Where are you going? You’re driving 5 1/2 hours for an amusement park based on chocolate bars? You mean “Hershey” as in Hershey bars and kisses?

These are all the questions I usually get when I try to explain that my family and I are going back to the Hotel Hershey and Hershey Park, as we have for the past six years. It’s incredibly hard to describe just how fun and special a hotel, town and theme park based on chocolate bars (especially for someone who never eats them!) is to me and my family. I’ll try to do it mostly in pictures but I really wish the internet had scratch and sniff because, although I don’t eat milk chocolate very often, the smell is amazing. #IAteABagOfFrozenPeppermintPatties

Who knew my dress would match so well? #Iloveorange

WEEK OF JULY 2, 2018

RUNNING

I absolutely love running in Hershey, PA. I could do without all the hills, but how cool is it when you get to run by a major theme park, famous chocolate factory and museum, in under an hour? I also get to wake-up early (yes, I get to!) and run with the sunrise, which means I’m back before my kids wake up and then I’m ready to start the day. Plus, I’ve been going to Hershey for so many years now, I have regular running routes and plenty of hills to do endless repeats.

I only wish the video showed more detail because the hotel and downtown areas are gorgeous! And yes, everything smells like chocolate.

Tuesday – 6×800 on the treadmill before leaving, since it was too gross outside to even consider the track, then swim | 6.54 miles | splits: 6:40/6:33/6:30/6:28/6:22/6:22

Thursday – aerobic progressive run on the treadmill again because of the weather again, after bike | 5.14 miles

Saturday – running in Hershey | 5.10 miles

Sunday – 10×30 second hill repeats in Hershey before strength workout | 3.41 miles

Total = 20.19

CYCLING

I actually contemplated bringing my bike to Hershey this year but then I contemplated the likelihood of my husband divorcing me if I did, and I reluctantly left it home. I would love to do some cycling routes in the beautiful farmland of Hershey, PA but I didn’t want to get greedy. Or upset the Amish.

I was able to do a few long rides before I left, and one more before the olympic distance triathlon race yesterday. More on that later in the week…

Riding in the hazy, hot, humid disgusting-ness before we left for Hershey.

Monday – big gears and tempo before strength | 24.4 miles

SWIMMING

I did a ton of pool swimming and water slide racing with my family at Hershey and it was fantastic! I also did plenty of lounging in a cabana. The secret of this vacation is it’s not about the park at all, but all about the hotel pool!

I did manage to get in some actual swim training before I left but obviously it was super boring in comparison.

Tuesday – 100s and 25s after run | 2,000 yards

THINGS I LOVE

The boys still absolutely love seeing the Hershey characters and truly believe in the magic of chocolate. They also did the floss with Hershey bar, naturally:

In case you didn’t know, Twizzler is a girl. #burningquestionsanswered

At Chocolate World (separate from the park) you can see a 4D movie, take a ride to visually and audibly learn how Hershey chocolate is made, buy 3,267 things with Hershey logos on them and make your own chocolate bar! Of course you have to dress the part…

Hairnet over your face is not required but…

We also enjoyed cooler temps in the park this year (for once!), so many great dinners, desserts (of course) and s’mores around an open fire almost every night. The kids are endlessly entertained with daily bingo, bean bag toss boards, an arcade, ping pong tables, golf putting with glow golf balls and sticks at night and an entire Cocoa Kids Club with babysitting services.

The adults are endlessly entertained with live music outdoors, shopping, signature chocolate kiss martinis, three different restaurants with variety and deliciousness and, of course, chocolate everywhere!

Live jazz, dancing and cocktails on the veranda of the hotel overlooking the park.You can barely make out the twin smoke stacks of the Hershey Chocolate Factory in the distance.

 

The real deal – s’mores night over a fire with full size Hershey bars…and glow necklaces because kids love everything that glows.

THINGS I DON’T LOVE AS MUCH

I wish more people knew the story of Milton Hershey and what an innovator, philanthropist and brilliant man he was and the legacy he left. I’ll bullet point it for ya:

  • Milton left school at age 14 to start an apprenticeship at a printing shop and, when that went south, he took another one at a caramel factory.
  • He started making his own caramels and had two failed businesses that bankrupted him each time. He was known as the “loser” of his family for a time.
  • Milton had to borrow money from two family members to start his first successful business and went on to be the first person to make mass milk chocolate in the U.S.
  • He sold his caramel company for a cool million in 1900. He then opened the largest chocolate factory in the world in his birthplace of Derry, PA. Everyone (including his wife) told him it was insane to build it in such a remote place…so he created an entire freakin’ town around it and named it “Hershey.”
  • There’s a Cuban connection – Milton owned sugar plantations and mills in Cuba from 1916 to 1946 and the Spa at the Hotel Hershey honors some Cuban traditions with a lot of their offered treatments.
  • Milton and his wife Kitty had tickets on the Titanic but “urgent business matters” forced him onto another ship. Imagine?

  • After his wife Kitty’s death (she had a degenerative neurological disease that ultimately took her life at the age of 42), Milton never remarried and, since they never had any children, he left almost his entire fortune to open and run The Milton Hershey school for orphaned boys. Today the school has transformed into serving 1,800 boys and girls who receive meals, clothing, medical care, dental care and educational supplies free of charge.
  • During the Great Depression, Milton Hershey embarked on his “Great Building Campaign” with the Hotel Hershey, in order to keep townspeople employed. It’s said that more than 600 people worked together to build the Hotel and it opened in May of 1933!

The Hotel Hershey

RANDOM QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Now that you know everything you ever cared to know about Hershey, let’s get back to the present, shall we?

Riding in the car with the boys and listening to the 80s on 8 channel and “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot comes on:

Me: Omg this song was popular when I was in high school! It’s hilarious!

Vaughn: *after listening to maybe one verse*  This guy is obviously nuts!

I agree, Vaughn. I agree. But…you can do sidebands or sit ups but please don’t lose that butt! #babygotback

Hope you are having the sweetest week filled with chocolate everything!

Oh, I almost forgot! I did end up doing that Olympic distance triathlon yesterday! I’ll be blogging about it later in the week so stayed tuned…

Have you ever gone to a theme park on vacation?

Have you ever been to Hershey?

Where is the weirdest place you have traveled?

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