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Hershey: More Than Just Chocolate

Updated on June 23, 2017

My Hershey Experience

Hi, I am Ryan. Hi Ryan! And I'm addicted to chocolate. Well, not exactly. Growing up as a child one of our traditional vacations that we took was to my mother's hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania. You mean it is an actual place, and not where chocoholics dream of? Yes, it is an actual town that has many things to offer. My mom grew up in the popular dairy town known to be the starting point of one of the largest corporations in America, Hershey. My grandmother also worked in the Reese's factory for many years. My mother took a job as a factory tour guide when they let you tour the factory. They no longer do that, they have opened a place called Chocolate World. But we will get to that later. This was one of my favorite trips to take as a kid because of all the fun and sweet things to do in Hershey.

Milton Hershey, The Man Behind The Sweet Stuff

On September 13th, 1857 a man by the name of Milton Hershey graced the world in the state of Pennsylvania. Hershey grew up in the farm lands of Lancaster County Pennsylvania. He came from a long line of Swiss and Germany bloodline. Like many young people in those days, Hershey grew up helping on his families farms. Hard work was a familiarity to Hershey. Hershey's education was a limited one. He did not receive an education pass the fourth grade.

Shortly after he got a job at a local printing company which was known for printing English-German newspapers. After a short amount of time, Hershey was fired from the newspaper. After his father begged the company to take him back, his aunt had another idea for Hershey. She suggested that Milton begin to learn how to make candy. At this time, the candy making industry was starting to become more successful. For four years he learned how to make confections. And at the age of 18 decided to move to Philadelphia and open his own confections business.

Hershey began to travel to multiple U.S. cities to learn more from the city's local confections makers. He traveled to Denver, Colorado where he learned how to make caramels from fresh milk. He then traveled south to New Orleans, Louisiana and then back central north to Chicago, Illinois before finally settling in New York City, New York. Here, Hershey started his second business of candy making.

While his business of selling caramels had began to boom, Hershey traveled back to Chicago where his interest was shifted to something else, chocolate. After much enjoyment, Hershey decided to take another risk. His caramel company, Lancaster Caramel Company, was booming. He decided to sell his business and invest in the making of chocolate. He left New York and moved back to the Derry Township of Lancaster. He needed the farm land area because one of his main ingredients he would be using to create his chocolate empire was fresh milk from the dairy farms. Little did Hershey know, he was not only about to start a world famous product, but also create the Derry town of Hershey, Pennsylvania. Milton's first chocolate factory was built and the beginnings of his delicious chocolate making began.

After creating an impressive corporation selling delightful treats, Hershey passed away in 1945. He was 88 years old. He had died from Pneumonia. Hershey created a plethora of business opportunities that are still thriving today from a simple interest in chocolate. He definitely left a legacy behind and one of the most successful American businesses.

Hershey Park

Now that you got a brief history behind the man who created it all Hershey, I will now talk about the amusement park that has become a tourist hotspot for travelers around the world.

What began as a park for Milton's employees began to grow to a huge amusement park with several thrill rides, kiddie rides and a whole lot more. Opened in 1906 by Hershey and his corporation, employees were able to enjoy a beautiful nature setting with a nice refreshing creek running along the middle of it. Associates and their families would enjoy spending time in the park setting. Soon, after Milton opened Hershey park, the popularity began to grow and go in a different direction.

In 1923, The Wild Cat was born. This would become the park's first roller coaster. This new thrill ride paved the way for the growth of many more rides that would begin to arrive in Hershey park. With huge development and success, Hershey park is now home to 13 roller coasters, a 330-foot-tall Kissing Tower that allows guest exquisite views of all of Hershey and many other rides. It has become very popular and continues to expand even today.

Some Of My Favorite Rides

The very first roller coaster I ever rode was the Super Dooper Looper, America's first looping coaster. It is still one of my favorite rides at Hershey park. Some other great roller coasters for the thrill seekers are, Wild Cat (which re-introduced as one of the fast roller coasters after the original one was torn down), Comet (the oldest coaster still standing in the park), Storm Runner and Lighting Racer (America's first wooden racing coaster). Other great rides for the more faint at heart is the Monorail, Dry Gulch train ride, Hershey Kiss Tower and Sky View. If you have little ones, there are plenty of kid friendly rides as well. And if you just want to walk around the park, there are plenty of great eateries and entertaining shows to attend.

Chocolate World

Now that tours are no longer provided in the Hershey Chocolate Factory, Chocolate World was created to continue the story and history of Milton Hershey's legacy, but also educate tourists and locals on how the process of making the world famous chocolate is done. Guests can enjoy a free tour ride that takes you through a very entertaining trip on how Hershey's famous chocolate is created. And the best part is, at the end of the ride you get a free piece of chocolate.

After the ride is over you are able to visit the large chocolate emporium of Hershey products. Here, one can indulge in your favorite Hershey sweets, purchase many Hershey and Reese's theme souvenirs or just go crazy with all the great items to eat in the food court. There are a few awesome bakeries located in the food court where you can devour some of the sweetest treats on earth.

Reese's Joins Forces

After becoming inspired by Milton Hershey's chocolate industry, H.B. Reese began his journey into the world of chocolate. Reese was a local dairy farmer. He was also a shipping foreman for Hershey. After working for Hershey, he decided to leave dairy farming and try his hand in the candy business. In his basement, Reese began to experiment with candy making. Reese used Hershey's chocolate as his main ingredient and combine the milk chocolate with peanut butter which lead to the creation of the world famous Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

After Reese passed away, his brothers took over the company and eventually merged it with Hershey. Reese's would soon become a large successful company as well once it merged with Hershey.

Hershey Bears

Another great area of interest that Hershey has to offer is one of the oldest American Hockey teams in the American Hockey League, the Hershey Bears. The Bears are a minor league hockey team which is part of the Washington Capitals in the National Hockey League. The Bears have been a successful team that has won a few championships. I have had the opportunity to go to a few games and they are very entertaining and full of excitement.

Other Activities

Hershey is not always known has hub for chocolate lovers and amusement park enthusiast, it also is host to many top artists concerts and live shows. Many of today's biggest musicians and bands normally make a stop to play and two popular venues, Hershey Outdoor Stadium and The Giant Center which is home to the Hershey Bears. Whatever you are looking for when searching for a new vacation spot, make sure to check out Hershey Pennsylvania. It has a lot to offer and is very family friendly.

What's you favorite Hershey or Reese's?

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