The Antique Automobile Club of America’s (AACA) Eastern Division National Fall Meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania, also known as the Hershey Swap Meet, is considered the highlight of the classic car calendar for many enthusiasts. Read on for tips on the sweet spots for lodging, eating and doing in Hershey.
White Rose Motel
1060 E Chocolate Ave.
Tired of chain hotels, but you don’t want the price of a B&B? This friendly, family-owned motel offers clean, pleasant rooms, great service, and a convenient location — for a fraction of what you’ll pay to stay at Hershey Park. Rates are just $55-$79 in October. Two-bedroom efficiency cottages are also available for larger groups. Includes free Wi-Fi in rooms, microwave, hair dryer, and an on-site guest laundry.
1733 E Chocolate Ave.
Hershey, PA 17033
If clean rooms, low rates, free Wi-Fi and free HBO are important to you, check in at the Milton. Recently renovated in 2008, each room features a fridge, microwave, and pillowtop mattress. Just over a mile from Hershey Park, the hotel is right next door to some great eats at Dukes Bar and Grill.
The Hotel Hershey
100 Hotel Rd.
If you’re seeking luxury accommodations, look no further than The Hotel Hershey, the motto of which is “elegance without pretense.” A recipient of both the Forbes Four-Star Award and the AAA Four-Diamond Award, the hotel is home to a variety of amenities, including The Chocolate Spa, boutique shops, fine dining and access to three spectacular golf courses.
Dukes Bar and Grill
1715 E Chocolate Ave/, Hershey
This friendly pub offers much of the standard fare (burgers, wings, fried dishes) you’d expect at a bar and grill, and a few surprises. Try the Tomato Florentine soup with a Maryland Crab Pretzel — a giant soft pretzel buried under Duke’s Famous Hot Crab Dip and several cheeses. Be forewarned — the portions are more than generous.
800 Eisenhower Blvd., Harrisburg
So you want breakfast … but it’s two o’clock in the morning. This is your kind of place. You can also get anything else off the standard diner menu 24/7. A gleaming throw-back to the ‘50s, your ’57 Chevy is going to look right at home parked out front. Just off I-76 and I-283, it’s a great spot to eat late when you’re on your way in for the Hershey weekend.
709 Fishburn Road, Hershey
Celebrating its first anniversary, Bella Italia and Sicilian chef Massimo Carella offer the traditional, housemade comfort foods of Sicily (lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs) and some new twists as well. Try the house favorite, La Pasta Pescadora — a mélange of mussels, shrimp and clams in a garlic and oil or a marinara sauce. On the new menu, you’ll find Seafood Cannelloni with Cognac crème sauce. Check the board for daily specials. Note: Bella Italia has no liquor license, but you can bring your own bottle of wine. Karn Grocery store has a good selection and is just around the corner (731 Cherry Drive) — or plan a visit to Cullari Vineyard and Winery before your dinner.
The Chocolate Avenue Grill
114 W Chocolate Ave.
Want a comfortable, inviting ambience to enjoy a fine dining experience with friends? The staff at the Chocolate Avenue Grill strives to make your evening memorable. The menu features a variety of pastas, seafood, steaks, burgers and more. Start with a Chocolate Milkshake Martini (you are in the land of Chocolate, you know) if you’re feeling decadent. Try Jess's Favorite Salad in the World if you like hand-battered coconut chicken and poppyseed dressing. The locals claim the Philly Cheese Steak is the best in the world — and they ought to know!
161 Museum Drive, Hershey
Because the AACA plays host to the Fall Meet Week events, the AACA museum is the place to be for many of them, starting with the Night at the Museum gala and benefit auction (Wednesday, October 5, $125 per person). Extended hours during this special week will allow spectators to view the impressive collection, as well as the 1929 Stearns Knight Deluxe H-8-90 Cab-Roadster on special exhibit. Don’t miss your chance to see this rare car. How rare? This is the only one known to exist.
Cullari Vineyards and Winery Tasting Room
1251 E Chocolate Ave.
Hershey, PA 17033
Who would expect a charming winery right in the heart of Hershey? After a morning at the Swap Meet scoring bargains, you deserve a relaxing afternoon tasting the fruit of the vine. Cullari offers some inventive combinations, including an award-winning chocolate wine, Coca Nostra. Don’t forget to get a bottle or two for dinner at Bella Italia.
Crossroads Antique Mall
825 Cocoa Ave.
Hershey, PA 17033
If you love old cars, you probably like other old stuff too — especially when housed in this historic barn, built in an unusual “parabolic arch” design. Dozens of antique dealers offer their latest finds. Be sure to check out Our Body Shop for motorabilia. Who knows what you might find?
Allen Theatre and MJ’s Coffee House
36 E Main St.
Annville, PA 17003
Just a short drive from Hershey Park in the charming little town of Annville, you’ll find one of the few theaters left where the same fellow sells you your ticket, shows you your seat and runs the projector. Before the show, enjoy a latte with a delectable bakery treat, or try a soup and deli sandwich. On First Thursday, stop in for live jazz. There’s always something happening at MJ’s. Check the website for showtimes of current run movies.