The Hidden Treasure of Jonestown

By Joanna Guldin-Noll

Nestled in the gently rolling hills of Lebanon County, Jonestown is a lovely, small town to visit and call home. The town is easily accessible from Interstates 78, 81, and 83 as well as Route 22. Just north of the town are the rolling Appalachians, providing a splendid backdrop no matter the season. Take a few hours to explore a hidden treasure in the Lebanon Valley. 

For the Shopper

Go apple-picking at Gray’s Orchard, a family-run agribusiness just outside Jonestown’s historic downtown. There’s maple syrup tapped from Lebanon County trees to be tasted and bought at Allison’s Maple Farm just down the road. Check out antique carpentry tools and quality, native woods at Long Acre Hollow. And there are a multitude of makers in the Jonestown area producing high-quality, top-notch handicrafts like crocheted goods from The Fancy Purple Owl, hand-poured coconut wax candles from Perfect Scents, and handsewn bags from West End Selvage. 

For the Historian

Jonestown’s history is rich and interesting, especially for historians and genealogists. The town is home to numerous well-preserved cemeteries including interesting funereal art and Germanic influenced-tombstones. For those interested in military history, veterans from every war—including the Revolutionary War—are interred in Jonestown’s burial grounds. Visit the Wenger Meetinghouse, a meticulously preserved 19th Century church with a rich legacy. A stroll down Market Street reveals many historic homes, including log cabins and stone buildings that date to the 18th and 19th centuries.

For the Nature Lover

A quick drive north from Jonestown leads you to Swatara State Park, a gem replete with hiking and biking trails, water ways, and historic ruins to explore. State Game Lands Number 80 are just a few minutes away for hunting enthusiasts. Hikers can try their mettle at the nearly 10-mile stretch of Appalachian Trail that runs through the northern part of the county. In Jonestown, bring your kayak or inner tube and enjoy a float down the Swatara Creek or grab your bike or shoes for an adventure on the town’s portion of the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail.

For the Participant

Join Jonestown for their tree-lighting ceremony, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving for old-fashioned holiday cheer. Attend Jonestown’s Memorial Day Parade on Memorial Day morning, where you’ll see marching bands, baseball teams, reenactors, fire departments, and others turned out to honor the fallen. Bring your friends and peruse Jonestown’s Block Party, held the Saturday before Memorial Day, and enjoy food vendors, crafts, community organizations, and music in the town square.

For the Foodie

Jonestown is home to Swatara Coffee Co., a veteran-owned, independent coffee shop located in the historic downtown. Garnering national attention, the shop focuses on building community through sourcing local products, rotating art installations, crafting and game nights, partnerships with nonprofits, and other events. A full-service coffee shop with handcrafted espresso drinks, teas, breakfast options, deli sandwiches, soups, in-house baked treats, and non-coffee drinks, Swatara Coffee Co. is a favorite in the area, nominated for Best Bakery and Best Breakfast, and placing in the top three as the only independent shop for Best Coffee of Lebanon Valley every year since opening.

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About the Blogger

Joanna Guldin-Noll is a long-time resident of Jonestown, PA. She is the Director of Communications for Swatara Coffee Co, and Social Media Manager for Military.com. 

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