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Kick off the summer season with a factory tour

It's summertime, so you know what that means.

No, I'm not talking about visits to the beach, mountains, or national parks. It's the season for factory tours!

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Ever since I was a little girl (and had been particularly intrigued by this clip), I've been a sucker for factory tours, particularly food ones. There's something about an assembly line in motion, exotic raw materials magically forming into a familiar product, and the aromas of cooking and baking that I find intoxicating. And, you usually get a free sample (or two) at the end. Yum!

While some factories are open year-round for tours, availability and frequency are most plentiful in summer. Here are just a few possibilities for this season:

  • Hershey's Great American Chocolate Tour, Hershey, Pennsylvania: This tour, styled like an amusement park ride, shows you how chocolate is made, from cocoa bean to finished bar.
  • Cape Cod Potato Chips, Hyannis, Massachusetts: See how lowly potatoes are reinvented as crispy, salty chips.
  • Anheuser-Busch Factory Tour, St. Louis: You'll not only see how beer is made, but you'll also get to meet some of the brewery's famous Clydesdales.
  • Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour, Waterbury, Vermont: Here, you'll learn the company's history, see how cream is processed into delicious desserts, and get to taste the two flavors of the day. (Note: The factory has been undergoing renovations since February, some portions of the tour may not be available for every visit.)
  • Scharffen Berger, Berkeley, California: Learn about the process of making decadent dark chocolate from this gourmet chocolatier.

I've only just scratched the surface of the possibilities across the U.S. To find a tour near you (including options beyond food factory tours), check out FactoryToursUSA.com. Happy summer sampling!

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