Remembering Gruning’s Ice Cream Parlor

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How unforgettable – the pleasures of savoring a peach ice cream sundae on a summer day at Gruning’s ice cream parlor in South Orange Village or sharing a deluxe chocolate ice cream soda with a friend at The Top in Maplewood after school.

Did you have a favorite Gruning’s treat?

Sunday, June 7, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., visit Durand-Hedden for a relaxed afternoon of fun recalling these adored institutions that were a center of social life and enjoyment for the two towns.

Gruning’s produced its wonderfully rich, flavorful ice cream for over 80 years from 1910 through 1991. Sadly, its confectionary stores, ice cream and candy are no more.  However, the celebrated fudge sauce is now being made from the original Gruning’s recipe and on June 7 visitors will be able to taste and purchase samples. There will be vintage photographs and memorabilia about the stores, family and staff to peruse and an opportunity for people to share their own Gruning’s memories and mementoes. Residents who arrived in town too late for a Gruning’s experience will get a sense of why the name alone brings wide smiles of contentment to veterans.  Be sure to bring the kids. There will be some old-fashioned activities that include games and word puzzles, croquet and ice-cream making.

On June 7, visitors can still catch the intriguing exhibit, The Maplewood Theater: Its Forgotten Saga, which explores the ever-changing 87-year history of the Maplewood Theater, spanning silent films, vaudeville, talkies, a famed era of live theater, neighborhood cinema, and the current sixplex.  Out in the carriage house the Country Store will be selling historic- themed treasures:  early American children’s games, books and toys, facsimile documents, quill pens and ink, historic cook books, cookie molds, tin lanterns, reproduction decorative ceramics, vintage photos, hiking sticks and more. The hard- to-find original Doors of Maplewoodposter and Smile, the history of Olympic Park, will also be available.  At 4:15 p.m. there will be a brief Annual Meeting for Durand-Hedden House members.

The Durand-Hedden House is dedicated to telling the history of the development of Maplewood and the surrounding area in new and engaging ways. It is located in Grasmere Park at 523 Ridgewood Road in Maplewood. For more information or to arrange group tours call 973-763-7712.

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