Mt. Gretna ~ A Hidden Oasis

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At the beginning of every summer, my family compiles a list of activities we want to accomplish before the season ends. We get really creative and add things that we’ve never tried (such as OGO Balling – more on that in another post!)  But one activity that is on our summer “to do” list every single year is a visit to Mount Gretna. Now is the perfect time to go!

Mount Gretna is truly one of Central Pennsylvania’s hidden gems. An 18-mile drive from downtown Lancaster will instantly make you feel like you’ve traveled hours away. It’s always cooler in temperature, completely shaded by tree canopies overhead, and offers visitors the quaintest small town in the area.

Pennsylvania Chautauqua Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania

Not only is it full of charm, Mt. Gretna is a summer staple because of the activities it has to offer.

Mt. Gretna Lake & Beach

In need of some diversion from going to the pool? Why not visit the Mt. Gretna lake? This is the perfect place for families to spend a summer day. There are lifeguards stationed around, kids dock to swim to, 8 acres of beach and lawn to sprawl out on, and a snack bar. For the older kids (or yourself, if you are adventurous!) try kayaking, jump off the high dive, go on the swing in the middle of the lake, or climb on the giant oversized chair and snap a picture. You’ll want to remember what a fun day you had!

The lake is open between May 27-Sept 4, from 11:30am to 6:30 pm. Due to capacity limits, admission tickets must be pre-purchased. To purchase tickets, visit:

Gretna Emporium

If you like shopping for little tchotchkes, you can’t miss the Gretna Emporium. It is overflowing with eclectic gifts and souvenirs and there is surely something that will catch your eye!

Open daily from 11:30am to 9:30pm.

Mt Gretna Theater

Whether you’re a fan of theater or not, you will love this charming, not-for-profit theater. Enjoy a mix of Broadway musicals and comedies in America’s oldest open air Summer Theatre. Saturday mornings offer theater productions for children!

Gretna Theatre in Mt. Gretna

Tickets are available for purchase by calling the box office (717-964-3627) or in-person at the theater.

Jigger Shop

Saved the best for last! The words “Jigger Shop” are truly synonymous with summer in our house and you’ll see why after your first visit. Step back in time and into this old-fashioned ice cream parlor, which offers everything from burgers, sandwiches, and salads to ice cream sundaes and milkshakes.  After all, it’s been around for 100 years – you know it has to be special!

**Wolf Family Tips**

  • They have the best root beer in frosty mugs, fresh beignets, and loaded fries!
  • Go EARLY – the line can wrap around the building!
  • Dog Friendly!

Your perfect summer escape is waiting for you under the trees of Mt. Gretna. Make sure to plan your visit before summer ends!!!

Photo credits: Wikipedia, Lancaster Online, PennLive, LancasterCountyMag

For more information on the wonderful homes in Lancaster County, call Mary Sue at 717-333-9653 or visit her website at No home is too big or too small for our team.

Published by

Mary Sue Wolf

Mary Sue Wolf, real estate agent in the Lancaster and Lititz PA area. Mary Sue is a long time resident and knows the Lancaster area very well. #lancasterbestkeptsecrets are the insider tips to local dining, things to do and local information. #wolfdenrealtor

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