New England Road Trip Series: Hershey, Pennsylvania {The Sweetest Place On Earth}

Hershey is like no other place I have ever visited, hence why it’s called “the sweetest place on earth”.  There is literally an ode to chocolate at every turn.  From the street lights shaped like Hershey’s Kisses, to the complimentary chocolate bar we received when we arrived at the Hershey Lodge, every detail was perfect and special.  And, with several amazing places to explore and unique experiences you can only find in Hershey, it is definitely a must-see place for every family.

If you’ve been racking your brain for an extra special place to take your family this year on a vacation, look no further that Hershey.  It won’t disappoint.

So, come along with me, as I recollect our quick and unforgettable trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania.  I’ll share with you where we stayed, where we ate, and the experiences that made this trip absolutely amazing.

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How to plan the perfect family trip to Hershey...

There we were, making final plans for our epic New England Road Trip.  My husband, who enjoys long car trips, was really adamant that we drive home from Massachusetts, but I was none to pleased with that idea.  I hate driving for too long, which is kinda funny since we were planning a 3000+ mile long road trip.

So, instead of making the long drive home from Salem, Massachusetts, we decided to break up the driving with a quick trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Little did we know, it would become one of our favorite destinations along our entire amazing road trip.

Hershey is adorable and quaint in its own way.  There are signs of chocolate every where you turn.  And, for this chocoholic, Hershey was a bucket list destination that I couldn’t wait to explore.

We checked into the Hershey Lodge for our one night stay.  I loved that we were given a complimentary Hershey chocolate bar…which we swiftly enjoyed.

How to plan the perfect family trip to Hershey

The crackling fires in the large stone fireplaces were extra cozy the fall day that we visited.  Several families were nestled up on the couches in the lobby playing board games & sharing their memories of their day in Hershey.  It was simply perfect and cozy.

We checked into our room, and I about lost my mind when I saw the beautiful white sheets with a “hidden” Hershey Kiss pattern in the fabric. I love little details like that. It was almost like finding hidden Mickey’s at Disney World…almost.  We had fun trying to find all of the “hidden” kisses that were in various places in our room and around the resort.

The toiletries (which I’d been collecting along our 12 Day Road Trip, of course) were cocoa scented.  They were my favorite toiletries of the entire trip.  They smelled so delectable.

In the morning, we drove to The Hotel Hershey for breakfast.  The hotel was absolutely stunning.  Mounds of beautiful flowers draped the stately hotel, and fountains cascaded around the grounds.

The lobby was dripping with luxury, from the shopping to the eateries.  We “shopped” for chocolate diamonds and Lilly Pulitzer designs at their signature shop, Shine, while waiting for our breakfast to be made at the Cocoa Beanery.  We enjoyed coffee and chocolate croissants before our big adventure of the day…Falconry School.

First, of all let me say, that if you’ve never tried a chocolate croissant, you must this instant.  It will change your life.  Second, The Hotel Hershey is where I fell in love with Lilly Pulitzer and her vibrant patterns and colors.  I was hooked.  And, third, I aspire to one day own a chocolate diamond…they are stunningly gorgeous.

We waited in the lobby for our Falconry Experience to begin.  We were driven to a field, somewhere on the hotel’s property, where we met our Falconry Instructor.  He was very passionate about Falconry, and taught us all about his birds, and talons (the birds…not his), and how to hunt with hawks.

Honestly, my husband was in Heaven, and I was scared to death.

After quite a long lesson in how to become a falconer, (which is definitely NOT on my bucket list…ha!) we were finally able to watch them fly.

Individually, he had us don a massive rubber glove. (I couldn’t help but wonder how many dirty hands at been in said glove, and how many germs lived in there.  It’s the nurse in me.  What can I say?)

Our Falconer then handed us a piece of raw meat to hold out for the birds to come retrieve off of the rubber glove…therefore flying directly at us and landing on our arm.

This brought back horrible memories.

Interact with Falcons, Hawks, & Eagles during the Falconry Experience at The Hotel Hershey

When I was a kid, at one of my very first sleepovers, we watched Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  I was terrified. I remember all of us young girls screaming and climbing into our sleeping bags to take cover.

I like to watch birds through a window, or see them at the zoo in a controlled environment.  But, having them fly over my head and attack me and rip my eyeballs out and so on…not so much.

Flash forward, to our trip to Europe in 2001, where in the St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy pigeons rule the roost. People voluntarily allowed (i.e. invited…like on purpose) tons of birds to land on their arms and heads.  Venice was covered in loose feathers and bird poop (although still gorgeous, mind you), and I swore I would never be one of those people voluntarily welcoming birds to land on me.

There I stood in a cold field with a falconer guy, and several falcons that could tear me apart with their “claws”, taunting them to land on my arm.  Oiy!

I was beginning to seriously question my judgement, and a little irritated that my hubby didn’t let me take a pass at Falconry School and send me to get a Chocolate Facial at the Spa instead.  After all, he’d already talked me into squeezing myself into skin-tight waiters and getting in a pool with a 1500lb beluga whale.

But, in the spirit of traveling and trying new things, I donned the glove, and became a falconer.  It was pretty wild (pun intended) to watch the precision of the birds flying down from their high perch in the trees, and land right on my arm.  They were so calculated and smart.

My husband was on cloud nine the rest of the day.  He absolutely loved the Falconry Experience.  I think he would’ve stayed out in that field all day, and played with the falcons.  But, we had to get back on the road.

We stopped at Hershey’s Chocolate World before getting some lunch…probably not a great decision.  We enjoyed the tour through the factory that explained the Hershey story and how they produce so much chocolate.  We shopped for anything and everything chocolate we may ever want…or need.

We decided to buy our nieces and nephew the largest Hershey’s Kisses we’d ever seen as souvenirs from our epic trip.  I knew they’d go googly-eyed over them.

We were starving, so we didn’t spend as much time at Chocolate World as I would have liked.  There were so many cool activities to do, but we were running short on time.  Just another reason to go back one day, right?

We ate lunch at The Bear’s Den, a hockey themed restaurant back at the Hershey Lodge.  Once again, my husband was in his element.  When I say “hockey themed”, I mean the walls are encased with hockey boards and the floors look like ice.  It was so cool.  And, every TV in the place was showing hockey games.  It was his dream restaurant, for sure.

Our time in Hershey was short and sweet.  It was an unforgettable destination, and certainly one that we can’t wait to visit again.

Here’s a “Family Trip to Hershey” Bucket List to help you make the most of your time in Hershey

  1. Hershey’s Chocolate World– take the chocolate tour, visit the bakery, enjoy the 4D chocolate mystery attraction, make your own candy bar, or even enjoy a chocolate tasting
  2. Take a Trolley Tour of Chocolate Town- with several different themed trolley tours, any time of year you visit will be special
  3. Visit the Museum on Chocolate Avenue– discover the story of Hershey and learn how to make chocolate in their chocolate lab (& not talking about an adorable dog)
  4. Eat a chocolate croissant at the Cocoa Beanery
  5. See the Butterfly Atrium at Hershey Gardens
  6. Go Wild at ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park
  7. Ride a coaster at HersheyPark– get early park access by enjoying a character breakfast with some of your favorite Hershey characters like Reese’s Pieces and Hershey’s Kiss
  8. Eat Burgers & Fries at The Bear’s Den– a hockey themed restaurant
  9. Take the plunge at Hershey’s Water Works at the Lodge
  10. Enjoy of relaxation at the Chocolate Spa at Hotel Hershey– how about a whipped cocoa bath, chocolate bean polish, or a chocolate fondue wrap
  11. Soar to new heights with the Falconry Experience
  12. Buy a chocolate diamond…or maybe just some Hershey’s Kiss earrings that are so stinking cute

We made many “sweet” memories together in Hershey, and can’t wait until we can visit again with our kiddos in tow.  It’s a fantastic family vacation destination.

I hope you found this post helpful.  If you have any questions about our time in Hershey, or need any more recommendations about your upcoming trip, please leave me your questions in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you have a sweet day filled with precious memories.  Now, I’m off to scrounge for some chocolate.  I’m hungry.

How to plan the perfect family trip to Hershey...

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4 Comments

  • Reply Apryl @ heart, hope, and hustle

    I love Hershey!! Growing up in Pittsburgh, Hershey was an easy fun trip! So glad you thoroughly enjoyed it!

    March 27, 2017 at 6:52 pm
    • Reply Stephanie Wilson

      Thanks, Apryl! We really loved Hershey! Can’t wait to go back!

      April 25, 2017 at 12:03 am
  • Reply Virginia Nickle

    Thank you Stefanie, well I have to say, I could go nuts over the chocolate and the beautiful flowers love them both. I am one of your grace girls, so you may know who I am. Love the photo of the gazebo, makes me want to paint it’s beauty surrounded by the blessings God gave with beautiful blooms of flowers.

    April 24, 2017 at 2:59 pm
    • Reply Stephanie Wilson

      Thanks, Virginia! I too got lost in all the chocolate craziness & the flowers were beautiful! You’ll have to visit sometime! 🙂

      April 25, 2017 at 12:04 am

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