Life is Sunny and Sweet in Hershey

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A few days ago, I shared many, many Hershey Gardens photos. It was a refreshing weekend activity in the warm, sunny spring. Last time we visited the gardens in Hershey, it was the middle of languid summer and the roses were in resplendent bloom. When we visited a few weeks ago, the roses were still gathering their strength after a long winter, but the tulips were in the vibrant prime of their lives.

My husband and I started out that Saturday with the goal of a filling, delicious breakfast that would give us the stamina to walk through Hershey Gardens for a few hours. I had heard good things about Breads ‘n’ Cheese of Hershey, and I’m glad we finally stopped in for some food.

The special of the day was the Breakfast BLT, which consisted of an open-faced sandwich, topped with a lightly fried egg, crispy bacon, fresh arugula, and lined with a tangy, slightly sweet sauce with a hint of mustard. We both agreed it was delicious and quickly devoured our breakfasts. After a few cups of coffee, we drove out to enjoy the sunshine in Hershey Gardens.

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We spent 2-3 hours wandering around Hershey Gardens that morning.

IMG_0883One of the first things you see upon entering the Gardens are the favorite blooms of the season. If you visit during the summer, you see beautiful, vicious roses, their delicately soft petals in sharp contrast to their piercing, unyielding thorns. During the spring, however, you first see the barely developed spring twigs of rose bushes, followed closely by a brilliant rainbow of colors.

While the tulips rival the roses in sheer visual beauty, their colors spring more from the joy of sunshine after a cold winter than from the stoic grace of carefully groomed rosebushes.

The beds containing 45,000 tulips were surprisingly busy with visitors to the gardens, photographers, and families whose kids were exhausting themselves running joyfully up and down the wide expanses of fresh green grass.

IMG_0945Once we’d seen most of the shapes, heights, and colors of the varied tulip species, we wandered through the arboretum, enjoying the flowering trees and the relative quiet.

We spent several minutes watching the fish swim and enjoying the tranquility of the Japanese Gardens, until a young couple and two photographers arrived and began taking engagement photos.

Our last stop for the morning was at the Children’s Garden. The butterfly house is usually the primary attraction of this area, but it wouldn’t be open for another several weeks. Instead, they had a veritable rainbow of flowers.

After several hours walking around in the warm sun, we were both very thirsty, and beginning to get a little hungry again. Our next stop was Troeg’s Brewing Company, a local business that creates delicious beers any hop-lover would love.

IMG_1012Guided tours of the brewery are hard to come by – you typically need to reserve your spots nearly a month in advance. In fact, I’ve already booked a couple guided tours for my birthday this year, in late August.

They do have an excellent self-guided tour available, complete with large glass windows to view the gigantic equipment involved in commercial craft brewing. The detailed explanations provided on the windows were a thorough summary of each step of the brewing process:

  • Open Top Fermentation;
  • Closed Fermentation;
  • Filtration;
  • Kegging, Bottling, or Barrel Aging,
  • and checking the Microbiology of the brews.

After roughly 30 minutes of reading the descriptions on the self-guided tour, we grabbed a seat and ordered a beer sampler and fries to share. While I was quick enough to grab a photo of the beer sampler, the handcut fries with hop oil and a spicy mustard disappeared too quickly. For only $4, the heaping basket of fries provided was more than enough. I think we paid only $7 for our beer sampler (the server gave us an extra small sample of the seasonal Flying Mouflan), so for less than $20 after tips we had more than enough to share.

While the beer was a little hoppier than I would typically prefer (I’m more of a Hefeweizen/unfiltered wheat beer lover), my husband really enjoyed them. I was able to drink (and enjoy) all but the IPA, as the hops were well balanced and slightly floral.

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By the time we left Troeg’s, we were getting tired in spite of a relaxing, carefree morning. It was only approaching 4 pm, so if we had retired to a local hotel for a nap or a quick soak in the hot tub, we would have been ready to go again for dinner and beyond. But since we live roughly 15-20 minutes away, we decided to call it a day. I definitely plan to repeat this easy day trip again, especially since visiting other local attractions in Hershey are still on my to-do list.

Resources:

Breads ‘n’ Cheese of Hershey

http://breadsandcheese.com/

Hershey Gardens

http://www.hersheygardens.org/

Troeg’s Brewery

http://www.troegs.com/

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Categories: Day Trips, Itinerary, Pennsylvania

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. What a nice date with your husband! I visited Hershey Gardens years ago when I was a camp counselor in PA. I remember wandering around with another counselor and deciding that we would both much rather be there with a boyfriend. We both loved our kids – but the gardens seemed so romantic.

  2. flowers AND beer?! That’s the best day ever.

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