Monday, July 26, 2004

Hershey PA, Gettysburg PA

Hershey Picture

We were going to spend a day at the amusement park in Hershey PA and then drive down to Baltimore to meet Sue's husband Randy who was already there on business. Instead we decied to skip the amusement park, make a short stop at Chocolate World in Hershey and then visit Gettysburg before continuing to Baltimore.

The drive to Hershey was less then enjoyable. So far route 81 from Scranton to Harrisburgh gets my vote for worst road and worst drivers. It's a 2 lane road in horrible condition, combined with the biggest truck to car ratio I've ever experienced. I'd say there was 3 semi trucks to every 2 cars. The truck are allowed to use the left lane and they do so without any regard for the car population. They attempt to pass uphill without any thought to speed ratio, hogging the left hand lane. We really needed a chocolate fix after that 2@ 1/2 hours. The direct quote from Holly when we parked was "move it people, this is important". Chocolate world was set up by the folks at hershey when their factory tour requests became overwhelming. There are a few free rides that explain how chocolate is made, some enlightening history about Milton Hershey and his wife, opportunities to watch a 3d movie or take a tour of the company town a decent food court and several enormous gift shops full of various size confections in every shape and size along with an enormous amount of merchandise that makes a Hershey's kiss rival Mickey Mouse in popularity. It was a pleasent way to spend a few hours. The amusement park looks cool also. It seems to have at least 6 roller coasters.

After Hershey we took a short diversion to Gettysburg. I remember going there as a kid during a reenactment week and being amazed. One of the reasons we took this trip we to expose our kids to some US history we feel is missing on the west coast and we thought Gettysburg was a good place to start. The visitors center exposed the kids to the background of the civil war and the importance of the battle of Gettysburg. I tried to fill in the gaps with my rememberances of the civil war up to that point in time. We toured the cemetary and latched on to a ranger tour who explained the battle and the aftermath and the creation of the cemetary. She also explained the importance of the Gettysburg address. How the North finally had a victory to quell the people who were ready to give in to the south and the enormouse size of the battle. We went into a building called the Cyclorama which houses a 360 degree painting of the battle, recreated after the war. It tooka team of 6 people 11 months to create and it told the entire story of the battle of Picket's charge in 1 painting. A 10 minute naration by Richard Dryfuss, combined with automated spotlight enhancement explained the painting. Lucky for us, we went now, the painting is scheduled for restoration this fall and the exhibit will be closed for several years. We got caught in a huge rainstorm as we left the building which prevented any future exploration of the battlefields but we'd already had a full day and needed to head on down to Baltimore to our hotel.


Blogger Mike said...

Wow, you hit two of my big spots from growing up that day. I went to Hershey as often as I could growing up in Lebanon (about 30 minutes away). I've been on the Chocolate World probably 50 times. About ten years back they brought in an outside design firm and completely changed the ride - and everyone freaked out. It was some horrible sci-fi deal and the only thing left of it after putting it back the way it was is one of the robots/aliens is at the very end of the ride. I eventually met my wife operating the bumber cars at HersheyPark.

And then there's Gettysburg. We went there almost once a year through my childhood as my Dad was a big Civil War buff. I've never been there for a reenactment though but my parents went this year. John, have you read The Killer Angels? It's great.

July 26, 2004 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger John said...

yes, I have read the Killer Angels. Great book.

July 28, 2004 at 8:06 PM  

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