In April, we stopped in Hershey, Pennsylvania for a day to break up a road trip from New England to Virginia. We had visited the amusement park ten years ago, and wanted to explore other three different attractions on this trip.
First up was the free tour of the fake “Chocolate Factory,” because we love corny rides, factory tours, and chocolate!
The Chocolate Factory is a Disney-style animated ride that tells the story of how chocolate is produced from the growing the cocoa beans to producing Hershey Kisses. On a Saturday morning, we were able to walk right in without a wait. The ride in little carts through the “factory” was lots of fun. The ride ended with a free sample and let us off in a gigantic chocolate gift shop with all manner of Hershey candy.
The cherry trees were at their peak so it seemed like a good day to visit the Hershey Gardens.
We liked the Japanese garden the best. There is also a fun children’s garden where kids can let off some steam.
It was too early for the roses, but the magnolias were in full bloom.
After lunch, we went to the Hershey Museum — which tells the story of Milton Hershey, the industry and town he built, and his charitable endeavors. Of course, we exited through the museum gift shop!
The highlight of our trip was the “Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting Table” at Cafe Zooka in the museum. You are offered a taste of six warm drinking chocolates from Tanzania, Ecuador, Madagascar, Mexico, Indonesia and one other country. The chocolate ranged from sweet milk chocolate to dark chocolate with fruity undertones. The chocolate was so intense you could really only take a small sip.
Hershey Trip Logistics
We bought a combo ticket for entrance to the gardens and the museum for $15 per person, with a 10 percent discount for AAA members.
The chocolate tasting was $9.95 — and could easily be shared by several people.
We arrived in Hershey, PA on a Saturday night in April without reservations. The town was pretty full so we searched for rooms on Hotwire, before bidding $100 for a 2.5 star room on Priceline. Priceline countered with an offer of a room for $119. I know never to accept the counteroffer, and that a bid of $110 would probably suffice. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to rebid using the mobile app.
We had also picked up one of those coupon books at a highway rest stop. There was a coupon for a Comfort Inn and Suites for $69 for a weekend night. The desk clerk said that due to high occupancy, the coupon rate for that particular night was $129. I was surprised to encounter such high rates and would advise advance reservations. We did not earn credit or points for our stay, because we were on the “coupon” rate.
A Farm Bed and Breakfast Near Hershey
For the price we paid, we could have stayed at a 200-year-old farmhouse and inn that caters to families.
When our daughter was five, we visited the Rocky Acre Farm Bed & Breakfast, then under different management.
The farm was a quite respite after a day at the amusement park. To this day, I remember the breakfast which included oatmeal and fresh broccoli served with butter and brown sugar.
Unlike most country inns, this place welcomed young children and offered lots of entertainment.
They took the kids on a hay ride. There were tons of farm animals to cuddle and feed. Kids could:
gather eggs . . .
feed the goats. . .
swing on the tree swing…
and jump from the hayloft .
Hershey Park was fun too!