The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Weekend in South Central Pennsylvania – Mt. Gretna

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.

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Mt. Gretna Playhouse
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Mt. Gretna cottages
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Mt. Gretna cottages
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Hall of Philosophy

D8065773 4x6Entrance to the Fairy Garden

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The Fairy Garden

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The Fairy Garden

D8065782 4x6Children leave notes for the fairies in the Fairy Garden.

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Bob, relaxing at Conewago Lake

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.

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The Jigger Shop
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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.

After eating lunch at The Jigger Shop, we returned to our hotel with plans to return to Mt. Gretna by 7:00 PM. We made it back to the hotel by 1:30 PM. We must have been pretty tired because we each ended up taking a nap!

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.

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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.

15 Responses to “Weekend in South Central Pennsylvania – Mt. Gretna”

  1. Scott

    Looks like you had a really nice time in a great little area. Thanks for sharing so much detail.

    Reply
  2. Betsy from Tennessee

    What a neat place (Mt. Gretna), Linda… I love seeing all of the cottages. Glad you got to see Leon Redbone in concert… Sounds like a great concert and you had wonderful seats… How special!!!!Thanks for sharing…. I'm so glad you were enjoying my birthday also!!!! haHugs,Betsy

    Reply
  3. Becky K.

    What a very thoughtful gift. I'll have to remember concert tickets as a possible treat for our family members.Becky K.

    Reply
  4. Rose

    Like I told you before, you two are the first people I have ever met that knew who Leon Redbone is…Roger always liked him.

    Reply
  5. eileeninmd

    This place looks wonderful, Linda! I love the cottages and the fairy garden. And I am sure the ice cream store is a hit. Great photos!

    Reply
  6. Romina

    What a lovely place, you should enjoy the weekend adventure. I love looking all the views and the sculptures too.

    Reply
  7. Tes

    Such beautiful cottages, Linda! I love the fairies, they are so pretty! Good seats at the concert -yay!

    Reply
  8. Stephen Tremp

    I love these establishments nestled away in a thicket of trees. I grew up in Michigan so these sites are not only familiar but soothing to my soul. Thanks for the pics. I feel better already.Stephen Tremp

    Reply
  9. guild-rez

    Great pictures and report. It is always nice to read about your trips! Lovely cottages and fairy garden. The dessert sounds really good:)Thank you for your comment on my blog!!- Gisela.

    Reply

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