Sept. 1 – Sept. 9th

As we left my hometown, there were bittersweet feelings. With my childhood riddled with an alcoholic father, sexual abuse as a little girl along with witnessing domestic violence, I moved south 28 yrs. ago to forget the pain and start a fresh life. What I realized though is that the friends that I grew up with and their families loved me and did so much for me. Although, I think that at the time and at a subconscious level I never thought I was worthy. Honestly, I wasn’t that excited to go back but felt like it was important to share where I came from with my husband and children. And wow,  I’m so thankful that I did, I feel so much peace and gratitude.
Ok, enough of that sappy stuff…let’s talk about chocolate!! We landed at the Elizabethtown/Hershey KOA after about a 5 hr. drive, which is a piece of cake these days. It was about a 30-minute drive to Hershey and of course, we got settled and drove over to Chocolate World. The place was an absolute zoo!! So packed you could hardly move. There is a free chocolate tour where you go on a ride and see how chocolate is made, and then activities that you pay to participate. We went online and signed up for the chocolate tasting and create your own candy bar for Sunday morning. Then we got the heck outta there!!
Since we still had the afternoon, we decided to go check out Gettysburg, it was pretty cool going to the museum and driving through the self-paced tour, we downloaded the app Gettysburg Driving Tour app which was awesome because it explains details about the area and history of the events, highly recommend. There were so many monuments and memorials, the National Park Service stated 1,320 that are managed. wow! So much history. Carson and Kennedy were both engaged since they learned about all of this in school within the last couple of years.
Now back to the chocolate, we had a blast tasting the chocolate. It was set up similar to wine tasting and we learned so much about savoring the flavor and recognizing the various undertones. E.g. vanilla, cherry, milk, tobacco, etc.  I have a new appreciation for the flavor of chocolate after that experience and will definitely savor vs. my normal chowing down. Making our own chocolate bar was fun too, getting on the aprons and hair nets, then choose the what ingredients we wanted and then design the wrapper. It’s $20.00 pp so it is one expensive candy bar. Not sure if it was worth it to me but the kids definitely enjoyed.
Kennedy and I enjoyed attending the Zac Brown Band concert at Hershey Stadium. We feel a number of connections with Zac Brown, first he is a Georgia boy, actually grew up in our hometown of Cumming, GA. Also, his music has been a huge part of our journey, Chicken Fried, Toes, Colder Weather, etc. When I hear his music I will always remember this amazing 1 yr. adventure. Oh gosh, I’m gonna get choked up thinking about it:(
Of course, we had to go to the Hershey Amusement park, there are never enough thrill rides for these guys. I do think they met their match on the Storm Runner. The photo we got when the ride took off like a bullet is hysterical.
Finally not super thrilling but fun and interesting was visiting Amish country. The town was called Intercourse (I feel weird writing the name) within Lancaster County. We did a carriage ride through the countryside with an Amish girl named Nancy who shared a lot about their culture. I found it truly fascinating how they have such a strong sense of faith, family, and community. It was amazing how all the horse and buggies and people were integrated with traditional life or the English as they call any of us who are not Amish. My impression was that of truly kind and generous people who are living a life of connection, hard work but simplicity. Hmmm…. they may be on to something?
Next is Plymouth, Massachusetts. Let’s go learn about the Pilgrims.

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