, the towering ice cream cone on the roof.  And for a few select stands, we pull over at the sign of the dazzling neon images beckoning us (like the Snow Man in Troy, or Martha's giant neon rooster near Lake George.)

Some open a lot earlier than others.  I cant' t tell you, for example, how many times I have seen people standing in line wearing winter coats, hats and mittens at the early March opening of Albany's Kurver Kreme!  And that scene is played out from the Hudson Valley to Buffalo.

Most of the stands also serve food, standard items like hamburgers, fries, and chili dogs.  Others get a bit more fancy.  Some are stand-alone brick and mortar all season ice cream destination (think historic Purity Ice Cream in Ithaca, for example) while others are little Mom and Pop ice cream stands on a rural road in the middle of nowhere.

All are excellent.

Upstaters love their ice cream cones, and when winter exits out the back door (don't let the door hit you on the way out), we answer the call and head out to stands like those on this list.

It's Spring! Grab a Cone at Any of These 21 Classic New York Ice Cream Stands!

A rite of passage from winter to spring in Upstate New York is the opening of the 100 roadside ice cream stands in the region. Here are 21 of the best.

Did You Know This? 11 Vintage Upstate General Stores and Five and Dime Stores

We all have memories of those great little five and dime stores and general stores of our youth. They were the heartbeat of our communities. They sold just about everything, you could get a pretty good meal in most of them, and of course the showstopper was always the rows of penny candies. Upstate still has plenty of these stores around (some of them 100, 150, 170 years old!). Here is a list to start you on your trip back to the general stores of your youth. They are all great!