Life in our Foothills October 2021 – Pigging Out at The Ice Cream Barn
Written by Erin Boggs
Photographs by Erin Boggs and Melissa Henderson
We all love ice cream on a hot summer’s day, and some of us enjoy it year-round. But no matter what time of year it is, ice cream tastes even better with the show stopping mountain views at The Ice Cream Barn.
Located on Highway 9 in Mill Spring, the Ice Cream Barn is a busy and well-loved spot for locals, tourists and vacationers alike. Church groups and all kinds of community groups frequently gather here for after-event ice cream socials.
There are few other ice cream shops in our area that offer seating inside and outside that includes gorgeous mountain views while you enjoy your baked treats and Hershey’s brand ice cream. Between the delicious ice cream and the beautiful mountain views, you will never have another experience like it.
Owners Melissa and Keith Henderson took over the business in Columbus four years ago. Since that time, they moved to their new location in Mill Spring. The business has flourished here due to their loyal customers. They also attribute much of their success to their landlord, Steven Pruett. “We have to thank him for giving us such an awesome place to be and all that he has done for us to make it happen. Because I’m telling you if it weren’t for him, we would not have been able to do this.” says Melissa.
Winners of Favorites of the Foothills in the Ice Cream category, they not only offer ice cream but also baked goods. The menu includes mouthwatering treats such as Apple Dumpling Pie, Cherry Cake, Fresh baked brownies, Peach Cobbler or Pecan Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream, and warm baked cookies. They also make their very own homemade waffle cones from scratch. If you’re in the mood for ice cream, they have 32 flavors of delicious Hershey’s brand ice cream, fresh-made custom milk shakes, banana splits and a jaw-droppingly huge Hot Fudge Cake with ice cream. They recently added to their menu homemade desserts and coffee, as well as fresh squeezed lemonade and orangeade.
The barnyard themed art on the front windows was all designed by Melissa online and inspired by her love of farm animals. She hand-picked all the interior décor as well. “We have 14 donkeys, five chickens, four goats and a horse so I love farm animals,” says Melissa.
As a matter of fact, their most interesting customer helped save his family’s farm back in May of 2020. Unfortunately, the potato house at the local Tom Camp farm caught fire that day. The family, alerted by DT’s warning barks, moved quickly to save the farm buildings and animals. He even stood across the street watching until the fire fighters put out the blaze. To express gratitude and say thank you to DT, he was rewarded by his family and the Hendersons with his very own ice cream scoop.
In December of 2019, Melissa brought her mother Joyce McCraw in to see their new location, which she wholeheartedly approved of and said was the right move for the Hendersons to make. The shop has her hand-made curtains and other visual reminders of how important and loved she always will be.
Melissa and Keith are excited about their future plans for not only physical expansion of the business but also other possible offerings. On many days, especially Sundays, the doors are opened and they are lined down the sidewalk.” Melissa says. “We are looking to build a bigger Barn for more seating and room to serve breakfast and lunch in the future.”
Melissa’s oldest daughter, who works at the shop now, has expressed interest in continuing the business in the future. They have customers who travel from Hendersonville, Greenville and all over the area. Last summer they even started up a successful hot dog cart business right outside the shop.
If you want a one-of-a-kind ice cream experience, make sure to stop by or even make a special trip to the Ice Cream Barn in Mill Spring. If you’re lucky, maybe DT will stop by to greet you outside.
The Ice Cream Barn is open year-round Wednesday through Sunday. They are located at 82 NC-9 #1 in Mill Spring, NC. 828-894-0119