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Jul 23

Chocolate Covered Weekend (And The Top 4 T-Shirts Seen at HersheyPark)

I’m fresh from our family’s annual pilgrimage to HersheyPark, and boy do I have a lot to share about this weirdly awesome place in the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania.  Yes, it’s freakin’ weird to go on a family vacation to a chocolate-filled theme park, when your main focus in life is fitness.  Let me tell you something – – it’s freakin’ weird no matter what.

Not sure if you can actually see Miles, but he's holding up the giant Hershey doll. Nothing weird here.

Not sure if you can actually see Miles, but he’s holding up the giant Hershey doll. So normal.

Most of the time when I tell people we’re going to HersheyPark, they either A.) politely smile and then think ‘WTF?’ or B.) Say “OMG is that place still around? I went there when I was a kid!”  I’m here to tell you that yes it’s absolutely still around (I also went there when I was a little kid) and the very best thing about it, is the Hotel Hershey and this pool:

I actually think I hear soft music playing when I see this pool each July.

I actually think I hear soft music playing when I see this pool each July.  Also notice that my kids are already swimming (2 minutes after we get there) in the lower right-hand corner, and have also already made a friend.  This equals relaxation and adult conversation for mom. Cheers!

What if I also told you that, in addition to the alone time I get at the pool, there are also miles of running trails surrounding the hotel?  That’s right!  Just add sneakers and a 6am wake-up call (which is an hour longer then I usually sleep!) and I have a blissful hour of running with only the deer (I saw 7 one morning!) and my thoughts.

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Not a runner?  No need to fret, you can also swim laps in the indoor pool!  However, before you envision an Olympic-sized swimming mecca with lap lanes and kick boards, sadly the indoor pool is not as fabulous as the trails.  In fact, I showed up at 6am to one very sleepy and sour-looking lifeguard who thought I was insane.  She’s probably right.  You see, the pool was rather small and shallow.  It went from 6 feet at the “deep end” very quickly to 4 feet at the shallow end.  I still swam laps like I was at the London Aquatics Center.  I was alone, it was quiet and I was on vacation.  Win. Win. Win.

IMG_4288

 

Now, let’s get back to the chocolate factor.  It’s everywhere!  When you check-in? Everyone in your party (5 year-olds included) gets a full-size chocolate bar.  My husband told them I prefer dark chocolate and I got that instead of the classic milk chocolate bar. It would take me seven lifetimes to eat three giant dark chocolate bars.  Sorry Mr. Hershey.

IMG_4256

 

Want to spend time at the spa? You can choose from a plethora of chocolate spa treatments, while you eat chocolate and sip on chocolate drinks.  There’s a chocolate shop (of course!), Chocolate World (where you can make your own personalized chocolate bars) and dishes overflowing with Hershey’s miniatures everywhere you turn.  Everywhere.  Even your hotel key card looks like a freakin chocolate bar!

My favorite?  How about a Hershey’s Kiss Chocolate Martini?  Yes, please.  They also have Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and Milk Choclate martini choices.  These people are chocolate geniuses.

IMG_4294

 

So yes, your kids start collecting weird stuffed animals that are shaped like Ice Breakers mints, just because they’re shinny, and they’re taking pictures with life-sized candy bars every day, but hey – – it’s pretty much the same as Disney if you think about it, but you can’t eat Mickey Mouse and, last time I checked, you can’t even drink at the Magic Kingdom.  Where is the magic in that?

Don't even ask me what that other blue thing is Vaughn is holding because I have no clue.

Don’t even ask me what that other blue thing is Vaughn is holding because I have no clue.

IMG_4289

 

Then, there’s the whole, truly awesome story of Mr. Milton Hershey himself.  I’ll bullet it for you because, after all this chocolate chatter, I know you’re just thinking about the off-chance of a stray Hershey’s kiss in the house somewhere:

1. He was a self-made man who failed many times before finally making his first big sale in caramels. Yes, caramels.

2. He and his wife had tickets on the Titanic, but he was delayed by a business meeting, and had to miss the boat. Seriously.

3. The Hershey’s were unable to have their own kids, so instead of adopting a few kids, they adopted them all.  Milton Hershey set up a school (and everything that goes with it – housing, athletics, food, counseling, etc.) for orphan and underprivileged kids that stands to this day.  Actually it’s not just one school, but an elementary and high school. None of the students pay a full tuition to attend, or to live in the housing.  It’s truly, truly one of the most selfless and giving acts I’ve ever seen.  Oprah has nothing on Milton Hershey.

Thank you Milton!

Thank you Milton!

Lastly, I cannot end this post without paying tribute to the oh-so-awesome t-shirts that the public at theme parks never cease to amaze me with.  With the help of my husband, we were able to narrow down our top picks of 2014:

NUMBER FOUR

Unfortunately, only my husband saw this one and the woman wearing it.  He said it was true on both counts.

Unfortunately, only my husband saw this one and the woman wearing it. He said it was true on both counts.

 

NUMBER THREE

It actually said "IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, RIP MY SHIRT OFF" and had the superman logo.  I couldn't find it on Google...which brings me to number two:

It actually said “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, RIP MY SHIRT OFF” and had the superman logo. I couldn’t find it on Google…which brings me to number two:

NUMBER TWO:

HersheyTshirts2014_Google

NUMBER ONE:

HersheyTShirt2014_Issues

*I received no compensation whatsoever from Hershey to write this post…but I should have! 

What’s your favorite thing about vacation?

Seen any good t-shirts lately?

56 comments

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  1. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

    The trails drew me in but the chocolate martinis was the hook! I’m sorry I never took the kids there when they were little. Looks like it would have been a great time! Love those t-shirts! I think every husband should be sporting #2!
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…The Silly Things We Runners DoMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It really is so great for kids of all ages and yes, that shirt is a MUST for husbands everywhere. I loved it!

  2. Jess@ Flying Feet in Faith

    I’ve been wanting to visit Hershey park! You lucky duck! I’m glad to know Mr Hershey was such a kind and generous man. All the more reason to eat his chocolate!!! And omg, that little boobed and tattooed tank is killing me! Haha I am both and JUST posted on small boobs last night. Too funny.
    Jess@ Flying Feet in Faith recently posted…Boobs. Honestly.My Profile

    1. vita88

      It’s really amazing all that he did and all he has given because of chocolate! I never think of it the same way when I see his candy. It almost makes me want to eat it 🙂
      That shirt was a riot! I’m sorry I missed it and, sadly, I could also wear it!!

  3. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    I went to Hershey Park a long time ago before kids. I’ve been afraid to go back but I just may have to for the pool and trails!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…Is it an Injury?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Fear not! It’s really so much fun once you get passed all the walking chocolate bars 🙂 The trails were great and the outdoor pool? Heaven.

  4. Janine Huldie

    Ok, I admit once I saw that martini I was pretty damn near sold. And we had been talking possibly Hershey for the kids, but wasn’t sure (went as a kid myself and couldn’t recall) if they were still too young for many of the rides here. But if I could drink those martinis and lounge by that pool, I may seriously have to consider Hershey very soon!! 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Emma’s Frozen 5th Birthday Party CelebrationMy Profile

    1. vita88

      In all seriousness Janine – you should definitely take the girls! We took the boys for the first time when they were 3 and there were SO many rides for their age/height. This was the first year they were able to ride some of the more adult ones, but they still went on a ton of the “kids” rides. If your girls like rides, water and candy, this is the place!!

  5. Lauren

    Ah I haven’t been to Hershey in forever! I had been for the day but always had wanted to stay at Hotel Hershey-looks fabulous! Great choice on the dark chocolate (that’s my fave too!).
    Lauren recently posted…Very Inspired Blogger Award + Froyo and Delta Labs Green Tea + Flash Giveaway!My Profile

    1. vita88

      It’s really SO much fun. The boys love it so much and I can’t help falling in love myself. Plus, the story of Hershey is such a great one. I’ll keep “donating” to his cause each year for sure!!

  6. Tina Muir

    Awwwweeesssooommmeee!! i went to hershey chocolate factory and loved it! Especially making my own chocolate bar, but I did not know about this part of it?!?! That is amazing, looks wonderful. I am very jealous, but to be surrounded by that much chocolate….ooooohh that would not be good for me! Enjoy every second 🙂
    Tina Muir recently posted…Skinny Buffalo Chicken and Vegetable EnchiladasMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It’s really so dangerous! I don’t even like chocolate and then I would be having a Hershey’s miniature just because it’s there!! Crazy.

  7. Tricia

    Ahh I miss Hershey! Went there almost ever year as a kid. Never been to the spa though… might be time to head back up there!
    Tricia recently posted…Do you know how your clothes were made?My Profile

    1. vita88

      GO! It’s so great for every age, not to mention the soul 🙂

  8. Jaclyn @ BumpSweat

    I’d have a stomach ache for days with all that chocolate! My favorite thing about vacation is definitely exploring our new surroundings, which is probably why I struggle with the idea of vacationing in the same spot year after year.
    Jaclyn @ BumpSweat recently posted…Pregnancy {Fitness} Myth-Busting: Don’t Lift More than 40 PoundsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I hear you! I have to say that because Hershey is SO huge and there’s so much to do, that I find something new every year. This was the first year I ran the trails and the first time the kids made a personalized chocolate bar. You’ll see when you have that sweet baby, that everything will change every single year as she grows! That will be the greatest adventure 🙂

  9. Kimberly (Manifest Yourself)

    I love those t-shirts. Right now, I am obsessed with all of the Beyonce inspired t-shirts… I haven’t bought one yet but I am craving the one that says “i Woke Up Like Dis”. lol
    Kimberly (Manifest Yourself) recently posted…Women Can Do Anything!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Hahahaha!!! Love that! I didn’t know she had t-shirts?…but I am not surprised at all!

  10. Yum Yucky

    Willy Wonka is ticked off that you chose the Hershey factory instead. Shame on you!
    Yum Yucky recently posted…Greedy Recipe! Easy Fish TacosMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I beat Willy in a chocolate race one year, and he wasn’t a very gracious loser. Ever since I’ve been going to Hershey. 🙂

  11. Britt@MyOwnBalance

    Ah hahaha! I love this post! You are so funny! First, I love the “I received no compensation but I should have!” Pete said the same thing to me because I’m constantly talking about how we stay at Starwood hotels. We are severely underpaid! 🙂

    Second, those shirts are hilarious! I LOVE the Google one!

    Third, I can’t believe nos 2 & 3! No 2 is so crazy (it reminds me of an interview with a woman and her baby who didn’t make it on the Malaysian flight-so scary). No. 3 is incredible!

    “You can’t even drink at the Magic Kingdom. Where’s the magic in that.” Hilarious!

    Love the toenail color!

    Yes to the pool and the trails!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Happy Blogiversary MOB!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Ha ha ha!! We really need to start asking for payment for all this free advertising!! Your husband is right!
      I really look forward to just people watching and t-shirt reading whenever we go to places like this. They never disappoint!

  12. Melissa Burton

    Glad you got some relaxation time! I love running in odd places (I did it at Disney World) to explore.

    Those t-shirts are hilarious but 7 lifetimes to eat all that dark chocolate?! Here’s where we differ. It might take me 7 minutes.

    Welcome home.
    Melissa Burton recently posted…What’s Your Favorite Piece of Vintage Activewear?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Ha ha ha!!! You are too funny! And yes, running is truly the best way to explore, however I now have poison ivy. This is why I don’t do trail running! Boooo!!!

  13. Melissa

    Whoa, I never heard that Titanic story! The possibility of a world without Hershey is simply mind blowing.
    That tank top – ha, way to go with vouching on both counts, hubby! 🙂

    Not so much on the clever, but I saw this shirt last night:
    Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness. I’m kind to everyone, but cross me once and weak is not a word you will be to describe me. – Capone

    Gangsta…
    Melissa recently posted…ProCakes Protein Pancakes {Review}My Profile

    1. vita88

      That is super gangsta…and super LONG – holy wow. I’m surprised you had time to read all that 🙂
      Thanks Melissa!!

  14. Shannon

    I am so going there with you next year and will eat all the chocolate you don’t want. My only issue is my kids would most likely go in to some sort if chocolate ensured coma! I love the last t-shirt and want one! Looks like an awesome time!

    1. vita88

      It would be completely insane if we took ALL the kids there!! They would have a total blast but we would be dead by the end of it 🙂 Don’t worry, I have plenty of chocolate saved for you…

  15. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    I’ve never been to Hershey Park but I’ve always heard good things. It IS a little weird to me to see toys that are basically just brands…that takes some of the magic out of it. But I love how they incorporate chocolate into everything, and that Milton Hershey was so awesome!!
    Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…This Week in TrainingMy Profile

    1. vita88

      That’s pretty much it, but yes, they are extremely creative with the chocolate theme – for adults and kids. And Milton? He was really an amazing one-of-a-kind man. What a legacy!

  16. Kate

    So fun! I’ve only been to Hershey Park once- we drove down when I was a kid and had a blast. Loved the street lamps.
    Kate recently posted…Confessions of the weekMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Oh yes, all the lamps in downtown Hershey (we didn’t get there this year) are chocolate kisses. It’s truly a chocolate world there!

  17. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    Looks like so much fun! I have never been there. Maybe someday! We are actually headed to Great wolf lodge in PA over the weekend. And loving those tshirts…hilarious! And don’t ask me about vacation…i’m on mine with the boys by myself and there is nothing good about it at the moment. I may have something different to say when I’m on my adults only vacay in a few weeks though 🙂
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…{Guest Post}–Nicole from My Fit Family: DreamMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Vacation with your kids is really no vacation…or, at best, a working vacation! That’s why we usually take my dad and stepmom. They are SO helpful with the kids and usually give us a much needed “date night.” Good luck and I’m SURE your next one will be much better 🙂

  18. Carla

    I really want to go there now! Although I could do without all the chocolate stuff. The pool looks truly amazing and you’d probably never get me out of that. And I like what Milton Hershey did with the school. Stuff like that always gets me.
    Carla recently posted…Making Races Fit Your Training PlanMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It gets me too. It’s really an amazing story, and to see the school and the housing he set up, really brings it home. The water slides in the pool are pretty terrific too 🙂

  19. Kim

    I’ve never been to Hershey Park but now I want to go and try all the chocolate martinis!!!
    Kim recently posted…Does Your Heart Need a Rest?My Profile

    1. vita88

      There were some ladies at the bar one night doing just that! The Reese’s one comes with three mini peanut butter cups on the toothpick! I needed to try at least one more. Maybe next time… 🙂

  20. Tamara

    I couldn’t really go as a kid, because my dad worked for M&M Mars and they were rivals. No fear – my grandparents took me when I was ten. It was magical. And I could swear the town of Hershey had Hershey Kiss lamp posts?
    I went again when I was turning 26. My friends took me for my birthday (only two hours from my parent’s house). They were laughing because a Jolly Rancher was dancing with me but I was looking the other way and it kept happening.
    This was before people had smartphones every second of the day or I would have wound up on YouTube as the clueless girl being danced at by a Jolly Rancher.
    Tamara recently posted…How This Situationally Anxious Girl Finds Relaxation.My Profile

    1. vita88

      I’m thankful every day there was no FB or YouTube when I was growing up!! This one poor kid was throwing up in the bushes near a particularly ugly looking ride, and ALL his friends were taking pictures of him. The poor kid. You know it was instantly on FB! Imagine seeing THAT in your feed?? Ugh!

  21. Alison

    SOUNDS LIKE MY KIND OF PLACE (yes, I’m shouting because CHOCOLATE).
    Alison recently posted…Through The Lens Thursday #30: StairsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      YOU WOULD LOVE IT!!!!

  22. Charlotte

    HAHAHA that last shirt!! and i went to hershey when i was little too!! interestingly, i feel like now, as a chocolate obsessed grown up, i might have more of an appreciation for it. your boys are so adorable and look so happy in all the pics- successful family trip right there!!

    ps- milton hershey- what a guy!
    Charlotte recently posted…Top 8 List/ Thinking out loud Thursday hybridMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You absolutely would! There were plenty of people there without kids, having a blast and over eating chocolate. It was definitely a success! Milton is the man. They should put that on a t-shirt 🙂

  23. jill conyers

    I admit it…I love the Google shirt! I suddenly have a craving for dark chocolate 🙂
    jill conyers recently posted…Celebrating 21 YearsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Right? Ha ha! Yes, on both counts.

  24. jason

    FYI, they also pump chocolate smells into the town (I live 8 miles away in Harrisburg, pa)

    1. vita88

      You can smell chocolate from 8 miles out? Whoa. It must be very hard to live there 🙂

  25. Cindy

    I have never heard of this place! I love the water slide for a workout and I’m 50 and fat! Nothing like climbing up all those stairs to get your reward of a ride back down only to do it all over again.
    Cindy recently posted…Leave the legs ALONE!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Absolutely!! OMG I’m totally counting that. Plus, I hate being barefoot on stagnant water (like the puddles going up the waterside stairs!) so I walk on my toes. Extra calorie burn right there!! 🙂

  26. Dana

    Hershey’s a day trip for us – my kids love it! You’re right, the t-shirts at theme parks are entertaining. I saw one for sale at Disney that I thought was funny – it had a t-rex on it, and said “If you’re happy and you know it clap your…ooohh.” Get it? 😉
    Dana recently posted…How to Text Like a TeenagerMy Profile

    1. vita88

      A day trip? OMG we would be there every weekend!
      Yes, I totally get (and love) the T-Rex shirt. I saw one with a T-Rex that said something like “T-Rex hates planks!” Hilarious.

  27. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life

    My kids LOVE Hershey. I think we have been twice. I’m not a big amusement park fan, but I have to admit that it is the nicest amusement park I have ever been to! Glad you had fun and that chocolate kiss martini looks wonderful!
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…7 Delicious Main Dishes and #FoodieFridays no. 6My Profile

    1. vita88

      I think you shared that before and it’s so great that you know what I’m talking about and don’t think it’s totally weird 🙂 The park is so clean and the employees are great too – just a great experience – and yes, the chocolate martini definitely helped!

  28. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    oh how I want that TEE!! LOL My reaction was B) That place is still around?! I LOVE that place as a kid. I was hoping to get the kids out there this summer but our schedule is already crazy (only 4 more weeks till school–WHAT?!) Anywho I LOVE the pictures, it really is more awesome than I remember. Running trails too?! Win win!! I totally thought you got a check for this review because it was SO good! LOL
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…The Only Way to Win is to Sleep Your Way To The TopMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Ha ha ha!!! We should do a family meet up there next summer!! How amazing would that be? And we’ll get matching t’s 🙂

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