Exploring Gettysburg and Hershey, Pennsylvania
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, the 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 Hershey 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 Iconic Hotel
We stayed at the Hershey Lodge for a few nights. The hotel had a hospitable staff and offered plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from.
One restaurant we enjoyed was The Bears Den, the token sports bar. The band Poison was doing a throwback concert in Hershey and we ended up sitting beside them at all of our meals.
Hershey, Pennsylvania’s luxury property, The Hershey Hotel, was a short drive away. It is perfect for a quick visit and a decadent meal.
My daughters and I signed up for spa treatments and had amazing services. The Hershey 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 four 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 the park had extremely fun roller coasters. The water rides were a blast but left us soaked to the bone!
Hershey 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 included 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 seeing the Hershey Kiss wrapping machine, the same machine Milton Hershey invented dozens of years ago.
Hershey, A Gateway to Gettysburg
A great day trip to make from Hershey, Pennsylvania is to Gettysburg, only 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 through 3rd, 1863, more men actually fought and perished, than in any other battle before or since on North American soil. My girls and I 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. (**closed as of 2018) I do not want to spoil it for you, so just trust me that it will bring about fits of laughter.
You can have your picture made with “Civil War” soldiers at the Pennsylvania Monument. Later, save time to shop around the Gettysburg Square’s cute shops, then enjoy lunch in an adorable cafe.
Another option in Gettysburg is going on a ghost tour. The tours are ranked highly since this is thought to be a very haunted destination.
Gettysburg and Hershey, Pennsylvania Tips
- Grab a bag of Hershey Chocolate candy to take home or as a souvenir, it is the freshest you can buy.
- The Gettysburg Battlefield is the most visited, written about, and studied battle ever recorded.
- If you have the time, the KOP (King of Prussia) mall in Philadelphia is 60 to 75 minutes from Hershey, depending on traffic.
Check out our other Pennsylvania posts: