There are plenty of reasons to go to Fantasy Isle Ice Cream & Mini Golf in Holden Beach. The homemade waffle cones are sensational, the Death by Chocolate ice cream is decadent, and the all-day miniature golf pass gives locals and visitors alike an entertaining destination other than the beach.
But recently, the excitement at Fantasy Isle Ice Cream & Mini Golf has been all about that adorable ice cream cone eating squirrel, Putter.
“Not to be corny, but the attention we’ve gotten has been nuts!” owner Scott Martin says. “It’s surreal, but so much fun. We have people from different countries calling us to find out about Putter.”
A little more than a year ago a furry little squirrel that lives in a tree above the ice cream shop started making herself known by dropping acorns on mini-golfers and taking food from customers when they offered it to her. She became such a fixture, that the owners, Scott and Pam Martin, gave her the name Putter. And then one day Putter scurried down the tree and snatched a cone right out of a customer’s hand. The Martins had a conundrum: How do they keep Putter from stealing their customers’ cones? So they came up with a clever solution, giving Putter her own custom-made squirrel-sized vanilla ice cream cones.
Because they had so much interest from customers who would stop by at random times wanting to watch Putter come down from the tree and get her ice cream cone, the Martins came up with a regular feeding schedule. On the days the shop is open, Putter gets a cone at 1:30 p.m. and another at 4:30 p.m.
What started out as a private phenomenon between the Martins and their customers, Putter’s ice cream eating habit caught the attention of a local news station that did a story on her. “After the story aired, we woke up the next day to calls from Good Morning America and Inside Edition.”
Now Putter has not only earned local celebrity status but worldwide fame. “She is quite a little diva now,” says Martin.
And if this story couldn’t get any cuter, Putter is now a mother! Scott and Pam have discovered Putter has two babies. But don’t expect this second generation of squirrels to share their mother’s sweet tooth. “We have no intentions of feeding them ice cream,” Martin says. “Yeah, it would be cute to see three squirrels lined up on the banister with a cone, but we aren’t going to interfere with their natural process.”
Watch Putter entertain her fans –
Video Courtesy Fantasy Isle Ice Cream & Mini Golf Facebook Page