Ice cream has always held a special place in my heart. And, this love has never been just a mere summer fling.

…seriously, whoever eats ice cream exclusively when it’s warm out needs to re-evaluate their life choices. Just sayin’.

What was once my go-to after-school snack has transcended into one of my life’s biggest passions. I always make sure to get my daily dose, and whenever I consider reducing my intake, I quickly talk myself out of it, often using the excuse that "I need ice cream for my soul" #notdramatic. I also have all the fastest routes to the best ice cream parlors near my house mapped out, and I have an extensive list of ice cream shops I intend on exploring.

However, upon starting college, I knew that I would be stepping into completely new ice cream territory. And, thus, began the most important research of my college career.

Here are seven Ithaca, NY ice cream spots to check out:

1. Purity Ice Cream Co.

Known as "The Ice Cream of the Finger Lakes," Purity Ice Cream Co. has provided original recipe, small batch ice cream since 1936.

With 30 flavors, 13 toppings and an array of cones to choose from, Purity offers something for every dessert lover. The shop has an extensive list of shakes, sundaes, baked goods and vegan options. It also serves lunch on weekdays and breakfast on weekends (but, actual food, not just ice cream).

The iconic Ithaca ice cream hub also delivers, so it's perfect for the car-less college students that need to get their scoop (or two) of Gimme Mocha Fudge.

2. 15 Below Ice Cream

This fairly new, Thai-inspired ice cream shop is every foodstagrammer's dream. Located at the west end of the Ithaca Commons, 15 Below offers a unique ice cream experience where employees pour liquid vanilla or green tea cream onto a cold metal slab and mix in ingredients. As the cream begins to freeze, the mixture is flattened, scraped into rolls and topped with an assortment of fruit and cookies.

As someone who is an adventurous eater and likes to try new flavors, I originally wasn't drawn in by the limited options. But, once I watched the employees work their craft and took my first bite, my 15 Below experience didn't disappoint.

3. Sweet Melissa's Ice Cream Shop

Located on Seneca Street, Sweet Melissa's Ice Cream Shop has been serving ice cream to the Ithaca community since 2009.

With an expansive list of homemade varieties ranging from classic vanilla and chocolate to more obscure flavors, like rosé honeycomb, almond black sesame and strawberry basil, Sweet Melissa's allows you to venture outside your comfort zone. I mean, the cinnamon/cayenne latte flavor is definitely piquing my interest.

The shop also sells a range of ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes and baked goods, and has vegan and dairy-free options, as well.

4. Cornell Dairy Bar

Ithaca College is in close proximity to Cornell University, which just so happens to have its own dairy bar.

The Cornell Dairy provides its campus with high-quality dairy products manufactured from milk produced at the Cornell Dairy Farm located in Hartford, NY. It also contributes to student instruction in food science through courses, like Science and Technology of Food—a course dedicated to developing new ice cream flavors. Sign me up, please and thanks.

Regardless of whether you're studying this field (I'm thinking a journalism-food science double major makes me more marketable, no?), the Cornell Dairy Bar is open for all to enjoy during the academic year.

5. Insomnia Cookies

And you thought Insomnia was just for cookies, psh.

...It's okay. So did I.

In addition to its late-night delivery hours, low prices and popularity among college students across the country, Insomnia Cookies also allows you to order cookies à la mode, and sells its own brand of ice cream with six flavors to choose from. 

That double chocolate chunk peppermint stick ice cream cookiewich doesn't sound too terrible to me.

6. Cayuga Lake Creamery

Located just outside of Ithaca on the Cayuga Lake Byway, Cayauga Lake Creamery is your perfect roadside stop. This homemade ice cream oasis boasts over 200 flavors, with about 30 served at a time. Not only can you get a cup or cone of your favorite classic flavor, but the creamery also serves seasonal varieties, like maple bacon, chilifest chocolate and lavender. 

Sorbets, dairy-free and gluten-free options are aplenty, as well.

And, based on this picture, it looks like I will be venturing outside of Ithaca to satisfy my ice cream craving.

7. Waffle Frolic

This one's for the breakfast lovers. Waffle Frolic is the breakfast hotspot in the Ithaca Commons and specializes in both sweet and savory waffle combinations. Although it's not an ice cream-exclusive eatery, you can still get your ice cream fix as early as you would like.

Yearning for a couple scoops at 8 a.m. on a Saturday? Go for the "Ice Cream Sandwich," which consists of two waffles folded over ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Caramel sauce is drizzled on top. #seductive

Other options with ice cream include "The Cobbler"—which is served with the compote of the day and granola—"Lemon Curd"—which is topped with homemade lemon curd and whipped cream on a cornbread waffle—and the "Banana Split"—which is pretty self-explanatory.

All of the ice cream is from Purity (hey, again), and there are vegan options, too.

Now that you know the ins and outs of the Ithaca ice cream scene, gather your friends, bring your appetite and venture off campus to get the latest scoop. I'll be sure to see you there.