The Alleghenies offer quite the stage for community

The Alleghenies offer quite the stage for community
By DAVE HURST © 2017 Hurst Media Works Aug 9, 2017

Here within the Allegheny Mountains, there can’t be many places that rival the Mountain Playhouse
and Green Gables Restaurant in Jennerstown for their combination of cultural significance and
natural beauty.

The complex is nestled on the western side of picturesque little Stoughton Lake. Along with
manicured greenery, the grounds boast bedrock-defined flower beds, generations-old trees and
shrubbery, and carved Grecian-style statues that once stood in a formal garden owned by Bethlehem
Steel founder Charles Schwab.

Green Gables is a rustic, roughhewn place that seems to rise as naturally from the landscape as if it
had been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. (It wasn’t.) Mountain Playhouse originally was a gristmill,
and its mortared logs, plank flooring and mill mechanisms draw as much attention as its simple little

But that simple little stage has been the scene of drama, comedy and musicals for 78 years, since its
founding in 1939 by James Stoughton. Today, Mountain Playhouse is Pennsylvania’s oldest “summer
stock” theater — and one of only 12 remaining in the United States.

To be a professional stock theater, actors need to be card-carrying members of the Actors Equity
Association, directors need to be members of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers,
and musicians need to be in the American Federation of Music.

In other words, the Mountain Playhouse is a union shop. But that also guarantees audiences that
they’ll be seeing professionally staged productions on that simple little stage in an old log mill.

Currently, you can see “Caught in the Net” through Aug. 20. Visit

The appeal of New York-quality theatre, within such historical ambiance, set within such rustically
beautiful splendor, have kept audiences coming back here long after other summer stock theaters
have taken their final bows.

This location somehow seems to capture much of the “Laurel Highlands” concept within a few square
acres. But it certainly is not the only theatre happening in picturesque and historical settings within
our region.

You can’t get much more historical in setting than Old Bedford Village, a collection of original and
rebuilt 18th- and 19th-century buildings near Bedford. And for the past 34 years, Old Bedford Village
has been home to an active community theatre group called The Bedford County Players.

This weekend through Sunday, you can enjoy their current production, “Harvey.” For more
information, visit Or call 814-623-7555.

The Freeport Theatre Festival is another well-established community theater group, guided for 28
seasons now by co-founders and artistic directors Marushka and Rennick Steele, who also provide
the venue: a barn on the Steeles’ farm located between Freeport and Leechburg.

Rennick Steele’s a prolific playwright, who frequently finds his inspiration in the colorful and turbulent
history of the 18th-century Alle-Kiski Valley. But this season the Steeles are opting for classic
comedies, including “Barefoot in the Park,” Aug. 18-20 and 25-27. Call 724-295-1934 for information.

Another culturally rich and historical location with a long tradition of summer theatre is Saint Vincent
College in Latrobe. Which is interesting, because one would think that with few students on campus,
the summer would not be an active time for theater there.

But 49 years ago, a Benedictine monk, the Rev. Tom Devereaux O.S.B launched the Saint Vincent
College Summer Theater, combining alumni of SVC with others from Seton Hill College and
community actors.

Today, much like Mountain Playhouse, this is a professional Actors Equity theater, producing about
three to four shows a year. Currently, the Summer Theatre is offering “My Way: A Musical Tribute to
Frank Sinatra” through Aug. 20. To learn more, go to and click on “Community Events.”

You could make quite a day of it at Saint Vincent’s, taking in some of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training
camp currently underway and then combining it with the Sinatra show.

Here’s another instance where a long-running summer theatre helps to form the essence of the

Green Gables is delighted to announce that, amidst the changes afoot at the PLCB, it has obtained a Wine Expanded Permit which will allow it to sell wines to go. That augments our long-standing ability to sell craft beer to go. Now virtually every wine on the Wine Spectator award-winning list* and more will sell to go. We have devised savings that will provide you great value in your wine and beer purchases. During most of Green Gables’ dinner hours (Thursday-Saturday 5-9 pm; Sunday 5-8 pm**), you will enjoy 30% savings off the wine and beer lists at Green Gables.  Purchase a case (12 bottles) or more of wine and you will save 40%. Purchase two six packs (12 bottles) of beer and save 40% off the menu price. With all these savings, you have the ability to mix all cases and six-packs.  See the current wine list and beer list. It is time to go shopping now!

*excludes Reserve List.
**discount offer NOT available on Sundays from 7-8 pm

Did you know Green Gables offers more than 300 wines on its wine list?  Such a diverse list has been recognized several times over the years, awarding Green Gables with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.

Click here to see our current wine list.


Watch our Video

Learn more about Green Gables Restaurant and Huddleson Court in this short video!

NEW!  You can now place your dining reservations online through our website!  Click here to try it out!  Reservations accepted online from 1 hour to 90 days in advance.  You can still call us to make reservations anytime at 814 629 9201, option 1.

The best part about having your wedding at Green Gables? The picture-perfect setting! We now have a Pinterest page including photos from blogs of brides who have begun their Happily Ever After at Green Gables! Check us out!  (Photo by Micki Kippelen)

On Friday, April 24, Green Gables Restaurant held the inaugural Cuvée Community Wine Dinner, an event to benefit the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County.

Read more about the event in this article by Shirley McMarlin of the Tribune Review.

As of April 1, 2015, all guests who stay at Huddleson Court are invited to Green Gables for a complete hot breakfast, now included with every stay! Book your overnight getaway and let us take care of you!

Join us this first Friday of April for a Wine Tasting at Green Gables, a tasting that will feature wines which pair with mint and anise flavored food. The tasting is a continuation of the broader theme, The Art and Science of Pairing which began last month and was inspired by Francois Chartier’s book Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine and Flavor. In the book, Chartier credits the immense affinity Sauvignon Blanc and mint have for one another as the launch point for his interest in knowing the science behind the pairing. Finding the same aroma characteristics in mint and Sauvignon Blanc lead Chartier to look beyond and find other foods and wines that shared the same molecular components. And, the science of wine and food pairing was born.

At the tasting on Friday, we will pour six wines that pair with mint and anise flavored food.

Bernhard Ott ‘Am Berg’ Gruner Veltliner 2012 Wagram
De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012 Stellenbosch
Bodegas Rafael Palacios ‘Louro do Bolo’ Godello 2013 Valdeorras
Bodegas Ramon Bilbao ‘Gran Reserva’ 2005 Rioja
Alain Graillot 2012 Croze Hermitage
Gorman Winery ‘The Devil You Know’ 2012 Columbia Valley

Chef Susan Kroft is creating hors d’oeuvres for the tasting that will feature anise and foods complementary to it and the wines. Indulge your palate in this scientific experiment on Friday. Reserve your tastes today by calling 814 629 9201, option 1!

Spring is soon to arrive and Easter Sunday will follow soon after. Green Gables Restaurant is thrilled to offer the Easter Sunday Brunch Buffet featuring Carved Glazed Ham and Herb & Garlic Roast Prime Rib at seatings from 11 am to 3 pm. The Buffet will provide appetizers, salads, entrees with potatoes and vegetables, plus dessert. An optional Mimosa, Bloody Mary, Breakfast Stout and Wine Bar also will be available. Evening diners on Easter will choose from the seasonal a la carte menu at seatings from 5 to 7 pm. Stay tuned for details about Easter Brunch which will cost $28 per person ($38 per person with the Brunch Bar). Reserve your table today!