In search of a sweet escape in Pennsylvania, I stopped in the picturesque region of Hershey Harrisburg.
I discovered an abundance of activities, food, wine and, of course, chocolate!
Amusement Parks, Roller Coasters and Chocolate
My first destination in Chocolate Town USA was Hersheypark, where I delighted in speeding roller coasters, big dippers and water rides. A marching brass band toured throughout the park and played to visitors queuing up for rides, and life-size sweet characters came by to high-five everyone. As I walked underneath the mighty Skyrush®, I jumped out of my skin when it came whizzing and roaring over my head with screaming passengers. Making the experience at this family-friendly park even more convenient is the candy bar meter: Children near a height limit are measured and then given a wristband to identify which rides they are tall enough to ride to save time as the whole family explores the park.
Afterward, I headed over to Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction located nearby. As soon as I arrived, I noticed the sweet smell of chocolate permeating the air. I took a loop on the Great American Chocolate Tour Ride and learned first-hand how cocoa beans, milk and sugar are transformed into sweet, blissful indulgence. For starters, I was told that the cocoa beans are cooked at an impressive temperature of 260 degrees Celsius!
Before leaving, I hit Chocolate World to stock up on Twizzlers red licorice and got some exercise by carrying around two five-pound bars of Hershey Chocolate.
Exchanging high-fives with a sweet character at Hersheypark
History, Art and Culture in the Capitol
Next, I drove to The Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg to marvel at glorious dome inspired by Michelangelo’s design for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. At the capitol’s dedication ceremony in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt said, “This I the handsomest building I have ever seen.” He might well be right. The building’s exterior alone is impressive, designed in the American Renaissance style, but the interior, with its priceless ornamentation and artwork, blew my mind.
Inside the ornate Pennsylvania State Capitol Building in Harrisburg
Libations, Dining and Shopping
After all the morning’s activities, I was in need of a well-deserved lunch back in Hershey. Troegs Independent Craft Brewery was the perfect place for a pint and a bite to eat. This 100-barrel brew house combines English and American brewing techniques and offers a brewery tour and tasting as well as a scrumptious lunch. I had a braised beef brisket sandwich with mustard cole slaw and chips, washed down with a flight of beers and a cheeky little taste of sweet and creamy Troegenator Double Bock and Chocolate Stout.
Don’t panic – I didn’t forget shopping! Tanger Outlets at Hershey was close by with a huge variety of name brand and designer stores all touting amazing prices.
For dinner, I headed to The Millworks in Harrisburg. While waiting for my table, I grabbed a drink from the bar and strolled through the artist studios in the same complex. Dinner was well worth the wait. The gargantuan pulled pork sandwich melted in my mouth, and mixed with the mustard seed barbecue sauce, it was the most delicious meal during my stay.
Let the good times roll in this irresistibly tasty holiday destination. Be sure to include Hershey Harrisburg on your next U.S.-bound getaway!
Tasting craft beers at Troegs Independent Craft Brewery in Hershey