As you know from my previous post, things got off to a rocky start here in Pennsylvania. Fortunately, the last two days have turned out to be quite good. After departing the Ramada yesterday morning, I made my way to Hershey, PA dubbed quite appropriately “The Sweetest Place on Earth!”
First stop was the Hershey Gardens. I had a nice walk around the grounds and was very impressed by their carved pumpkin display… The Peanuts gang, Sully from Monsters, Inc and someone did one hellava job trying to recreate Van Gogh’s Starry Night!
In addition to the pumpkins, there was a lovely rose garden, a children’s garden where I had the chance to vote for my favorite bonsai (so much better than voting for President) and a cute geyser fountain in the shape of Hershey’s Kisses!
Back indoors, I took advantage of the 80 degree temps in the butterfly house. Can’t remember the names but I think this first one is an owl butterfly? Outside and inside wing shots:
This one’s name escapes me but I love how the wings are blue when they are open:
And here are a few other random butterflies and one scary looking moth:
Okay. Enough nature and on to more important things… CHOCOLATE! I made my way to Hershey’s Chocolate World and all was right and good. I signed up for the “Create Your Own Candy Bar” and after donning a snazzy hair net and apron, I made my very own personalized chocolate bar (for $19.99). Bob was my design partner (he made his bar for Sophie) and we both had a blast. I mean, how could you not? The big debate is when do I eat my chocolate bar? Maybe it will be a New Year’s Eve treat.
I spent Halloween night at Hersheytown Campground. The place is pretty empty and I watched two episodes of The Fall on Netflix (yay for season 3!) and dreamt of chocolate rivers.
Side note: Here in central Pennsylvania, kids don’t treat or treat on Halloween – they do it the Thursday before Halloween. Something to do with the Hershey theme park being open and if Halloween falls on a weekend, things get out of control with the kids. So they do trick or treating on a Thursday to avoid any potential melee. The only time they would actually get to do it on Halloween is if Oct 31st fell on a Thursday. Whatever. Totally lame if you ask me.
Today I drove to Lancaster County. After a quick stop at the Visitors Center for a map and some advice, I made my way through Bird-in-Hand, Intercourse and Lititz. Yes, these are real places. The Amish were out in full force and while they don’t like having their picture taken (for which I was respectful), I did get a couple of shots of their horse drawn buggies. It was fun watching the men riding bikes down the street and a caught sight of a bunch of kids (at recess??) playing baseball in a big yard. I learned to distinguish Amish homes fairly quickly – they are the houses with the laundry hanging on a line… with LOTS of pairs of black pants. I also went to an Amish Quilt store where I purchased the beautiful quilt pictured below.
The other thing Lancaster is known for is pretzels. Even Lititz’s town sign incorporates a pretzel… I got a hot pretzel in Intercourse – served by a teenaged Amish girl. And then in Lilitz, I went to the Julius Sturgis Pretzel factory. I was told you can “roll your own” but it turned out to be using Playdoh – so I took a pass and bought some Horse & Buggy Pretzels instead.
Back at Hersheytown Campground for one more night. Tomorrow I head to Pittsburgh with a brief stop in Harrisburg along the way. As far as chocolate and pretzels go, this is definitely the place to come if you like either of these things. All I can say is I’ll be going for a long run tomorrow morning. Toodles!