Pennsylvania Homes Feature: Nature, classic cars, canoeing, museums, and mansions are just some of the many fascinating things to do and see in the Hershey and Harrisburg areas.

The nonprofit Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB) helps visitors to the area plan their trip - with or without chocolate.

"I've found from living here for 15 years that our region provides elements you want in an eclectic urban environment such as diversity, arts and culture, fine dining and nightlife," says Public Relations Director Rick Dunlap. "But then the area has the great outdoors surrounding the Capital City of Harrisburg with rolling countryside landscapes for easy access to fishing and kayaking on the Susquehanna River, hiking on the Appalachian Trail, or taking an old-fashioned 'Sunday Drive' among mural barns and covered bridges. Then, there is the emerging culture here of family-owned wineries and breweries."

The area harbors one of just seven authentic paddlewheel river boats in the United States. Get onboard and tour the Susquehanna River in style while checking out its abundant wildlife. If original is what you like, you'll find the Smithsonian-affiliated Antique Automobile Club of America Museum has aged cars, motorcycles, buses and trucks from the 1890s. All vehicles are displayed in period settings, steering you back in time.

For some fantastic family fun, head to Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts to discover three floors of hands-on science exhibits and educational galleries to keep all ages engaged. Watch a planetarium show at the Pennsylvania State Museum or learn about local history at the National Civil War Museum.

Head outside to explore all the scenery and nature the area has to offer. Ride a bike, hike the trails, stroll the boardwalk and investigate the nature center in the rolling hills of Wildwood Park. "My two secret places right now for outdoor adventure is kayaking the Swatara Creek in Hershey and hiking to Hawk Rock Overlook along the Appalachian Trail," says Dunlap.

The Hershey-Harrisburg area is a mix of new buildings and historic structures, many repurposed into dining, dancing, and drinking experiences. Such is The Millworks: a restaurant, bar/outdoor biergarten, and music venue - with an art gallery and artist studios. Dunlap says that his favorite spots are "the new 1700 Degrees Steakhouse for fine dining" or MoMo's BBQ & Grill across from 1700 Degrees Steakhouse.

No visit would be complete without a chocolate encounter of the otherworldly kind at The Hershey Company, founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894. A fun place to go for both kids and adults, Hershey has Chocolate World and Hersheypark, an amusement park with over 65 rides and attractions and a museum of Hershey history, According to the Bureau: "You can buy Hershey's Chocolate in any store, but the Hershey Harrisburg Region is the only place that you can make your own official Hershey's candy bar, work in the 'Kiss Factory,' and soak in the entire chocolate-making experience."

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