With its eye-catching cottages, woodsy backdrop, and old-fashioned community charm, Mt. Gretna is a town uniquely suited for the fall holidays.

All photos by Will Trostel.

LebTown visited the small borough along Route 117 just days before Halloween and took some pictures of the town in its element. Here’s what we saw.

Numerous footpaths through groves of mountain laurel crisscross the neighborhood.
Lamplight is there to illuminate any evening strolls through the streets of the town.

Originally the summer retreat for workers in the local iron business, the town has maintained its distinct atmosphere for over a century. Mt. Gretna’s population was estimated at just over 200 in 2019 and was named one of the 10 best small towns in the state by the website Area Vibes.

The Visitor Information Center.
This sizable signpost directs visitors to places from both the Chautauqua era and a more modern one.
Route 117 winds through the town and along the south shore of Lake Conewago.

Mt. Gretna was selected in 1892 as a home for the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, a popular adult educational movement prevalent in the early 20th century. Some buildings from its heyday, like the Hall of Philosophy, are still a part of the town’s community activities.

Read More: [Photo Story] A look at the historic cottages of Mt. Gretna

The Hall of Philosophy is used for community events and gatherings.
Halloween is a holiday uniquely suited for Mt. Gretna’s distinct atmosphere.
Plenty of residents and stores are proud to show off their seasonal displays.
There are worse places to be lost than in the pathways and bridges of the town’s interior.
Many cottages in Mt. Gretna date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Mountain laurels envelop the road signs away from Route 117.

The Jigger Shop is perhaps one of Mt. Gretna’s most recognizable businesses. It’s been selling ice cream for about 125 years now, and though its season closed on September 27, many fans are waiting for its springtime opening to roll around for a chance to order off of its menu, which includes baked alaska, banana splits, and, of course, the “Jigger” specialty itself.

Read More: [Photo Story] A classic trip to Mt. Gretna’s Jigger Shop

Located near the Chautauqua Hall of Philosophy, the Jigger Shop is a favorite summertime ice cream stop.
The Jigger Shop has been serving locals for well over a century.
The town features tennis courts, a recreational lake, and this playground, among other things.
The network of back streets that make up Mt. Gretna are often one-way only and limit parking to those with passes.
The Gretna Playhouse was originally built in 1892 and continues to host productions and performances in the warmer months.
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Josh Groh is a Cornwall native and writer who began reporting for LebTown in 2019. He continued to regularly contribute to LebTown while earning a degree in environmental science at Lebanon Valley College, graduating in 2021. Since then, he has lead conservation crews in Colorado and taken on additional...


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