When planning a birthday celebration for my mother-in-law’s milestone birthday, we had a range of women joining from 22 to 60 years old. We were looking for a destination that everyone in our group would enjoy and that was easily drivable from our hometown of Pittsburgh. Aside from the driving distance, our “must haves” for the weekend included shopping, relaxation, wine and good food. Hershey seemed to be a match for all of that, and it turns out that in addition to being the sweetest place for family fun it’s also the perfect location for a girls weekend getaway.
How to Get to Hershey
Hershey is located in Central Pennsylvania with easy access to many major cities. Coming from Pittsburgh, it was about a 3 1/2 hour drive for our group. It’s also under 2 hours from Philadelphia and Baltimore, making it a great weekend getaway from these two areas as well. If you’re flying, each of the major cities have international airports and the nearby Harrisburg and Lancaster also offer smaller airports that are closer to Hershey.
Where to Stay in Hershey
One of the best parts about going away for a girls weekend is the quality time together. Since we wanted something that allowed the 9 of us to stay together, renting a home on AirBnB was the best option for our group. We ended up staying at this Hershey house since it offered four bedrooms and the two bathrooms we needed. The layout was a little unique and the kitchen wasn’t fully equipped, but it ended up working out perfectly for the weekend. (Don’t worry, the lack of wine glasses didn’t keep us from drinking!) We were visiting Hershey in February and didn’t do much walking around. If you do happen to be there in the warmer months, however, the location is perfect and very accessible to local attractions. (To sign up for AirBnB through my referral code and receive a credit toward your first stay, click here.)
If you’re looking for a luxury hotel, The Hotel Hershey is absolutely beautiful. The Hershey Lodge is a little more budget-friendly option, with both being official resorts of Hersheypark. For a comprehensive list of where to stay in Hershey, PA, see the Visit Hershey and Harrisburg site here.
What to Do & Where to Eat in Hershey
Hershey Story & Hershey Pantry Cafe
After a night in of fun games on Friday night, we started our day on Saturday with breakfast and shopping. Having grown up not too far from Hershey, my family loves the original Hershey Pantry restaurant. Given the size of our group and the fact that they don’t take reservations, we ended up trying out the newer Pantry Cafe housed in the Hershey Story building. The Pantry Cafe has the same owners and relatively same menu, and the food was just as good.
While you’re at the Hershey Story, be sure to browse around the gift shop for Hershey goodies to take home for the family. If you’re interested in history, the main draw to the Hershey Story building is a museum that commemorates Hershey’s past in an interactive way. The Chocolate Lab is also a fun option for a group. The Lab teaches “students” how to make their own handcrafted chocolate bar or truffles after learning about the science of making chocolate.
Shopping in Hershey
If shopping is what you’re looking for, there are a few boutique shops right by the Hershey Story in downtown Hershey. Our group’s favorite store was the Three Little Birds. This adorable boutique offers unique clothing and accessories and is the perfect spot if you’re looking for a special piece to add to your wardrobe. You can also make an appointment for personalized shopping services if that’s something that interests you. The nearby Tanger Outlets offer many popular discounted retail stores with something for everyone. In addition to the clothing and shoe stores, they also have a great Disney outlet and currently the only American Girl outlet in the United States.
Stopping at Troegs is a must for me on every trip to Hershey, with or without kids. Troegs is housed in a modern, industrial looking building. Even if you’re not into beer, they have an amazing food menu in addition to an extensive beer menu. If you’re looking for a snack while beer tasting, the rosemary popcorn and beer cheese pretzels are both yummy. While we didn’t do this time, Troegs also offers a few different tours that are available daily. (Note: Troegs Brewery gets packed on the weekends, for good reason. There’s a ton of seating, however, including a newly added second floor tasting loft. Troegs is also super kid-friendly and offers a kids menu and crayons.)
Dinner in Hershey
For dinner on Saturday night, we headed over to The Mill. Not only do they have a great food and cocktail menu, but this 3 story restaurant offers live music on the weekends. And if you’re not ready to fall asleep by 9pm like we were that night, it’s a great ending to a girls night out. They also have a great outdoor seating area if you’re there in the warmer months. Other great dinner recommendations include: Devon Seafood + Steak for more upscale dining, Irv’s Pub for a casual option with a great menu and beer selection, and the Chocolate Avenue Grill for more of a family restaurant with a traditional menu.
The Spa at the Hotel Hershey
On Sunday, we spent a half day at the The Spa at the Hotel Hershey before heading home. The spa was really what drew us to the area for a girls weekend, and I’m so glad we splurged on this for ourselves. It’s a little on the pricey side, but I really believe that it’s worth every penny. I opted for the Chocolate Prescription Facial, and it was tailored perfectly for my sensitive skin, complete with a chocolate lip balm at the end. With any 50-minute treatment at the spa, you have access to several relaxation rooms, beverages and the hotel’s indoor pool.
While you’re at “the chocolate spa,” be sure to schedule lunch at the Oasis Restaurant. The restaurant is only available for spa guests and offers a light buffet in a relaxed setting. (Nothing is better than eating in your robe after a spa treatment!) If you have a large group like ours, ask for the “stage” table for a private space. If you have time before or after your lunch, the Oasis also offers a large relaxation area with beverage service. This was great for our group since we were unable to stay quiet in the quiet rooms. (Note: The Spa at the Hotel Hershey gets extremely busy on the weekends. Be sure to schedule appointments several weeks ahead if traveling with a group.)
Hersheypark & Hershey Chocolate World
Hersheypark is one of my favorite theme parks, and it’s just as great for a kid-free girls weekend as it is with kids. While we didn’t go this time since we were visiting in February, I definitely recommend considering it as part of your weekend. (I actually went to Hersheypark several years ago for part of a bachelorette party and it was SO fun.) While you’re in the area, Hershey’s Chocolate World is another great place to visit for Hershey’s candy and souvenirs. The Chocolate World ride, which is free, is a fun way to learn about the history of chocolate making at Hershey. I definitely recommend making a stop on any visit to Hershey.
So if you’re looking for a relaxing weekend filled with spa treatments, shopping, great food and of course, chocolate, Hershey, Pennsylvania should be your next destination for a girls weekend getaway.
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