This blog post continues details of our extended weekend vacation (August 5-8) in South Central Pennsylvania. The first day of our vacation was mainly a driving event. We drove 5 1/2 hours from our home in Warren, PA, to our hotel in Jonestown, PA. On the second day of our weekend vacation (August 6) we took a stroll alongside Union Canal in Lebanon and visited the quaint village of Mt. Gretna. Yesterday’s blog post provided details and photographs of the Union Canal. This blog post provides details and photographs from our visit to Mt. Gretna.
From Lebanon it was only a short drive to Mt. Gretna.
Upon our arrival in Mt. Gretna, we were surprised to learn that we were on the historic grounds of The Pennsylvania Chautauqua. We had thought there was only one Chautauqua, that being Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. We have visited Chautauqua Institution many times, as it is located within a 30-minute drive of our house. Imagine our surprise when we learned that there are over 200 Chautauquas created as part of the late 19th, early 20th century movement that began in 1874 at Chautauqua, New York! The Pennsylvania Chautauqua was established in 1892. As is the case with Chautauqua Institution, the purpose and mission of The Pennsylvania Chautauqua is the advancement of literary, scientific, intellectual, physical, and social welfare and the promotion of cultural and religious activities, recreation and entertainment.
We arrived in Mt. Gretna around 10:00 AM. We spent the next 3 hours admiring the playhouse and the cottages surrounding the playhouse, walking through the Fairy Garden and relaxing on the shores of Lake Conewago.
As we sat on the shores of Lake Conewago, we enjoyed each others’ company while listening to the sounds of children swimming in the lake and watching butterflies flit among the flowers.
Before leaving Mt. Gretna we ate lunch at The Jigger Shop, which is an ice cream parlor that has been around since 1895.
We enjoyed a lunch of cheeseburgers, fries and coleslaw at The Jigger Shop. For dessert we shared a Jigger Sundae, which is one of the best sundaes I have ever eaten. A Jigger is vanilla ice cream covered with either butterscotch or chocolate syrup (we chose butterscotch syrup) and topped with whipped marshmallow and jigger nuts served in a tall parfait glass. I have no idea what jigger nuts are. The nuts are cocoa colored and finely ground. The taste of the nuts is unique, neither bitter nor sweet.
We returned to Mt. Gretna, as planned, by 7:00 PM. The reason for our weekend visit to South Central Pennsylvania and, in particular, Mt. Gretna was to hear Leon Redbone in concert at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse. Bob has been a big fan of Leon Redbone since he first heard him in the mid 1970s. This year, for Father’s Day, Stacey gave Bob two tickets to the concert. Not being familiar with Mt. Gretna, our morning visit to the village was a dry run to locate the Mt. Gretna Playhouse and determine where we would park for the evening’s concert.
It was requested that no photographs be taken during the concert. Therefore, the only photograph of Leon Redbone that I have is on the billboard shown above.
Stacey purchased GREAT seats for the show. We were seated in the center, the second row from the open-air stage. Almost every seat in the 700-seat auditorium were filled. The show began at 8:00 PM, with comedian Joe Recca as the opening act. Joe Recca was entertaining; he was funny. He had a twinkle in his eyes and an engaging smile, a chuckle at times, as he laughed at his own jokes.
After a short intermission, Leon Redbonetook the stage at 9:00 PM. Leon’s piano accompanist came onto stage first and took a seat at the piano on the left side of the stage. The piano accompanist was attired in top coat and tails. Next came Leon; he walked carefully, with cane, to his chair in the center of the stage. Leon wore a white hat with dark band around the base, sunglasses, a dark tie, a dark pair of pants, dark shoes and a white coat. After settling in his chair, Leon began singing his classic tunes. Leon brings to life the music of early blues, jazz and ragtime artists. Leon peppered the show with vaudevillian comedy and engaged in banter with the pianist. I enjoyed the entire concert, but especially liked listening to Leon play the harmonica and whistle. I enjoyed watching the pianist, too, as his fingers played skillfully over the keys of the piano. It was a great show. We both thank Stacey very much for affording us the opportunity to see Leon Redbone in concert.