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 Part 2 of our “48 Hours in Hershey/Harrisburg” guide for Go Girls on the USA’s East Coast and around the world:
1:30pm: Wine + great scenery = happy travelers
Make sure you don’t imbibe too heavily at Troeg’s because you’ve got an afternoon of wine tasting to do. With 12 wineries in the area, you have your pick. Some of the wineries have even added some limited brewing to their facilities for visitors who are more into hops than grapes.
Whether or not you have a rental car with you for the weekend, many people hire a car to take them around wine country. Not only is it luxurious – it’s also safe. Make sure you ask for Jamie of Premiere #1 Limousine. She’s the first female limo driver we’ve ever had, and she’s got killer wit.
Cassel Vineyards is an adorable pocket-sized vineyard that started just six years ago on a family farm that’s been operating since 1903. Many of the horses you see racing through the fields are the namesakes of the wines on offer. Outside the tasting room a woman often sells brisket and BBQ pork to hungry tasters, and guests can relax at tables set in the backyard not 10 yards away from the vines themselves. Don’t miss the fruit wine – Ariel and Sam will push the strawberry wine but my special secret is the peaches and cream.
Spring Gate Vineyard is a gorgeous facility. At the time we visited, the winery itself was only eight weeks old while the working farm it’s grown on is much older. Lounge chairs and an outdoor bar made us not want to leave for years. It was also apparent that the winery exclusively hired good-looking, young men, which we had absolutely no problem with. Our bartender was baby-faced Gavin, who didn’t know what Twitter was and hardly ever used the Internet. We told him to never change.
The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey is a highly touted winery situated inside an old farm house. As you walk through various rooms for tastings, you feel like you’re walking through the rooms of someone’s home. It gives it a unique charm. We were not particularly impressed with the service, but after many a fabulous interaction with Merlot Mike, who was out of town, we’re thinking it was an isolated situation. And if the view down to the vineyards off their outdoor patio doesn’t erase all of your worries in one glance, nothing will.
8pm: Tapas and acoustic music to dine to
When you’re ready to make it back to H-Burg, book a late dinner at Suba, a lesbian-owned tapas bar above an adorable Italian restaurant operated by the same owner. Both are situated inside a townhouse and the architecture of the spaces reflects it. Mangia Qui is cozy and intimate. Suba’s arched ceilings and gothic chandeliers are electric. At 9pm, the restaurant often hosts acoustic music, so make sure you arrive late enough that you can catch the first bit.
9pm: Slip into the evening with trendy music and late-night cocktails
Nothing beats some low lighting and a $5 martini, and if you’re cruising into Buddha Buddha after dinner and into the night, that’s just what you’re going to find. With ethereal contemporary art lining its walls, trendy furnishings and an adorable outdoor patio, you’ll definitely want to check out this spot for some sips and tunes.
10:30am: A brunch that empowers you to take on anything
Ready to really experience Harrisburg? Grab brunch at Home 231, a cozy, locally sourced breakfast joint with understated elegance, from its industrial-era hanging lightbulbs to its soft earth tones. Ariel claims the restaurant has the best eggs she’s ever tasted. I was in love with my berry-stuffed French toast. Whatever your persuasion, don’t leave without one of their tasty mimosas. That’s one thing we could both agree on.
12pm: 100,000 books and an afternoon to read them, brought to you by the Midtown Scholar
If you’re a bookworm like we are, you’re going to feel like an industrial-age version of Belle walking into the Beast’s library when you visit the Midtown Scholar. Upon entry, the space has the open and vaulted feel of an old farmhouse. Off to the side, a fair-trade coffee bar offers snacks and beverages as you peruse the titles. But beware: it’s easy to suddenly, and without warning, find yourself in cavernous corners, along iron-banistered balconies, and in cozy adjacent reading rooms with snack bars and musician setups. The Midtown Scholar is owned by Harrisburg’s mayor and regularly hosts community events, weddings, and book clubs – between 20 and 30 events per week.
If you meet David, the events manager and curator of the LGBT Center Art Gallery next door, give him a big hug for us. It appears he loves books as much as we do.
2pm: Float along the Susquehanna in an afternoon river boat tour
If you’re luckier than we were, the incredibly shallow Susquehanna River won’t actually flood and cause your river boat tour to cancel. Those who catch it rave about the city views from the water along the Pride of the Suquehanna. The cruise lasts 45 minutes. Of course, you might want to consider something a little different and take a murder mystery cruise, a blues cruise, or, my personal favorite, celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day with the on-board crew.
4pm: Afternoon coffee and a walk around some of the most beautiful doorfronts you’ll ever see
Before you jump back in your car or head to the Amtrak station, make sure you get a chance to explore Harrisburg’s shore. Grab a coffee at Little Amps and walk along the shoreline of the Susquehanna River. Stop in the Sunken Gardens for a few photo ops in the gazebo. And make sure you walk up some of the narrow streets lined with some of the most beautiful turn-of-the-century homes we’ve seen in the States. Bonus points if you get some shots of the painted ornamental doorways.
Hershey Harrisburg is a great destination for families. It’s also an amazing escape for just the girls. Both towns owe much of their change to the industrial era. But they’ve also advanced in very different directions. For 48 hours with your best girlfriends, you’ll want to explore them both.
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.