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USATourist News Magazine by Elizabeth Blair
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USATourist News Magazine

January 2011 - Hershey, Pennsylvania

In this issue:

Happy New Year! This month USA Tourist is visiting the Sweetest Place on Earth - Hersheypark in Pennsylvania. This quaint town has all of the benefits of the larger themepark cities: rides, fun and thrills for all ages. But it's in a much calmer environment, less expensive and easy to drive to from nearby major cities. Located in central Pennsylvania, Hershey is only one and half hours from Baltimore and Philadelphia, two hours from Washington D.C. and three hours from New York City.

Kiss Characters

A photo with some of the famous Hershey Characters can make a great souvenier.
© Beth Blair

Fun in the Sweetest Place on Earth

Hersheypark is a full-blown amusement park with 65 attractions and rides for all ages: 24 children's rides and 11 roller coasters for the older kids and adults. Each ride is labeled with a Hershey candy bar which coincides with minimum height allowances. Before entering the park, the children can check what rides they're tall to enough to hop on by measuring themselves on the candy bar themed height charts by the park's entry. Families who return every year love watching the kid's candy-bar change as they grow.

In addition to the rides and games, Hershey characters: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey Chocolate Bar and Hershey Kisses make regularly scheduled appearances at select locations throughout the park. Taking a picture with the Hershey mascots is always fun.

The seasonal Hershey waterpark called The Boardwalk is located inside the park and features nine water attractions including rides and a wavepool. Don't forget swimsuits and towels. And the ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park just celebrated its 100th Anniversary and is another nice way to experience Hershey with its assortment of wildlife. Same day admission to ZooAmerica is included with Hersheypark. The zoo is located in the park's Minetown section. Be sure to hop aboard the Hershey Park Tram to see all the park has to offer. You will whiz by the zoo, coasters and more.

Plan to spend at least an entire day if not several days here and don't forget sunscreen and to drink lots of water while you're there.

Tip: If you leave the park but want to return later, get your hand stamped for reentry.

Hershey's Chocolate World

Located adjacent to Hersheypark is Hershey's Chocolate World - the ultimate chocolate experience. Admission is free and there is plenty to do, especially if you want to take a break from the sun. For one, the Chocolate Market is the perfect place to complete your souvenir shopping - including chocolate. Keep an eye out for the Worlds Largest Hershey's Chocolate Bar.

Sky Jump

Kids get to make their own treat at the Choclate Lab in the Museum.
© Beth Blair

Don't miss the Hershey's Great American Chocolate Tour. This automated ride features the history of chocolate, beginning with the tropical rainforest where cocoa beans grow and are harvested then continues to America to the Hershey's chocolate factory through the packaging process. End the ride with a chocolate sample. When you get hungry head to the large food court where there are numerous meal choices and if dessert is your passion, you'll love Hershey's Dessert Creation where you can create their own dessert treats with Hershey products.

Speaking of creating your own, last year the new Hershey's Create Your Own Candy Bar opened up and it seems to be a very popular activity. This interactive, hands-on attraction involves guests in the candy bar creation process. Participants get to choose their favorite candy bar ingredients, operate authentic factory equipment and design their own custom packaging for their personalized candy bar.

Hershey's Botanical Gem

Not far from Hersheypark, Hershey Gardens is 23-acres filled with 5,000 roses, seasonal flowers, a Japanese garden, a darling children's garden and a Butterfly House which is home to 300 butterflies. Extras for the children include "The Great Garden Adventure" where children venture on a scavenger hunt. After they complete the game they can take home a kid-sized gardening tool.

Tip: Pack a lunch and relax at one of the many picnic tables on the deck.

Sweet Dreams

The nice thing about Hershey is it's very possible to turn your theme park visit into an affordable one or you can make it as luxurious as you wish. Hershey has its own line of lodging options ranging from the year-round Hershey Highmeadow Campground, which has tent and RV space and cabins for rent, to the upscale Hotel Hershey. The Hershey Lodge isn't as upscale as the Hotel Hershey, but it is very kid-friendly with a Kid's Check-In complete with Hershey-themed welcome items including Hershey-themed ID lanyards, stickers, coloring sheets and mini chocolates. The rooms are comfortable with a hint of Hershey theme. Even the bathroom toiletries are chocolate-scented. Other than the Hershey properties there are various hotels and motels throughout the town.

Hershey Park

The Hershey Gardens offer a nice view of the Hershey themepark in addition to beautiful flowers.
© Beth Blair

The Bonus for Staying at a Hershey Property

You will pay more to stay at the Hershey properties, but there are number of bonuses for choosing the famous brand. For one, Hershey Resorts Advantage program grants guests free admission to Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story: The Museum on Chocolate Avenue which tells the Hershey story and offers an extensive collection of Hershey memorabilia and interactive displays. In addition to the historic museum, guests can pay extra to attend the Build A Bar class where attendees can learn about the chocolate making process and design their own candy bar.

Another perk to staying at a Hershey property is early access to Hersheypark and preferred pricing for the Breakfast at The Park with Hershey's Product Characters. During the summer months when the water park is open, guests of Hershey properties also get priority access to premium waterfront cabanas at The Boardwalk At Hersheypark. The most used benefit for staying at a Hershey property is the free shuttle service offered only for Hershey Resorts guests. Your room key is your ticket aboard.

We hope you enjoyed this month's issue. Let us know if you decide to visit the Sweetest Place on Earth. You won't be sorry you did!

My Favorite Place

New York, New York

By Carole DuChesne, French Translator

Carole in Times Square

Carole takes in the hustle and bustle of Times Square.
© Carole DuChesne

In my opinion there are two kinds of vacation. The kind you go on with the whole family and the kind you just take with your spouse, significant other or best friend. Since Canon Beach in Oregon, Coeur d' Alène in Idaho as well as the San Juan Islands in Washington are our spots for vacationing all together I opted to talk about my favorite place to go only with my husband: New York.

The big Apple is truly amazing. I can still feel the same overwhelming sentiment every time I go there as the very first time I came to the USA and visited New York when I was 17.

It is unbelievably big. There are so many different things to do and see. For as big as it is, my husband and I always have had an easy time getting around. Though one must wear comfortable shoes, as anyone knows, walking in NY City is the main means of transportation.

There is such a diverse population from all over the world: Chinatown, Little Italy, Brooklyn, The Bronx. The options in dining, shopping, and entertainment are endless. Central Park is a perfect place for a walk or a picnic for lunch, even in winter.

Nearby are the main museums. The MET, known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is unbelievable. So is the American Museum of Natural History and let's not forget the MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art.

Going out at night can be as simple as just walking up and down Times Square and Broadway Avenue. In winter I enjoy going to the Rockefeller Center, to a concert, or watching a Knicks game (the NBA team of New York) at Madison Square Garden. Going shopping is fun, too. Between Soho, Tribeca, the Garment District, Chelsea and Greenwich Village, there are plenty of choices for all tastes, needs and budgets.

The shows are pretty amazing, but plan ahead if you do not want to miss out. The popular Broadway shows are often sold out and you may end up paying way more than what you have budgeted. Though they are not cheap, they are well worth it!

Along and nearby Broadway there are several television studios, NBC, MTV, Fox, ESPN. A friend of my husband works at ESPN (a sports network). We had a lot of fun visiting the studios.

Let's not forget going up to the observatory of the Empire State Building. It is a breathtaking sight ,especially if you can catch the sunset. It will stay with you for days.

Another neighborhood I enjoy is the Financial District. I love the statue of George Washington in front of Wall Street. Not far is Ground Zero. It was really emotional for both of us to visit the site after 9/11, but it was the normal thing to do. Walking through the streets down to the water or to catch a ferry to Liberty Island can take most of the day, but is well worth it.

In the Spring time or Fall I have enjoyed moving around out of the city. It is fun to go and explore the nearby states like New Jersey or Connecticut as well as upstate New York. The state of New York is pretty big as well and has a lot to offer. I love the Niagara Falls, simply majestic. In Connecticut, my husband and I went Hartford for a wedding and decided to go down to the coast to the quaint town of Mystic. It was so relaxing and enriching historically - very New England.

There are so many places to visit in and around New York City. Hope you enjoy it too!

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Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair


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