York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

A night out in historic Middletown. Indeed, Middletown, Pa.

The Saturday evening out started in Hummelstown – or was it Hershey? – at the Cocoa Beanery. At any rate, it’s only a few miles from Middletown, that Susquehanna River town that bills itself as  Dauphin County’s oldest community, dating from 1755. Also of interest: Good night in Glen Rock. A dinner and a movie and the American dream, Part I and Good night in Glen Rock, Part II.

A little coffee, a little history. A movie in a vintage theater. There are treasures to be found in spending a little time in Central Pa.’s communities.

This one was an afternoon and a night in and around Middletown. The pictures and captions tell the story.

history1The night out started with an afternoon coffee and muffin at the Cocoa Beanery on Research Boulevard, down the road from Hershey Medical Center. This is for sure: Every trip to that area will include a stop here. This display inside the Cocoa Beanery gives a bit of history about the site.

Dinner was served at the iconic Brownstone Cafe, the Middletown gathering spot. There, everyone seemed to know everyone else, but visitors can fit right in. The old bank building, still complete with vault, even has a York County connection. Glen Rock architect Joseph Dise designed it. A return trip will reveal whether it’s a York Safe & Lock vault. Placemats there give its full history.


A movie at the historic, 100-year-old-plus Elks Theatre across the street from the Brownstone Cafe capped off the evening. The theater has an interesting layout. Instead of walking straight through the lobby to the theater, you take a right angle from the lobby. The theater parallels the street. You don’t see that layout everywhere. But it’s pretty neat to see a show in a old theater made for silent movies. Here’s a bit more about the Elks, still apparently trying to go digital. After the show, a spot in town for ice cream was not immediately available. But the drive home along the east bank of the river was almost as interesting at night as during the day. Middletown provided an evening to remember.