Hershey’s Chocolates- Candy and a Terrific Smelling Town
Hershey, Pennsylvania is a lovely little town so dedicated to its chocolate fame that even the street lamps are shaped like Hershey’s Kisses. The entire town smells like delicious chocolate. My family visited Hershey for the first time after winning a contest with Hershey Foods. Our trip included flight, lodging at the Hershey Lodge and tickets to Hershey Park, their awesome theme park.
Another trip to Hershey took my daughters, friend, Mariam, and I to tour the real Hershey’s Chocolate plant. Tickets were provided by our Hershey Rep back in the days when we owned a vending company. I feel pretty proud to have had a private tour of this world famous candy factory. Few have had the opportunity. It was so cool hearing the candy creation process, being on the lines as the chocolate bars were made, and learning about the history of this enterprise founded by Milton Hershey.
Staying at the Hershey Lodge or Hotel
We stayed at the Hershey Lodge for a few nights. They had a hospitable staff and offered plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from. One of the restaurants we enjoyed was The Bears Den, their sports bar. The band Poison was doing a throwback concert in Hershey and we ended up sitting beside them at all of our meals. The luxury Hershey property, The Hershey Hotel, was a short drive away. It is perfect for a quick visit and a fantastic meal. We signed up for spa treatments and had amazing services. The spa features many chocolate-scented indulgences, such as body wraps and soaks, of which I had both. I honestly smelled like a candy bar for about 4 days afterward.
Hershey Park is by far the cleanest amusement park I have ever been to. It is somewhat small with only about sixty rides and attractions (I live in Florida with huge parks) but had extremely fun roller coasters. The water rides were a blast but left us 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. There is also a 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.
Getaway to Gettysburg
A side day trip from Hershey could be to Gettysburg, 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 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 we did was 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. Later, save time to shop around the square’s cute shops, then enjoy lunch in the adorable cafes. Another option in Gettysburg is going on a ghost tour. They are ranked highly in Gettysburg, thought to be a haunted destination.
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.