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summer

Hershey: The Sweetest Place on Earth

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Chocolate.

Just say the word, and I am there.

One of the things I absolutely love about living in Philadelphia is my proximity to Hershey, PA. That's right, Chocolate Town!  I have had the pleasure of visiting many times over the past several years, and I'm heading there again this week as I am what every chocolate lover dreams of.. A HERSHEY AMBASSADOR!  Rough job, I know.  But SOMEBODY has to do it. 

I always look forward to my Hershey visits. No, not just because I can stock up on the best chocolate on the planet!  But I love that Hershey is a family-friendly destination. For locals who can't quite swing a big vacation, Hershey is the perfect "staycation." There is so much to do, including Hersheypark (Boston LOVES the chocolate characters!!  The pic to the left is from our 1st ever visit to Hershey.)

Thrill lovers: did you know Hersheypark has 12 rollercoasters? Epic! They also offer live entertainment as well as kid-focused rides for even the smallest chocolate lovers.

Hershey, PA offers more than just the theme park, though. Visitors can head to ZooAmerica, with over 200 animals on 11 acres. There is also a large educational component. Keep the learning going through the summer! Kids can learn about the history of Hershey at The Hershey Story and get the whole scoop on how chocolate is made at Hershey's Chocolate World (and pssst: you didn't hear it from me, but after the informational tour they may or may not give out chocolate samples. SCORE!).

Accomodations are not lacking in Hershey, and I can attest that the Hershey Lodge is fantastic for families. If you want to take it to the next level, check out The Hotel Hershey!  We are MEGA excited about staying at Hotel Hershey as we've only stayed at the Hershey Lodge in the past. Check out their awesome packages, as well. There are great seasonal and year-round offerings that make a stay at Hershey all the more sweet.

Also? I may be a little obsessed with the fact that Kate Gosselin lives nearby. Because. KATE GOSSELIN.


I digress.

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So whether you are near or far, take the scenic ride through the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania and make your destination the Sweetest Place on Earth!

Check our twitter, Instagram and Facebook stream for our overflowing amount of images from our experiences.  I promise to share unique shots at our favorite sweet spots!

What is YOUR favorite Hershey memory?

****Yes, as an ambassador I get some SWEET deals! Some of the activities are comped in result of my ambassadorship with Hershey, PA.  But of course - the REAL mom is always going to be real.  Now, back to my chocolate dream.

 

Parenting's Last Minute Summer Getaways

Last Minute Summer Getaways
6 strategies for organizing a fantastic, no-stress family trip -- quick!
By Laura Sullivan, Parenting
 

It happened again. You meant to plan a summer vacation. But it seemed like you had plenty of time, and there was always something else to do. Now, somehow, you're staring down July. No worries: We've gathered tactics for pulling it off, on the double!

Stay flexible

You may assume that you'll have to be totally open on the dates to be able to take a trip before Labor Day. But it's actually more important to have wiggle room with the place. Sure, your heart may be set on an iconic dream destination, but a lot of other people's hearts are, too. "I'll hear 'I want to go to Hawaii' at the last minute," says Jennifer Gaines, a contributing editor at Travelocity, "but that's not the best idea." Pick a date range, define the type of vacation you're hankering for--say, beach, hiking, or city wandering--and then hunt through that wider lens. Even then, keep an open mind. Saudia Nagamootoo, a mom of two in Coral Springs, FL, often finds out when her husband can take time off only a week in advance. They always go somewhere, even if it's a road trip nearby.

Go to extremes

Focus your search on under-the-radar places…or where everybody goes. "For the very last minute, I like what I call the 'central coast' of California, Carmel through Santa Barbara," says Amie O'Shaughnessy, editor of Ciaobambino.com, a travel site that rates family-friendly properties. She says the relatively unknown beach towns can be a little kitschy and there's a summer fog pattern that rolls in ("There's always a trade-off"), but in places like Avila Beach, you open your condo door to a quiet beach and a playground. Yes, please! Or flip this script completely by taking a chance on a mega-popular family destination like Orlando, FL, or San Diego. Due to the sheer number of guests they expect in the summer, last-minute cancellations can be scavenged. Places you probably won't have any luck? Well-loved but small-scale spots, such as Cape Cod, MA, and Lake Tahoe, CA.