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In the Spirit of Charlie Bucket and Grandpa Joe

Uncle Joe, Charlie Bucket, Willy Wonka

I never thought to do this myself before now, but sometimes you just need to get away (especially the Manhattan-ites among you). A walk into Central Park may pull you through to another week, but the stale cookies from the hot dog carts just don’t quite cut it.

So here are a few getaway tours for the dessert-aholic. Short, but sweet. Perfect for the weekend getaway, or for that extra long layover between meetings. The upside? You don’t need a golden ticket, free samples (need I say more?), and getting the inside scoop (literally). The downside? Well, no offense, but how often are you in Vermont?

New York is Chocolate Country: A Walking Tour – A charming trek through New York’s streets and back-alleys in search of the finest. You will visit Soho’s Jacques Torres, Mariebelle, Kee’s Chocolates, Lilac, Payard Pâtisserie, Martine’s, and La Maison du Chocolat. Cost: $80.
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Scharffen Berger Factory – Some of America’s finest dark chocolate is made here. The factory is located in Berkeley, California and admission is free for the daily one hour public tour. Private tours cost $35 (everyone in attendance, up to 30, gets a one dollar gift certificate to the store so milk it and gather 29 of your friends together).
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Ben and Jerry’s – It would be worth it to go to Waterbury, Vermont just to see where Cherry Garcia is made. Tour lasts 30 minutes (see cows in action!) – and cost: $3/adult. But hey, you still get free samples.
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Celestial Seasonings – Located in Boulder, Colorado, on 4600 Sleepytime Rd. (named after one of their hallmark teas – remember the bear?). Tour is 45 minutes and free.
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Hershey’s Chocolate Factory - You would be hard pressed to find an American kid who hasn’t eaten a Hershey-made chocolate bar. Located in Hershey, Pennslyvania, Hershey’s offers a free simulated tour ride (yes, ride) through the makings of their world reknown chocolate, starting from the cocoa harvest. Free samples round out the tour. Make it an overnight and stay at the Hershey Lodge, Hotel Hershey, or the Hershey campsite (you get the picture).
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And for when the boss wants you to work through the weekend:

The Hershey Chocolate Factory Video Tour – See it from your desk. The cow is especially endearing.
Watch Video

The Scharffen Berger Virtual Tour – My favorite is the melangeur-broyeur.
Go there, virtually.

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Lovescool is the documentation of a journey to discover what sweet things are out there, why people love them so much, and perhaps what it takes to start something new.

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An interest, that turned into a blog, that turned into a career. Kelli Bernard is now the owner and baker of Amai Tea & Bake House.

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