Travel to Hershey, PA

The “Sweetest Place on Earth”

Author: Traci Suppa
Posted: Friday, July 23, 2010

Milton S. Hershey built his chocolate-making empire among the green rolling hills in Lancaster County, PA for good reason. The land would support dairy farming, a critical component in the making of milk chocolate. The town now bearing his name is more than a child’s confectionary wonderland–it’s a year-round destination with historical, cultural, and culinary attractions for “grown-ups,” too!

Chocolate Spa…Ahhh


On a spa getaway scale of 1 to 10, the luxurious “Chocolate Spa” located within the elegant Hotel Hershey easily rates a 12.  It offers a full range of traditional body treatments, including hydrotherapy, massage, body wraps, facials, manicures, pedicures, and even hot stone therapy. While visiting “the sweetest place on Earth” however, you should indulge in the spa’s mouth-watering signature treatments, including the Whipped Cocoa Bath, Chocolate Sugar Scrub, and Chocolate Fondue Wrap.


There’s much more to do at the four-diamond Hotel Hershey resort, thanks to a recent $67 million expansion which added a multi-pool complex, the acclaimed Harvest restaurant, seven boutique shops, and a year-round ice-skating rink. Guests also have access to two spectacular 18-hole golf courses at the Hershey Country Club.


Sophisticated sites


Just across the street from the hotel lies Hershey Gardens, 23 acres of colorful theme gardens, seasonal displays, and the popular Butterfly Garden. The best times of the year to visit are, naturally, spring and summer, when you can enjoy the full bloom splendor in the Rose, Perennial, and Herb Gardens, as well as the Memorial Garden, where the five flags of the U.S. Armed Forces fly in dedication of America’s troops. The Seasonal Display Garden was carefully designed to offer three-season color, beginning with a springtime explosion of 30,000 tulips in 100 varieties, colorful summer annuals and fall chrysanthemums in harvest hues.


There’s perhaps no better historical icon of the town than the wonderfully-preserved Hershey Theatre, located downtown. It’s had a long run as a performing arts center, and still presents touring Broadway shows, music and dance concerts, top-caliber entertainers and classic films.


However, it’s the architecture which makes it worth a visit. Built between 1929 and 1933, the theater was created by 600 skilled workers as part of Milton Hershey’s “Great Building Campaign” during the Depression. The artisan’s touch is everywhere, from the inner foyer’s “canopy of gold” arched tile ceiling, to the “atmospheric ceiling” in the auditorium, where stars and clouds emerge from behind a suspended roof, through holes allowing patterned light to shine through.


The Antique Auto Museum at Hershey is a true find for the vintage auto buff.  There are 100 cars on display, in addition to a floor full of buses and over 50 motorcycles. They represent over a century of automobile production, from the 1895 Chicago Motor Benton Harbor to a 1977 Chrysler Cordoba, as well as rare vehicles like Stearns-Knights and 1917 Pierce Arrows.


True, Hersheypark is a theme park, but with a boardwalk and midway area, there’s an undeniable “good ole’ days” charm here, which puts you at ease as you enter through a Tudor village of shops and eateries.  While there are plenty of white-knuckle thrill rides for the younger set, there are also classic amusements like the 1945 wood carousel and the ferris wheel. The Kissing Bell gives you a panoramic view through windows shaped like Hershey’s Kisses chocolates from an enclosed cabin which climbs 250 feet and rotates full circle. If shopping is on your “to-do” list, you will find a selection of 60 stores in the Outlets at Hershey. There is a full range of popular retailers, like Brooks Brothers, G.H. Bass, and Jones New York.




When the sights and smells of chocolate have driven you to distraction, it’s time to find a place to purchase and imbibe the magical stuff. The Hershey Story, a museum on Chocolate Avenue, tells the rags-to-riches story of Milton Hershey, who revolutionized chocolate making, but also left a philanthropic legacy through the M.S. Hershey Foundation.


Before your visit, reserve a space at the Chocolate Lab, which offers daily classes so you can try your hand at making truffles and other treats. You can also delve into the origins of chocolate at a tasting session in Café Zooka, where you can try warm drinking chocolate samples with African and Indonesian flavors.

You can stock up on edible souvenirs at Chocolate World, which carries the full line of delectable Hershey products, some which you can’t find at local stores.


The marketplace shops also stock apparel and toys. There are two worthwhile attractions within Chocolate World, including Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour, a ride through the chocolate-making process, ending with a free sample. Hershey’s Really Big 3-D Show™ is a 3D animated musical show presented several times a day in the 250-seat theater.


Traci Suppa is a travel writer living in the Hudson Valley.

Categories: Cool Places * Hot Trips

Tags: travel,Hershey Park,Hershey PA

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