Archive for January 22nd, 2013

Bart and I have, on two separate Saturdays, almost made the two-hour drive to Hershey, PA to visit Hershey’s Chocolate World. For various reasons we never made it either time. However, last weekend we decided the time had finally arrived, and we also decided that this time we would go big or stay home. Instead of just a day trip, we got a cheap Priceline hotel deal and made a weekend out of it.

Saturday morning, we got up and hit the road. We headed north to Baltimore, our first time going through the city. We even drove under part of the bay on I-95, which was a new experience for us formerly land-locked types. From there, we took the back way into Pennsylvania and Lancaster County. We saw a few Amish there, one man in his field with a team of oxen and passed a horse and buggy on the road.



We had lunch in Lancaster at diner #1, then headed a few miles east to Columbia, PA to the National Watch and Clock Museum. I had never heard of this place before doing a little internet recon for this trip, and I knew that, as a time nerd, there was no way I would pass up this place.

This is actually a pretty neat little museum. There must be thousands of clocks, from pocket watches to pendulum clocks to even some modern atomic clocks:




The first is the Atomichron, the world’s first commercially built atomic clock (1960, National Company of Malden, Massachusetts). The second, which has a neat yet somewhat antiquated dial face, was unknown to me, or to my boss when I later showed him the photo. It had no plaque at the museum, but we decided that it must be based on ammonia. That boring-looking HP box looks like something we’d have stuck in the corner of our lab under an old spectrum analyzer; it’s no different than the modern instruments we use today. And yes, those were the only items I took pictures of in the whole place.

That evening we drove to Hershey, where we ate dinner at diner #2 (yes, two diners in one day) and stayed the night. We got up Sunday morning and visited Chocolate World. We took the “tour” ride about how the factory produces various chocolate bars and also took a chocolate tasting class. If only all my classes in college were that satisfying.

No, I did not come home with that Reese’s.

From there, we drove back into Maryland through Hagerstown and Frederick, the way we came when we moved, only it was much more interesting and less stressful in the daylight and after two months of learning how to actually get to our house.

This was a fun, laid-back getaway for a sunny winter weekend. There are lots of things to do in the area here, but most of them aren’t very fun when it’s cold outside. But we enjoyed seeing some new county and eating diner food and chocolate. Best of all, I still had another day off for MLK Jr Day/Inauguration Day after we returned. First Pennsylvania trip: success.

Read Full Post »