The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Gardens

The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Gardens

Today’s outing was a last-minute write-in. The itinerary said Gettysburg, but the flower/garden-lover in me said The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Gardens. My youngest daughter and her daughter decided to join me and it ended up being a glorious day.

The rest of our group thoroughly enjoyed Gettysburg. The Gettysburg film A New Birth of Freedom and the Cyclorama make the Gettysburg Visitor Center a must-see. Newly rebuilt, the center is huge and awesome according to our carload. The Cyclorama – a painting that encircles the room – is a very somber reminder of the intensity of the war and has been refurbished in all its glory.

“The painting is the work of French artist Paul Dominique Philippoteaux. It depicts Pickett’s Charge, the failed infantry assault that was the climax of the Battle of Gettysburg. The painting is a cyclorama, a type of 360° cylindrical painting. The intended effect is to immerse the viewer in the scene being depicted, often with the addition of foreground models and life-sized replicas to enhance the illusion. Among the sites documented in the painting are Cemetery Ridge, the Angle, and the “High-water mark of the Confederacy”. The completed original painting was 22′ high and 279′ in circumference. The version that hangs in Gettysburg, a 2005 restoration of the version created for Boston, is 42′ high and 377′ in circumference.” – READ MORE about the Gettysburg Cyclorama

Although I thought it may be too intense for them, our two youngest grandkids loved it all – especially the soldier training. My husband who lives and breathes for the Civil War and Gettysburg enjoyed it once again. They got home about 9:30 after completing the audio tour of the Gettysburg battlegrounds that we purchased on our last trip. The kiddos, rather than sleeping in a heap after such a long day were very excited about their excursion and looked forward to another getaway tomorrow. No one took pictures, so I don’t have any to share, but if you check out any of the links above, there are lots. If you need a little help planning your visit, here are some suggested itineraries for your visit to Gettysburg. After his second trip to Gettysburg, hubby still wants another – go figure!

The Hotel Hershey
From the moment I first laid eyes on this hotel, I couldn’t keep control of the drool. I’m not sure if it was the purple flowers spewing from their pots and window boxes, the landscaping with massive flowerbeds everywhere, the green lampposts with Kiss flags and hanging pots, the views from this vantage point, or just the stunning building. We tried to be inconspicuous as we shot photos all around the grounds. I suppose they get a lot of that. If they didn’t want gawkers shooting pictures, they shouldn’t have made it so beautiful!

The Hotel Hershey has 276 rooms – guest rooms, suites and cottages – a world-class resort and have I mentioned it’s gorgeous? Sorry, I’ve got control of myself now.

We didn’t make it around back and we didn’t see a pool. Clearly another visit is in order to get the full scope of this place. Of course I’d have to stay in the Milton Hershey Suite just to pay tribute – for more research, of course.

“At a time when the nation was gripped in the throes of the Great Depression, Milton S. Hershey decided to build a magnificent hotel atop Pat’s Hill overlooking his chocolate factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Hershey faced the decision of providing welfare for his town or employing them. Thankfully, he chose the latter and his dream of building The Hotel Hershey commenced.

When surveyors began mapping the site, Mr. Hershey gave his architect and chief engineer, D. Paul Witmer, a postcard showing the front view of a 30-room hotel that he had visited in the Mediterranean. It had a U-shaped base with a tower at either end. Witmer used the design to guide his creation of the 170-room hotel, which included a Spanish patio, tiled floors, a grand fountain, and a dining room without corners.” – READ MORE about the History of the Hotel Hershey

We weren’t able to get into the dining room, but we did snoop around enough to find the Fountain Lobby with its fabulous blue sky ceiling and Spanish ambiance. We enjoyed a little gift-shopping and then headed over to Hershey Gardens – but not before shooting some more photos of the massive flower beds around the entrance on our way out. ❤️

From the top of the hill at Hershey Gardens, there’s a great panoramic view of Hershey, PA. The chocolate factory is easily recognizable with its twin smokestacks and the roller coasters and ferris wheel can only mean one thing – Hershey Park – a little too intimidating for the age-group on this trip, but maybe next time!

Hershey Gardens
Hershey GardensAs much as I raved about our last stop, Hershey Gardens is even better. Since The Hotel Hershey is right across the road and higher in elevation, it appears as a backdrop for a lot of the photos of the Gardens. I’d definitely recommend seeing both, even if you had only planned on seeing one or the other. If the weather is wonderful and the flowers are in bloom, you could spend the day just wandering the paths and sniffing the flowers.

“Hershey Gardens opened in 1937 with Milton Hershey’s request to “create a nice garden of roses.” More than 75 years later, the small rose garden has blossomed into 23 acres of botanical beauty providing visitors with unique experiences and enriching opportunities.

Overlooking the town of Hershey, Hershey Gardens features a breathtaking assortment of flowers and shrubs, a stately collection of rare, signature trees, and various programs designed to delight visitors of all ages.

Indulge your senses in the color and variety of our brilliant seasonal displays and explore themed gardens, including the indoor, tropical Butterfly Atrium, the hands-on Children’s Garden.” – READ MORE about Hershey Gardens

We walked into the entrance of Conservatory to get tickets and the lay of the land. This building just opened this summer (2016), so we were a few of its first visitors. The entrance was filled with magnificent palm trees and dozens of stained glass butterflies dangling below the glass ceiling. It was so beautiful!

“The Milton and Catherine Hershey Conservatory at Hershey Gardens was inspired by the conservatories that Hershey’s founding couple built to stage popular indoor flower shows in the early 1900s. It houses a year-round butterfly atrium, a horticultural and educational wing, a retail shop, a terrace overlooking the lake and space for classes and special events.” – READ MORE about the (now open) Hershey Conservatory

We decided to go through the Butterfly Atrium first, which started out a little creepy. It’s very warm and humid and we are urged NOT to swat at anything that lands on you – going against all of our basic instincts. Turns out when we were calm and collected, the butterflies don’t really come near us that often because they are busy pollinating or drinking Gatorade (yes, Gatorade) or resting their wings for a while and didn’t really care about us at all. I was able to zoom in close for some wonderful shots of Mother Nature’s finest.

When we had had enough of the winged creatures and the heat of the Atrium, we headed outside for a breath of fresh air and the grand finale of this day. Since the gardens weren’t really visible as we drove up, emerging from the conservatory into the gardens was a very pleasant surprise indeed!

The photo above right was the only shot I got of the rose garden for some reason. When we exited the building, I must have been in awe and forgot? There was an area at least 5 times that big with every color, every type of rose you could think of. It was amazing!

“Designed to offer beauty in every season, Hershey Gardens is constantly changing. We continually strive to display new plants and ideas as well as keep old favorites. You’ll love finding grandmother’s much-loved flowers next to today’s latest cultivars.” – READ MORE about what’s to see at Hershey Gardens

The gazebos and benches offer plenty of spots to sit and relax and enjoy the flowers. I couldn’t help but be thankful it wasn’t me weeding all of these beds! Thanks so much for the folks who do, because they are beautifully manicured and the grass was green and lush with not even one “Keep off the Grass” sign.

Click on the link if you are wondering What’s in Bloom? You may want to adjust your visit if there are certain flowers that you just can’t do without.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

And the beauty continues with sculptures intermixed with the flowers. And metal and wooden structures. And Cana Lilies!

Last, but certainly not least was the Children’s Garden. We saw the beautiful butterfly in the photo below here. Not sure if the little guy escaped from the Conservatory, or they just let this one fly around free! Either way, he was very cooperative while I took his picture.

My granddaughter was getting a little bored, because moms and grandmas are supposed to like gardens, not kids. But we caught her more than once posing for pictures and really enjoying herself. According to the Hershey Kisses on the entrance sign, The Children’s Garden is here “to sweeten the imagination”. I think it did just that! What a great day!

Next up: The Civil War Museum

Happy trails,

Barbara Olson

Barbara Olson

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