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My Yummy Valentine

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Trip Report: Hershey, Pennsylvania
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In Hershey, PA, a chocolate-inspired weekend makes for a romantic and indulgent Valentine's Day getaway.

I have proven, definitively, that you can indeed have too much of a good thing. My proof came in the form of a case of red, itchy hives that covered my neck and arms after my return from a weekend visit to Hershey, Pennsylvania.

chocolate spa towel whiteThe hives were a result of a weekend so indulgent that I have only myself to blame. I have suffered from chocolate-related hives before, but did that stop me from eating, drinking, bathing in and wrapping myself in chocolate? Nooooo. In fact, this happened to me once before when I was a child, but I had long forgotten that an overdose of chocolate leads to an itchy skin condition for me. (The same thing will happen to me if I eat too many pickles, but luckily, I haven't heard that Vlasic is planning to open any gherkin-related hotels or spas.)

The good news is that the hives were well worth it -- after all, how often does an entire weekend of your life revolve around chocolate? Not often, I bet. In Hershey though, every day of the year revolves around chocolate -- hence the nickname "the sweetest place on earth." You might not necessarily associate Hershey, PA, with romance, but with the onset of winter comes the closing of Hersheypark and a big decline in the number of children visiting -- in other words, a perfect time for couples to take advantage of the romantic Hotel Hershey, its Chocolate Spa and a number of dining options for all budgets.

Friday Evening
My husband Ryan and I left New York City Friday night and headed west to Hershey for an early Valentine's Day getaway. We divided our nights -- one at the Hershey Lodge and one at the Hotel Hershey. Upon check-in at the Lodge, we received two -- what else? -- Hershey Bars. These were the first of the 10-plus Hershey Bars I consumed over the next 36 hours. Once we checked into our spacious and tidy room, we headed to the Bears' Den, a sports-themed restaurant and bar, for a late dinner of pub-type fare accompanied by chocolate beer. One of the many activities aimed at adults during Hershey's "Chocolate-Covered February" is a class on chocolate and wine pairings.

After a quick hotel tour we headed to our room for the night, where on our pillows we found, you guessed it, chocolate.

Saturday started with a trip to the Cocoa Beanery for a hot chocolate latte. Then we checked out of the Hershey Lodge and headed to the Hotel Hershey for a day of spa treatments. Though our room wasn't yet vacated by its previous occupants, the hotel took Ryan's cell phone number and promised to clean the room and call him as soon as it was empty.

They made good on their promise -- though check-in was not until 4 p.m., we were able to get into our room around noon. Oh, and they gave us two more Hershey's chocolate bars at check-in. Since I hadn't had a proper breakfast I figured, "why not?"

I made my way to the spa and was surprised to find that, despite the relative off-season calm in town, the Chocolate Spa was bustling. I arrived a few minutes late for my first treatment, a chocolate fondue wrap, but was quickly and politely ushered through the pre-spa paperwork and changed from street clothes into a plush robe. I had never had a body wrap, chocolate or any other kind, and enjoyed the process of having dead skin brushed off my body and being wrapped in a chocolate cocoon and placed under warm overhead lights.

Less enjoyable was the process by which the mud and cocoa essence is removed -- a series of shower heads extend from the wall and, with help from the technician and a cloth, wash the elements from your body. It felt a little like being bathed by another person, something I had hoped not to experience until the much later years of my life.

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