There's a comforting, soothing element to ice cream. It's rich, it's indulgent, and it's special - a treat.
My love affair with this confectionery creation began when I was young. Growing up in a lower middle-class family, we pinched pennies whenever possible. And ice cream, well, it's not a necessity. So when we were able to get it, it was special. It was a treat.
I didn't realize the sense of comfort it brought me until I first moved away from home at age 18 to attend West Virginia University. As a freshman, I was required to stay in a dorm, and the nearest dining option was the beloved Cafe Evansdale - otherwise known as going to eat at Towers.
After a long and trying week, Pufferbelly's Ice Cream Station was calling my name. This restaurant features old-school, hand-dipped ice cream in an old train station-themed building at 1024 Fairmont Avenue.
All Aboard Appetizers, Station House Salads, Steam Engine Soups, Signal Crossing Sandwiches, Round House Wraps and Paninis, and Cattle Car Burgers are just some of the items featured on the menu. They even had a display of a Turkey dinner in honor of Thanksgiving that customers could order.
The ice cream, though, is the show stopper. Not to be outdone, they too bear train-themed names like the "train wreck," which is their version of a s'mores sundae. The one that caught my eye was their "locomotive," which has pretzels, caramel and fudge.
You can choose if you want hand-dipped ice cream from their freezer or soft-serve from the machine. I went with a soft-serve twist so I could get both chocolate and vanilla. They put the toppings down first, then the ice cream, then reverse the toppings so you essentially get an ice cream sandwich in sundae form.
The dining area is deceptively large, with a dozen or so tables to rest and enjoy a hot meal or cool treat. The restaurant has a laidback vibe with relaxed lighting and warm colors.
Oh, and the ice cream? Pretty tasty. It was filled to the brim with ice cream, hot fudge and caramel while small pretzels toppled over the edges. If you're a fan of that sweet and salty combo like I so enjoy, this is a good option for you. I only wish that it was a little lighter on the fudge because it could tend to take over the flavor. Still, tasty.
Pufferbelly's Ice Cream Station is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. It is located at 1024 Fairmont Avenue in Fairmont, West Virginia.