For those of you unfamiliar with Mt. Gretna, it is a storybook lake community near to Hershey, Pennsylvania. The town has a world-renown summer theater, an equally famous concert series, and is host to one of the best art shows of the summer.
The town is a tightly nestled group of Victorian homes located adjacent to a beautiful sand bottom lake. More than anything, the Mt. Gretna is a place to unwind, strolling the tree-lined streets, sitting on the beach by the lake, or taking advantage of the many benches built around the town and simply stopping. Next to the town is a state park, perfect for longer hiking adventures. As mentioned above, the house is also a short 15 minute ride to the town of Hershey, which hosts its own long list of attractions, from the chocolate factory, to the amusement park, to the quaint tree-lined streets of the town that Milton Hershey built for his employees.
Thistle Dew (named by the prior owner, apparently after much searching for just the right home, when she told her husband -- 'This Will Do') was built in the late 1800's but has been recently and very tastefully updated. The first floor features a beautiful screened-in porch (porches are THE thing in Mt. Gretna), a comfortable living room with fireplace, a dining area, a full kitchen with breakfast nook. The second floor has four bedrooms, and two beautiful full baths. Every space and detail in the house says the same thing -- stop, sit, and unwind.
At Poohbiscuit Farm Historic Vacation Rentals (www.poohbiscuitfarm.com), we are trying to define a new vacation experience. We are all products of the 1980's when Bed & Breakfasts were all the rage. We loved them (and still do) but know that we also need vacations where you are not hanging out with other people for all that long, as charming as they may be. But we also hate the coldness of hotels or sparsely furnished vacation rentals where they take your credit card over the phone and leave you the key under the mat. We felt there was a nice in between.
Hopefully that is us. Over the years, we have assembled a collection of historic homes in Central Pennsylvania. We have lovingly restored them, lived in many of them, and have been unable to sell a one because they were our babies -- yes, we understand that is a problem. The homes are located in some of the finest vacation areas in Central Pennsylvania, from the Gettysburg Battlefield (yes, on the battlefield), to the farm country of Lancaster County, to the quiet streets of Lititz, PA, home of the Wilbur Chocolate Factory. Like a Bed and Breakfast, each home is exquisitely decorated, and we greet you when you arrive with cookies, soda, wine, scotch, gin -- you name it. Unlike a Bed and Breakfast, however, we then disappear, leaving you to enjoy the entire home for your stay. That said, we are readily available by phone or text if you need anything.
We also think spending time steeped in history is not a bad way to spend a vacation, so long as you have internet access. (We are not Neanderthals.) So whether it is retracing the path of Pickett's charge, visiting the longest running farm market in the US in Lancaster, or walking the tree-covered streets of Mt. Gretna, gaining some sense of where we have been we think is a great way for a vacation to help you decide where you may want to go.
Mt. Gretna may be one of the most idyllic areas of Pennsylvania. The cottages are tucked into the woods, each built on what were originally campsites. My wife and I began coming here a number of years ago for the Art Show and fell in love with the area. Purchasing a home here is the fulfillment of a long term dream.