A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon

Stasia Lopez's picture

My husband and I were expecting a baby in October and we wanted to take a babymoon, a last “hurrah,” if you will, before we became a family of three. Like so many other people, my husband and I never even heard of a babymoon before! We learned that it’s a trip to reconnect with your spouse before the baby comes. It can be as fun or as romantic as the couple prefers and many couples go for the relaxation route—which was the same route I was hoping for in our trip. I saved every sick day and vacation day I had at work to use for maternity leave, but I was able to use up one vacation day extra to relax and I didn’t regret it. It was summertime, the July 4th weekend was coming up, and I fully intended to use that extra day and put it to good use and make a long weekend out of it. We really liked the concept of a babymoon and felt excited to share this special time together. 

A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon!

When researching for our babymoon, we actually looked at several websites. First, we went to Groupon, but we couldn’t quite find what we were looking for; after literally putting “babymoon” in the search box in Google, we came across a website called babymoon.com. We’re big travelers and have been to 14 countries but I can say: in this pregnancy, I had no desire to get into an airplane for anything. I also couldn’t fathom the thought of being in a super long car-ride to the beach. Some people, of course, are fine with traveling longer distances and to visit more exotic locations [and I don’t blame them!], but I spent so much of my first trimester sick with nausea that I personally just wanted to stay close to home - or at least in the state of Pennsylvania. We decided on Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When people think of Lancaster, they think of rolling green hills and the Amish community - and they aren’t completely wrong. I love PA, and I can say that we’ve never visited south-central PA before and we wanted to explore it.

A local farm. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon

I wanted us to have a different travel experience and found some nice bed and breakfast options, rather than stay at a hotel or resort. I discovered The Australian Walkabout Inn, a house that was built in 1925 with five rooms and suites that are named after locations in Australia. There was the Adelaide Hills Suite, the Barossa Suite, the McLaren Vale Suite, the Victoria Suite, and the Outback Cottage. We stayed in the Barossa Suite, a lovely room decorated in warm, spicy tones of nutmeg and butterscotch that housed a four-poster queen bed and a two-person whirlpool tub. We learned that the Barossa Valley in South Australia is known for their vineyards and wine industry. The wine grown in this region is primarily red, mainly Shiraz. The Shiraz vines are some of the oldest in the world, well over 150 years! The great thing about this bed and breakfast was that they actually have packages for babymoons, which we learned was harder to find than not! The package itself included luxurious accommodations in a queen room, a nourishing and plentiful breakfast each morning, a full one-hour massage for the mom-to-be, and even a full one-hour massage for the dad to-be too, plus milk and cookies [because what pregnant woman doesn’t want something sweet to eat? ;)]

Australian Walkabout Inn. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon
Cookies and Milk at the Australian Walkabout Inn. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon

So after driving the 4.5 hour drive from Pittsburgh to Lancaster, we couldn’t wait to spend our Independence Day weekend away from the hustle and bustle of Pittsburgh and take a break from work, social media, and the daily grind. We settled in at The Australian Walkabout Inn just in time to get freshened up and have dinner at a local Smorgasbord. Lancaster is dotted with them, but we chose one called Millers. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and with a history spanning 87 years of preparing meals from scratch, we found a variety of foods - fresh soups and bread; entrees like fried chicken, top sirloin, and baked ham; side dishes from noodles to potatoes; and of course, a full selection of desserts! 

Millers Smorgasbord - in business for 87 years! From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon

After dinner, we took a drive around Lancaster and noticed horses and buggies everywhere. Lancaster is also called Pennsylvania Dutch Country because it houses the Amish, the Mennonites, the Brethren, and the other “Plain People,” as they are referred. Farmlands as far as the eyes could see dotted the scenery of the rolling hills of PA. Employing the efforts of horses to work the lands, the Amish hold a culture that traces hundreds of years and they still live and work as much as their forefathers did. Their families and farms are their top priorities, second only to God. The Amish are very devout in their faith; there are 25 different Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren church groups in Lancaster, each holding slightly different traditions and their own interpretation of the Bible. The “old order,” the more traditional groups, restrict electricity, television, or telephones in their homes to keep the modern world from intruding in their home life. 

It was getting late and we were tired after our long drive, so we went back to the inn to rest - something you can’t seem to get enough of when you’re pregnant. Oh, how I valued sleep! The next morning, we woke up and smelled the delights of breakfast cooking in the kitchen. I thought we would be able to order something from a menu, but the inn wasn’t set up that way. Just know if you decide to stay here, you are not given a menu or asked what you would like to eat for breakfast; instead, they prepare a balanced meal and it’s served to everyone. Maybe it was because it was our first time staying in a bed and breakfast, but this part surprised us a little, however, the owners will ask you if you do have any food allergies and they will accommodate you if you do. For breakfast that first morning, we were served an artichoke egg omelet with two pieces of sausage and home fries. It was really tasty, and I was glad that I didn’t have the luxury of flipping through a menu because I probably would never have tried that off of a menu! In addition, we were served fresh fruit (cantaloupe, black raspberries, and a cherry) and apple cinnamon muffins with a caramel glaze. 

Right after breakfast, we had a little bit time before my prenatal massage scheduled in the early afternoon. My husband wanted to drive through the town and we came across a really neat shopping district called Kitchen Kettle Village. If you want PA Dutch quilts, homemade baked goods, candles, and locally-made art, pottery and goods, then this is the place for you! There are actually over 40 distinct merchants selling so many unique things. We went inside a Christmas-themed store called the Christmas Shop and found two beautiful ornaments that we bought for our unborn daughter, Maya. Outside, we could hear two musicians playing a fun gig on their banjos. Signs for caricatures, music, and candle stores, and the smell of multiple delicious goods lined the brick streets in the village. I hated to leave this incredible place. You can spend hours here and it was such a fun time. 

Kitchen Kettle Village. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon
Kitchen Kettle Village. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon
Kitchen Kettle Village. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon

Before we knew it, we had to go back to the bed and breakfast because of that prenatal massage that I was very much looking forward to! Anyone that has been pregnant before can tell you how much the extra weight strains the body  - and a relaxing massage can be the ticket to feeling more relaxed with all the extra pressure on the bones and joints. My husband was quite generous and insisted that I have his massage, too, for a different day. He wanted to sleep instead [apparently he wasn’t sleeping very well with my many pillows flooding the bed and oh yes—I had the air conditioning AND the ceiling fan on at all times—I was freezing him out! haha]. To be fair, it was the dead of summer and I took on a new shape: round, and was quite swollen by the end of the day. I couldn’t wait to have my prenatal massages and relax! 

The massages were held in the attic area of the house. There was a fireplace in the room, candles everywhere, low lights, and two massage tables. Not ever having a prenatal massage before, I wondered how this was going to work with being pregnant. My masseuse had me lie on my side, and used lotions and oils on my body. It felt absolutely wonderful! I fell asleep a few times and had trouble staying awake to make much conversation besides a few grunts [ok that was an exaggeration—we had very nice conversation!] but when you’re tired, pregnant, and just want to relax, sleep sounded so good, too. 

Prenatal Massage! A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon

After a rejuvenating massage, Fernando and I were both hungry so we got a suggestion from the owners of the inn to go to a place called The Brasserie. Guests at the Australian Walkabout Inn get 10% off their bill by showing their room key. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so we sat outside. We ordered our food: I had the grilled chicken and veggies with pita and a salad, and Fernando had the Ranchero Sandwich with chips and a pickle. After a lovely lunch, we definitely wanted to go on an Amish Farmland tour.

*Tip: There are coupons for so much to see and do in Lancaster, from the tours, the smorgasbords, and other shops and restaurants, so be sure to pick up a visitor’s guide book or anything of interest from an information center, because you’ll definitely save a little money that way! We found coupons and a lot of our information from www.discoverlancaster.com. There you will find sample itineraries of how to spend your time at any time of the year. 

We had to wait over an hour to take the Amish Farmland tour because it’s a very popular tourist attraction in Lancaster. My husband was very curious about the Amish and wanted to learn more about them, and so it was worth the wait. A horse-drawn carriage took our group of around 10 people to the actual farm within a local Amish community. We saw many of their animals while the driver told us more about the Amish way of life. Our group was very engaged and asked dozens of questions. In fact, it was encouraged, and luckily, none of us were too shy to ask away. We also got to see more Amish homes - it was very educational. 

Amish Farmland Tour. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon

It was quite a dusty afternoon being in the sun and around livestock, so we decided that we’d enjoy our Jacuzzi tub and get freshened up before dinner. When we got back to our room, there were homemade cookies and milk ready for us, which made for a nice afternoon treat. We made a bubble bath and took our time getting ready before we decided on a place to have dinner. After a little research, I found a place called the Historic Revere Tavern, which you had to make reservations for, and of course, we got lost trying to find the place. Our GPS didn’t find it or recognize but after calling them, we were guided to a distinguished building made of stone.

Dining room, Historic Revere Tavern. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon

Built in 1740, the tavern houses four warm and distinctive dining rooms with seven working fireplaces. A fun fact about the Revere Tavern: in 1841, James Buchanan, the 15th president of the United States, purchased it. The ambience was perfect! We were led to a quaint dining room that was very long and narrow, with tables lit by small lamps. Our table was set near a stone fireplace, but I could easily imagine how quaint and cozy this would look in the cooler months and with a big Christmas wreath as a part of the décor. The place had charm and a warmth which we really enjoyed. We were famished so we ordered our meals; I had the pork rib eye with mashed potatoes and asparagus, and Fernando had a chicken and pasta dish that was quite delicious. We even split a giant slice of Tiramisu for dessert—my favorite! We highly recommend coming here for dinner. The food, ambience, and service were amazing. It was a great day and we couldn’t wait to return back to the bed and breakfast and crawl into our four-poster bed and sleep. Resting and relaxing were the major themes of this trip and I was more than fine with that! 

The next morning, we went down to breakfast, which comprised of peaches and crème baked oatmeal, cinnamon maple bread with fruit and turkey sausage and three cherries. Right after breakfast, I had my second prenatal massage, and then we started packing up everything in our room to check out. We were going to explore more of Kitchen Kettle Village or the nearby town of Lititz, but it was a Sunday and the Inn owners said most everything was closed. 

At first we felt disappointed, but then I had a thought… I remembered seeing signs on the way to Lancaster about Hershey. I quickly Googled how far away Hershey was from where we were and if anything was open. To our excitement, we were 45 minutes away [and in the direction going toward home!] and everything was open at Hershey Park. My husband had never been there before and I hadn’t been since I was a small child with my Girl Scout troop. So we decided to take an impromptu trip to Hershey to get our chocolate fix on! 

Hershey's Chocolate World! From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon

Hershey is a town built on the chocolate industry - even the street lamps are in the shape of Hershey kisses! In 1903, Milton Hershey returned to his hometown with a vision to build the world’s first modern chocolate factory. He helped build up a real home town complete with schools, shops, an orphanage, and the infamous Hershey Park, endowing it with his entire fortune. We decided to spend our afternoon at Hershey’s Chocolate World. 

We bought tickets to enjoy a chocolate tour, have a chocolate tasting experience, watch a 4D chocolate mystery movie, and even create our own candy bar. The chocolate tour is free and informational and most everyone enjoys going on the chocolate tour, complete with a small sample of chocolate! The chocolate tasting experience was delightful. It was another educational yet hands-on experience to try the sounds and smells of chocolate from milk to dark and varieties in between [Yes, I said sounds!]. There really are professional chocolate eaters in the world that rate chocolate from sweet to bitter and differentiate between different varieties and various aromas. In the chocolate tasting, you are given a bag of samples to try, and your participation includes smelling the chocolate for its aroma; listening to the chocolate when it’s broken to hear if sounds crisp, and the fun part, placing a piece of the chocolate in your mouth and leaving it for a few seconds on the tongue to record whether it tastes sweet, sour, bitter, or salty. The guide who instructed us even had a chocolate wheel to help us along with our decisions of what to record. We also recorded our results electronically in real time to get a consensus of how everyone in the room felt about the chocolates that we were trying. This experience really does put a new perspective on our love for chocolate and the level of detail that goes into all of it! 

Being a destination for families, we weren’t surprised that “characters” like Reese and Kiss were used to interact with everyone in Chocolate World. The 4D Chocolate Mystery, a digital animation with special effects, presents a mystery and gets the kids involved in solving clues. It’s a 30-minute show, and with over 100 variations, you can experience this over and over and never see the same show twice! 

After the 4D mystery show, we were hungry, so we stopped in the food court right there in chocolate world. The food court offered a variety of foods from breakfast scones and muffins to deli sandwiches and salads, a variety of hot entrees and soups, flatbread pizzas, plus signature Hershey drinks, desserts, and milkshakes. Fernando had a sandwich and I had a flatbread pizza. We were on a bit of time crunch because our tickets for our activities dictated when we had to be and where, so we quickly ate and set off to our next destination. 

We saved the best for last - the Create your Own Candy bar Experience. You are given a hair net and an apron as you stand in a line that keeps moving pretty steadily. It took us about 45-minutes to create our very own candy bars. The fun part about this is the fact that you can choose the ingredients, design your own wrapper, and watch your candy bar being made right in front of you! It was very exciting! After creating our candy bars, we did a little shopping in the Hershey’s Largest Candy Store. There, you will find a variety of your favorite chocolates, candies, confections, souvenirs, and gifts. You can even customize a mix of Hershey’s candy with a container of 15 sweet selections at The Amazing Candy Machine. They also featured t-shirts and plush items like pillows with the Hershey brand. My husband, being an avid Kit Kat fan, found a giant packaged Kit Kat so he was in chocolate heaven! 

Create your own candy bar experience, Hershey's Chocolate World. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon
Create your own candy bar experience, Hershey's Chocolate World. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon
Create your own candy bar experience, Hershey's Chocolate World. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon
Create your own candy bar experience, Hershey's Chocolate World. From A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon

Fernando and I had such a great time in Hershey that we both agreed to take our daughter, Maya, there when she is older. There is even more to do in Hershey than Chocolate World! Hershey is a fun destination for the whole family and includes engaging attractions, spa and golf experiences, exquisite dining, shopping, and culture. It’s truly an exciting place and it added something special to our trip. We felt like kids again! On our drive home, we saw the sky light up with fireworks for miles. It was a perfect ending to our babymoon and we were thankful to have this time together.

Babymoons are special. It is like a honeymoon all over again because there is definitely a romantic touch about them that creates something magical. Fernando and I were so glad to have a little getaway and reconnect before we became a family of three. It was important for us to relax and rejuvenate on this trip; even though we spent a long weekend away over a usual busy holiday, it felt very mellow and we really enjoyed that. Taking a quick day trip somewhere unexpected like we did also added a thrill to our loose itinerary that we really enjoyed. If you’re expecting a baby, consider taking a babymoon… you won’t regret it! It really is an amazing time to have a new adventure together as well as recharge your batteries before the hustle and bustle of parenthood. 

 A Lancaster Hershey Babymoon



Stasia Lopez is the Global Education Editor for Wandering Educators and is also a Career Consultant at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Robert Morris University. Stasia is passionate about international education, travel, and loves working on a college campus. She’s lived in four different U.S. states (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and also studied and lived abroad in Rome, Italy. Stasia lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, Fernando, her beautiful daughter Maya, and cuddly cat, Zorro. 


All photos courtesy and copyright Stasia and Fernando Lopez