34rd ANNUAL MT. GRETNA TOUR OF HOMES & GARDENS
Saturday, August 4, 2018, 10 am – 5 pm (Always the first Saturday in August)
Mt. Gretna, PA – Enjoy a fascinating glimpse into the architecture and style of Mt. Gretna’s iconic homes. A self-guided walking tour includes homes and gardens of contrasting sizes and styles, reflecting the various styles and tastes of Mt. Gretna homeowners.
The Historical Society Museum will be open and staffed with volunteers to answer questions on all things Gretna, and Chautauqua homeowners will have food and drink available at the Hall of Philosophy. The result is a delightful day in the shady, nostalgic surroundings of Mt. Gretna.
Tickets will be on sale in the spring, and are $20 (in advance) or $25 (day of). $5 for age 12 and under. For more information, call 717-361-1508.
- Lancaster County: All Stauffers markets
- Dauphin County: Stauffers Garden Centers in Hummelstown and Linglestown
- Cumberland County: Stauffers Garden Center, Mechanicsburg
- Lebanon County: Gretna Emporium, Mt. Gretna, and Stauffers Garden Center in Lebanon and Snitz Creek Cabinet Shop
- York County: Stauffers Garden Centers in East York and Dover.
Highlights from the 2017 Tour
The 2017 tour included 9 homes, 3 historic buildings, 1 garden, an artist studio, pop-up shop, and a trolley ride to one of the homes by the lake. The fire station had a great vendor show including : LuLaRoe, DoTerra Essential Oils, Rodan & Fields skincare, ThirtyOne, local psychic Jan Helen McGee, Helen Tudor handmade jewelry, and Cutco knives.
The owners have been lovingly restoring this cottage and filling it with antiques and art work. Favorites include a jelly cupboard, dry sink, antique roped bed, blanket chests, dressers and assorted tables. The guest room has an antique headboard which was a sample from a company in western New York. A local 96-year-old folk artist painted the board.
The upstairs master bedroom has been refurbished with beadboard and there is an interesting configuration of the ceiling that comes together to support all of the rooflines. The effect is strong and beautiful.
The warm woods floors are all reclaimed oak. Finds from local auctions include the stained glass tulip window. The corner cabinet is original to the home. The stairs leading to the second floor are harnessed from reclaimed footlocker material from the Mt. Gretna Military Encampment. The cottage has four upstairs bedrooms with unique elevated views of the Chautauqua. In the bathroom, the bulkhead is designed with a piece of Douglas Fir frame. The wraparound porch has plenty of space to enjoy the summer, although the recent renovation project extended the living room five feet onto the porch for the couple to enjoy the remaining three seasons of the living room and woodstove.
In the late 1800s, local carpenter and self-taught architect John H. Cilley, built the Mt. Gretna Playhouse. He also built the Tabernacle for the Campmeeting. The master builder designed this house for himself.
Inside, an impressive collection of iconic craftsman-style furniture and a wide array of mission pottery are displayed. When the dreamy Conewago Inn was torn down, fireplace and hearth were preserved and installed in the living room of this cottage. It’s a treasured piece of history to behold.
After you have viewed the tasteful art collection, take special notice of the spider plant thriving in the bay window. It’s got some major history!
Can you imagine what would make this perfect cottage even more terrific? It would be a hot tub, right? Look down the ironwork spiral staircase
The owners restored this five-bedroom cottage to its current state. After assessing all that could be salvaged from the home, they went to work winterizing and shoring up the sunporch and the upstairs. The wavy glass windows and Philadelphia beadboard is original to the home. They used salvaged beadboard in the bedrooms as much as they could. Each piece in the tray ceiling has a knot from the wood on display, so it is referred to as the “knotty (naughty) room.” The other bedroom has no knots in the tray ceiling and that is referred as the “Nice Room.”
After preserving all that they could, like the vintage linoleum on the enclosed upstairs sleeping porch and the antique stove displayed on the front porch, the couple decorated with family heirlooms including Tammy’s grandmother’s quilt and Bob’s grandmother’s china and Kitchenaid mixer. There is a 1920’s Murphy bed downstairs, an antique ironing board doubling as a bar off the kitchen and art and furniture collected locally from Mt. Gretna rounds out the décor.
The couple had a Campmeeting cottage for more than a decade, fulfilled their dream of living in Mt. Gretna in retirement and built their dream home. They designed the kitchen around the butcher block at the side counter and followed it with cheerful French Country décor. See how many clever roosters you can find in the open-concept space and be sure to notice the French side board near the windows.
Avid antique collectors, the couple found the beams used in the living room from a 1730s house in Schaefferstown. He has a passion for finding a variety of antique Victrola music boxes with more than 20 in his collection and several displayed on the English coffer in the home’s entryway.
The front door welcomes visitors into a spacious anteroom that displays books, art and unique furniture. At first, the owner bemoaned the fact that her cottage did not have the front porch that so many Mt. Gretna properties enjoy but when you travel straight through the chef’s kitchen to the back of the house, there is a deck that is surprisingly otherworldly.
Just last year, they discovered a concrete pond under years of leave mulch and dirt. It went unnoticed at first, but over the Fourth of July weekend, some friends helped to uncover it and got it running over the holiday. Now the water garden is host to fish and a frog seems to be living there as well.
The owners like to spend time in the “best room in the house” – the porch. They like to repurpose items by finding a creative use for anything from an old butter churn for dog food, a baby crib as a display for accessories, and an old standard pallet for shelving. The view from the upstairs bay window gazes down to the cottages and dappled paths of the Campmeeting. A second bedroom with a vaulted ceiling is tucked behind the bathroom giving it a sense of mystery and privacy. They are going into their second year of owning the 1000 sq. ft. cottage. They finished a downstairs bathroom remodel and wrapped up some finishing touches to make it home.
This home is a showcase of the owner’s inventive talent. The art collection consists of finds from the annual Mt. Gretna Art Show, local artists, and the owner’s ingenious repurposing. Keep a careful eye out for items that were originally meant for another function. She changed cabinet knobs to canvas accents, her baby crib spring for a picture holder, a hand-dyed Chinese silk scarf (a gift from a Chinese couple she hosted) to a framed masterpiece, and macramé to bathroom valences. Many other surprises in this home!
The owner: “I go to bed thinking about design, color, arrangements, and new projects,”
The Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society
The Mount Gretna Area Historical Society Museum at 206 Pennsylvania Avenue, will have docents available for tours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Society is charged with preserving the heritage of the entire Mount Gretna area, including Mount Gretna Borough, the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, Mount Gretna Campmeeting, Mount Gretna Heights, Timber Hills, Conewago Hill, Stoberdale, areas to Colebrook once occupied by the Pennsylvania National Guard, and areas of Cornwall which involved the Coleman family. This year they are helping our community to celebrate its 125 year anniversary through a variety of activities.
The Hall of Philosophy in Chautauqua
The Pennsylvania Chautauqua Summer Programs committee is sponsoring the House Tour Café in the Hall of Philosophy offering fresh fruit, salads, sandwiches, chips, homemade cookies and cold beverages. Proceeds benefit Gretna Music and PA Chautauqua Summer Programs. Whether you sit and relax or choose take-out, a Mt. Gretna postcard show featuring old, iconic Gretna buildings and scenes will be on a continuous loop for your enjoyment. Enjoy our new, beautiful ceiling fans funded, in part, with a grant from the Mount Gretna Arts Council. And if you time is just right, you may get to hear the player piano in all its glory.