Yesterday was a travel day, driving the back roads of New York State and Connecticut as we press East. On the way we passed one of the power plants that kept partner Jim here for many years.
Haze or smog covered, we are unsure. It sits on the Eastern shore of the Hudson River near Peekskill, N.Y. The road brought us within touring distance of West Point, but the internet informed us West Point doesn’t open for tours this early in the season. Its always good to check before you go. It came as a surprise that Bear Mountain State Park was closed to us because the road cannot accommodate motor homes. Even so, NY City so dominates your vision of New York its easy to forget that the back country in many places is rural and green with rivers and pleasant small towns. We enjoyed the slower paced drive away from the interstates.
We visited Hershey’s Chocolate Factory in Hershey, PA. earlier in the month, thinking to see how chocolate was made. Instead we found a Disney-like grounds with all kinds of attractions; a rose garden; 3-D Movies; trolley Rides; and, in short, a wonderland for kids. In one attraction, kids, or adults for that matter, can put on the aprons and make their own cookies with all the sprinkles, choco bits and candy decos. Fun for sure.
We rode little cars through a fake factory that took us from where the cacao beans are grown to the final mixing and packaging of the candy bars and other products. Very swift and simple; about five minutes; probably perfect for kids attention span, and of course, the wonderful lure of chocolate treats.
In the picture, it actually looks like real, liquid chocolate, but its painted to appear that way. The kids probably don’t notice or care. There is no one to answer questions you might have. They have an extensive gift shop with some fun products and unlikely ones as well and mountains of candy.
As we drove through town, and if you don’t read the visitor center brochures carefully, you can think that every attraction in Hershey, PA. is funded by the Hershey Company. Many of them are. Hershey’s has done very well by the town named for Milton Hershey, who was born here. He funded the zoo and other community projects, but his greatest contribution, with all that sweet money, is the wonderful school he started for impoverished children..
Milton Hershey and his wife could have no children. He built a school which started out as a kindergarten through 6th grade with housing and travel expenses for poor kids from all over. When he died, he left his entire fortune in a trust fund for that school. Now the school goes from kindergarten through college. It includes a medical college, lighted tennis courts, an olympic sized track, swimming pool, a visual arts center and agriculture and environmental studies center. The grounds are extensive and beautifully manicured with spacious individual houses for poor students. An amazing place. In fact the Founders Hall Rotunda has a 74 foot high ceiling, the 2nd largest in the world. He was a generous benefactor and his trust fund continues to support this marvelous place. He, of course, didn’t live to see this Founders Hall. As long as we keep buying Hershey products, this school will continue to serve a grateful public.