Hershey, Pennsylvania is a lovely little town so dedicated to its chocolate that even the street lamps are shaped like Hershey’s Kisses. The entire town smells like scrumptious chocolate. My family visited Hershey for the first time, winning a contest with Hershey Foods, that included a stay at the Hershey Lodge and tickets for Hershey Park. Our second trip brought my daughters and our friend, Mariam, to Hershey for a tour of the real Hershey’s Chocolates plant, provided to us by our Hershey Rep back when we owned a vending company. I feel pretty proud to have had a private tour explaining the process and being on the lines as the chocolate bars were made. It was impressive indeed.
When my family stayed at the Hershey Lodge property, they had a hospitable staff and plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from. One of the restaurants we enjoyed at our hotel was their sports bar, The Bears Den. Poison, the band, was doing a throwback concert in the town and we ended up sitting beside them at all our meals. Another Hershey property, The Hershey Hotel, their luxury resort, is a short drive away and is perfect for a even just a quick visit and a fantastic meal. The Hershey Hotel’s Spa features many chocolate-scented indulgences, such as body wraps and soaks. Sign me up!
Hershey Park is by far the cleanest amusement park I have ever been to. The park is somewhat small, with only about sixty rides and attractions, but has some extremely fun roller coasters and water rides that will leave you soaked to the bone! The park is broken up into six major areas: The Hollow, The Boardwalk, Pioneer Frontier, Midway America, Founder’s Way, and Kissing Tower Hill. Our favorite rides were the Great Bear, Canyon River Rapids, and the SuperDooperLooper. You can have your picture taken with candy bar character mascots who walk around the park, or ride through a mock candy factory (Hershey’s Chocolate World) that gives you an overview of how Hershey came to be.
As I mentioned earlier and as luck may have it, our Hershey representative was able to secure us a private tour through the REAL operational Hershey plant, and we were able to see firsthand how the factory operates and watch the entire candy-making process. It was a highly secured environment and we had to be suited up in hair nets and shoe coverings, all our belongings placed in a locker, and guided around, without getting too close to the assembly lines. Our favorite part was the Hershey kiss wrapping machine, the same machine Milton Hershey invented dozens of years ago.
A side day trip from Hershey could be to Gettysburg, just a short forty-five minute drive away. Gettysburg is chock full of history and it was the famous battle site that served as the turning point in the American Civil War. Here on July 1-3, 1863, more men actually fought and more men perished, than in any other battle before or since on North American soil. We drove through cemeteries and visited the Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site.
A hilariously cheesy thing to do is to visit the Wax Museum- Hall of Presidents. I do not want to spoil it for you, so just trust me that it will bring about fits of laughter. You can get your picture taken with “Civil War” soldiers at the Pennsylvania Monument and shop around the square’s quaint shops, then enjoy lunch in its adorable little cafes. Another option is go to on a ghost tour, they are highly ranked in Gettysburg. While in the area, do not forget to drop by the country’s only Boyd’s Bear Factory, complete with rooms of different displays of bears, a cafe, and live entertainment on most days.
FYI: Gettysburg Battlefield is the most visited, written about, and studied battle ever recorded.
FYI: If you have the time, the KOP (King of Prussia) mall in Philadelphia is 60-75 minutes from Hershey, depending on traffic.