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Monday, June 23, 2008
Monday Mug Shot
We’re settling up plans for our summer trips with Tori and Rina. Rina, of course, is going on a railfan weekend with us! Last year we went to Hancock Tower, which Rina thought was wonderful, but that trip was a lot of bumpy roads and CSX trains. It was, in her mind, shy on Norfolk Southern’s “black beauties.” This year’s trip to Pennsylvania will have us staying near the NS main line and she’ll be able to photograph plenty of engines with her favorite horse!
Hershey was Tori’s choice. I’m making sure the cooler that plugs into the car’s data port to keep things refrigerated is clean and ready for transporting souvenirs! ;) My “deal” with Tori was that we could go to Hershey if she brought back souvenirs for her sister. David’s addendum to the deal was that she had to be okay with a couple of trains on the trip if we’re driving that far. For a weekend of chocolate, Tori said “no problem!”
It won’t be my first trip to Hershey. I got this mug on our “Sweet Retreat” in 1995.
It was the only weekend in May that we weren’t totally booked at work. In fact it was the only weekend since March and the only one there would be until the end of June! Community television got very busy at the time of spring concerts, recitals, playoffs and graduation commencement ceremonies for four high schools. The local programing department pretty much worked seven days a week between videotaping events and editing them to get them on the air soon after taping. We were pretty well running on fumes and needed a break. I presented the idea of meeting up at the studio at close of business on Friday and taking a weekend adventure.
Rich, Heather and Tracy were interested in going. I had opened the trip up for “and guests,” which included John coming with us too. The four Omnicom Employees made sure the playback operations were covered for the weekend and we were ready to go.
Everyone met at the studio at 9:30 and with the extra time I’d put in earlier in the week, we were out the door and just about gone by ten! We took driving shifts. The girls drove first, while the guys slept. At about the halfway pint, we stopped at a turnpike service plaza in Pennsylvania, sugared and coffeed up and switched, the guys driving while we slept. We got into Hershey just after sunrise.
We stopped at a diner in Hershey for breakfast. My chocolate holiday had begun! On the menu were pancakes made with real Hershey’s chocolate chips! Yep, that's the breakfast for me!
Next was Hershey’s Chocolate World. Mmmm! At Hershey’s Chocolate world, there is a free tour, a ride that takes you through an animated exhibit about how chocolate is made, the founding of Hershey's and how Hershey's Kisses got their name! At the end of the ride, they gave everyone a full size Hershey’s chocolate bar! We got lunch at the Kit Kat Cafe and ogled the ice cream shop. Then we went through the store, Candy Heaven with a big time emphasis on Chocolate! We decided that we’d come back before leaving for home on Sunday to get souvenirs. It was May and just warm enough to make us want to leave chocolate sitting in the car as little as possible.
The next stop was Indian Echo Caverns. We toured the caverns, where we saw very cool stalactite and stalagmite formations and bats sleeping on the ceiling. Then we played a game of mini golf at Indian Echo Mini Golf before we headed back into Hershey to check-in to the hotel.
We stayed at the Hershey Lodge, five people in one room made that affordable. When I checked in I made sure they had the rollaway bed in the room and the woman checking us in asked how many people we had staying in the room. I told her there were 5 of us and she gave me 5 full size Hershey’s Chocolate bars! We were all falling in love with the town! We had a really nice dinner at the hotel's restaurant and it was shortly after dinner that the amount of traveling we had done and the amount of sleep we didn’t have hit us! It was an early night!
Sunday morning after breakfast, we did some walking around, checking out the kisses-shaped streetlights on Chocolate street and checking out the view of the Hershey's plant. Then it was back to Hershey’s Chocolate World to go shopping! I bought night shirts for my almost a year old twin nieces. NEVER too early to get them chocolate-wear! I got a stuffed lame' Hershey’s kiss for me. I also brought home some edible souvenirs, how could I not?
When we got out to the car to get going home, John gave me a bag. In that bag was a 4-car pewter mini train, a steam engine and caboose with two flat cars with a kiss ad hug on them. Rich got me a Hershey’s magnet clip that I displayed on my filing cabinet at work and Heather and Tracy showered me with more chocolate! While I was thinking how great it was to have friends to go on a trip like this with, they were giving gifts to say “thank you” for planning it! The coolest things about that first trip to “the sweetest place on earth” with friends, mostly from work, is that 13 years later, I can talk about it on any given games night, and there are still 4 people there sharing those memories with me. Chocolate is so much more than candy - it binds hearts and souls for life!