OMGosh, I hope I don't get another piece of chocolate again for a while. I have never in my life been anywhere that handed out chocolate like they do in Hershey, Pennsylvania. We had lots of fun today and learned a lot about Milton Hershey and the history behind Hershey PA.
We started out at Hershey's Chocolate World and saw a cute 3-D movie about the history of Hershey Chocolates. Being in the queing line with the 3-D glasses was like being at Walt Disney World.
We enjoyed the show and when it was over they handed out free Reese's Crispy Crunch bars which is new to the Hershey line of candies. Then, we did some shopping at the gift shop (gotta have a Christmas ornament from everywhere we go) before touring the chocolate factory.
The tour was a theme park like ride through an exhibit that showed us how the candy was made. They started with how the cocoa beans were harvested right down to the packing for the distribution center. Of course, at the end, we were all given a package of Hershey Kissables (Hershey's answer to M&M's)to enjoy while we visited the gift shop. We enjoyed lunch at the "Kit Kat" Cafe and then bought tickets for the Trolley Tour through the town of Hershey.
We boarded the trolley for a 60 minute tour of this wonderful town. We started with the house where Milton Hershey was born:
You won't believe how much I learned about Milton Hershey today...like...he and his wife could not have children so they adopted four orphan boys and started this school. Now the town has a Milton Hershey School for orphans and under priviledged children. Milton Hershey started this school in 1909 and the school has 2000 students grades K-12. Not one cent of tax money was/is spent on this project...only Hershey Trust money. Also, Mr. Hershey was so adamant that these unfortunate children have the upbringing that wealthy children had, so he built homes for "host families" to live in. They are paid employees of Hershey and their sole purpose as an employee is to meet the parenting needs of these children! I would like to have more pictures of the school and the children, but it was against the rules to make pictures of the kids. Milton Hershey did not want these children exploited in anyway.
We also learned how many times he failed in business before he actually developed Milk Chocolate. He actually started by making caramel which wasn't doing so well because of the high cost of sugar and low sales of product. They told the story about in England back in the early 1900's a company actually made chocolate covered caramels using Milton's Caramels. Milton Hershey was told by someone that the kids were sucking all the chocolate off the caramel and spitting the caramel out. The light came on and Milton Hershey started developing milk chocolate. In 1912 Milton's wife Katherine became very ill and the doctor's recommended that the Hershey's get away for a while. Milton booked them on a cruise and fortunately there was a problem at the chocolate plant and they had to cancel their cruise trip. The cruise company refused to issue Mr. Hershey a refund on his tickets so he had to purchase tickets on another ship to get them home quicker. The original ship was the maiden cruise of the Titantic! Had they used their original cruise tickets Mr. Hershey would have perished in the Titantic disaster and had Katherine lived, she would have died of her illness in 1915 anyway. It is scary to think how close the world came to never having Hershey Kisses! They joke on the trolley tour about what happened to the original tickets the Hershey's purchased on the Titantic. As much as the museum in Hershey would like to have those unused tickets, rumor has it that Leonardo Di Caprio won them in a card game! LOL During the one hour tour they handed out Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kisses, Hershey's Milk Chocolate Kisses, Hershey's Hugs, Reese cups and the grand finale was a Hershey chocolate bar. The best seller today is the Reese Peanut Butter Cup, number two is the milk chocolate Kiss, and number three is the Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar.
The town is beautiful and it really does smell like chocolate! I have to share a picture of the lamp posts in this town:
How cute is that?
I told you...."Life is like a box of chocolates..." and isn't chocolate great!