5 Things I Learned When I Moved to The Sweetest Place on Earth
Just a few short months ago, I packed up my entire life to move to Hershey, PA for my summer internship with Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. Truthfully, I did have a lot of prior knowledge about the area, but after having time to both work and play here I have gathered some insider info a vacationer may not know about.
1. Milton Hershey’s incredible legacy
Most people know about the chocolate and the amazing Hersheypark, but Milton Hershey has a much more extensive biography that only true Hershey, PA, insiders tend to know. When Milton and his beloved wife Kitty found out they couldn’t have children of their own they decided to open a boarding school for orphaned boys. Known today as Milton Hershey School (MHS), it now takes in both male and female students from a wide variety of backgrounds. In addition to providing academics, the school covers all other expenses for students - including living arrangements with houseparents, clothing, and groceries.
After Kitty’s untimely death in 1915, Milton Hershey gave his entire self-made fortune to the school via The Hershey Trust Company, which to this day still owns controlling interest of both The Hershey Company and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. The next time you purchase a Hershey’s Bar at the grocery store flip it over. I am sure you never even noticed, but the packaging actually includes a photo of Milton himself with one of the first MHS boys in his arms and a message about how your purchase benefits the school. So make sure to keep in mind - when you visit Hershey, PA, anything from buying a ticket to Hersheypark to staying at one of our three official resorts will help provide funding for this incredible school.
2. The Sweetest Place On Earth name is based on hard facts
Yes, you read that correctly! Derry Township is home to the main 340,000 square foot Hershey Factory - the largest chocolate factory in the world! The Reese’s Factory, where they produce Hershey’s top-selling candy, and part of the original Hershey’s factory are both located right around the corner as well. I actually pass all of these properties on the daily, including the old factory every day on my way to work - it now houses office space for The Hershey Company. With so much candy being made in such a small town, the sugar/air ratio is clearly going to be higher here than anywhere else.
3. Hersheypark is amazing
Before I moved to Hershey I had only been to Hersheypark once - back in 2007 when I was eight years old. Needless to say, I don’t remember most of that trip, but since coming back years later, I feel as though I have been missing out on this gem of Central Pennsylvania. With my position now I am continuously in the Park - so I can tell you from firsthand experience that it is a cannot-miss destination.
One Hersheypark ticket grants you entrance into three separate parks! The first being the main amusement park which currently includes more than 70 attractions, 14 coasters (15 by next summer with the opening of Candymonium), and 5 themed sections. The second is The Boardwalk - a fully-equipped water park with over one million gallons of water and 16 attractions perfect for the entire family to enjoy. Last but not least you have ZooAmerica, an 11-acre walk-through zoo.
4. Even if you don’t have a big sweet tooth, you still have to come for the food
This may come as a shock to you candy-holics out there - but I don’t love excessive amounts of sweets. Thankfully, I discovered that this area also offers anything a foodie could desire. Hershey Entertainment & Resorts alone owns a total of 11 incredible restaurants around the Hershey area. They offer a range of different price points, menus and themes – with options for all ages and tastes. Make sure to check out the Dining in Hershey page to get the insider scoop on each! My personal recommendation: the chicken & pesto pizza on the lunch menu at Trevi 5. I ate it a few weeks ago and have not stopped thinking about it since.
5. …But yes there is still chocolate EVERYWHERE
Don’t fret, chocolate lovers. There is, by no stretch of the imagination, a shortage of sweets here for you still! Hershey never ceases to amaze me with what they can add chocolate to. You can find it everywhere - including the signature chocolate martinis at Houlihan’s, Devon Seafood + Steak, The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge. Plus, they serve chocolate butter with your bread at Hershey Grill.
Even our streets are lined with chocolate! Since 1963, Hershey’s main street, Chocolate Avenue, has Hershey’s Kiss street lights that alternate between wrapped and unwrapped. The first day I drove down the street I knew I had officially made it to The Sweetest Place On Earth.