The French Twist – Cannoli Crepe – Sykesville, MD

The Cannoli Crepe is my favorite crepe at The French Twist in Sykesville, MD. Earlier this week, when I saw that they were featuring it again, I knew that would be a destination breakfast for me.

I’m already a fan of The French Twist, and enjoy many of their crepes, but this one is something special. The outside is a traditional crepe, so you get the good flavor of the crepe and the crepe texture as well. The inside is a cannoli cream with chocolate chips, so when you bite into this, it’s like biting into a huge cannoli, but without the hard crunch. The flavor of the cream is very rich and sweet. The chocolate and powdered sugar topping (and the side of whipped cream) add to the sweetness. This would make a great dessert, but I’m okay with sugar at any meal, so I had it for breakfast. The size of this crepe is tremendous. It would be good as a shareable meal, but I was able to devour this on my own.

I had a mocha frappe to go with it, so I really loaded up on the sweets and the calories for breakfast, but I am okay with that. The French Twist always does a great job with their frappes, as well as their crepes. It’s easy to have a positive day when you start the morning with something as delicious as this meal.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store – Frederick, MD

Today, I wanted to do some shopping down in Clarksburg, with the goal of heading up to Cracker Barrel for lunch. I thought if I got there before noon, I would beat the big crowds. There have been TV spots running about the Country Fried Turkey meal which looked too good to pass up.

I finished up my errands a little after 11:00 AM, and made my way up to the Cracker Barrel. I got there around 11:45 AM. I like the outside of this store. The sign is iconic and all of the ones that I’ve seen have rocking chairs out front.

When you first walk in, you enter their Country Store. You can easily just come here for the shopping, since they have a lot of options. I enjoy the old time or hard to find sodas and the hard to find candy. They have books, clothes, candles, CDs, kids toys, and much more. I was there to eat, so I headed over to take a seat.

The seating area is really neat. They have some vintage items and pictures all over the place, which really fits in with the theme. I was ready to order my food, but they had already run out of the Country Fried Turkey. I was a bit bummed out about it, but my server recommended the Homestyle Chicken, which is cooked in a similar fashion. I got it with green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and one other side, for which I chose mashed potatoes and gravy.

They start you out with a buttermilk biscuit and corn muffin. They were both warm, which made it easier to melt the butter. The biscuit was nice and soft and did not crumble easily. Very good flavor and I would have asked for more if I wasn’t going to be eating a big lunch. The corn muffin was also good. The texture was more similar to corn bread, but it absorbed the butter quite well.

Next up was my lunch. I’ll start with the green bean casserole. It had quite a few thin sliced mushrooms in there. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of mushrooms. I ate as many green beans as I could. The flavor of this was really good, and I would probably have loved it if I was a fan of mushrooms.

The mashed potatoes and gravy were also good. Good consistency to the mashed potatoes, good flavor to the gravy. The cranberry sauce was very mild, but still had a nice flavor. Just not a lot of tartness. The chicken was the star of this dish. This is boneless chicken, which I prefer. The crispness and the flavor of the coating were tremendous and on point. The juiciness of the chicken was incredible. Biting into the chicken was almost like butter. It was very tender. There was no dryness to the chicken at all, and the combination of flavors from the breading to the chicken made for a perfect bite.

Even though I did not end up ordering what I was hoping, I was very happy with what I ended up eating. The chicken was fantastic. I would not mind going back again and ordering this, even if the Country Fried Turkey is still on the menu. My favorite from Cracker Barrel is usually the Country Fried Steak, but this chicken was really close. It’s easy to have a positive day when you are eating good food like this!

Visiting Walkersville and Westminster

I had some errands to run today in Westminster. When I was trying to plot out my morning, I had in mind to try Rutter’s. I had seen a couple of those gas station/convenience stores when I was in Pennsylvania, but I had noticed there was one in Walkersville, MD as well. The convenience store part of the business sells frozen coffee drinks, and I wanted to check it out to see how it compares. My errands in Westminster would have been quick, so I was planning on leaving a bit early, getting the coffee drink, running errands, and then heading home.

Sometimes plans don’t always go as you might like, so you have to improvise. I didn’t end up leaving the house until about 11:30AM. It’s probably better that I didn’t leave until then, since the weather was colder than expected and the fog was really thick on the drive. If I had left earlier, it might have been very icy with extremely low visibility.

When I got to the Rutter’s in Walkersville, I decided to check out the store. It is a nice sized store and was very clean. I checked out the menu on the kiosk for the coffee drinks and decided on a cookies and cream frappe with an extra shot of espresso. The food menu looked really good, but I wasn’t ready to eat anything. They offer some standard sandwiches and subs, but also have tacos, burgers, noodles, and more. These are made to order foods, not just free standing grab and go. There is an open kitchen where you can see your food being made. The frappe was a good drink. The consistency was nice and smooth, no chunks of ice at all. I could get the distinct cookies and cream flavor, but I also got the deep flavor of the extra shot of espresso, which provided a nice layer of depth to this drink. I may not go 45 minutes out of my way for another coffee drink from there, but it’s good to know the things that this has to offer. It will come in handy on my next trips into Pennsylvania or Western Maryland.

When I was driving back towards Westminster, I decided that I should probably get something to eat (it was after 1PM). My first thought was a quick bite at a fast food place, but then I thought about Hahn’s Pork & Beans. I had seen the name mentioned in various flyers, but it was a place that I had never taken the time to visit while in Westminster. Today, I decided to take the plunge.

Hahn’s has been around for more than 100 years. They have a huge smokehouse, and they roast coffee on-site (thus the pork and beans). You can get the aroma from the smokehouse before you enter the store, and once in the store you get the nice smells of the coffee. They also sell a variety of local products, so you can definitely get a small town feel both inside and outside the store.

I looked through the menu and decided on a tavern ham sandwich (I figured I should go with ham). One of the bread options was a pretzel roll, which I could not turn down. I added Swiss cheese, mayo and mustard, and opted for a side of macaroni salad. They have Dr. Brown’s sodas, which I don’t see too often where I live, so I went with a root beer as well. I started with the macaroni salad. The macaroni was nice and firm, and it was prepared well. The flavor was really good. Much better than expected. I enjoy macaroni salad, but the flavors on this one stood out more than most. The potato chips were warmed slightly, which was a nice touch. When it came time to start my sandwich, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The roll was warm and had a nice texture – good bite through on the outside and soft on the inside. The inside of the bread was not dried out at all, which made a huge difference with the sandwich. The ham was sliced thinly to perfection. It was moist and flavorful with a mild smokiness. It didn’t break apart with every bite, and it wasn’t tough to bite through. It had the right amount of tenderness. The ham, cheese, mustard, and bread all combined for an excellent sandwich. This is a place I plan on visiting again in the future.

My day did not go exactly as I had planned. But the delay in the start gave me the opportunity to get lunch at a place that was on my wish list. Sometimes things work out well. Sometimes things work out better than expected. As I reflect back on my day, this was a tremendous day. A very happy day. A very positive day. I look forward to more days like this.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

I made this soup yesterday. There are a few different components to it, and they all worked really well together.

INGREDIENTS

3 medium carrots

5 red potatoes

1/2 onion

8 cloves garlic

2 Tablespoons fresh ginger

2 Tablespoons fresh turmeric

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

2 Tablespoons Sesame oil

Ground Pepper

5 cups broth

2 1/2 cups water

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

2 pinches Citric acid

1 package udon noodles

PEANUT BUTTER SAUCE (Ingredients below)

1/3 cups creamy peanut butter

1 Tablespoon vinegar

1 Tablespoon Teriyaki sauce

1/2 Tablespoon hot sauce

I had some home made chicken broth on hand, but broth from a store will also work. It doesn’t have to be chicken broth, just a broth of your choosing.

The first step is to preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I chopped up the carrots, potatoes, and onions. I also chopped the garlic. I smashed once to remove the skin, and then smashed again to have it broken down into large chunks. If you would prefer minced or chopped up, that will also work.

Coat the bottom of the roasting pan with olive oil. Add the carrots, potatoes, onions and garlic. Swish it around to get as many pieces coated as possible. Ground some pepper and swish it around again. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.

While the veggies are roasting, cut up the ginger and turmeric. If you prefer to have them minced of finely chopped, that will work. I enjoy the flavor of biting into fresh ginger, but it’s not for everyone. When the 15 minutes of baking are done, take out the vegetables. Add the ginger and Turmeric, and then drizzle with the Sesame oil. Swish around and continue to bake for another 15 minutes.

Once the vegetables are ready, you can remove them from the oven. Let them rest about 5 minutes. The carrots and potatoes should have a slight firmness on the outside and should be soft on the inside.

Place the roasted vegetables into a large pot. Take 1 cup of the broth and add it to the roasting pan. Using a spoon or spatula, try to scrape up any bits of flavor that may have been left on the roasting pan. Pour it into the pot, then add the rest of the broth and the water. If you are cooking with low sodium, you can add in the pinches of citric acid. Cook on medium heat until it comes to a slow boil. If you want a basic vegetable soup, it would be ready at this point. If you want to add things to it, then you can start adding them in. I added a couple of different things to this soup.

The first thing I added was a peanut butter sauce. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, vinegar (I used distilled white, but rice wine would also work), Teriyaki sauce and an optional hot sauce of your choice. Once these are all combined, they can be added to the soup.

I also had a package of udon noodles. Cut them into cubes, so the pieces will be much smaller when cooked. After the peanut sauce is incorporated, let the soup get back up to a slow boil, and then add the noodles.

Once the udon noodles are added to the soup, it should cook for another 5 minutes. The cubes should be broken apart by that point. The soup will still be thin, but the color will change after the peanut butter sauce is added.

Once the noodles have been incorporated, the soup is ready to be served. The flavors of this soup really go well. The peanut butter sauce provides a nice kick to the soup, and it also has a nice balance with the noodles. There are bites of ginger, turmeric, and garlic that add a punch of flavor and freshness to the soup. The roasting of the vegetables help to add a bit of a deeper flavor than if they were boiled, and the outsides of the carrots and potatoes have a nice textural bite to them.

This soup put me in a happy place, and I look forward to eating more as the weather continues to get colder. Enjoy!

Early to Rise

Just a little play on words today. I did wake up early this morning (before 4 AM). I had planned on doing a couple of quick errands in the morning, but was thinking about a place to go for breakfast. There was a new restaurant that opened in Columbia, MD not too long ago called Rise. The menu sounded good, but the timing just wasn’t right. This morning, the timing worked out.

As you can see, it’s Rise, but also includes Southern Biscuits and Righteous Chicken. They also make donuts, which is an added bonus. There are some tables outside the shop, and some window side seating in the front. This is a small place, but it looks big. There is a window where you can watch them making the biscuits and they have a display case of the donuts. As tempted as I was to get a Creme Brûlée donut, I was there for a breakfast sandwich. They even have biscuits and gravy on the menu, but I still went with the breakfast sandwich.

I decided to go with “The Build”, where you build up your sandwich. I started with a buttermilk biscuit, then with the righteous chicken, American cheese, and a fried egg. This is a large sandwich. The biscuit is about twice the size of what I was expecting, and the piece of chicken was also huge. I tried the flavor of the biscuit by itself, and it was very good. I then took a bite of the chicken, and it was extremely good. The the crunchy exterior and smooth interior, were perfect, and the flavor was outstanding.

I then decided to eat the sandwich like a normal breakfast sandwich. The biscuit, chicken, egg, and cheese all worked really well together. This was a fantastic sandwich. The options for building your own sandwich look great. I might try a cheddar biscuit the next time I have a sandwich, just to see how it tastes. Maybe I’ll try their Boom Boom sauce. Maybe I’ll get pimento cheese on it. Maybe I’ll try something from their biscuit sandwich menu or maybe I’ll get their chicken strips. There are some nice sounding items there. This is a place I plan on going back to again. I’m glad that I found out about this restaurant, and even happier that the food was so good. The staff was friendly and the service was fast, which also made for a good experience. It makes it easy to have a positive day when you start it off with some good food!

Visiting Pittsburgh, PA

This week, I had the opportunity to visit Pittsburgh. I drove about 4 1/2 hours to get to my destination. I had done a little research and had decided on a few things that I wanted to do and see while I was over there. I knew that I wanted to try a sandwich at Primanti Bros. I also wanted to visit Market Square and wanted to see the Fred Rogers Statue. I was able to accomplish all of those goals. The drive was nice and scenic. I had to make one stop along the way and it was pretty cold and there was a definite wind chill factor. When I arrived at my hotel, it was cold. Mid 20s with a wind chill in the upper teens to low 20s. There were a few flakes flying around, but nothing really sticking.

I made my way over to Market Square and started my afternoon with a sandwich at Primanti Bros. They are known for having French fries and Cole slaw in their sandwiches. The corned beef sandwich was recommended, so that is what I went with. I took a picture, but there was a green light that distorted the view, unfortunately. The sandwich itself was very good. I tried the fries on their own, and they were really good. But biting into the sandwich, the combination of flavors was great. The thing that stood out the most for me was the bread. I was expecting either toasted bread, or a bread that might have a tougher bite through to it. But the bread was nice and soft, with good flavor. It held together well, even though it was an overloaded sandwich. It didn’t get soggy from the Cole slaw and fall apart. It was definitely a good first experience with Primanti Bros. and I hope to have the opportunity to try them again (and again).

Market Square had a Christmas Village, so there were wooden houses everywhere. Right now, Market Square is an open public space, but it was apparently home to the first newspaper, first courthouse and first jail (all in the 1700s). So I was standing in the place of history, which is always pretty cool.

This is a picture that I took that cuts through the Market Square. It was overcast and mid-afternoon, so the picture is unfortunately a bit dark.

This was a few hundred yards away from the Market Square. There was an ice rink in the middle of these buildings and a nice looking tree (which you can barely see in the picture through the Market Square).

There is a lot of history in the city, so it was nice walking through and seeing some of them. Since the weather was so cold, I didn’t walk as far as I had originally intended. I was hoping to get in about 15 miles or so, but only ended up getting in 11 miles of walking around.

I was making my way across to cross the 6th Street Bridge, and PNC Park was right there for a nice photo opportunity.

Heinz Field

Pittsburgh used to have a sports stadium called Three Rivers Stadium. This picture isn’t the greatest, but I tried to get the point where the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers meet.

I made my way over to the Fred Rogers statue (Tribute to Children). The first shot is taken from behind, so you can see him looking out over the water. There is audio playing, so you can hear Mr. Rogers while you are sitting there. A really nice, touching moment to hear his voice.

The first two pictures are of the Fort Pitt Block House, which was built in 1764 and is the last remaining structure of Fort Pitt. The third picture is of the museum, which is a recreated bastion of Fort Pitt.

I took a bunch more pictures while walking around, but then made my way back to the Downtown area and walked by a Gloria Jean’s Coffee.

I had not been to Gloria Jean’s Coffee in a very long time, and it was good to go back. I ordered their Winter Wonderland Holiday Chiller. This is a frozen coffee drink that has flavors of sugar cookie, Madagascar vanilla, Hawaiian salted caramel and cinnamon. This had a good consistency and really nice flavor.

I made my way from Downtown to the South Side, and I was able to scope out a couple of places to go for dinner and for coffee in the morning.

I decided on The Pub Chip Shop for dinner. I was contemplating getting the Scotch Egg, but decided on getting a Scotch Pie instead. A Scotch Egg is a hard-boiled wrapped in sausage, breaded and fried. The Scotch Pie is lamb wrapped in a pastry shell with gravy on the side. This was very good. Not too heavy, the right amount of food for me. I would come back to this restaurant again if I had the opportunity.

I finished off my evening with a Peppermint Fudge Brownie Milk Shake from The Milk Shake Factory. This was a very heavy milk shake. Nice and thick with a good ice cream flavor, but there were also the bits of brownie and peppermint in there. I enjoyed the milk shake and would probably be getting at least one a week if I lived or worked close by.

I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. They had an automatic pancake maker, which I had to try. The pancakes were good. You can’t see them being made. You push a button, wait about a minute, and then see them coming out and onto the plate.

Before I was going to head out, I decided to go to Delanie’s Coffee for a drink. I ordered the Turtle Blended Latte. It was a frozen coffee drink with peanut butter, caramel and chocolate. Triple yum!

Since it was a long drive home (more traffic than on the way in), I decided to make a stop for a late lunch/early dinner.

I stopped at the South Midway Travel Plaza and went to Steak ‘n Shake. I didn’t get a shake, but did get some food. I ordered The Original Double Cheese ‘n Fries. The burger had nice flavor and the skinny fries were also good. It was a nice finale to a couple of days of some good eating.

I thought I’d end this with a picture of the Clock in Market Square. You can see some of the buildings from the Christmas Market. This was my first visit to Pittsburgh. I was able to see some modern and some historical places. I was able to eat some good food. It was a great experience and I hope to have the opportunity to go back, do some more exploring, and eat some more great food!

Homemade Chicken Curry

Yesterday, I managed to make good use of the leftover chicken from the Roast Chicken I had made on Sunday.

I made chicken curry. There were a couple of extra steps that I added, and I think that they worked for me. I didn’t do strict measurements for everything, so some of the measurements listed are going to be rough estimates.

INGREDIENTS, Part I (roast cashews):

1 cup raw unsalted cashews for roasting

INGREDIENTS, Part II (cashew curry paste):

1 cup raw unsalted cashews

1 piece of fresh ginger, roughly 2 inches long, roughly cut

1 piece of fresh turmeric, roughly 3 inches long, roughly cut

3 cloves of garlic, roughly cut

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon curry powder

INGREDIENTS, Part III (curry):

4 medium size carrots, cut into chunks

5 red potatoes, cut into small chunks

2 pieces of fresh turmeric, finely chopped

5 cloves of garlic, minced

2 pieces of fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 large onion, diced

1/2 stick of butter

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3 cups of chicken broth

12 ounce can of evaporated milk, minus 1/4 cup (for cashew curry paste)

3-4 cups of boiling water

1 Tablespoon plus one teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1/2 roast chicken (cooked)

The first thing I did was roast the cashews. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I put one cup of cashews on a tray lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray (I don’t think it really needs the cooking spray). Depending on your oven, this should take 10-15 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it, since you don’t want these to burn. Remove from the oven and set aside. Once these are cooled, place in a storage bag and run a rolling pin over them. This is what I used for a topping.

The next step was the paste. I put in the cashews, ginger, turmeric, garlic, curry powder, and evaporated milk into a blender and then blended until it got to a nice, thick consistency. If you want a spicier curry, feel free to add something that will give more heat to this mixture (more curry powder, more ginger powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, etc.). Regarding the evaporated milk, I bought a 12 ounce can and used 1/4 cup in this mixture and saved the rest for later.

The next step is to prep the veggies. I cut the carrots, potatoes, ginger, turmeric and garlic and set aside in a bowl.

Start cooking the onions, butter and oil on medium-high heat.

Stir often. Once the onions are translucent, you are ready for the next step.

Add in the curry paste mixture and start stirring until it is all incorporated.

Add in the veggie mixture, 1 Tablespoon curry powder, ginger powder, and the broth. Continue to stir until it is well incorporated, and then add in the rest of the can of condensed milk.

Bring this to a slow boil and then add in the water. If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can start with 1-2 cups and keep adding later until the desired consistency. Bring this to a boil again and then let it boil for 30 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in one teaspoon of curry and then add the chicken. Bring the temperature down to medium heat and cook for another 30-60 minutes, until the curry is the desired consistency. I waited about 10 minutes after I added the chicken and then started cooking the rice.

Once the rice and the curry are ready, you can plate your food. I prefer my sauce to be a little thinner on the first day, since it tends to thicken with time. I also like to have my curry over my rice, but if you prefer them side by side, then do that. I topped it with the rough chopped roasted cashews. You can have peanuts, hard boiled eggs, bacon, chutney, pickled veggies, hot sauce, etc. Whatever makes it unique to your tastebuds, I say go for it. I really enjoyed making this and eating this yesterday, and looking forward to eating the leftovers. A very positive Monday for me!

If you’ve eaten or made curry before, what types of veggies have you put in there? What kinds of toppings have you added? I’d be happy to hear from you.

Roast Chicken

There are times that I have a couple of meals planned out, so I start to buy the ingredients and think about how I can use them for a couple of meals. I did this yesterday and made a pretty good roast chicken.

INGREDIENTS

1 whole chicken – 5-6 pounds

1/2 onion, cut into rings

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

3 red potatoes, coarsely chopped

1 Tablespoon Poultry Seasoning

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan sea salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 cup orange juice

I preheated the oven to 300 degrees. I wanted this to cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time.

I started off by chopping the vegetables. I then placed them in a roasting pan that was lined with aluminum foil. I positioned the vegetables so that the chicken could rest on top of the onions, while the potatoes and carrots would be in the surrounding area.

The seasonings and orange juice are all rough estimates. After removing the bag of giblets, I made sure to rinse and pat the chicken dry before placing on top of the onions. I then poured over the orange juice, making sure it got on the back and front of the bird. I put the seasonings into a small bowl and mixed them up. I then put rubbed them into the back, the front, the inside cavity and a little under the skin.

I baked the chicken for about three and a half hours. The meat was fall off the bones tender, juicy, and full of flavor. The skin was nice and crispy, with a robust flavor from all the seasonings. The potatoes and carrots were soft and pleasant tasting. The onions were really sweet and rounded out the meal very well.

I made two different broths from this chicken. The first broth was made using the giblets from the bag. I boiled those on medium-high heat in about 3 cups of water, with some diced fresh ginger, diced fresh garlic and diced fresh turmeric added. Once this got to a boil, I let it boil for 20 minutes and then turned the temperature down to medium-low heat. I let this continue for another 30 minutes and then it was ready to save.

The second broth was made after the meal was over. I removed the meat from the bones and set aside for a separate dish. I used a pasta pot, since it has a strainer. I put the bones in the strainer and then added water until it was covering all the bones. I boiled this on medium-high heat. Once this got to a boil, I let it boil for 30 minutes and then turned the temperature down to medium-low heat. I let this continue for another hour and then it was ready to save. Since this had flavor from the chicken bones (with some skin and seasoning still in tact), I did not feel the need to add anything else to the broth. I saved some of the broth in the refrigerator, and put the rest in storage bags in the freezer. These will provide me with some quick broth for a future meal.

The flavor of the chicken was much better than I was expecting, and I was very happy with how tender the meat was. It was an easy way to keep me staying positive!

Visiting ZooAmerica in Hershey, PA

During my visit to Hershey Park, I also visited ZooAmerica. You can go to ZooAmerica separately from Hershey Park, but there is also an entrance to ZooAmerica while you are inside Hershey Park, so you can break up your day and visit the Zoo in the middle of your Park visit.

This American Elk Statue is inside Hershey Park, close to the entrance for ZooAmerica.

Right before I entered into the main part of the Zoo, this sign provided an overview of what was to come. Once you are inside, you have the ability to walk around wherever you prefer, but they also have signs for a “Suggested Route”, which are the signs I decided to follow. I was able to see a lot of animals, but not able to capture all of them on camera. Some of the pictures are a bit fuzzy since the animals were far away, some were in a dark enclosure, some were moving around, etc.

Roseate Spoonbill

American Alligators.

Burrowing Owl

Desert Tortoises

Roadrunner – I was fortunate to get this while it was still. Once it started moving, it would go running all over the place.

Ocelot – This was in a dark enclosure and took me quite a few takes to be able to get a picture (no flash).

Snowy Owl – I wish I could have gotten a better close up.

Bald Eagles – I love seeing Bald Eagles and was fortunate that they were hanging out pretty close to where I was standing.

Canada Lynx – This was tough to capture since it was just sitting up on a hill and far away. This was as zoomed in as I could get.

There were a lot more animals that I saw, including mountain lion, wolf, black bear, elk, ringtail, coati, to name a few.

This last picture was a surprise to me. These two were hanging out at the top of a tree about 10 feet off the ground. These are porcupines! I had no idea they were tree dwellers.

I enjoyed my time in the Zoo. I made my way around in just about an hour, so it was a nice middle of the day break from the park. I would visit again and would hope to get some better pictures and have some more close up experiences with some of the bigger animals.

Visiting Hershey Park

This past Saturday, I visited Hershey Park. I have been there before, but never during the Holiday Season. It was a cold day (lower 30s), which meant that some of the rides were not operating. I did still manage to go on a couple of rides that I hadn’t been on before, which was fun. Since the parks didn’t open until 12PM, I had lunch before heading in, which was not a great idea when going on spinning rides. But I was able to manage.

This is the who and why behind Hershey, so I thought it would be nice to show this, even if the print is really hard to read.

The decorations actually started before getting into the park. On the walkway over to the park from the parking lot, they had the Candy Canes along the lane, which was a nice touch.

My pictures will not do the park justice, but they had some fun decorations all over the place. There were a lot of little kids, and they were loving it. There are characters walking around. When the Kit Kat came around, the kids got really excited. There was one little girl who was very shy, and the Kit Kat went to hold her hand. She then gave it a big hug. That was a very sweet moment to see.

When I was taking the picture by Reese’s Cupfusion, a kid was excitedly talking about Mint the Merciless. I must confess that I was not familiar with these characters, but it was really cute to hear the excitement. It made the experience better for me.

The last time I visited the park, the park opened at 10AM and the weather was in the 60s, so all of the rides were open. I was able to go on quite a few rides: Hershey Triple Tower, Sidewinder, Scrambler, sooper dooper Looper, and more. Those are definitely more for the teenager and above crowd. On this visit, I started by going on the Wild Mouse. This ride reminded me of Goofy’s Sky School/Mulholland Madness in Disneyland. When I was younger, the twists and turns were a lot of fun. Now that I’m older, and after having a big lunch, not as much fun. It is a fun ride, but just a very different experience than if I had started my day with rides and had lunch later. The other ride that I went on was The Claw. This ride spins around and swings like a pendulum, so there are moments when you feel like you are floating upside down. The cold air hitting my face was really relaxing. The spinning wasn’t too bad, so I ended up really enjoying this ride. I could have gone on a couple more rides, but I decided to go to ZooAmerica and take more pictures.

Probably the most fun I had was seeing the Twelve Days of Christmas. I saw the Five Rings, and the Seven Swans, but it didn’t click until I saw the Maids a Milking. It was at that point that I want to start at the Twelfth Day and work my way down to One. Some of these pictures couldn’t capture everything so I apologize. I was there during the day, but I think it must look spectacular when it’s dark out and these are lit up.

ba dum bum bum

I really did have a fun time seeing those and did have that song going in my head most of the time, or at least when I got to each of the “Days”.

I think my favorite was the French Hens. The Beret made me chuckle.

I had a really nice time in the park and was very happy to have been able to experience it during the Holidays. If I was going to be staying up in Hershey, I would want to see everything once it is dark outside. There are plenty of food options inside the park. There is a milk shake place that looks really good and filling. There is a place where you can make your own Whoopee Pies. There is also a place called BBLz, but it isn’t open during Winter. They have unique flavor combinations, so I hope they will be open the next time I’m in town for a visit.

This park has plenty to offer for children of all ages. The park itself is not too big, so you will be able to walk through and visit without feeling like you’ve missed out on any areas. And visiting during the Holiday Season seems like it is something that should be on a to-do list if you enjoy Hershey Park. I had a lot of fun here!