There are three things that compose a great girls’ getaway: a trusted group of girlfriends, one common vice, and a destination that welcomes indulgence. When the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors’ Bureau invited the Go Girl team for a weekend in chocolate and wine country, we knew this would be a great opportunity to take the formula for a test drive. Here’s how to take advantage of 48 hours in Hershey/Harrisburg.
Hershey and Harrisburg are two quaint Pennsylvanian sister towns that complement one another in a way that few other areas can. Downtown Hershey is a dessert-lover’s paradise, the setting of Milton Hershey’s own chocolate-making empire. Outside its Epcot–like corporate reach (after entering a certain point, even the roads are maintained by the Hershey company), the scenery melts into rolling fields with lush gardens, rustic working farms and cozy local vineyards.
Just 15 miles away, Pennsylvania’s capitol provides the comforts of a small city with a historic, turn-of-the-century newsboy vibe. Pocket-sized art galleries, acoustic bars and coffee shops warm the walls of Victorian-era townhouses and neighbors greet one another while pushing strollers or vintage bicycles. In the center of the city, a majestic capitol building gives off a light air of Washington with Italian influences. Its design was inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway in an area that’s centrally located to many key North American cities (within 4 hours from Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and Washington DC) and a quick flight from most others, check out our top tips for some fresh air and special treatment in Hershey Harrisburg:
Arrival and patio drinks overlooking the Susquehanna River
Though we didn’t get to try this adorable B&B out for ourselves, the moment we laid eyes on City House Bed & Breakfast we knew we were in love. The historic home was built in 1925 and features four charming guest rooms, as well as a patio that overlooks the river across the street. Check out Harrisburg’s “3rd in the Burg”, a city-wide initiative to bring arts and entertainment to Harrisburg, when galleries and other businesses stay open late on the third Friday of each month.
If you’re looking for a real getaway with a little bit of luxury, you might enjoy checking out the chocolatey Italo-Egyptian Hotel Hershey, which has clearly been the site of many weddings, conferences and other important engagements.
8am: Rise early for good eats on the road
If you’re staying in Harrisburg for the night, check out the Broad Street Market, which claims to be one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the country. The market only operates on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays so make sure you catch it while it’s open.
10am: It’s never too early for Hershey’s chocolate
If you’re here for the right reasons, you won’t go home a happy customer without at least some chocolate tasting under your belt. Luckily, there are endless places to do it.
Hershey’s Chocolate World is a free visitors’ center next door to Hershey Park. If you’re feeling punchy, check out the “It’s a Small World”-like ride through Hershey history and production, guided by three marvelous singing cows. You can also make an impressively weighty chocolate bar at the Create-Your-Own-Candy-Bar station and survey the factory process that Hershey uses to make its chocolate. Check out the Hershey Harrisburg visitors’ guide for coupons.
If you feel a bit more like an adult, the Hershey Story museum, run by the M.S. Hershey Foundation, focuses on the life and career of Milton Hershey and is a great way to get a grasp of the empire he really created – from the Hershey bar itself, to the entire town of what was once known as Derry Church, PA. Milton Hershey literally created a city.
12pm: Troeg’s Brewery: Artisan beer and the most luxurious snack bar you may ever know
Troeg’s is in a location that could be easy to miss for a common tourist: It’s not on Chocolate Avenue. It’s also not in downtown Harrisburg. It is appropriately positioned close to the Hershey theme park, for those moms and dads who need a serious drink. But don’t forget that there are also some serious eats there too.
The arena-like brewery offers tasting tours Tuesday through Saturday, an outdoor patio and a menu that will knock your socks off. Grab a beer flight for a small taste of everything and one of the long high-top bars for an authentic experience. When you reach the “snack bar” (which is everything but a snack bar), don’t miss some of the brewery’s biggest hits: duck confit + rhubarb puree, poutine hand-cut fries, and rosemary + sea salt popcorn. You’re welcome.
The Go Girl team hangs with chef Christian DeLutis at Troeg’s Brewery
Looking for more? Don’t miss part two, going up tomorrow, to see what to do with the next half of your weekend getaway to Hershey and Harrisburg!
Editor’s note: This post was written after the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau took us on a trip of their beloved towns of Hershey and Harrisburg. Our opinions are our own and we stand by them! For more information, see our disclosure statement.