Friday, May 13, 2011

The Sweetest Place on Earth

That’s right - Hershey, Pennsylvania

Even though Hershey was not on the route that we planned to drive, I wanted to take the Hershey tour so we made a special trip. I had read beforehand that the factory tour was a simulation. I wasn’t sure it was going to be worth the trip but it turned out to be a lot of fun. We sat on moving benches and just wound our way around the make believe factory.

Moving benches (red plastic, on the right side of the photo)

"The Girls"

The tour ended at the gift shop.

Lots of tempting treats.

There was no way we were going to buy this and keep it in the RV!

We also took a trolley (bus) tour of the whole town where we drove by the working chocolate factory and saw the famous chocolate kiss shaped street lights. Some of the lights were designed as wrapped kisses and some were unwrapped.

'Wrapped' Hershey Kiss street light.

The tour lasted an hour and all along the route our guide handed out different flavors of kisses and, the number 1 selling candy bar, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. At the end of the tour we got a full size Hershey candy bar (the number 2 selling candy bar).

Lots of free samples handed out on the tour.

Our guide.

Our guide told us that there is not really a Hershey, Pennsylvania. The real name of the town is Derry Township! It’s pretty amazing that the US Atlas shows a Hershey and the post office knows where Hershey is.

Famous Smokestacks

It was very interesting to hear about the life of Milton Hershey (1894-1916). He had several failed businesses and even went bankrupt a couple of times before becoming a success.

[On November 15, 1909, Milton Hershey and his wife Catherine established a boarding school for orphan boys. To fund the school, Hershey also created the Milton Hershey School Trust and endowed it with 486 acres of farmland. In 1976 its Deed of Trust was altered to allow the enrollment of girls as well.

In the midst of World War I and with no publicity, he transferred the bulk of his wealth, consisting of $60 million in Hershey Chocolate Company stock and other assets, to the School Trust. Managed by the Hershey Trust Company, Milton Hershey’s original funding of the School Trust has grown in value to more than $6 billion today. The School Trust’s assets currently include 30% ownership in The Hershey Company and 100% ownership of Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company (HERCO), plus other income-producing investments.

In 1912, the Hersheys were to travel on the ill-fated British luxury liner RMS Titanic. However, they canceled their reservations because Mrs. Hershey was ill at the time. Instead, they booked passage to New York City on the German luxury liner Amerika. The Hershey Museum displays a copy of the check Hershey wrote to the White Star Line as a deposit for a first class stateroom on the Titanic.]

We also went to the Chocolate Tasting Adventure where we sampled 6 different chocolates. At the end of the class we earned our official Masters Degree in Chocolate Tasting from Hershey’s University.

Milk chocolate, dark chocolates, and various chocolates with unique inclusions.

It turned out to be a very fun day at the "Sweetest Place on Earth."

1 comment:

  1. We haven't taken this tour yet. But we have toured an Amish farm. Got a ride in the cart with an Amish farmer driving. Saw animals, of course. Toured an Amish house. Tried to eat at a famous buffet but the wait was 2 hours so we passed.