I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for the Ice Cream Boat Lady!

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for the Ice Cream Boat Lady!

Ice cream sandwiches, anyone? Klondike Bars? Ashley Rutherford’s company, Sea Snacks LLC, is kind of like an ice cream truck on the water. In the Portland Harbor area, she and helpers motor out and sell frozen treats to people in their boats, both the leisure and working variety. For Ashley, 40, it is a part-time job to supplement a regular job on land. But it is remarkable that she does it at all . . . since she recently had triplets! Two girls and a boy have joined the family, with IVF and the marvels of modern medicine playing a helping hand. 

I so enjoyed my wide-ranging conversation with this wonderful new mom. What great spirit and energy she has, with appealing optimism, perseverance, and humor in the mix. I appreciated her sharing her thoughts not just about the summery ice cream business, but also about major life experiences.  

 

Mary: 

How did you happen to get into the ice cream boating business? 

Ashley: 

I know, right? Well, I grew up in Yarmouth and graduated from Yarmouth. I’ve been an avid boater for most of my adult life. Boating is kind of an expensive hobby, or a habit, I would say, so one day, I’m sitting on my boat, thinking, “What do people like? What would people need? What kind of service could I do that would be relatively easy but also fun and help pay for my boating habit?” And I thought, “What if I sold ice cream because no boaters bring ice cream—nobody has a freezer. Everyone brings sandwiches, drinks, and chips but not that.” I figured maybe it would be like a little novelty, so I did it. Then it’s kind of taken off, which is awesome. 

Mary: 

How does your business work and how long have you been doing it?  

Ashley: 

I go out on the boat, a 24-foot Aquasport, and motor around the bay. I go out from about 2 p.m. to 5 or 6 p.m., depending on how nice the weather is or how busy it is. But I’ve found that after lunch is the best time. I go through a lot of mooring fields, like Great Diamond Island in Casco Bay, in the coves where everyone is rafted up and sitting. I have a big flag, and I call out, “Ice cream!” (Or people can arrange an appointment.)  

To keep the ice cream frozen, I use dry ice, which usually lasts 24 hours. I put it in a cooler. The ice cream is rock solid. It’s colder than your freezer, dry ice is. I go to Vessel Services generally in the morning, and I buy a couple of pounds of dry ice.  

Everything is pre-packaged. I sell Klondike bars, Drumsticks, ice cream sandwiches, strawberry shortcakes, Choco Taco, Bomb Pops, all kinds of ice cream treats—pretty much everything an ice cream truck has, I sell. 

My company is called Sea Snacks LLC. I’ve been doing it now for five or six years, so people generally remember me. This season would be my sixth, but I didn’t do it last year because I was pregnant, so I decided to take the summer off. 

Mary: 

Where do you leave from? 

Ashley: 

I have a slip in South Portland where I leave my boat, so I’ll go all the way from the Fore River to downtown Portland, and sometimes I sell ice cream right in the harbor to lobster men or whoever. When I’m motoring around sometimes people wave me down or I’ll scoot by and they’re like, “What are you doing?” And I say, “I sell ice cream.” And they say, “Oh my gosh, I’ll buy some.” It’s kind of random.  

Mary: 

Do you go out alone or do you have a helper? 

Ashley: 

I have helpers, yes. I don’t go out alone. It’s a little tough to fend off boats. I usually dock up to a boat with our fenders down, and people tie off, so it’s like I’m steering, and I’m also talking and selling. It’s kind of hard to do everything, so generally it is two people. Sometimes friends will go, wanting the boat ride and to get the experience, and then they get a free ice cream every shift, so it’s all volunteer. 

Mary: 

Do you have another year-round profession, to go along with this job?  

Ashley: 

Yes, I have a full-time job. I’ve had one for my whole life as an adult. The ice cream boat is more like a weekend job. I’m a practice manager at a psychiatric office in Portland. I moonlight with the ice cream boat. 

Mary: 

You mentioned having been pregnant last summer. Can you share how that went?  

Ashley: 

Well, I had triplets! I know, my goodness! The triplets came about because we did in vitro fertilization (IVF). We had a total of seven embryos, and we tried two at one point, and then two again, and they both all ended in really early losses. We had three left, and I was thinking, “Gosh, it’s expensive to do these [procedures].” I was 38 and a half at that time, and my doctor said, “I’m fine with doing all three because you’ll probably get one, you maybe will get two, but at least, most likely, one of these will work.” We went ahead and did all three, and then they all three took. That is exactly what happened. It’s rare, but it happened. My doctor was so shocked. He said, “There is a one percent chance that this happens, just so you know.” Meanwhile, I said, “How am I going to have triplets? Is this crazy? Oh, my gosh!”  

Yeah, I was a little terrified. I feel like it was one of those things where I was in shock, and then I said, “All right, okay. We can do it, it’s fine, it’s good.” Now people say, “How do you do that? How do you do this? How do you guys do it?” And I say, “You just do it because you don’t know anything else.” Obviously, you do it, and you love them all and think, “How would I do it without all of them?” Do you know what I mean? 

Mary:  

Yes, I do. Your family feels right. Now, did you have problems getting pregnant, being older? 

Ashley: 

Well, I’m married to a woman—we got married last October—so I guess age wasn’t really it. It was more like I didn’t have a husband. So, I don’t know how to say it in a way where I’m like . . . Well, a lot of people, of course, do IVF. I used my eggs and donated sperm, making the embryos which were implanted.  

Mary: 

Amazing. So, they’re all biologically connected to you and to this one other person. Do you know who the father is? 

Ashley: 

Well, there’s a profile that you choose from. I don’t know him, but I know a lot of his history, his family history. They do personality testing, and they provide pictures, from childhood. They do genetic testing and, as far as health goes, check things like kidney, heart, and brain.  

Mary: 

May I ask what factors you looked for, in selecting?  

Ashley: 

For me, smarts is important. His SAT scores were almost perfect. I thought, “Wow, he’s so smart.” I said, “Perfect.” They test for things that they could potentially be a carrier for. This particular one had nothing at all, no anything. So, I would say actually health and smarts were the two things. He’s also really cute so we were like, “Well, this helps.” They show you the person’s picture as a kid, not as an adult. 

Mary: 

How did the delivery and pregnancy go for you? 

Ashley: 

My pregnancy was amazing. I had absolutely no problems. I had no morning sickness, I had no cravings, I was completely normal. I went to 34 weeks and a day, which is really long for triplets. I had the C-section. They were great. All came out weighing great weights, and they barely needed to go to the NICU for more than 48 hours. It was amazing. I lost a little bit of blood during surgery, a little more than they anticipated, but I was fine after. Obviously, I’m still here. 

Mary: 

How did your wife feel about all this?  

Ashley: 

She’s a little more nervous than I am. I’m a little more easy-going and a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” person. She was definitely worried about me and the surgery. But with the triplets, she’s just said, “Of course we’re going to have triplets. Okay!” We were both onboard because what are you going to do after you’ve tried for so long? You don’t think it’s even going to happen, but then it does, and you say, “Okay, well, here we are!” 

Mary: 

You were really committed to having a child, it sounds like? 

Ashley: 

Yes. The thing is that when I thought about my life as a kid, a young person, I always thought I would have a house full of kids and be always busy and doing all kinds of sports and running all around and having a really full, nice life, with people coming over all the time. I love that about living. As I got older, I was like, “Maybe I’m only going to have one kid, I guess, because of where am I. I don’t really want to do it alone. You’re in relationships, then you’re not, and then, “Okay, I’m in my mid-thirties now.” And you’re thinking, “I’ll just have one.” 

Mary: 

What are their names, if you don’t mind me asking? 

Ashley: 

Oh, sure. There’s two girls and a boy. The girls are Crew and Dillon. The boy is Boone. We think they’re cute, obviously! They’re funny. They’re so much cuter in person than pictures.  

Mary: 

Who takes care of the children when you are working full-time? 

Ashley: 

We have a nanny. A good friend of ours is also our nanny, so she does it. Then Stacy will do it one day because she works four 10-hour shifts. COVID was actually beneficial for us because we both got to do more at-home stuff, and it was helpful to be around more. 

My mom actually babysat them a little bit last night because we went over to a friend’s house. After they were asleep, of course. It’s hard for one person to handle three, but we do it, of course, because we’re their parents. 

 

Mary: 

How old are they now? 

Ashley: 

They’re five and a half months, pretty much today. We are into it now, I know. We just took them for a stroller walk, and I was like, “Oh, boy.” We were okay, but it was kind of drizzly. 

Mary: 

Everybody must stop you. 

Ashley: 

Everybody. They’re like, “Twins? Oh my God, triplets?”  

 

-=-=- 

For more information about Ashley, Sea Snacks, and the triplets, please visit their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Sea-Snacks-LLC-317551365086709 

We strive to bring our readers the best content possible and provide it to you free of charge. In order to make this possible we do utilize online ads.

We promise to not implement annoying advertising practices, including auto-playing videos and sounds.

Please whitelist our site or turn off your adblocker to view this content.

Thank you for your understanding.