One of the highlights of our Great American Road Trip last summer was a stop at Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, PA. A unique place where families can "Explore the Many Wonders of Chocolate," the folks at Hershey's are launching some winter wellness activities this month, featuring Zumba classes, food demonstrations from Highmark Blue Shield and other family fun activities. Check out the full details below, and be sure to visit their official site to plan your visit.
I love to think that there was a time - a time not long ago, just over a century ago - when you could build something in America that was able to become such a success, that an entire town could be named in it's (and your) honor. That happened when Milton S. Hershey created a "company town" that became known as Hershey, Pennsylvania, or "The Sweetest Place on Earth" back in 1894. Now, in addition to boasting the birthplace and main manufacturing hub for the Hershey's brands of chocolate-based goodness, Hershey, PA also includes a ballpark, arena, a theme park, and the original HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD. As part of our first Great American Road Trip series, my wife and I took the girls the Chocolate World last month to experience it as a family.
Around 30 years ago, my parents took my sister and I on a road trip to Washington, D.C. Along the way, we stopped at several locations in Pennsylvania, making memories that have lasted a lifetime. With our girls hitting two and five this year, my wife and I decided it was time for our first family vacation - and as such, it was to be a road trip. We plotted several potential courses, with the Philadelphia area set to be the focal point and ultimate destination for a couple of reasons. First off, we were going to finally take Sprout up on a long-standing offer to stop by the Comcast Center and see Chica at the Sunshine Barn during a visit to the set of THE SUNNY SIDE UP SHOW. Second, we wanted to head for Langhorne to visit SESAME PLACE. During our planning, we attempted to pack in as much as possible, with potential stops in Washington, D.C., New York City, West Virginia and Cincinnati on the chart. Instead, we strategically plotted our trip to be centralized in PA - visiting some iconic locations in Philly (but scrapping the Sprout visit), our big trip to SESAME PLACE, a visit to THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE in Easton, HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD in Hershey, and a swing back through Ohio to visit my friends at SMUCKER'S on our way back to Northern Illinois.
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I can be sort of a "party pooper" when it comes to snacking and my girls - always trying to find that right balance and not over-do things. When it comes to things like candy, I'm a big fan of the "sometimes" treat - a little something special that we can enjoy from time to time, and in moderation (pretty much anything is good in moderation). Personally, I like chocolate - a lot - but I don't really do the full bar thing anymore, though I still find myself craving the unmistakable taste of TWIX, SNICKERS and 3 MUSKETEERS. Now, with the release of TWIX Bites I've got a new "sometimes" treat for the girls, and one that Dad digs, too.
When I first came across Chicago-based Wild Ophelia's all-natural chocolates last summer, I was intrigued by the vast array of unique flavors that had been crafted by artisans across the country. Now, as a member of their "Blogger Posse," I occasionally get to try out some new flavors and assortments, most recently their new Valentine's Day varieties: Tart Cherry Caramel Milk Chocolate Bites and New England Style Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Bites. These little hedgehog-shaped chocolates are so good, I couldn't keep that to myself (and I didn't, my daughter gobbled some up)... so YOU are getting a chance to win a box.
There has never been another time when I could say that I've been "excited about chocolate." Sure, I like my peanut butter cups on occasion, but it wasn't until a couple of months ago when I discovered Wild Ophelia that I really became interested in the chocolate that I was about to eat or share with my children. Created right here in Chicago by noted Chocolatier Katrina Markoff of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Wild Ophelia is "an American roadtrip through chocolate" that connects the American farmers' movement with chocolate through the sourcing of all natural, often organic ingredients. Their new line of extraordinary flavors and a surprising connection to THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE lands Wild Ophelia firmly in my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide here on The Rock Father.