It’s hot outside and most of us are looking for a reprieve. You’re in luck because July is National Ice Cream Month. So let’s take a trip to Washington, N.C., and visit Cups & Cones Ice Cream & Coffee Shop at 227 E. Water St.

They opened March 1, 2020, but owners and friends, Pat Lewis, Rebecca Clark and Jayne Meisell had their sites set on ice cream since 2017. The ladies have been business partners since 2013 when they managed the LittleShoppes and South Market Antiques. After a few years, and in the middle of a pandemic, the opportunity to take over ownership of the ice cream shop came up and the ladies took the leap from retail to ice cream and it’s been a cool ride ever since.

The quaint shop is located at the Moss Landing Marina across from the Washington waterfront and is beside the North Carolina Estuarium. Cups & Cones serves Blue Bell Ice Cream in 12 different flavors. They have several flavors served year-round like traditional vanilla and chocolate and rotate new flavors in weekly. Some of the best-loved flavors include mint chocolate chip, strawberry, peachy peach, pecan pralines ’n’ cream, rocky road and rainbow sherbet.

Other rotating flavors include banana pudding, black cherry, cookies ’n’ cream and the most popular flavor by far, the sea salt caramel. More unique flavors include cinnamon, coconut, cotton candy, krazy cookie dough, moolenium crunch, peppermint, pistachio almond and coffee. You can enjoy your ice cream in a variety of ways. Choose a scoop in a sugar cone or bowl, or mixed into a creamy, cool milkshake, or enjoy a decadent ice cream sundae. You can add on a variety of toppings from hot fudge, caramel, rainbow or chocolate sprinkles, mini gummy bears, M&M’s, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and pecans.

Even though Cups & Cones sells ice cream as their main staple, they also serve a variety of coffee-based drinks using their own blends of Lanoca Coffee from Farmville. They have a light/medium, dark and decaf blend. Choose from traditional lattes, cappuccinos, or an espresso drink for an extra afternoon energy bolt, an iced coffee with milk or dairy-free Almond milk, chai or hot tea and feel free to add a flavor shot — and with 32 choices to choose from, you’re sure to find a flavor for any mood. You can also buy a one-pound bag of their coffee and they will grind it for you free.

They also serve a variety of non-coffee beverages from blueberry, blood orange, mango or peach iced tea, fruit smoothies like the mango or strawberry, lemonade or frozen cherry lemonade, and a variety of sodas. Snacks available include popcorn, kettle-cooked chips, snack mix, candy and chocolate.

I started with the perfect ice cream cone. What constitutes the perfect cone? Rebecca says it starts with a sugar cone topped with two, big scoops of ice cream. I went for the most popular delectable sea salted caramel and rich coffee. It was a picture-perfect cone, and the owners say handing one over is like handing over happiness. “The best part about this job and making ice cream treats and cones for customers is they never come in angry. Ice cream makes everyone happy and we love that aspect of this job. Just give them the perfect cones with their perfect flavors and they can’t help but smile,” Rebecca said. The ladies quote the late Steve Jobs: “If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream.” They have found a “sweet spot” of retail and that “perfect” cone did not disappoint.

Next, I went for a delicious pick-me-up with the Affogato, which is made with coffee and ice cream. Start with a scoop of traditional vanilla ice cream, chocolate sprinkles, caramel syrup and a shot of dark espresso. It tasted like a coffee float. It was rich and dreamy and a sweet treat for your happiness meter any time of the year.

After my little shot of afternoon fuel, I was ready for a full-fledged ice cream sundae. I tried the Cosmic Brownie Sundae made with a brownie, two scoops of decadent chocolate ice cream, a generous helping of whipped cream, chocolate syrup and sliced cosmic brownie bites. You had me at brownie with this one and then you give me chocolate ice cream, more chocolate sauce and whipped cream. I was in the most enjoyable ice cream coma ever.

I now know why we eat ice cream as adults. Life is hard. The dog days of summer are hot and long and sometimes all we need to put ourselves back on track is to be a kid again when all you needed to have a good day was eat an ice cream sundae. This is that sundae.

If you are one of those people that don’t fancy chocolate or brownies (not sure these people exist), there is a sundae just for you. Why not try the Wizard Sundae made with a creamy traditional scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with peanut butter syrup along with Reese’s peanut butter cups all atop a sugar cone topped with sprinkles and whipped cream. If this one does not right your frown or make your day better, I’m not sure what will.

Ice cream is a great start to any summer, so if you’re looking to add some childhood happiness back in your life anytime of the year, come check out Cups & Cones Ice Cream & Coffee Shop. They are open every day Monday-Sunday noon to 8 p.m. For more information, call (252) 623-1836, follow them on Facebook, or email them at

Contact Bobby Burns at and 329.9572.