I seem to be moving to smaller and smaller towns.
September 19, 2009 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Things to do in and around Hershey, PA? Do they exist?

When I moved here I took care of all the standard Chocolate World / Hershey Park / Hotel Hershey stuff, but now that I'm a month in I'm starting to run out of ideas for fun things to do around here, especially nightlife. Where are the good restaraunts/bars? Specialty grocery stores? Good state parks? What do folks there do for fun? Is there a music scene at all?
posted by The White Hat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Do you like, or are you even indifferent to, hockey? The Hershey Bears won last year's AHL championship, which is the league directly below the NHL; since their parent club (the Capitals) is flush with talent, much of the team is NHL-quality.

As a Caps fan I was curious and drove up for a game last year - it was incredible. But I'm pretty into hockey, so YMMV.
posted by downing street memo at 9:46 AM on September 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

You're probably going to have to expand your scope to include Harrisburg as well, as there isn't that much going on in Hershey proper. Still, it's only ~17 miles to the second place I have listed below, on the West Shore, and even closer to the Harrisburg-side places.

Memphis Blues - rib joint, in Palmyra, so a little closer, and other locations around the area
Masala Bistro - really awesome Indian in Camp Hill
Aangan - another great Indian place, but in Harrisburg. Better reviewed on Yelp, but I prefer Masala
Appalachian Brewing Brewpub and Abbey Bar - brewpub with a good selection of Belgian beer, too, in Harrisburg
Lancaster Brewing Co. Brewpub - also in Harrisburg, try the Milk Stout and Hop Hog IPA
Neato Burrito - legitimately some of the best burritos I've ever eaten, multiple locations including Harrisburg
Cornerstone Coffeehouse - good coffeeshop in Camp Hill, crowded on weekend mornings

There are two established (i.e. have their own buildings) farmers' markets that I know of; one's in Lemoyne and one's in Lebanon. I've never been to the latter. There are also a bunch of small, mostly Asian, groceries around. Google will help you. I know of an Indian place on the Carlisle Pike in Camp Hill, but there are more. I just don't know them.

Here's a listing of state parks in the region. Pine Grove Furnace and Gifford Pinchot are the two that I know, but looking at the others, I think there's a lot of potential. Have you been to Gettysburg yet? If not, you should.

Sort of. I've been away for a long time, but there's definitely blandish rock shows in clubs, folky open mics at coffeehouses, and teenage punk in basements and abandoned buildings. You'll have to look hard for it. There's apparently more in Lancaster, too. But, I've been ruined by NYC and Philadelphia's music scenes, so I can't look back with any sort of positive eye on what's (or was) there.
posted by The Michael The at 10:19 AM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, there's also some decent hiking in the mountains north of Harrisburg-Hershey-Lebanon. The Appalachian Trail runs through there, and there are some other trails as well.
posted by The Michael The at 10:29 AM on September 19, 2009

Check out my related AskMe.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:15 PM on September 19, 2009

In Lancaster there's the Chameleon Club...which has some good shows. Outside of that, maybe go to coffee shops or the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design (also in Lancaster), and follow the fliers.

I actually just moved back to the area after living in the Hudson Valley for awhile....and I feel your pain.
posted by pilibeen at 1:13 PM on September 19, 2009

Learn to love Lancaster.

OMG, the kalamata olives from Mandros are great, as is just about everything else in the store.

You can attend some good lectures and concerts at Franklin & Marshall College and then come downtown for First Friday. Lunch at Wish You Were Here is always in order, especially after a visit to Central Market.

Hop on 81/78 and do the hour-ish drive to Hawk Mountain. In fact, the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Festival is happening today and tomorrow in Kempton, which is right next to Hawk Mountain.

I can't comment on the music scene, as most of it seems to be church-related. There are a few chorales in the area, if you have any interest in singing. More small-town goodness can be found in Lancaster County's many fall fairs. (Check out the other counties in the region as well.)

If food is your thing, you're in luck--Central Pa. has any number of markets, farms and small roadside stands. You could spend a year discovering and blogging them, and supporting your new neighbors all the while.

I'm not going to say that There Is No Fun Here, but I will warn you that you might have to readjust your ideas about what constitutes a good time, especially when everyone around you is so excited about preparing their super-secret chicken recipes for the upcoming Hinkelfest.

This region is packed with small-town treasures. Enjoy discovering them!
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:47 PM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

P.S. A Hershey friend swears that the best Mexican food in Central Pa. is found at Herby's El Mexicano in Bressler. I haven't been to Herby's, but have been pleased with El Rodeo, on the outskirts of Harrisburg. The Lancaster location is also good. Which reminds me of a wonderful meal at El Serrano in Lancaster. It was years ago, though, and the restaurant has been through a redesign since.

Almost forgot--you're within driving distance of Penn State and the State Theatre, which has both film and performing arts.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:06 PM on September 19, 2009

Pardon my scattered answers, but one more destination: Drive down 422 into Annville (home of Lebanon Valley College) and catch a bite to eat at MJ's Coffeehouse before going next door to catch a movie at the Allen Theatre. There's a Wyeth exhibit over at LVC now, IIRC.

You can also get a good overview of cultural events in Central Pa. at WITF's RSVPA.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:24 PM on September 19, 2009

Wish You Were Here is a great restaurant....the oatmeal pancakes are totally worth the drive some morning. That area of downtown Lancaster is really nice in general - right across the street from Central Market, the oldest continuously run farmer's market in the US. There used to be a cool little record shop right around the corner too...

Another restaurant which is just north of the city is Rice & Noodles - really good Vietnamese food.

Also, there's an old farmer's market on E. King St., called Eastern Market, which just started up again. It's supposed to be really cool as well....

Sorry this is all Lancaster - but it's a short drive.
posted by pilibeen at 3:36 PM on September 19, 2009

Here's a link for Eastern Market...looks like they have a lot of bluegrass/acoustic stuff going on during market.
posted by pilibeen at 3:43 PM on September 19, 2009

Part of the trick is to get outdoors and get too tired to want nightlife. Central PA is one of the nation's best spots for fly fishing for trout, as well as other fishing opportunities. Take advantage of it! Anglers around the world would envy you for living there! (And take advantage of releasng your trout... that's why there are so many big ones in PA...)
posted by zaelic at 12:24 AM on September 20, 2009


The first link will tell you where to do it, the second (self link) will show you how much fun it is. There is often a potluck involved, so there's that too.
posted by jvilter at 9:09 AM on September 20, 2009

Herby's is the best Mexican restaurant in the Harrisburg area. Don't think El Rodeo comes close.

Aangan is great for Indian. Some prefer Passage To India but I think it's overrated and overpriced. Haven't tried Masala yet, but will shortly (thanks MonkeyToes!)

I'm still looking for good Chinese if anybody has suggestions there...

Bears games at Giant Center are cheap and lots of fun. I'd avoid concerts at the nearby Hersheypark Stadium, though - it's a lousy venue.

Football games at PSU are an amazing experience even if you're not a huge football fan - Beaver Stadium is the largest stadium in North America and the third largest in the world, and the atmosphere is electric.

Also recommend the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. Stuart Malina in particular is wonderful - very open and friendly guy in addition to being tha Maestro.
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 9:44 PM on September 20, 2009

Thanks for the great suggestions, folks, especially the contra dances!
posted by The White Hat at 8:27 PM on September 21, 2009

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