Seems like the further we head north, the more we go back in time. We left spring behind somewhere on the Pennsylvania line, and were met with chilly weather and trees that have just now started recovering from a harsh winter.
The Hershey Johnstown KOA was our campground of choice. Tucked in beside the beautiful Swatara creek, we loved the ambiance of this little campground! Our rig was a bit to big to fit in the spaces along the creek, so we were set back on the wooded side, but walking the dogs was a treat here.
Of course when in Hershey, one must go see what all the fuss is about! And if it required eating chocolate, well Dave and I would just have to make the sacrifice. We are just that dedicated…
Dave and I are history buffs, so we were excited to learn everything we could about this interesting town and the man that originated it.
The Hershey Company originated with candy-manufacturer Milton Hersheys decision in 1894 to produce sweet chocolate as a coating for his caramels. In 1900, the company began producing milk chocolate in bars, wafers and other shapes.
Hershey used mass production in his factories and was able to lower the per-unit cost and make milk chocolate, once a luxury item for the wealthy, affordable to all.
Our first stop was at Hershey’s Chocolate World. Entrance is free, which is totally up our alley. Chocolate as far as you could see. I made Dave put that humongous Hershey kiss back. And then we both backed slowly away…
Fun Fact: Did you know that Hershey’s kisses have been around since 1907?
We then took the free Hershey’s Chocolate Tour. It was about a 10 minute ride through a Hershey “factory” where some animated cows show you how chocolate bars are made. It was campy and fun! And that cow song “Hershey’s Milk Chocolate!” will stick in your head.
Literally for days.
Oh, and you get chocolate at the end of the ride!
HERSHEY’S markets its products in approximately 70 countries worldwide. They currently have around 14,000 employees and net sales in excess of $6.6 billion.
And the cool thing is that The Hershey Company remains committed to the vision and values of the man who started it all so many years ago.
For a small fee, we took the Hershey Trolley Works tour of the city, where we were told the history of the city, the Hershey Company and Milton Hershey, the founder.
One of the stops was the Milton Hershey School. We were able to go inside, but I have to tell you that my camera just didn’t do it justice. So here is a short video that talks a bit about the school and it’s history.
In 1918, Milton Hershey and his wife, Catherine Hershey, donated all of their considerable wealth, of around 60 million dollars, to the boarding school upon Catherine Hershey’s death. Before his own death in 1945, Milton Hershey ensured the school would live on by donating 30% of all future Hershey profits to the school.
Due to this generous donation, Milton Hershey School now has over 7 billion dollars in assets, making it one of the richest schools in the world.
Part of the trolley ride included driving by the Hershey mansion, which is the home that Milton built for his beloved wife in the early 1900’s. It now serves as an office building for those that handle the Milton Hershey School trust.
We learned a whole lot on our tour of Hershey and highly recommend the Trolley rides and the free Hershey’s Chocolate tour.
Special Note: Due to the time of year, we did not have to deal with crowds. If you happen to be in the area during the summer season, be prepared. They told us that the population of Hershey triples during the height of the summer season.
Our next stop is the coast of Connecticut. See you there!.