RE: Best Ice Cream in the USA..
We are ice cream junkies here in New England. Just a few: Hodgies in Amesbury (heard there's one in Newburyport now, too), Richardson's in Middleton. Both are homemade. Richardson's have their own dairy, and sell great milk & cream, too, and they sell it both in their Middleton store and they also wholesale to lots of small places locally.
Twist & Shake on Revere Beach is a terrific little place that serves huge portions of Richardson's (and another dairy ice cream fr. Maine - forgot the name). They also have terrific shakes. Kell's Kreme has really good soft serve, also on Revere Beach.
Had Cold Stone Creamery ice cream a couple of times while I was living in Tucson. Out there, it's basically either Cold Stone, some other chain (like DQ), or grocery store stuff - there is nothing else. I know they are moving into the Boston market, but frankly, IMO they use lower quality ice cream & sell on PR (hey, it IS a chain...)
Having grown up on all the great little New England mom & pop ice cream places, there is NO comparison.
With Hodgie's, they used to have an almond ice cream that was my favorite (need to take a ride up there soon). Richardson's - love their watermelon sherbet & too many flavors to list; their lowfat frozen yogurt tastes as good as most higher fat ice creams... in fact, my sweetie refuses to eat either yogurt anything, or lowfat anything - when he was diagnosed with an aneurysm, & I knew we needed to make some dietary adjustments, I bought Richardson's frozen yogurt, tore off the "yogurt" label, and he was none the wiser (but healthier!).