Hershey, PA – the Sweetest Place on Earth

Exploring Hershey, PA, “the sweetest place on earth” was a different kind of adventure.

This was a difficult post to write.  Thus far, on our road trip adventures across the U.S.A, our family of four has not been disappointed in any of our sightseeing adventures.  That is until we stopped by “The Sweetest Place on Earth”.

Welcome to Hershey, Pennsylvania!

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I never dreamed that a sightseeing adventure to Hershey’s Chocolate World would be so disappointing for all of us.  I will try to keep this post short, sweet, and succinct.  Then you can decide for yourself if a visit to Hershey’s Chocolate World is for you.

Hershey’s Chocolate World did provide a variety of options to entice your senses.

  • Hershey’s Create Your Own Candy Bar Attraction
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure
  • Hershey’s Really Big 3D Show
  • Hershey’s Trolley Works

For our family to choose one of these options, we would have to spend $40-60.  If our family wanted to experience more than one option and choose a package deal, we would have to spend $80-160.   Gary and I were not willing to go over budget to see, smell, or taste chocolate with a package deal.

After walking around and maneuvering ourselves through the chocolate crazed crowd, we decided to take the Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour.  This tour was free.  Depending on our experience on this tour, we figured we would be able to choose an option that tempted our senses the most.

  • On this tour, we watched the process from cocoa beans to candy bar.
  • Gary and I did not prepare Buddy for this tour.  He thought he was going to tour the actual factory line.  He was quite disappointed to see singing cows and to smell “scratch-n-sniff” chocolate piped through the ventilation system.
  • The tour was marginally informative, but mainly juvenile.  (When Belle, Buddy, and I studied the Mayans years ago, we read a detailed book about chocolate.  This animated tour did not compare to the information we had read in and learned from that book.)
  • After the tour, Buddy was less disappointed when we were given a small sample of cookies and cream drops.

Since the tour was disappointing but the sample tasty, we wandered around the attractions, shops, and food courts and wondered what to do next.

At Hershey’s Bake Shoppe, we found the smell of freshly baked and piping hot chocolate chip cookies enticing.  Too enticing not to try!  The cookies did not disappoint our senses.

As we wandered, we stumbled upon an exhibit about the man behind Hershey.   We learned about Milton Hershey and his wife, Catherine.  They had a deep love and concern for children; however, they did not have children of their own.  With funds from their chocolate business, they founded and opened the Hershey Industrial School, which is still opened today.  I could share so much more with you about this man and his mission, but I will stop now with this quote about Milton S. Hershey:

His deeds are his monument.  His life is our inspiration.

As we wandered around Hershey’s Chocolate World, I couldn’t help but wonder what Mr. Hershey would have thought about this complex.

Our family debated on taking the Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure or Hershey’s Create Your Own Candy Bar.  But we didn’t want to be disappointed.  Someone finally thought to ask, “What is it that we want from  this sightseeing adventure?”.  After each of answered this question, we instantly had a plan.

We walked straight to the World’s Largest Selection of Hershey’s Products.  Instead of spending money on a tour, each of us spent our money buying chocolate (and peanut butter).

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Even today, we don’t regret our decision.  Each of us left Hershey’s Chocolate World with our own chocolate favorites.  Some of us savored our chocolate and peanut butter delights for days (that would be Belle), while others of us only needed a day to enjoy our chocolate (that would be me.)

Before we left “the Sweetest Place on Earth”, we drove through town . .

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to see the light posts shaped liked Hershey kisses
and to find the actual Hershey factory for Buddy.

Quite disappointing to us,
we did not smell chocolate wafting through the streets of Hershey
as we had been told and as we had hoped.
During our drive through town,
we felt our sense of smell had been cheated.

However, we did stumble upon High Point,

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which was the home of Milton and Catherine Hershey.

After our quick drive through town, we left the town of Hershey and headed back to our home on wheels in Harrisburg.

Have you visited Hershey’s Chocolate World?
If so, please let me know what your sightseeing adventure was like.
That way,
our virtual friends will have more than our family’s opinion of this place.
Then,
those who have never been can decide for themselves if they’d like to visitDSCN9026

Goodbye to Gettysburg, but we didn’t leave the state of Pennsylvania

We said goodbye to Gettysburg, but we didn’t depart the state of Pennsylvania on November 12, 2011.  On our 19th travel day, we only had to travel forty miles.  We are now currently dwelling at Harrisburg East Campground in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

 

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Since we had such a short distance to travel, not only did Belle and Buddy have time to catch up on school work prior to our departure, but also after our arrival.

After set-up chores were complete, Gary and I ran errands.  I wish I had been keeping a list or taking a picture of all the different grocery stores where we have shopped.  Without purposely starting, we have begun a collection of customer appreciation cards.  I would certainly enjoy a quick trip to my neighborhood Kroger where I know the location of each and every item.

While learning to live life on the road and moving state to state, the weather has surprised us.

In preparation for our departure, I remember sitting on the floor in Buddy’s room surrounded by piles and stacks of clothes.  I remember deciding and debating with Buddy on what clothes to pack.  Buddy wanted to pack thermal underwear, sweaters, hats, and gloves.  I kept telling my son that we weren’t traveling to the Arctic.  There was no need to pack his winter wear.

I explained to Buddy that Dad and I were planning to travel across the U.S. and avoid cold weather.  Well, in less than two months of living on the road, Gary and I realized that our plan failed.  I have apologized to Buddy repeatedly.

As for Buddy and the clothes he packed, the scout in him packed his thermal underwear and he is well-prepared for the surprisingly cold temperatures.

As for me, even though I did not pack my thermal underwear, I am staying warm inside our home on wheels.  As for staying warm outside, I have also checked the weather for our upcoming state travels.  I have discovered that warmer temps are ahead of us.

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But as for the temperatures right now – Yesterday when we left Gettysburg, it was a blustery 43 degrees.  And this morning, it was a frosty 29 degrees in Harrisburg.  Before our parents fret about us being in the cold, our home on wheels is equipped with a propane heater and an electric fireplace.  And since our purposeful packing did not include a space heater, Gary has purchased us a small space heater to help us stay warm.

Since we flip the switch to the fireplace and turn on the space heater each and every morning, we have discovered (after tripping the breaker several times) that 50 amp service (instead of 30 amp service) suits us better in colder weather.   Oh, we have also discovered that you can’t run the fireplace, the space heater, the coffee pot, and the toaster at the same time, even if you have 50 amp service.

So, you might be wondering why we are still in Pennsylvania.

In September, we explored Pittsburg.  In October, we explored Philadelphia.  And just last week, we explored Gettysburg.    It should be time for us to leave the state of Pennsylvania.  Well, I couldn’t imagine a trip to Pennsylvania without a stop at “The Sweetest Place on Earth”, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Thus, our plans for today are simple – school this morning and a tour of Hershey’s Chocolate World this afternoon.  I had thought about taking a tour this morning, but didn’t want Belle and Buddy on a chocolate buzz this afternoon while trying to concentrate on their school work.

Hope everyone has a great day (and stays warm)!

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