Hershey, PA: A Perfect Getaway

Well, this trip wasn’t so much a getaway, but a get-to-it. I went in response to a child care distress signal, and ended up having one of those special visits that stays in your memory like a sweet, family movie.

The drive to Hershey, in and of itself, is a joy. The Appalachian Mountain Range and Allegheny Mountain Sub-range provide spectacular views of the rivers and valleys that nuzzle up to them. The highways are less crowded here much of the time. The mountains seem to be a preserver of the tiny towns that dot the way. There is still clapboard, and white-wash, and terracotta colored brick.

Descending into the hills around Harrisburg and Hershey, the grass looks greener, ha ha! I feel like Dorothy. There are red barns skirted by tan wheat stalks. The farmhouses are immaculate, iced with their gingerbread trim.

It is late August. The last time I visited Hershey, (in February), there was a major snowstorm that delayed my return by a day. I didn’t mind, though. There is something about this place that makes me relax. It is a small, big town. Traffic can be annoying at rush hour, or when the amusement park opens, but its nothing compared to the stop-and-go stuff we have at home.

The Hotel Hershey

The Hotel Hershey is the grand dame of the town, and for good reason. Built in the 1930’s  by Milton S. Hershey, it is modeled after a Mediterranean hotel that Hershey admired.

Photo of front of Hotel Hershey

The hotel sits majestically atop a hill, giving a view of the town and chocolate factory.

photo of the first floor lobby

The first floor lobby

 

The second floor lobby is styled after a Spanish courtyard, including a beautiful fountain. The second floor also gives guests access to the spacious patio, where morning coffee and pastries, an afternoon of reading, or evening cocktails, can be enjoyed.

Second floor lobby including fountain

Entering the Grand Fountain second floor lobby

photo of The Hershey Hotel Terrace

The terrace extends across the front of the hotel.

photo of hotel terrace

Looking south toward the town and chocolate factory.

 

Although the front of the hotel is impressive, it is the back that really stunned me. I was enjoying a spa visit courtesy of my niece, when I spied the promenade behind the hotel. It really looks continental, I would say even more so than the hotel itself. The proportions  of the structures fit the space perfectly, a quality that should be pursued in American landscape design more earnestly, in my opinion.

photo of flowers in the back gardens

Heading out the back of the hotel

photo of the promenade, west-facing

The hotel’s promenade brings to mind a strolling Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Here, though, guests mostly stroll in shorts and flip-flops!

Another view of the promenade

Another view of the promenade

Continuing past the promenade and behind the hotel, newer facilities complete the resort vibe. Here, you’ll find casual restaurants, stone patios, a bar, the outdoor pool with water slide, and other recreational pursuits.

photo of hotel gardens
Milton Hershey’s love of gardens is evident everywhere on the hotel grounds.

The Spa at the hotel has a classic, elegant atmosphere. My niece gifted me a 90-minute massage as a thank you for my nanny services.  What a treat!

After the spa experience, we toasted to good times with chocolate martinis that were garnished, of course, with a kiss. Then, we headed back to the little ones, who (thanks to their dad) were ready for bed by the time Mommy and Auntie returned home.

Flowers adorn the terrace railings.

Flowers adorn the terrace railings.

Come back for our next post: Visiting Hershey Gardens.

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