We were up and out pretty early on Wednesday morning in an attempt to fit in both Hershey World and Gettysburg. After driving through the lovely snow and rain we eventually arrived at Hershey, PA, just before lunch. After a few photos of the outside we headed and were welcomed by the very friendly staff. Apparently the best place to start is with the Hershey’s ride, so we ventured up the slope towards the entrance, pausing to read all about Milton Hershey and his life along the way. The ride was interesting, we sat in a little car and were taken through the chocolate making process from tree and cow all the way through to milk chocolate. On exiting the ride we were given a small sample of milk chocolate. Now it was time to decide what else we wanted to do… “Create Your Own Candy Bar” seemed too good an experience to pass up, as did the “Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure” so we dutifully bought our tickets for both of those. That done there was just enough time to visit the food court for lunch before going in to make our candy bars. We were the only ones booked in, so we had the undivided attention of Tamika, the lady running the session. Once we had put our bags and coats in lockers we had to put on highly attractive aprons, hairnets and gloves. (There is a photo, but I’m not sure if Liz would ever forgive me!) The first step was to design the chocolate bar, a choice of dark, milk or white chocolate base, followed by a choice of 2/3 out of 6 possible fillings and followed by optional sprinkles. (If you are interested I went for milk chocolate, with vanilla chips and cookie pieces and sprinkles.) We then moved into the production area to watch our bars assembled.

Vanilla chips and cookie pieces


Being "enrobed" with chocolate


Once the bars were made it was time for us to design the packaging while they spent 10 minutes in the cooling tunnel. Packaging designed we watched as our bars emerged and were packaged.

My chocolate bar


The finished product.

Unfortunately, the packaging for Lizzie’s bar got caught in the machine and hers had to be re-run through the system for us to collect later on. 😦 Our next stop was the chocolate tasting, which was amazing. It took the form of a lecture, and once again we were the only ones there. We got 5 chocolate samples and some chocolate milk with cinnamon which was delicious. After a brief introduction we finally got to taste some chocolate and we discussed the different flavours and characteristics of each sample. It was good fun and we now both have Masters Degrees in Chocolate Tasting! Certificates in hand there was just enough time for some shopping before getting back on the road towards Gettysburg. Before we left Hershey however another stop had to be made, to photograph the streetlights shaped like Hershey’s Kisses! Unfortunately by the time we reached Gettysburg it was snowing quite heavily and getting dark, so we decided to leave our explorations until the next day.

Even though the snowstorm had continued well into the night, the roads were passable enough and we found the museum. Tickets in hand our first stop was the film and the cyclorama, both of which helped explain the significance of Gettysburg to those of us who are reasonably ignorant on the finer points of American history. After that we wandered through the exhibits. Although I started off looking at absolutely everything, there was so much there that it would have taken days, so I spent less time on things as the exhibit went on. Having been to quite a number of historical sites so far I am starting to feel like I have a vague grasp of America history. We eventually left at around 2pm and after a quick lunch in the car it was time to head to Washington DC.