Welcome to The Pennsylvania Chautauqua

The purpose and mission of The Pennsylvania Chautauqua shall be the advancement of literary, scientific, intellectual, physical and social welfare and the promotion of cultural and religious activity, recreation and entertainment. 
For over 125 years the Pennsylvania Chautauqua has been a quiet retreat where art, culture, spiritualism, nature and community come together.
The Pennsylvania Chautauqua is located in the borough of Mount Gretna, a small Victorian community founded in the late 1800’s as a summer resort. Initially the only way for residents to reach their cottages in the tree-covered rolling hills of south central Pennsylvania was to travel by train. Mount Gretna was a stop along the Cornwall Lebanon Railroad line that has since become the Lebanon Valley Rails to Trails. Our streets were footpaths until automobiles became the mode of travel. Many of the original cottages surround an open-air playhouse where numerous cultural events are held. Our quaint atmosphere attracts many visitors every summer for Gretna Music, the Original Mt. Gretna Cicada Music Festival, Gretna Theater, and the Mount Gretna Area Historical Society, a visit to the local ice cream shop and lake, or just a walk in the woods. While we enjoy our quiet winters, we welcome with open arms the visitors who come to experience the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, stroll the tree lined streets, admire the historical buildings and participate in the variety of programs we offer to fulfill our mission.

To support our mission please donate to the Foundation

What Is A Chautauqua?

Chautauqua was founded as an outdoor educational experience for Sunday school teachers by John Heyl Vincent, a Methodist Minister and Lewis Miller, a local businessman on Lake Chautauqua, New York in 1874. The summer camp format proved to be popular with families - thus began The Chautauqua Institute. After its inception the movement spread rapidly through the United States, bringing education, culture, physical and religious activities as well as entertainment to rural America. There were over two hundred Chautauquas at the height of the movement. The advent of the automobile, the radio and movie theaters caused the demise of most of the Chautauquas.

Chautauqua today is organized around its four pillars:  Arts, Education, Religion, and Recreation.  Each area is woven into the schedules of the Chautauquas. 

If you are interested in learning more about the programming offered by the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, view our Summer Programs

You can learn more about Chautauquas by visiting one of the 17 existing Chautauquas that comprise the Chautauqua Trail and by visiting the following web site. http://www.chautauquatrail.com

Letter From the President of the Board Managers
September 4, 2022
Over the last month there have been three informational meetings run by Lynne Davies to explain and discuss our very dated and often ignored deed restrictions plus some new ideas to take us forward into the 21st century.  These hybrid meetings were characterized by sizable attendance, stimulating discussion with exchanges of ideas and a wonderful respect for each other and our community.

For me these gatherings portrayed what makes Mount Gretna special.   A sense of community, a feeling of a desire to learn from our neighbors and a fantastic show of unity demonstrating that the spirit of Chautauqua lives on in Pennsylvania!

As your president, these meetings make the efforts, the conversations and the hours spent by the Board of Managers all worthwhile. In the near future, Chautauqua homeowners will receive electronically, a final draft of the proposed rules and regulations supplement to the existing deed restrictions along with an invitation to a Zoom Special Stockholders Meeting.  You will also receive notice of one final in-person informational meeting to address any questions you may have about the draft.

Thanks for all your participation!
Allan Feldman

What Makes the PA Chautauqua Special?
Quiet Time

Chautauquans treasure the peace and tranquility of our community. For many residents, relaxing, reading, reflecting, and rocking on porches is the highlight of the summer. Neighborly consideration encourages that noisy outside projects be done September thru May, leaving the summer months and Sundays “quiet” for everyone’s enjoyment. Please limit use of power equipment before 7am or after 7pm Monday through Saturday. Click HERE for more details
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community.
Here's an example:
Did you know Chautauqua has a number of springs scattered throughout our grounds? One is by the tennis court pavilion and another is near the Porch and Pantry in the park area.
On a Saturday afternoon, volunteers cleaned out brush and overgrowth to reveal one of these springs. In addition, these folks and others (not pictured), planted ten redbud trees.
 To find your place in helping, start HERE
or contact us HERE 
or call the office at 717-964-3270.
Pictured left to right:Don Kensinger, Lynne Davies, Sarah Minnich, Mike Sherman

Chautauqua Cares: A Newsletter Dedicated to the Health and Well-Being of Our Community

Soldiers Field Update
Soldiers Field Update #2
September 2022
I would first like to again thank everyone who graciously supported the purchase of Soldiers Field. Our combined efforts have resulted in the preservation of a very important part of Mt. Gretna history. This property will provide future generations with acres of open space and serene wooded walking paths. 
In my last update I detailed our plans for the stormwater management project on the northeast portion of the property. This work has been completed and the retention area is serving to keep excess stormwater off the central portion of the field. We have submitted all of the necessary paperwork for our reimbursement of $10,025 from the Marcellus Shale funds through Lebanon County. 
Since our last update I am proud to announce that we have been awarded a grant of $300,000 from The Conservation Fund (TCF) which would provide funding for the acquisition and preservation of Soldiers Field. We are in the process of finalizing the paperwork for this grant. 
We are also in the process of submitting a grant request to the Lebanon County Commissioners for a $200,000 grant from the American Rescue Plan Act funds received by Lebanon County. 
As I noted in the last update, the next project on the drawing board will be to connect Soldiers Field to Mt. Gretna proper with an ADA-compliant walking path and bridge over the Conewago Creek. The project will include approximately 75 parking spaces created using environmentally friendly materials which will allow absorption of water and grass to grow. The project will also have rain gardens for stormwater infiltration.
This project was presented to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for its approval. The DEP has issued a permit for the bridge. We are in the process of reviewing the 2019 plan that we developed and will be obtaining revised estimates for project. We will next seek approval from South Londonderry Township for the path and bridge when we submit a land development plan for its review and approval in the future. 
Our goal is to provide periodic email updates to you but if you have any questions or concerns, I invite you to please reach out to us at pachautauquafoundation@gmail.com.
John Weaver
PA Chautauqua Foundation

Pennsylvania Chautauqua Pole Banner
This decorative double-sided pole banner makes a nice addition to any cottage. Finished size 23.75” x 51" with double pockets.
$110 includes tax.
Click here to order online or call 717-964-3270. Checks payable to PA Chautauqua.

Mt. Gretna "Strong at Home"
The Mt. Gretna Volunteer Fire Department Crew was called into action more than 280  times in the past year. Your continuing support is essential to provide safety and service to Mt. Gretna and all our nearby communities. 
The MGVFD  is in the process of purchasing a new, mechanically and electrically up-to-date fire engine.  This engine will be delivered in 2024 and will serve our communities for the next 20 years.   The new Engine will be built as per specifications (narrow streets, etc.) and will replace 2 current pieces of MGFD equipment.  It is anticipated that this engine will cost more than $700,000. 
Mt. Gretna Volunteer Fire Department is requesting increased financial support from residents, communities, and businesses served by the MGVFD Crew.
Donations should be sent to:  
Mt. Gretna Volunteer Fire Company
PO 177
41 Boulevard St.,
Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
Thank You for your consideration, 
Joseph Shay, President, MGVFD

Contact Info
The Pennsylvania Chautauqua
PO Box 637
Mount Gretna, PA 17064
General Inquiries: 717-964-3270
Hall of Philosophy Rental: 717-964-3270
Summer Programs: 717-964-1830
Worship Services: 717-737-8133 or 717-964-3050