Recently recognized by Fodor’s Travel in a June 5 article titled “15 Amazing Lakeside Towns Where You Should Spend the Summer,” Mount Gretna — the crowned jewel of the Lebanon Valley — was named in the top 15 lakeside towns in the entire country.
Author Barabara Noe Kennedy writes, “This isn’t a town, per se, but the woodsy borough of Mount Gretna on Conewago Lake is worth a callout especially for its centerpiece, Pennsylvania Chautauqua, the Victorian era plein-air adult school that attracts thousands of people every summer.” Kennedy goes on to explain the whimsy of colorful cottages, the historic Gretna Theatre and of course, the Jigger Shop.
“There’s also hiking, biking (on the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail), and simply whiling away a summer’s day in a tucked-away corner of specialness. The lake, by the way, is one of those fabulously old-fashioned-feeling ones: complete with floating docks and over-water swings. Be sure to climb the Governor Dick Tower in Clarence Schock Memorial Park, offering 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside.”
While the article features 15 summer lake towns around the nation, Mount Gretna is the only Pennsylvania one on the list.
“People are truly looking for the road less traveled and exploring areas that aren’t the obvious choice. Rich in history and outdoor activities, the Lebanon Valley is perfect for those with an interest in natural beauty and simple charm. It’s exciting that people are appreciating farm fresh foods for healthier lifestyles, incorporating outdoor activities and time to relax in their decisions of how to spend free time,” says Jennifer Kuzo, and she would know. Jennifer is President of Visit Lebanon Valley, the local tourism office. “It’s no surprise that Mount Gretna receives this national acknowledgement from Fodor’s Travel. We have known the unique charm of Mount Gretna for many years.”
The Lebanon Valley is a hidden gem located between Hershey and Lancaster that most people haven’t discovered yet. They have a rich history highlighted by their History Trail which showcases sites such as the Cornwall Iron Furnace, America’s only surviving 19th century charcoal-fueled blast furnace and the Union Canal Tunnel, the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the U.S. Both were significant back in their day. There is also a new Libations Trail for wineries, breweries and distilleries of the Lebanon Valley featuring really specific local twists like Opera Fudge Stout and Lebanon Bologna Smokehouse Ale. Best of all, check out their new Outdoor Guide with fantastic trails for hiking, biking, waterways and wildlife available — and it’s available in a pocket size. Explore their rail trails, the Appalachian Trail, Stony Valley Trail or wander through Swatara State Park.