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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Break...Chocolate, Battlefields and Farm Country

 Aside from the arguing and fighting between the boys, our trip did have its good moments and I learned some things I did not know, like what a good-hearted and generous man Milton Hershey was.  I had no idea that he had left his entire fortune to the school/home he and his late wife, Kitty, had started for orphaned and underprivileged kids since they could not have any of their own.  

During our little trolley ride tour of the area and the school, I was almost brought to tears a few times hearing our tour guide (who was a teacher at the school for years) speak about Mr. Hershey's life and all the good he did with his success.  He was the real deal and after hearing his story, it almost makes me not want to buy any other brand of chocolate since that school for underprivileged kids still owns 80 percent stock in the company.  Pretty amazing.  

And speaking of the chocolate, they were not stingy with it at Chocolate World.  Every time we turned around someone was handing us another chocolate bar, Hershey kiss, or Reese's cup.  It was my kind of place.  And the store?  I had visions of diving headfirst into the endless rows of milk chocolate and 
mountains of Twizzlers.

I could not, however, as much as I love me some chocolate and some Twizzlers, wrap my mind around the idea of chocolate Twizzlers.  I had to say no to those...
But the boys and I did buy this bag of extra long Twizzlers that were long gone before we ever got back to North Carolina.
How this child of mine is not smiling while holding up a super sized bag of extra long Twizzlers while standing in the middle of Hershey's Chocolate World is completely beyond me.  I guess he's smiling on the inside.  

When we arrived there, we had to decide what things we wanted to do.  We all agreed on the trolley ride tour and the chocolate tasting but Dracen was the only one set and determined to design his own chocolate bar creation.  I thought we'd all be able to go with him and watch but no such luck.  You had to have a ticket to go in.  I asked him if he wanted me to go buy myself a ticket but Mr. Independent was completely fine to fly it solo and have us wait outside in the store for 45 minutes.  

And here he is after he came out holding up his very own chocolate creation complete with its special tin box sporting his name and everything.  But still...the smile remains on the inside.  

Oh, and just when I thought we were going to make it out of there without one of those five pound chocolate bars, Mr. Independent aka Money Bags reminded us that was the whole very reason he wanted to make this trip so against my better judgement, I got out of his way and watched him make his way to the counter with it. 
Later that night, without my knowledge, he and his brother took all the packaging and wrapper off that thing and now it sits in big chunks in a plastic bag on my kitchen counter and believe me, it takes every ounce of willpower in my body not to inhale it through a straw.  

I don't think I could ever possibly grow tired or sick of chocolate.  

Charlie though, it turns out, is a bit of a lightweight when it comes to chocolate consumption because while I didn't think we ate all that much (just some small samples) that day, he went into some sort of chocolate hangover later and had a headache for hours.  And there I was still trying to resist the urge to eat another chocolate bar or two. Or three.

I did begin to run out of steam about halfway through the Hershey Museum later that day, however. Here is Dracen and I after we first arrived searching for the answers to his scavenger hunt they gave him at the front desk. This was not too long before Devin drove him into the fitful rage of breaking his pencil tip off on his chest in the middle of the museum while I was taking a breather on a bench somewhere in a quiet corner. Oh, how I wish that were an exaggeration.

While Hershey was probably my favorite part of the trip, what with me being a chocoholic and then learning of the goodness of Mr. Milton Hershey, Gettysburg, although cold and windy, was pretty amazing to see as well.  I had hoped to get more photos but I am a straight up wuss when it comes to cold wind, especially while under-clothed. 

Some of the stories our tour guide told us about what the troops went through and about all the lives lost, were just heartbreaking and just like the Hershey tour, I found myself with tears in my eyes a few times.  I was surprised to learn, however, that with all that fighting that took place there, only one civilian life was lost. I thought that was phenomenal.

And Amish farm country?  Was absolutely beautiful but I really could have done without the reek of manure in the air.  I guess you get used to it after awhile.  

Here are a few random shots from those areas...
on the tour bus
There is fire coming out of the top of this monument though it didn't show up in this photo.

Devin's photography... he caught me blinking
typical Dracen

He's almost smiling!
Nike, the goddess of victory

Mr. Lincoln, himself

We climbed to the very top of this thing though I decided at the last minute to go after they were already nearly to the top.  So I practically ran all the way up, as if I was some sort of G.I. Jane type and my poor leg muscles trembled for a good two hours afterward.  

The horse and buggies on the highway with all that traffic tripped me out.  No way would I have the courage.  I, the champion worry wart, could not stop worrying about these Amish people and their horses out there amidst all that traffic.  Out of respect for them, I refrained from taking a photo of any persons though we did see a man pulled over on the highway and standing beside his car taking photos of them straight on with no shame in his game whatsoever. Dude, how rude.

Oh, and so as not to leave out the Darlings (Y'all didn't think I left them at home, did you?), here they are crashed in the hotel room in Hershey and taking in the sights in Harpers Ferry, WV...

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  1. Sounds like a great trip! Gettysburg & Hershey are both on my list of travel-wants. Can't wait to go!

    Glad you had a nice time!

  2. I won a ten pound bar of chocolate once. That thing lasted forever. Good thing it froze well otherwise there would have been chocolate comas here.

  3. I love Hershey especially all the chocolate. I didn't know that about Milton Hershey - what a nice man.

  4. If I ever visit Hershey, PA., I'm convinced I'd come back weighing...oh, probably half a ton! I am completely addicted to chocolate, so heaven help me! That candy bar is enormous, but I know I could do some serious damage to it if left alone with it long enough! I've really enjoyed reading about your travels! Love those sweet puppies of yours!

  5. What a beautiful trip!
    I love the picture of your boys near the end looking over the feild.

    PS. I do not like chocolate...eeeks

  6. Looks like so much fun.

    We bought a bunch of packs of chocolate gum thinking our kids would love it. I think I threw a couple of packs away after letting them sit and become rock hard.

    There's a new candy shop in town. I stopped by one day since it was right by the ballet studio. I bough chocolate bacon! Again, I thought it would be a hit in my family. Only a few of us tried it and liked it.

    My thoughts were what's there not to like....bacon....chocolate?

  7. We so want to go to Hershey and Gettysburg sometime. I was just telling Tom the other day that we need to go to Gettysburg.

    Mmm. Chocolate.

  8. What a terrific trip you guys had. Ohh I would love to go to Hershey Chocolate World. Mmmmm all that chocolate......I think I need to go find me some chocolate right now.

  9. I've been talking about going there and now I REALLY want to go. I burst out laughing when you talked about inhaling the chocolate through a straw! LOL!!!!