Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Chocolate fun

Tuesday September 11, 2011
Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey Pennsylvania


I am jumping back in time to talk about our visit to Hersey’s Chocolate World. 


It was on this Tuesday that David began to feel so poorly and after we returned to Winnona in the evening and had dinner, we took him to the emergency room.


We came to Pennsylvania with the intention of having some good times with Carrie.

Carrie lives in Baltimore now and this would be about half the distance for her to come and visit.  She hasn’t seen her dad since we left for Florida in January and were totally blindsided by Multiple Myeloma.


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She met us at the campground and after getting her car unloaded, helped David put the Pennsylvania sticker on Winnona’s map.  We have visited half a dozen or more states each of the two years we’ve been on the road before 2012.  This year our plan was to do the remainder of the east coast including New England and go up into the Maritimes of Canada.  But myeloma got in the way and this is our first new state of the year and probably our only one.   We’ll be headed back to Moffitt in late October.


Time for  Ruby to take us to Chocolate Town about 40 minutes away.


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Hershey is famous for its street lights and CANDY!  Hersey Park Boulevard is lined with street light kisses in both silver foil and CHOCOLATE!




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Carrie and I were both quite excited since we LOVE Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.  I discovered at Chocolate World that all of my favorite retail candy bars are made by Hershey.  Esther Price home made candies from Dayton Ohio are my all time favorite chocolates bar none but they are hard to come by.  Soooo Almond Joy (first marketed in the year of my birth, no wonder I LOVE it), Peanut Butter Cup, Symphony Bars and Milk Duds are all now made by Hershey.  What happened to Peter Paul I wonder or Reece’s???  Bought out by the Giant Hershey?  Sounds like a question for the all knowing google.


Thumbs up for Chocolate World even from the guy who’s not so much of a chocolate lover as his girls are.


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Thanks to the thorough review by Jeannie on their blog Where’s Eldo, we knew just what we wanted to do – Make Your Own Candy Bar.  They counseled us not to bother with the 3D show.  We would like to have done the Hershey’s Trolley Works Tour of the town of Hershey but we had arrived too late in the day.  So we thought we’d save that for another day. But you know how that turned out.

We paid our money and were all set for the 3:30 candy making session.  We had a half hour wait and David was looking very tired so he went out to the car for a nap.  This was not particularly unusual.
While he’s napping Carrie and I take the FREE “Great American Chocolate Tour Ride”.


 On ramp up  to the ride there is an excellent history of Milton Hershey and the town that he built. 

I was very impressed with him as a caring entrepreneur not just in business for the bottom line.  Where are those sort of businessmen today?

I don’t usually go into much detail about the history of things we see but Milton Hershey was an amazing and honorable man.  If history isn’t your thing, skip this part and go right to the CHOCOLATE!


Milton Hershey


Hershey, born in 1857, only had a 4th grade education. His family, of Jewish heritage, were members of the Lancaster County Mennonite community.  He served 4 years as an apprentice with a local candy company and in 1876 attempted to start his own candy business in Philadelphia. Despite six years of hard work, it failed. So he moved to Denver and found work with a confectioner who taught him how to make caramels using fresh milk. He then started up a second candy business in New York City. It also failed. Undaunted, he returned to Lancaster and once again tried making a go of the caramel business. This time, it worked. Soon his Lancaster Caramel Company was shipping all over the U.S. and Europe, employing 1,400 people.

In 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exhibition he became fascinated with the machinery to make German Chocolate and bought the equipment for his company.  He worked at perfecting a viable recipe for making milk chocolate - a process which up to then had been kept a closely guarded secret by the Swiss. Finally, through trial and error, he hit upon the right formula of milk, sugar and cocoa that enabled him to realize his dream of mass-producing and distributing milk chocolate candy. What had once been a luxury for the rich became an enjoyment that anyone could afford - the Hershey bar.

In 1899 he sold Lancaster Caramel (for $1M!!!!) and bought 1200 acres of farmland NW of Lancaster.  Here he could obtain the milk necessary to make milk chocolate which at the time was a Swiss luxury product. 




The first Hershey’s bar was produced in 1900, the first “kiss” in 1907.  In 1905 he completed the building of what was the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing plant. 

Hershey’s success was not simply a matter of luck. Having learned from his past failures, he had become a shrewd and astute businessman. He believed, along with the more forward-thinking industrialists of the age, that workers who were treated fairly and who lived in a comfortable, pleasant environment would be better workers. Accordingly, he set upon building an infrastructure to take care of the people who were employed by his company. He had plans drawn up for a model community that included housing for executives and ordinary workers alike, schools, churches, parks, recreational facilities and a trolley system. Unlike other “company towns,” Hershey’s was not intended to exploit its resident workers, but rather to provide for their welfare. As time went on, Hershey saw to it that the town (named Hershey, naturally) added a community building, a department store, a convention hall, an amusement park, a swimming pool and schools. Lots of schools.

Milton Hershey realized that all work and no play makes for unhappy workers. So he set aside land in his model community for recreational purposes. Originally planned as picnic grounds, by 1910 Hershey Park had expanded to include a children’s playground, a band shell (with daily concerts!), a swimming pool, a zoo and a bowling alley. Hershey also added amusement rides, such as a model railway and carousel.

Like the chocolate factory and, indeed, the town itself, Hershey Park quickly became a tourist attraction with excursion trains and trolleys bringing groups to Hershey from surrounding communities. Today, HERSHEYPARK is 110 acres with over 60 rides and attractions, including ten world-class roller coasters.  We could see one of them from Chocolate World and it was simply amazing the heights, twists and turns, some of them clearly upside down.  If you like amusement parks, I’m guessing this is a good one.

Hershey and his wife Kitty were unable to have children and in 1909 decided to found an school for disadvantaged and orphan children.  Kitty died in 1915 and Hershey never remarried. 

In 1918 and with no fanfare, Hershey transferred the bulk of his wealth, consisting of $60 million in Hershey Chocolate Company stock and other assets, to the Hershey School Trust.  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 1935 Hershey established a private foundation to provide cultural opportunities for the residents.  Hershey Theater, Hershey Gardens, The Hershey Museum and Hershey Community Achieves are funded.

Milton Hershey’s generosity continued on even after his death. In 1963, the Milton Hershey School Trust contributed $50 million and land to the Pennsylvania State University for the establishment of a medical center.

Penn State Milton S. Hershey Hospital has more than 500 physicians and includes the Penn State college of Medicine as well as a Children’s Hospital.  It would have been a much better choice of emergency room as it turns out in spite of being further away.

A biographer wrote of Hershey

”He was part of a forward-looking group of entrepreneurs in this country and abroad who believed that providing better living conditions for their workers resulted in better workers…Milton Hershey conceived of building a community that would support and nurture his workers. Developing the community became a lifelong passion for him.”

Hershey died at the age of 88 in 1945.  There are many more details to the Hershey story including the Cocoa House, the gorgeous hotel, the Junior College, the museum so go to Hershey if you are in the area and see it all.


The next interesting information provided as we walk to the “tour cars” is about the cocoa beans, where they are grown (only 3 places in the world) and how they are harvested.  I’ll skip the details here for at least some hope of brevity to this post.


The ride will show us how they make the chocolate from the beans.


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We walk down these ramps and with the help of the “assistants” step onto the moving floor and into the cars for our ride through the “factory”.




This is all about MILK chocolate and the stars are


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singing cows.

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Most of my pictures were blurry due to the movement all around but it is clearly a working factory and SO MUCH CHOCOLATE, vats of chocolate, cakes of chocolate, rolls of chocolate, streaming chocolate…….yum



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White Chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate by the gallons.

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As we go by the total production board, my picture of which is too blurry to print, it says they had made 12,222, 399 kisses and 454, 352 Peanut Butter Cups by this time TODAY.



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The end of the ride leaves us, of course, in the CANDY SHOP.  Notice the bakery counter behind me.

Too bad I already have two hooded sweat shirts.  No room for another but as soon as one wears out, I’ll be back. But now it’s time to




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 David joins us in time to get to the Innovation Center.  


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Here he is selecting the ingredients for his bar.  On the computer of course.  Nice hat huh??







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We select our base – I choose a white chocolate base, Carrie milk chocolate and David dark chocolate.  Next we choose our “inclusions”, things to put inside. 






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Carrie and David are waiting in line to see their bar manufactured.  It’s really interesting to see the equipment make your personal candy bar.







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I start production, watch the machine pour my white chocolate base, stamp the HERSHEY name on it and set the bar out on the belt to get filled with my choices.





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You can choose 3 ingredients to put “inside” your bar which is ultimately covered with milk chocolate.  You can also choose to have sprinkles put on the outside.  I’m not much for sprinkles but Carrie’s bar with them was much prettier than ours without.  Just FYI for when YOU go make your own.


This was the best inclusion in my opinion.


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Here comes my bar after getting its almonds and crunch.

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And the final ingredient, semi sweet chocolates.

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Sail on through that milk chocolate river coating….oh my

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And top it with sprinkles to look cute!

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We move on to design our wrappers. 
LOTS of choices here.


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Now we wait for the final product complete in personalized box so you know it’s yours,

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placed within a tin case with your wrapper around it.


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David is tired out by this endeavor and goes back out to the car to rest again.  This is the point at which I begin to wonder. 


Carrie and I wander around the “store” which has just an amazing array of Hershey “stuff”. 

We see Giant Candy bars, stuffed figures, sparkly clothing with HIGH price tags and every type and size of candy product Hershey makes.  I refrain from buying another HUGE 24 count box of either Almond Joy or White Peanut Butter Cups.  I am quite proud of myself.


But I do pick up these goodies from the bake shop.  They are absolutely as good as they look, don’t miss them when you go. GIANT cupcakes with Hershey everything.


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We walk back out to the car where we find David feeling a tad better but not looking so good to me.  Back to Winnona where we take his temperature and well…….you know the rest.


Hershey’s Chocolate World was a lot of fun even when you don’t feel 100%  says David.  I definitely want to return under better circumstances and take the Trolley Tour, visit the museum and Hershey Park.  I’ll probably make another Candy bar too since this one was


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  1. Great tour! It has been a long time since we were there, glad to see the place is still there.

  2. Looks like a lot of improvements have been made since we visited in the early 1990s ... I guess we'll just have to go back.

    I still remember the aroma of cocoa in the air as we wandered on the streets of Hershey.

  3. I enjoyed this post - especially the history part - very well written if I may say so :) What an admirable guy - try, try again would be his motto - 3 times was definitely a charm for him! Nice, too, to see myself on the blog :) Fun trip - except for Dad's unfortunate downturn. Sooo much chocolate and sugar was enjoyed over those few days ;)

  4. I'm going to have to go get another bucket. The one I have is full and running over with things to see and do when we hit the road again... and this one you just took us on is a MUST for us. I wish we would have had time to do it when we were visiting Joe's uncle in Lancaster a few years ago. Thank you for the wonerful tour!

  5. We love Hershey. Not too far from where we live (for now!). The trolley tour is very interesting, it's narrated by great people. See a lot, the school, hotel, lodge, and the town. Definitely worth it, and you get samples on the tour too! George and I will go down there to just do the Chocolate World tour as it's free. The park is very expensive, and we're not roller coaster people!

  6. OK...now I have the urge to eat a chocolate bar. Yum!

  7. What a yummy and fun place to hang out! So glad David is feeling better. At least he has the chocolate bar to look forward to if he hasn't eaten it already!

  8. I had a Reece's PB cup a little bit ago...now I'll always think of you! So happy you got some family time in...what a cutie!

  9. That looks like a really fun place to go, thanks Sherry for all the great info.

  10. For some reason I'm hungry for chocolate! I could have sworn Carrie came to see you at a beach somewhere....

  11. Oh my! It looks like all diets must be thrown out the window when visiting this place. We must go!! Nice to read that Mr. Hershey cared about the welfare of his employees.

  12. Too bad there is not smell-a-vision on the computer! Would have loved to have inhaled all of the chocolate. Yum!

  13. Nice to see the WHOLE family having fun together. Hershey is a fun place:o)) Glad David is doing better!!!

  14. Oh, my, I had no idea that Hershey, PA, was like this. I believe that I have died and gone to heaven. I'm definitely going and taking the chocolate loving grandkids (well, Ryland is only 10 months, but I know that he will love it, too) with me. Thank you for this!

  15. looks like you had a wonderful day!!! HOpe david feels better soon...can't wait till you folks come east...take care

  16. OMG, like I died and went to chocolate heaven. I have a dark chocolate kiss obsession.
    In Oaaxaca Mexico I got to design my own chocolate, no wrapper or tin. Added raw sugar, vanilla and coffee beans and a touch of chili. It was mixed in what looked like a mini cement mixer, two times, with a taste test in between. Came out like taffy so I rolled all five kilos in between wax paper. Now I am SO craving that again. Good thing I have some kisses.

    Great history of a well deserving man.

    Hope David is feeling better.

  17. So glad you enjoyed Hershey. We enjoyed our tour also, but did not spend the money for the extras. It was definitely a tourist destination. We found the Wilbur Chocolate Factory a few miles away much more authentic...and yummier :) If you're still in the area, check it out.

  18. Great post about something I love - chocolate. Looks like you all had a great time.

  19. Thanks for the tour, it appears you had a back stage pass. I would like to do it myself someday. Enjoyed the post.

  20. Chocolate temptations. You are so evil!!! Even with the hair net... ;c)

  21. What fun reading this, Sherry .. I went there about four years ago and lived it. The whole town smelled if chocolate! My kind of town!

    I didn't make my own candy bar though ! What fun ..

    Wow thise hints that something is not right .., oh sigh


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