Tag Archives: chocolate

History Tastes like Chocolate at Charlton’s Coffee House in Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg, America’s oldest and largest living history experience, remains near and dear to my heart. At times, I have felt like I lived and walked along Duke of Gloucester Street when Williamsburg was Virginia’s 18th-century capital. That street runs from the late 17th-century “Wren building” of the College of William and Mary to the reconstructed Capitol. “The Revolutionary City” now rests within a 301-acres Historic Area, most of which is closed to traffic. Folks stroll along or take carriage rides, stopping to see craftsmen at work and merchants in their shops. I was excited to return to one of my most favorite places in the world.

The Colonial Capitol Building in Williamsburg, Virginia Photo @ Debi Lander
The Colonial Capitol Building in Williamsburg, Virginia
Photo @ Debi Lander
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Delicious Day at Hershey, Pennsylvania

Taking two of my grandkids to Hershey, Pennsylvania ranked as a delicious day in numerous ways. Of course we tasted lots of decadent chocolate, but my grandchildren and I gained much more than yummy calories.

Tasting layout at Hershey's Chocolate University
Tasting at Chocolate University

We attended a “Hershey University Adventure” which began with a brief history on cacao; something that might have been a bitter lesson but engaged the children by using “live” video. The class then learned to properly taste chocolate by letting it melt on our tongues. We sampled milk chocolate, dark, artisan, and specialty varieties and learned that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate. Each of us discovered we liked a different flavor.

I felt like a kid again wearing 3-D glasses, but the animated film we watched was touted as 4-D; it included smells, spraying water and floating bubbles.

The Famous Chocolate Characters.
Chocolate World Characters

Next, we hopped on a trolley where the guides, a dynamic singing duo, cleverly educated us about Milton Hershey, the company founder who developed the small town with a large candy factory. Their puns came so fast and furious the entire group got the giggles.

The trolley traveled down appropriate named streets like Chocolate Drive and Cocoa Avenue and past many community projects built by Hershey. The so called “Sweetest Place on

Earth” is illuminated by candy kiss lamp posts, alternating between silver and chocolate- like wrapped and unwrapped kisses.

Did you know Milton Hershey began an orphanage and school for under-privileged boys? The academic institution continues to this day but now accepts girls as well. The high school students can earn scholarship money for college by accruing good grades and participating in community service. This statement is not sugar coated – they can earn up to a whopping $88,000.

During WWII, Mr. Hershey got behind the war effort and produced ration bars for battlefield soldiers. During the Great Depression, he kept workers employed by building homes for employees and the grand Hershey Hotel. (Don’t miss touring the hotel and  magnificent gardens.) Milton Hershey is rightly considered a great American philanthropist and humanitarian.

Hershey Hotel
Hershey Hotel

The ultimate experience at Hershey’s World of Chocolate is creating your own candy bars. First we donned aprons and hair nets which looked quite silly. We each got to choose ingredients for the fillings at a computer screen – treats such as nuts, pretzel bits, sprinkles or butterscotch chips. We watched our personal bar (with slightly raised sides) move down an assembly line, get filled and coated in melted chocolate, then cooled and finally wrapped and packaged in a box we personally designed on another computer. We ended up with a divine chocolate confection in a tin container and a euphoric sugar high.

Working on computer at Hershey's Chocolate World
Working on computer at Hershey’s Chocolate World

Couldn’t miss the thrill rides at adjoining Hersheypark, an amusement arena containing a super-sized water park – at no extra fee. While I wasn’t up for all the death defying vertical roller coasters or queasy twirling ones, I did feel proud to survive the Super Duper Looper and water flume with my grandson and granddaughter.


As an out-of-state grandmother, making memories is what spending time with grandkids is all about. Honestly Hershey, Pennsylvania provided one of the sweetest opportunities I’ve encountered.