Day Excursions from Hershey


DAY EXCURSIONS from HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA Central Pennsylvania offers the best of the new and old world from outlet shopping and Hershey's chocolate to a major civil war battlefield and a traditional way of life. Many people come to Hershey to visit Hersheypark, the unique family entertainment theme park and Hershey's Chocolate World visitors center. But guests staying at the Hotel Hershey and the Hershey Lodge also take day excursions to nearby attractions. Among the most popular are Gettysburg National Military Park, the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the Hershey Museum, the Hershey Gardens and excellent retail outlet shopping in Hershey, Lancaster and Reading, PA. Free tours of the Seltzer Lebanon Bologna Factory are also a favorite way to spend an afternoon. The following is a summary of sights to see and things to do within an hour's drive of Hershey. Driving instructions are from the Hotel Hershey or the Hershey Lodge. PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH COUNTRY 30 miles southeast of Hershey is Pennsylvania Dutch Country, one of the most visited regions on the East Coast. Founded by German immigrants in the 1700's, today the area is a mix of Amish communities and farms which reflect a region that maintains many of the ways of life from previous centuries. In addition to visiting working Amish farms and villages, there are food markets, restaurants, festivals and museums, all centered around the town of Lancaster. A good place to start is the Information Center off Highway 30 at 501 Greenfield Road. For information call (800) 735-2629. Things to do in the area include: The Pennsylvania Dutch Museum (also called the Landis Valley Museum) is a reflection of Pennsylvania Dutch traditional life, with demonstrations of crafts and skills. (717) 569-0401. The Central Market, in downtown Lancaster, is the place to sample local favorites and buy fresh produce. Shoo-fly Pie is a special treat. The market is open on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. For another taste of typical Pennsylvania Dutch food, take a tour of Sturgis Pretzel (717-626-4354) or Herr Foods (800-284-7488), which produces potato chips. Both snacks are local traditions. Dutch Wonderland is a 44-acre amusement park particularly suited to young children. The park, which has rides and entertainment, is open weekends during the spring and fall and daily during the summer. (717) 291-1888. Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire at the Mt. Hope Estate and Winery, combines medieval entertainment, including jousting competitions, with crafts, food and music. Situated on the grounds of the Mount Hope Estate, there are also winery tours. (717) 665-7021. GETTYSBURG 45 minutes from Hershey is Gettysburg with its famous National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War and, of course, inspired President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Today the battle is commemorated with more than 1000 monuments. Begin your visit at the Information Center on Carlisle Street. (717) 334-1124. To reach Gettysburg take route 322 West to 83 South; continue to US 15 South and look for Gettysburg exits. OUTLET SHOPPING Excellent retail outlet shopping is available at the new Factory Stores at Hershey on Hersheypark Drive as well as in two areas near Hershey. There are some 300 stores in Pennsylvania Dutch Country offering factory seconds and irregulars. Most are on Route 30. The center of outlet shopping in this area is Rockvale Square, which has 90 stores. For information call (717) 293-9595. Equally famous are the outlet stores near Reading, Pennsylvania, about 45 minutes northeast of Hershey. Start the visit at the VF Factory Outlet Complex on Hill Avenue where there are 80 stores. For information about all Reading outlets call (215) 375-4085. To reach Reading go east of Route 422. THE STATE CAPITAL Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's state capitol Building, is of Italian Renaissance design. There are guided tours year-round Monday through Saturday. Call (717) 787-6810. Other attractions in Harrisburg include the State Museum of Pennsylvania, with a fine collection of art and other items chronicling the state's colorful history. The museum is closed Monday and admission is free. Call (717) 787-4978. City Island is a recreation complex that includes a marina, a miniature steam train and miniature golf. 45-minute riverboat excursions on the Pride of the Susquehanna are also available during the summer months. For information about the riverboat rides call (717) 234-6500. RAILROADS Train buffs will enjoy two opportunities to ride the rails near Hershey. The Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad, just outside Hershey, offers 11-mile rides along the Swatara Creek from Middletown to the Indian Echo Caverns. Take Route 322 west. For information call (717) 944-4435. The Strasburg Railroad in Pennsylvania Dutch Country attracts tourists from all over the country. It offers a 45-minute steam train experience and is situated across the street from the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum in Strasburg. (717) 687-7522. INDIAN ECHO CAVERNS Just west of Hershey, the Indian Echo Caverns are a series of underground chambers that are open for a 45-minute guided tour. (717) 566-8131. Hershey, Pennsylvania is America's family vacation destination. It is home to the historic Hotel Hershey; the Hershey Lodge; the Country Club of Hershey; as well as Hersheypark, the unique family theme park and entertainment complex that introduced Tidal Force, the worlds tallest water plunge ride, during the Summer 1994 season; ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park; Hershey Chocolate World visitors center; Founders Hall, the center of activities at the Milton S Hershey School; the Hershey Gardens, and the Hershey Museum. For hotel reservations call (800) 533-3131. And for information about Hershey and its attractions, call (800)-HERSHEY.

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