Cheeseburgers and Chocolate

I walked yesterday morning at the park beside the middle school.  At 9am it was a already a sauna.  Visibility stopped at the trees that edged the soybean field beside the path.  Everything beyond that border was just a ghostly sillhouette of hill or house.  The air was hot and heavy, sticking to my skin, my clothes, my lungs.  Somehow I managed to get my three miles in.  Thank you Gin Blossoms, ZZ Top, and the Black-Eyed Peas – I never could have done it without you.  As I made my sweaty way back to the car, I decided I’d had enough of outside for the day.  Fun Friday would not be any sort of outdoor activity.  As the Mom and financial backer for the outing, I was putting my foot down.

As it turned out, I didn’t have to play the heavy.  The kids wimped out too, opting for indoor activites – even dissing swimming much to my shock.  My sister-in-law Karen and I discussed options, lingering over bowling for awhile.  We finally settled on Red Robin for lunch and a trip to Chocolate World.  It surpised me how much the kids were into it because we’ve done Chocolate World so many times before.  I was into to it because Chocolate World is free.  What would have been even better is if Red Robin was free as well.  It is not.

We met Karen, Lu-Lu and Charlie at the Red Robin in Hershey for a late lunch.  It was a very good meal.  Out waitress was friendly and attentive.  The girls talked.  The boys drank bottomless root beer floats.  And, of course the burgers and such were very good.

After lunch, we headed to Hershey Park to experience Chocolate World.  We found spaces in the free parking area and hightailed it inside.  The blast of cool air that rushed out when we opened the doors was heavenly.  I think half the population of the East Coast thought that Chocolate World would be a great place to escape the heat.  We actually had to wait in line for the ride.  All seven of us squeezed into one car and we were on our way.  I’ve been going to Chocolate World since I was  a little girl.  Although it has been updated and technoloigally enhanced, the ride still has the same feel.  Observing the processing of the cocoa beans, riding through the “oven”, and seeing the conching room are comfortingly familiar.  We sang our way through the ride, smelling chocolate and visually devouring all the delicious products Hershey has to offer.  By the time the ride was over, I was desperate for a candy bar.

Perhaps that is the point of the whole Chocolate World experience.  To whip people into a frenzy for candy so that they head to the attached store and buy bags and bags of it.  They even hand out free samples at the end of the ride to fuel the fire.  We dutifully obeyed our cravings.  Karen and I both both departed Chocolate World with bags of candy that promptly melted during the brief walk to our vehicles.

Chocolate World does have more to offer than just the free “tour” of their factory.  The 3D movie and the candy bar making experience have admissions fees attached.  We opted not to do those activites yesterday but they are fun as well.

(Unfortunately, Karen and I missed the funny face memo.)

After taking some touristy photos, we headed home with just a brief stop for Slushies at the Turkey Hill.  All in all, I’d say it was a deliciously cool way to spend a steamy Fun Friday.

Fun Friday (Part 3)

Miniature Golfing at Village Greens

Ah, summer!  The season for road construction.  (There is no getting anywhere fast in Lancaster County in the summer.)

After a ten minute delay, we arrived in Strasburg at Village Greens  to play a friendly round of mini-golf.  We hadn’t even disembarked the vehicle when thunder started rumbling in the distance and dark clouds started piling up in the west.  Ever the optimists, we decided to press on.  As it turned out, the storm was all bark and no bite and didn’t interfere at all with our fun.

Village Greens has two courses.  The smaller (and cheaper) Orange course is a traditional one with eighteen holes and pretty standard greens.  The Gold course has twenty-three holes, is more beautifully landscaped, and is much harder.  Did I mention it was more expensive?  Of course we chose the harder, more expensive course.  Thank goodness a practice green was provided so that we could hone our putting skills before getting down to business.  We spent all of 30 seconds practicing.  Everyone was chomping at the bit to get started.

This really is a lovely and well maintainted course.  And the day was lovely, too.  Not too hot or humid. I think we all enjoyed the round – except for Ace.  After shooting a couple of six’s, he put on his Frownie Face and it stayed there the rest of the game.  Around the 18th green, he stopped playing entirely, stating, with passion, that he hated miniature golf.  Which will be true until the next time we decide to go.  The Niece, on the other hand, hit a hole in one.  Quite an accomplishment for the Gold course.  There was much hooting and hollering – a right proper celebration for a hole in one.  We spent a lot of time digging balls out of mulch beds and fishing them out of the water.  We generously allowed free strokes on the especially difficult holes.  And because it was a friendly game, we never did tally up the scores.  (I’m pretty sure I won, though.)

After the game we headed over to House of Pizza for some soft ice cream.  In the summer, they have raspberry soft-serve and it is delicious swirled with vanilla.  Ace’s Frownie Face disappeared along with his strawberry sundae. (Food equals happiness in my family.)  It was a classically cool and creamy way to end the outing.