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
WEEK OF JULY 2, 2018
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
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…
Monday – big gears and tempo before strength | 24.4 miles
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…
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!
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!
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!
[Tweet “Why spending a vacation @hotelhershey and Hershey Park is not as weird as it sounds! #MaybeItIs #SweetestPlaceOnEarth”]
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?
Thanks to your pics, my kids are now begging to go to Hershey! They were like, “wait, There’s a park that is all about chocolate?!?” Thanks Allie. At least I know I can get a good martini. And look at you with the surprise tri! Raise me up girl!
LOL! You’re welcome! Just make sure you stay at the hotel Hershey. And, it’s actually a really great trip to tired the kids out! Yours are at a perfect age…
I’m with the boys as I truly believe in the magic of chocolate. Hershey’s is my favorite chocolate–I snack on milk chocolate nuggets exclusively.
Looks like a fun trip! I miss those days with my boys… sniff sniff
Congrats on your tri–I can’t wait for the recap.
Next time I go, I’ll send you a care package 🙂 And I know the days of vacationing with them are numbered so I definitely don’t take it for granted!
I love Hershey! We grew up about 45 minutes from there and went every year, but I haven’t yet taken the girls… I agree, Milton was a pretty impressive guy. Glad you had fun!
OMG what are you waiting for? You have to take them!
That looks like all kinds of crazy fun! It reminds me of when we lived in England and visited the Cadbury factory. Those are some interesting tidbits about Milton Hershey. Success always seems to have some failure behind it. And the Titanic! Wow!
The Cadbury factory must have been fun!!
And yes, always good to know the wildly successful went though a lot of hard times. It’s like Des said after winning Boston – just keep showing up!
Hershey sounds like a fun park! Milton’s life sounds interesting – especially the fact about the Titanic, wow! Congrats on the tri!
So cool, right? Thanks Laura!
Maybe we will be a Hershey’s rather than a Disney family. We might actually be able to afford it, and the chocolate everywhere aspect would totally work for me!
Alex and I have talked about how we are going to do family vacations down the line, and we are thinking that we will have a family vacation, a familiar vacation, and then try something new (or a rotation of that nature).
We are definitely more a Hershey family than Disney. I grew up going there and we went once as a family and I seriously doubt we will ever go back. It’s really all about the memories you make. I think a family vacations picks YOU and keeps drawing you back. I’m excited for you guys to start having the family vacation experience – it’s amazing!
I’ve been to Hershey Park many times, but only as a day trip since it’s 90 minutes away. Maybe Matt and I will have to stay at Hotel Hershey, though! I did know about Milton Hershey – one of my kid’s classmates did a book report on him and I remember being very impressed.
You should definitely stay at the Hotel Hershey if you ever run out of places to go in Europe 🙂