Last week we did a very daring thing: we went away for three days before Christmas! Yikes! It meant I had to have almost everything ready for being Santa; all presents wrapped, food planned for the weekend and purchased, house cleaned up. The last one didn't get completed until Saturday night, but I tried! For the third year in a row we took a short trip out to Hershey, Pennsylvania to enjoy Christmas in Chocolate country. We usually go around my husband's birthday, mid-month, but this year we waited until preschool was finished. When we planned our trip it seemed like a good idea.
In reality, it turned out great. We scored a great deal on a hotel room at the Comfort Inn at the Park, about two miles down the road from Hershey Park. We stay there every year and saw they had a 50% off deal this fall, so the two night stay cost the same as one night. While in years past the weather was frigid, this year it was practically balmy and wet with rain. We managed to get through Candylane at Hershey Park without much rain and had a great time as the park was practically empty. We had front row seats at the Christmas show, my son got to ride everything he wanted without waiting in lines, and we saw lots of pretty lights without freezing! While we were there we witnessed an engagement; a man reserved the Kissing Tower for one private ride where he proposed to his girlfriend! It was very sweet. Riding the Kissing Tower for the first time in at least 32 years was fun, and it was amazing to see the surrounding area lit up at night with holiday decorations. We also got to "drive" on the Turnpike cars with the kiddo at the wheel. He loved that! We concluded that night with a stop at the bakery in Chocolate World to pick up some decadent cupcakes for dessert.
We also checked out the Hershey Sweet Lights. They try to change it up a bit each year and it was fun to see it all, although both the kiddo and myself fell asleep midway through in the warm car listening to soft holiday music. Very relaxing! (Thankfully the driver stayed awake!!)
We went on the best trolley ride from the Hershey Trolley Works. I had heard it was fun, but we were surprised by how great it was. Our driver Fred did a great job and our tour guides Susan and Jakey were an awesome team. Santa even hopped on our trolley and delighted the kids by reading their names off of his "nice" list and giving them a special gift of an ornament. The adults received holiday kazoos as gifts! It was a great deal too, as they did not charge us for our son since he was able to ride on our lap.
On our way home from Hershey we stopped at the Shady Maple grocery store to buy a few last minute ingredients for Christmas as well as a local ham for our second Christmas on Monday that we were hosting. I love checking out their bakery and bulk items section. My son picked out some sprinkles for ice cream and cookie decorating and we were able to get some dark chocolate hot cocoa mix.
My son has developed quite the affection for mid-class level hotels. His favorite hotel so far was the Holiday Inn Express we stayed at in Easton last summer. I'm not sure why he loved it so much (it was really a great room for our family) but he talks about it constantly. The Comfort Inn at the Park in Hershey is his second favorite hotel. Personally, I have a really hard time sleeping in a hotel. It is frustrating not having my own things there and I always forget to bring something. My son was so excited to be in a hotel that he could not stop moving or singing all night. Finally around 11:30pm he sang his last round of "Holly Jolly Christmas" and zonked out. Both nights this happened! He set up his own office at the hotel room desk and did his "work" there. On the way home he was silent and tearful. Once home he had a meltdown and admitted that he was sad that we left the hotel and wondered why we couldn't stay longer. Even with the suggestion that Santa wouldn't be able to find us if we weren't home didn't work. He still talks about missing the Comfort Inn and can't wait until we can go back. He is even hoping that we will go during the summer too!
One of the fun things about the hotel we stayed at is the duck pond. The ducks that live there love people because they get fed, a lot! We fed and "played" with the ducks often. We have a special fondness for those duckies!