pennsylvania

Hershey’s Chocolate World | In My Travels

by Jamie Sanford on October 31, 2016

To see all of my travel posts, click here. All images taken with the Sony NEX-6. (The previous link is an affiliate link, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.)

I will stop at Hershey’s Chocolate World if I am ANYWHERE in the vicinity of Hershey, Pennsylvania. This also means that William has visited a BUNCH of times as well – I have made him ride the chocolate tour ride every time. I am a complete sucker for that experience, anything where I’m sitting in a moving car, waiting to see what will be next, when the car will turn and move, I absolutely love it. It totally turns me into a kid again.

It smells like chocolate. Outdoors.

Photo ops everywhere.

They do not miss an opportunity to make things shaped like Hershey’s kisses.

YAAASSS!

Hershey has a rich history.

During the chocolate tour ride, you get to go through the entire chocolate making process, with the addition of singing cows!

Then you get to the most amazing chocolate shopping.

This store is ENORMOUS.

There are areas of the store devoted to all of the iconic Hershey products. Apparel, housewares, and of course, tons of chocolate and candy.

Do you need the world’s largest anything? You’re all set.

I don’t know where I would have put one of these, but they are charming.

Reese’s products are a weakness. I think I have an actual physical response to this orange color.

So much peanut buttery goodness.

One of the most interesting things in the Hershey’s Chocolate World store is that it turns out that Hershey manufactures SO MANY brands, including many I haven’t heard of, like Scharffen Berger.

I’d be interested to know how long it took Hershey to start selling branded components of products, like Mounds coconut shreds.

7 pounds of chocolate syrup! This has to only be for industrial purchasing, right? Also, it is NOT $9.95, this item is placed in the wrong spot.

They also had a number of new products in the store.

There’s a giant bar of gravity-fed individually sized candies, so you can make a mix and match bag of your favorites. It is very large and very beautiful.

It was a sweet day indeed.

If you are anywhere near the Hershey area, I recommend a stop at Hershey’s Chocolate World. The visit is free, as is the chocolate tour – but I can make no assumptions that you would be able to escape without buying chocolate and/or candy on the way out. If nothing else, you can stop in the mini food court to get a milkshake!

Happy trails!

Hilton Hotels

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Horseshoe Curve | In My Travels

by Jamie Sanford on August 22, 2016

To see all of my travel posts, click here. All images taken with the Sony NEX-6. (The previous link is an affiliate link, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.)

I worked my way around the map once we had decided to go to Penn’s Cave. My first inclination was to spend the night in Harrisburg, but once I realized that adding a bit of driving to the trip would let us visit Horseshoe Curve and then stay in Altoona for the evening, it was the obvious plan. We had been to Horseshoe Curve once before, in 2009 when we took a visit to the Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania. I felt that we hadn’t spent enough time there, and I really wanted to go back, so we did!

We rode the funicular to the top of Horseshoe Curve. We took the steps on the way back down.

A panorama from the top. You can see the train tracks on either side of the image, because this photo is taken from the center of the Horseshoe.

Horseshoe Curve was built as a way to stretch out an incline on the railroad in a time when the engines weren’t strong enough to manage a steeper incline with lots of weight. This line of track is used a LOT, and so both times when we have visited, there are trains coming by every few minutes.

Train!

The parklike area at the top of the funicular is so lovely – there are benches, picnic tables, and lots of grass.

In this image, you can really see how this stretch of track is managing the incline.

Obviously. That’s my new road trip hat.

This informational sign is helpful.

On our way back down the stairs.

If you or someone you know likes trains, I can’t tell you enough to spend some time at Horseshoe Curve. I didn’t go into detail about it here, but there is an entire museum to look around, a film to watch about the conception and construction of the curve, and a very cute gift shop. I have found that while it seems like it might be boring to watch trains go by, it is the experience of being surrounded by them as they pass that is really fun and exciting. We saw multiple freight trains and an Amtrak passenger train, which looked tiny in comparison. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful visit.

Happy trails!

Hilton Hotels

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Penn’s Cave | In My Travels

by Jamie Sanford on August 8, 2016

To see all of my travel posts, click here. All images taken with the Sony NEX-6. (The previous link is an affiliate link, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.)

It was another episode of “Jamie and Will venture out to something random” a few weeks back, when we took an overnight trip to central Pennsylvania. This time, the main stop was Penn’s Cave – one of many caves available for visiting in Pennsylvania. I think I discovered this particular cave while perusing the Roadside America map of Pennsylvania, and said “hey, let’s go to a cave with a boat ride!” #excellentplanning

We arrived at Penn’s Cave and immediately made our way down the hill to the cave entrance, where you get on the boat.

After walking down a steep hill and a bunch of steps, you get to the boat launch.

You can see the steps behind us here.

You ride in a long skinny boat, designed for fitting into tight spaces.

Here’s the view back at the dock from the boat.

Here’s a look at a boat we passed in the cave. You can get a bit of an idea about the scale of things. You can also tell by this photo and others that there are many challenges in photography in a (mostly) dark cave.

The lights are turned off and on, only used when the boats are coming through.

We could have spent hours, days, weeks, or longer examining all of the amazing rock formations.

Maximum drama!

There wasn’t anything about it on the tour, but I would be interested to learn about the process of installing all of these lights in the cave.

We exited the back of the cave out of this hole, took a big loop around the lake and came back. I included video footage from the ride around the lake in this video from the trip.

More beautiful formations on our way back to the cave entrance. Plus, the boat comes back backwards, so our ride in the back had a much better view.

Penn’s Cave is definitely worth a visit. The tour was interesting, and they also have a wildlife tour since the property houses multiple species of deer as well as bison and steer. There isn’t too much nearby – we drove about an hour to Altoona for the night, which happened to also be the location of Horseshoe Curve, which will be featured in a future post.

Happy trails!

Hilton Hotels

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Red Caboose Motel, Ronks, Pennsylvania | In My Travels

by Jamie Sanford on February 1, 2016

To see all of my travel posts, click here.

I gave a glimpse of the Red Caboose Motel back when I talked about my Amelia Earhart luggage, but I wanted to talk about it a bit more.

All images taken with the Sony NEX-6 and the iPhone 6.

I found out about the Red Caboose motel from a coworker, and didn’t ever tell Will about it, planning to surprise him with a visit. The motel is super close to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum, and right next to the tracks for the train ride you take across from the museum. There’s definitely a theme.

The hotel is definitely an experience – the charm of stepping onto a platform to get into your car is quite lovely.

Here’s a look at our car, number 1, and 2 shots of the interior. This is not a fancy location. I didn’t expect it to be, and I was correct. It isn’t fancy. It was also quite cold that day, the heater was definitely needed. Train cars are not really insulated. In addition, we didn’t have the best night of sleep, the mattress left much to be desired, and the pillows were lacking. (However, can I just say that the pillow thing is a problem at most hotels I go to? It’s ridiculous.)

They have a selection of animals and a feed dispenser. I am a sucker for any such experience.

There were some random cats hanging around as well.

(This photo has been altered, this lighting does not occur in nature.)

We ate breakfast in the diner, it was quite lovely. There is even a soundtrack of train sounds playing for realism.

I recommend a stay at the Red Caboose Motel. I can’t say I recommend more than one night, but the experience was something that we will certainly never forget.

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Photography: Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

by Jamie Sanford on November 30, 2015

To see all of my photography posts, click here.

Will really likes trains, so I try and take him to as many interesting train things as I can. This trip was a surprise, and included the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, a train ride, and a stay in the Red Caboose Motel! (More on the motel soon.) All images taken with the Sony NEX-6.

The full set of photos from this trip is here on Flickr.

The railroad museum is ENORMOUS, and is, at its simplest, a replica train station filled with something like 25 engines, from all different times in history.

There is also a large area with model train displays.

I hope this is true about grits.

The outdoor train yard had even more engines and train cars to see. It was a windy but beautiful day.

The light coming through these massive garage doors was incredible. I need these doors in my future home.

Any reflective surface will work for us!

A slight downside is that you don’t get to see too many train interiors. This was really interesting!

I really really love the Pennsylvania Railroad’s logo.

The light was gorgeous.

I cannot recommend visiting this museum enough if you ever make it to the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area. The drive there is scenic, and there is so much more to do and see than I ever imagined!

The full set of photos from this trip is here on Flickr.

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