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The Mt. Gretna Newsletter
Mt. Gretna, Pa. . . . "Not a place, but a spirit" -- Marlin Seiders
No. 106                                                                                   May 1, 2010


Developer Paul Callahan shares his views
"The Preserve at Historic Cornwall Village":
Its Impact on Mt. Gretna?

"The Preserve at Historic Cornwall Village," a $250 million venture that would create over the next 15 years 590 homes, a 250-room hotel, a marina for non-fossil-fueled boa

Site of the former iron ore mine today

ts and an indoor water park three miles east of Mt. Gretna, got a mixed reception at a public hearing last week. Of 27 residents who spoke, all but two voiced objections or had concerns about the project, the Harrisburg Patriot reported.
Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce president Larry Bowman pointed out that the venture would create jobs and bring added tax revenues. Yet others, such as Campmeeting property owner Phil Stober, expressed concerns: "This development is basically another town," he said. "You need to consider that,"
reported the Lebanon Daily News
Prior to that meeting, Paul Callahan, of dev

Tomorrow's view? Architect's sketch of proposed $250 million development

eloper  H & K Group in Skippack, Pa., responded -- with thoughtful consideration, we felt -- to several questions posed by this newsletter.
The following summarizes key points of that discussion.
(Note to readers: Because of its length, we are breaking this story into two parts. Part II continues at the end of this newsletter.)
Q. No project we have covered in the past decade has drawn more attention from our readers. Yet despite the nearly 75 public and private meetings you have held in an exemplary attempt to solicit views from residents, thus far we have been unable to detect much enthusiasm for it in Mt. Gretna. No one we've talked to seems to think that, 15 years from now when this project is completed, Mt. Gretna would be enhanced by having a water park three miles away.
Indeed, many seem fearful that such an undertaking would undermine the very qualities that have attracted generations to this spot.  Are we being old-fashioned for wanting to preserve a way of life that is dear to most of us?

A. I understand your not wanting more tourists, and no I don't think that's old age, but maybe we both are a little old fashioned, preferring many aspects of life the way they used to be. . .  .

[Mr. Callahan's response continues at the end of this newsletter]



 Reviving a Campmeeting tradition
Illumination of the Cottages

It's almost magical: A century-old tradition signaling the end of summer. It occurs but once a year on historic grounds that, during one glimmering night, sud become a lambent fairyland as cottage dwellers illuminate their porch and window lights from one end of the Campmeeting to the other.

Coming again this year!
They'll revive that tradition this summer, with an observance known as the "Grand Illumination of the Cottages" Aug. 21.
Starting around 9:00 p.m., it will be another memorable occasion as residents and visitors trek through the grounds with their own illuminated lanterns (no candles, please, battery-powered only, request Mt. Gretna Library officials, who are sponsoring the event).

Like to personalize your own lantern for the Grand Illumination? Sign up for a special session to learn, talk and swap ideas for the occasion, sponsored by the Campmeeting Recreation Committee at Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church July 29.
Chris Resh will teach you in how to make paper lanterns in your own personal style. (A $3 fee covers the cost of materials, but if you simply want to just drop in from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. to see what it's all about and get a few ideas, it's free.)
For details, call Chris (397-1906) or email She'd like to hear by July 5 from those planning to attend. Illuminated cottage photos: Madelaine Gray



For newcomers and old-timers alike!
It's the place to be this month

It may take years to get to know one's neighbors in some towns. But in Mt. Gretna, newcomers can leap that hurdle in a single bound. 

Getting to know new people isn't the only purpose of the Summer Premiere coming up May 29. In fact, the underlying serious reason for this happy occasion is

Photo: Dale Grundon

to raise money for the Summer Calendar -- that essential handbook to what's happening in a jam-packed summer about to unfold. Yet another aim is to support a scholarship fund for students headed toward careers in the arts. 
But as a meeting ground for newcomers and old timers alike, the Summer Premiere -- after winter solitudes and snowbird sojourns -- has no peer. It is, in fact, the place to be from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the Saturday afternoon before Memorial Day. It is Mt. Gretna's official start to summer, a festive launch for an arts-centered community and the signature stomping grounds for starting and renewing friendships destined to span multiple generations.

Organizer Debbie Clemens, who started the event two decades ago, says the best part of this annual premiere is the joy of seeing "all these people come into the Hall of Philosophy, mingle, laugh, and talk. It adds something special--not much perhaps--but just a little bit extra to all our lives, making them better."

She and daughter Jessica Kosoff, with plenty of help from other
Arts Council members, are again organizing an affair that will feature an art auction including the original (inset, right) of this yea

Cover artwork for the 2010 Calendar:
"Quiet Time" by Elizabeth Stutzman

r's calendar cover by Mt. Gretna artist Elizabeth Stutzman, a stained glass work by artisan Dale Grundon, pies created by gourmands like Mt. Gretna's raspberry specialist Barney Myer (he strains the seeds out) and pecan connoisseur Dan Sherman, who dashes in from King of Prussia for just for this event.

Adding festive notes throughout the afternoon will be keyboard specialist Ryan Brunkhurst, one of America's youngest church organists and choir directors. And opportunities abound to purchase arts, gifts and services (including photographic sessions from Pea Pod Photography, an award-winning children's photographer) throughout the day. Plus food and drink in abundance -- with, if he can clear his busy schedule for the event, another spectacular "painting-in-motion" demonstration by Mt. Gretna graphic artist Fred Swarr. Three years ago, he  created the auction highlight, a "Paint That Tune" canvas, as 200 people looked over his shoulder while he worked.

It all starts at 4:00 p.m., with a $20 contribution that, year after year, helps assure another summer to remember in Mt. Gretna.



The Cicada Festival is rocking! Phil Dirt and the Dozers are coming (along with five other popular groups). But there will be no "extra" Phil Dirt concert this year, despite the best efforts of festival planners to squeeze in a last-minute Monday night concert to assuage patrons unable to get tickets to the already lead-off "Dozers" performance Tuesday, Aug. 10.
Tickets are selling at a rapid clip for the other performances (including The Grassroots with the Mudflaps, the Billy Price Band, The Fabulous Hubcaps and the Hershey Symphony's "Salute to Broadway).
The Playhouse concerts run through Aug. 17. For details on the entire Cicada season (which also includes a lively film festival and play readings), see the new website
Volunteers at the box office (717-964-3225) encourage everyone to add a generous donation with their ticket orders to keep prices ($11 each) low and include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Mail to: Cicada Festival, P.O. Box 637, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.



Look, up in the sky: It's a bird, it's a plane. . .
It's SuperDoodle
He doesn't even need to step into a phone booth. Faster than you can say "SuperDoodle," he leaps across Route 117 in a single bound.
"It's no exaggeration. I saw it with my own eyes," says realtor Peggy Seibert.
"Doodle not only survived the winter. He's a super rooster," says Peggy, who's been tending to him over the coldest months with help from friends at the pizzeria, including waitress Rose Bai

Able to leap over  object lessons faster than a speeding bullet?

r, one of Doodle's favorites.

Doodle's derring do? Peggy got a rare glimpse of it when a dog chased him across Penn Realty's parking lot recently. "He not only flew. He soared," she says. "All the way across Route 117 and into a tall tree behind the library."

How high did he get? "He'd have easily cleared the top of an 18-wheeler," says Peggy. "I hadn't seen him fly before. I would never have believed it." Doodle's secret could have something to do with what Peggy and her real estate office colleagues have been feeding him.

Last fall, when it became evident that he had no intention of going quietly into forced retirement with erstwhile girlfriend Dolly, Peggy decided to take a direct role in his care.  She stopped in at Brandt's Feed Mill in Lebanon, asked what roosters ought to eat, and discovered that roosters thrive on different feed than hens do. Peggy bought a sackful. "He gets nothing but the finest," she says.

Unfortunately, he also loves pancake leftovers that patrons at the pizza shop sometimes toss his way. But they really aren't good for him, said the feed store experts.  Maybe so, but when chased, Doodle proves that he still has what it takes.

So why have so few seen him take flight? "He can fly, but he chooses not to," says Peggy. Why not? "Everybody does everything for him. He's in great shape, but he usually doesn't have a reason to fly."

Would you say, asked our reporter, pressing a philosophical point, that there's an object lesson there? Maybe something about "sense of entitlement," or "the perils of public handouts"? Peggy smiles sweetly but offers no reply. Then, reaching into the sack, she pulls out another handful of Doodle's special feed. Something, one presumes, called Kryptonite-lite.



 You might never have thought so, but hitting the bulls-eye isn't the favorite sport at Mt. Gretna's twice-yearly block shoots.
Unless, of course, you figure the real targets are that steaming kettleful of ham and bean soup or those mouth-watering sauer kraut-smothered hot dogs cooked up by the fire company's kitchen wizards.
Add in a hearty mix of friends you'll meet on Saturday afternoons like the one coming up May 15, from noon to 5:00 p.m., and you have a formula for fun, says John Hambright (inset, left), surrounded by friends Ginny and Sterling Gerhart.
Cooks like Sharon Solie and Dot Frymyer (inset, right) will be in the kitc creating the soup from a legendary recipe created over 100 years ago.
Fire company organizers like Karen Lynch and her band of eager volunteers will also be there to make sure everyone has a good time, with prizes and surprises galore.
Perhaps best of all, you don't even have to pull a trigger to win something. Contestants with shotguns at full-choke settings will shoot on your behalf and, if their pellets puncture holes closest to the bulls-eye, award the prizes: Heaping trays of delicacies from the butcher shop, cheese and pretzel baskets, and plants to make your garden sparkle.


For years, it's been one of Mt. Gretna's best-kept secrets: those summer programs at the library, where over past seasons people have discovered the wonders of simultaneously sipping wine and nibbling chocolate, intellectual-firepower-packed book discus, and adventuresome story hours for children.
Coming this summer is another eclectic series, with everything from "The Other Hark" (about Max Hark, a Chautauqua founder and also the father of noted flapper-era Ladies Home Journal writer Ann Hark, whose former cottage along Route 117 still overlooks a commanding view of the lake), reviews of Neil Gamian's "American Gods," Ann Hark's "Hex Marks the Spot," and "Our Bishops," describing early United Brethren church leaders and their ties to Mt. Gretna's Campmeeting.
Following the Grand Illumination of the Grove (see story, above) Aug. 21, will be an Ann Hark birthday celebration on Art Show Sunday, planned by Campmeeting resident Irene Rollman. 
The library will extend weekend hours on selected Sundays this year and also offer children's story hours on three Saturdays. Look for details in the 2010 Summer Calendar, to be published this month.




When Mt. Gretnans believe in something, they show it. That's what they did last month at a rousing tribute (
click here to see video) to Mt. Gretna Borough's crew.
Earning their applause and appreciation were crew members Joey Wise, Linda Bell, Scott Cooling and Bill Care (inset, right) April 24 at an enthusiastic fire hall gathering, the Lebanon Daily News reported.
"The best money we've ever spent in this town is on this crew," said Chautauqua president Peggy O'Neil. "Our roads and parks are so well taken care of, and these people do it with a smile. They don't procrastinate. They come, and they get the job done superbly."
Mt. Gretna Brorough Council president Chuck Allwein pointed out that having our own crew has saved the community "hundreds of thousands of dollars. . . . All of our buildings and most of our underground systems have been completely refurbished," without having to rely on outside contractors, he said. "Where does the money come from? Basically, from what our crew is saving us on a day-to-day basis." 
Mt. Gretna Heights resident Max Hunsicker noted that although Mt. Gretna may technically be an assembly of different communities, as it was in the 1950s when his family first came here, it no longer feels that way.
"Since Bill, Scott, Linda and Joey have been here we have become much more of one big community," he said, "with interconnected water systems and people who help us out when we need something."


Frequ Mt. Gretna summer visitor Garnett Beckman, 102, profiled in the Christian Science Monitor's April 17 feature, "Redefining longevity: the new centenarian spirit."
The mother of Conewago Hill resident Laura Feather, Ms. Beckman first began hiking the Grand Canyon at age 65 and continued for the next 26 years until reaching the age of 91. Still walking every day around Phoenix, Ariz., she volunteers at the senior center to "help with the old folks" and also teaches bridge.


During most winters, Mary Hernley, Mt. Gretna's "flower lady," studies seed catalogs, makes quilts and helps husband Peter with chores at the Manheim farm that has been in their family since the days of William Penn.
But not this past winter. doing all that, she's added a new enterprise to her life -- which is itself a study in perpetual motion and endless energy.
Mary, who last month became a great-grandmother, has been  making 22" parachutes for Church of the Brethren pilots to drop over territories in Columbia, South America.
The parachutes carry Bibles, literature and radios tuned to Christian broadcasting stations -- scattered over the rugged and often hostile countryside at night, to avoid guerrillas who would shoot the planes down during daylight hours.  
Mary and other ladies of the church hand-sew the chutes, all bearing the imprint, Dios es Amor ("God is Love").
They need thousands of parachutes, says Mary. So far they've made about 120. Last week, she was considering the purchase of a 250-yard roll of new material that would make perhaps 2,000.
"But I want to do some testing first," she says. To do that, Mary will drop a few test chutes out of her attic window. "I want to see if they're going to open up," she says. "If the new material is too porous, the air will go right through them." 
Meanwhile, she's resumed her weekly trips to Mt. Gretna, where flower sales will continue this summer --her 44th season at her stand along Route 117.


Where's Icky?
The most photographed sandhill crane in Pennsylvania, who landed in Mt. Gretna by mistake last fall, hasn't been seen since April 9.
Aside from his natural beauty, it was Ichabod's navigational difficulties that attracte photographers more than anything.
Sandhill cranes aren't supposed to land here in the first place. Something in his internal guidance system malfunctioned, and he made an unscheduled landing near Mt. Gretna's ice dam, just west of town.
No one's sure where he has now disappeared to, but when last seen he was cavorting with two mute swans. Presumably, they're keeping mum. By tradition, what happens at the ice dam stays at the ice dam.
So now they're all gone: Icky. The mute swans. And maybe Icky's lonely months of solitude as well, searching in vain for the mate that never came.
Wrapped in a mystery of its own, the Mt. Gretna Bird Club's official pronouncement on the matter served to heighten the intrigue: "Maybe the water got too low," said one official, "or maybe. . . something more interesting."
The legend lingers.          
Crane photo: Susan Afflerbach         


Author and former Mt. Gretnan Wendy Ulmer returns to Gretna Emporium this summer, this time with her latest book, Zero, Zilch, Nada: Counting to None.
A Lebanon Valley College graduate, she was here two years ago  with her fa titles, A Isn't for Fox: An Isn't Alphabet and A Campfire for Cowboy Billy.
The former music teacher and daughter of Mt. Gretna Heights residents Bill and Ruth Uhler (her sisters are Judy Schweingruber, Cabin Point; Kim Miller Gardner, St. Paul, MN; and Kyle Witman, Elizabethtown), she now lives in Arrowsic, Maine, with husband Bob and Sophia, a Portuguese Water Dog. They have six children.
She'll be on the Emporium porch (weather permitting), greeting visitors and reading to youngsters June 5, probably in the late afternoon. Exact time will be announced in next month's newsletter, says Gretna Emporium owner Stacey Pennington, who's expecting "another great season" at the store where, according to one visitor, "imagination takes flight on gossamer wings."


Zumba instructor Janice Balmer, sparking an '80s Zumbathon fundraiser last week for the fire company: two-hour dance party that lured some 75 enthusiastic participants to the Hall of Philosophy.
"Those fire fighter volunteers have been very kind to allow me to rent their social hall for my Zumba classes," she says. "I wanted to do something for them by sponsoring a healthy activity that would also raise awareness of the needs for funds in their $400,000 campaign."
Dancing, food, raffles, even chair massages were part of the attractions. That, plus the chance to jump into a dance exercise routine that has captivated devotees over the past year throughout Mt. Gretna.
Like to know more about times and dates for Janice's Zumba sessions? Drop her a note at  or call 717-507-9249.

~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mt. Gretna artist Eva Stina Bender, discussing her life, work, and return to her native Sweden -- during the first winter visit she has experienced there in some 30 years -- in a Lancaster Newspapers article describing her April exhibit at the Demuth Museum.

Photo: Cindi Dixon

"Most of my paintings don't work. I keep maybe 10 percent of them," she told an interviewer.
Eva, who prefers to paint outdoors, says "I can't work from photos. I take too long and it becomes overworked. [Outdoors] you have to paint quickly because everything is changing so fast... I like to be in the weather, to feel it."
Reflecting on her childhood in Sweden, she recalls, "We were lucky, we had no TV, so there were no expectations. We got one new outfit each year, one pair of shoes. We just didn't want much."

Her month-long exhibit, "Eva Stina Bender's Swedish Sojourns," concluded May 1.


Kerry McGuiness Royer, author, Campmeeting resident and member

of the M

Son Luke, with his favorite storyteller

t. Gretna Arts Council, cited in a Lebanon Daily News article concerning last month's Lebanon Valley Literacy Festival.
The event seeks to help whole families develop literacy skills and promote a lifelong enjoyment of reading.
Kerry and husband Matt created the children's book "Nightbear & Lambie," based on the adventures of stuffed animals, the stories Kerry told their two boys at bedtime. 
The book is sold at Pottery Barn Kids stores nationally and locally at Resource Island in Cleona, Rhoads Pharmacy in Hummelstown and online at


Chosen as the American Lung Association's National Volunteer of the Week during April, Ceylon Leitzel has also been up to his ears in helping other groups -- including several in Mt. Gretna.

Photo: Lebanon Daily News

While selling their Campmeeting cottage, he and wife Karen moved to a new home in Timber Hills last month as they simultaneously helped organize this year's Cicada Festival and planned that season-ending dance band fundraiser at the lake Aug. 28.
Now in its 7th year, the event this year will feature a spin-off group from the Hershey Big Band.
Ceylon and Karen distribute proceeds from that end-of-summer party to various Mt. Gretna organizations. Over past years they've included the fire company, the Heritage Festival, Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church, the Bible Festival and others. Send ticket orders ($18 each) to Music Under the Stars, P.O. Box 202, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.


The most popular Richmond, Va. restaurant for Mt. Gretnans appears to be Garnett's Cafe, located on Park Avenue in Virginia's capital city. Operated by Kendra Feather, the luncheon and dinner spot is attracting plaudits from Richmond area reviewers and Mt. Gret travelers alike.
Latest to sample the fare -- which one food critic described as "reminiscent of a visit to grandma's" -- were Conewago Hill residents Ed and Lynn Phillips, on a vacation trip last week.  Chautauqua's Scott and Jane Zellers were headed there soon afterward. And in March, frequent Mt. Gretna visitors Mimi and Jerry Swayze showed up one day for lunch.
Does "Garnett's" sound familiar? It's named after Kendra's own grandmother, Garnett Beckman (cited above), who in her 90s was still ascending the Grand Canyon and, at 102, was recently featured in a Christian Science Monitor article on the new look of longevity. As for determination, it must be a family trait. The cafe is Kendra's second successful restaurant in Richmond.



Memorial Day Saturday in Mt. Gretna will start off with another of those hearty breakfasts at the fire company.
It's the always popular Pancake and Sausage Extravaganza (complete with coffee and juice) -- all you can eat for whatever you choose to stuff in a firefighter's boot at the entrance.

Pancakes and sausages galore

Veteran breakfast enthusiasts like Dale Grundon recommend getting there by 8:00 a.m. But the affair contin

Stuff money in the boot and eat 'til you're full.

ues until 10:00 a.m., and fire company volunteers who've run this annual event for years always seem to have enough for everybody.
If you're looking to greet returning snowbirds who disappeared last fall, this is one of the best spots in town to do it: Saturday, May 29.  Memo to book lovers: Fire company volunteers also ask you to set aside books you'd like to donate to their Book, Bake and Sub Sale next month. (They'll collect books and take sub orders outside the post office June 5. Their book and sub sale follows the next Saturday, June 12.)



"Improvise, Adapt and Overcome"
May 22 Triathlon -- a Profile in Courage
Physical handicaps sometimes turn out to be just the opposite. Rather than roadblocks, they can become stepping stones or sometimes even launching pads.
That, in fact, sums up the odyssey of former Marine
Chris Kagg (inset), whose seventh annual triathlon will kick off here May 22.
The aim: to raise money for research into Adrenomyeloneuropathy, a nerve disorder which, even though it crippled him over a decade ago, set his life in a whole new direction. 
Chris is scheduling the swim-cycle-run event a week earlier than usual, to avoid Memorial D weekend congestion for residents -- with a new route for the 600 or so contestants.
He hopes that combination will smooth out a few bumps in what many already consider a superbly planned, well-executed event that's over by early afternoon, comes but once a year, and dissolves with little disruption to Mt. Gretna everyday life.

Chris's disease pushed him from a disabled Marine recruit into a physical fitness advocate, businessman and no-excuses motivator. In the process, his "Got the Nerve" triathlon has earned over $160,000 in funds for the Myelin Project for research into demyelinating diseases, which affect two million people worldwide.

The race circuit is changing this year, with a different route for bicycles to go in and out of town. Following a 500-yard swim shortly after 8:00 a.m. in the chilly waters of Lake Conewago, contestants will hop onto bikes and exit via Lake View Drive onto Route 117.
The triathlon's final leg will see runners using Timber Road, but "We will not need to shut it down," says Chris. Rather, race coordinators will simply "infor

Undaunted, her descendant is still at it a century later.

m drivers to be cautious" during the period that runners are sharing the road.
When the race is over around noon, contestants will head home -- back to places like California, Oregon, Texas and other distant spots.

A handful of well-conditioned athletes from Mt. Gretna usually compete, including Pat Allwein, Alissa Pitt and her mom, Marla Pitt. Also likely to make an appearance is Lancaster's T. J. Jordan, the great-great-nephew of Nell Pontz.
Nell was the "scandalous" Mt. Gretna bather who once posed at the lake for post card photographs with her bare forearms exposed.
That touched off a scorching search for every postcard her outraged father could find, immensely increasing their value on e-Bay a century later.



Gretna Theatre's "ambitious" season (with seven major shows starting next month) is suddenly the buzz in local entertainment circles.
One area

She's been here before, but never like this

newspaper noted last week that Emmy Award winner Sally Struthers (left) will soon join "Bernadette Peters, Barbara Walsh and Faith Prince" in the list of notables who have appeared at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse.
Of course, that overlooks Ms. Struthers' 2001 debut here in "Always Patsy Cline," when, after spending two weeks in a Campmeeting cottage, she told her audience, "When I get back to L.A., I'm gonna build me a porch."
She returns June 3-6 to star in "Nunsense," with a cast that playwright and director Dan Goggin will take to New York shortly thereafter.
here for the Lancaster Sunday News' handy synopsis of shows in Gretna Theatre's 2010 lineup:
Nunsense June 3-6
The Marvelous Wonderettes June 10-13
The Will Rogers Follies: A Life in Revue June 17-20
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee June 24-27
Peter PanJuly 1-11
Mr. Hobbs' Vacation July 15-18
Mame July 22-31
All evening shows this season start at a new, earlier time: 7:30 p.m. (Matinees remain at 2:00 p.m.) Order tickets online ( or call the box office, 964-3627.



In other news

To market, to market:
Mt. Gretna's French Country Market will return this year, again on Saturdays and again with basketfuls of artisan breads and other fresh delicacies. day for the 2010 season will be May 29, as Memorial Day weekend begins.
With inspirations from Provence, the weekly assembly of vendors offering fresh food will be headquartered outside John and Nancy Mitchell's La Cigale emporium alongside Route 117, next to the miniature golf course. (That's also where, on Monday nights, the scene shifts to a Bluegrass festival of fiddlers, guitarists, banjo players and sometimes singers and harmonica artists too, blending their way through ballads that resonate deeply into hill country traditions.)
The country market's starting hours will switch this year from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and they'll stay open an hour later -- closing at 1:00 p.m. rather than noon, says organizer and Temple Avenue resident Juanita Forbes, a photographer, writer and entrepreneur.

"I'll be there with my Philadelphia-baked breads," she says, "and Landisdale farm will have their beautiful organic vegetables. Although Breakaway Farm will not be joining us this year, we will be offering fresh, exotic mushrooms from Kennett Square." And with Mary Hernley's fresh flowers right across the street, that should be enough to fill the baskets of Mt. Gretna's summer Saturday shoppers.


It may have taken a couple of centuries to really catch on
. Unlike curling, it has yet to rise to the level of an Olympic sport. But anyone who doubts that shuffleboard is soaring need look no further than the Campmeeting Playground.
Heightened by its requisite skills, its competitiveness and its suitability for players of all ages -- the strong as well as the

German Shuffleboard Association photo

disabled -- it holds a "release" formula that, even in bucolic Mt. Gretna, may be just the tonic needed for turbulent times.

That could be why Mt. Gretna summer resident Nancy Rogers and her friends are fueling a movement to get serious about shuffleboard. An organizing meeting is scheduled this month -- with everyone from age 13 and up invited, including beginners.
"The Campmeeting shuffleboard courts are just now being resurrected, and we'd like to get some folks together to start using them," says Nancy, who invites people to email her at  (or call, 717-503-6693). The organizing meeting starts May 15 at the Campmeeting Playground pavilion at 10:00 a.m.



Grandma's attic was never like this. Porch sales will stretch from one side of Mt. to the other May 29 when residents of both the Campmeeting and Chautauqua pull out their hidden treasures and offer them for sale in this gigantic sales event, which starts at 8:00 a.m. and continues until 2:00 p.m.

And at the church, heavenly hot dogs

Coordinator for Campmeeting residents is Bruce Gettle, 717-813-5319.  For the Chautauqua, it's Barney Myer, 717-964-2384.
They'll offer a map to visitors and handle advance publicity in The Merchandiser and similar bulletins circulated throughout the area.
How many people to expect? Between 300 and 400, says Bruce, who adds that the day will also include a pay-what-you-want book sale at the library to benefit Lebanon's Humane Society as well as roasted hot dogs and other culinary delights at Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church, where patrons will find volunteers "Bobby Mac" McCullough and Bray Brunkhurst (above, right) at the grill.
The day's a full one. As mentioned in this issue, the firefighters will offer a pancake and sausage breakfast at the fire hall from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.



Bridge, anyone. . . .

Experts say it's good for the brain. Devotees say it's their favorite way to relax.  And for decades, Mt. Gretna ladies (and men, too) have thrived under the stimulus of weekly bridge games.

Dale Grundon photos

Laura Feather (right) may be the newest cheerleader, taking her place alongside dozens of others* who love the game, adore the socialization and relish the refreshing afterglow of an afternoon at the bridge tables. typically arranges for 14 to 24 players to join in duplicate bridge games at the fire hall every other Thursday starting at 10:00 a.m.  (Next session: May 13.)
If you'd like to join in the fun, whether you're a beginner or a veteran, call Laura, 964-3607 or drop her a note saying you'd like to join in the fun:
*Including her mother, Garnett Beckman (see "Sightings," this issue)


. . .or maybe a game of Mah Jong?

Along with snowdrops, daisies and snowbirds, new ideas seem to sprout every spring in Mt. Gretna.  
Bonnie Anderson, who's been coming to her family's cottage on Pennsylvania Avenue for the past 24 years, has the latest new idea, based on an ancient Chinese board game.
Returning from her North Carolina winter retreat, she's hoping to sharpen her newly acquired skills in Mah Jong, a game designed for four players and perfect, says Bonnie, for leisurely afternoons out on the front porch.
For the past three years she has been "wintering over" at River Landing, in Wallace, N.C. and first tried her hand at Mah Jong last fall. She is eager to have others join her in Mah Jong games this summer (contact her at and offers to teach what she's learned so far to beginners.
"It's definitely a perfect porch activity," she says. And in a town where porches take a top priority, Mah Jong sounds as if it could be the next "new" thing.



"If not us, who? If not now, when?"
Opportunities for Mt. Gretna Volunteers

For more than a century, the cavalcade of events that unfold in Mt. Gretna each summer h been propelled by the energies and enthusiasms of volunteers.

That tradition continues this summer, with the hope that Mt. Gretna's "roll up your sleeves and pitch in" spirit will be as strong and vibrant in 2010 as it was in 1910.

It is, as a recent article in this newsletter suggested, an "If not us, who? If not now, when?" question that all who love Mt. Gretna, whether they dwell here in fact or in spirit, must answer.

Here's a partial list of opportunities for those who'd like to share in recreating the magic:  

(Note: Please send corrections and additions to

Art Show:

Linda Bell 964-3270 Director, e-mail:

Art Show coordinators of volunteers:  Saturday admission gates: Sam Bonacci 964-3111. Sunday admission gates: Joe Shay 964-2209; Office staff: Doug Leiby 717-272-8871. Kids' Art Show: Faith Mummau  964-2212. Exhibitor traffic control: Fred Seltzer 964-3763. Soldiers' Field and Philhaven area parking: Bob Dowd 964-1106. Booth sitters: Julie Bucher, 717-872-6127.

Bible Festival:
Don Zechman 717-653-8588 or Bruce Gettle  964-2319

Bird Club:
Sid Hostetter and Evelyn Koppel Tel. 964-3412. The group meets every Friday at 9:00 a.m., Chautauqua parking lot.

Buzzard Busters: (Active Nov. - Mar.) 
Max Hunsicker (click here to e-mail). Max's band of stalwarts ("The few, the proud, the Buzzard Busters") needs volunteers who can encourage migrating turkey vultures each fall to choose other roosts. 

Campmeeting Community Gardens:
Deborah Hurst, click here to email.

Campmeeting Playground:
Organizers can always use volunteers to help with various projects, including the annual carnival coming up June 12, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Call Rachel Schmalhofer, 717-606-9845.

Chautauqua Summer Programs:
Kathy Snavely 964-2191,; Bob Moritz 964-2348,; Peggy O'Neil 964-3333,

Cicada Festival:
Rhoda Long, 964-3394 or 304-0248
Concession stand at Playhouse:
Michael Murray, 361-1508 or Carl Kane (

Fire Company:
Karen Lynch, 964-3505, or Joe Shay, 964-1106

Gardening Volunteers:
Who makes the Playhouse grounds burst with color each year? Peg Smith and Betty Miller, with mulching and watering help from Peg's husband John. Tending to plants around the post office are Bill Care and Linda Bell. Shirley Miller and Louise Doney nurture flower boxes at the Information Center and also help with those hanging baskets around town. Carol Morgan maintains the Fairy Garden along Pennsylvania Avenue.
In Mt. Gretna Heights, Charlie Harris (click here to e-mail) often organizes volunteer gardening projects. And in the Campmeeting, Debra Barnhart and Jane Zellers care for the Butterfly Garden between First Street and Markwood Avenue. Like to join them? Call Peg at 964-2101, or click here to drop her an e-mail note.

Governor Dick Environmental Center:
Janie Gockley 964-3808

Gretna Music:
Carl Kane 361-1508 ( or Michael Murray ( Sign-up forms also appear online.

Gretna Theater:
Renee Krizan 964-3322

Heritage Festival:
Pat and Mike Allwein 964-2352

Historical Society:
Fred Buch 1-800-242-3901, e-mail:; needed are volunteers to serve as museum docents, attendants at the visitor center Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and people interested in serving on various committees

Deborah Hurst

Mt. Gretna Triathlon: (May 22)
See; Needed are volunteers to help with pre-race setups May 21 (12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.) and post-race cleanup, starting 11:30 a.m.

Music Under the Stars: (A fundraiser at the lake Aug. 28) Ceylon Leitzel and Karen Leitzel

Organ Recitals:
Rhoda Long coordinates refreshments at these recitals; tel. 717-304-0248; or; contributions appreciated.

Kim Beiler is this summer's playground coordinator.  Telephone: 964-1830.

Police Community E-mail Alert Network: (Issues periodic advisories on how you can help local police; announcements of vehicle ID programs, safety instruction, National Nights Out, other events.) Add your name, address and e-mail address:

Mike Dissinger (717) 949-2367 schedules trail clean-up days; John Wengert posts e-mail bulletins ( for other volunteer tasks -- including public relations, fundraising, and trail development. Also needed: volunteers to staff the Root Beer Barrel in Cornwall, Saturdays and Sundays from May through October.
Lebanon Valley Rails-to-Trails meets the first Wednesday of each month at Cornwall Borough Hall, 7:00 p.m.

Summer Premiere: (May 22)
Jessica Kosoff and Debbie Clemens, 964-3825

Visitors' Information Center:
Fred Buch, 1-800-242-3901

Winterites: (October - April)
Donna Kaplan, 964-2174.



Questions Readers Ask

[] Whom would I contact about Mt. Gretna Art Show tickets?  Since we will be away from mid-June through Aug. 1, I don't want to miss getting tickets as we have done for the past five years.
<> There's no reason why you should miss out on the fun. Tickets are on sale at three admission gates, and there is never a limit on the number of tic you can purchase during the art show (scheduled Aug. 21-22).
Many local residents, even though they receive complimentary passes, gladly pay for extra tickets at the gate because they realize that (a) the money comes back to the community and (b) support for the art show also nurtures a cultural environment that heightens Mt. Gretna's appeal to everyone -- including people who may someday buy their home. In that sense, buying art show tickets becomes simply another way to enhance one of their biggest assets.
By tradition, complimentary tickets have been made available over the years to people who live in Mt. Gretna: By mail (to Chautauqua residents), by organizations (in the Campmeeting and Mt. Gretna Heights) and by volunteers (who deliver them door-to-door in Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge). Art show officials plan to continue that tradition again this year.



Muhlenberg Avenue adventure writer Bill Gifford profiles wingsuit jumper Jeb Corliss in the May issue of Men's Journal.

Adventure journalist Gifford

What's a 'wingsuit'? Corliss compares it to the web-like skin of a flying squirrel. He wears it while jumping off cliffs, bridges, and the Eiffel Tower, gliding as long and as far as he can before finally yanking the cord to open a parachute.

In his latest article, "Falling Man," Bill describes Corliss's ventures into "proximity flying"-- skimming past jagged mountainsides in Malaysia as he prepares for his ultimate test: landing without a parachute.
No parachute? You gotta read it to believe it.



Priscilla Schlenker Kinney, 1943-2010
Priscilla Kinney's ties to Mt. Gretna transcended distance, years and generations -- stretching more than a century into the heart and marrow of Mt. Gretna life. 
When she died April 15, she had just returned from a short visit here the previous day, accom by family. Her obituary recorded that she had traveled to 32 countries and 49 states, noting that "her greatest joy was spending time with her family at their cottage in Mt. Gretna."

That cottage, located on Brown Avenue, is adjacent to one purchased by her great-grandparents in 1895 and now owned by her aunt and uncle, Emily and Ned Wallace. It is also close to "Fairview," her sister Martha Knouss' cottage on Harvard Avenue.  "She was determined to have one last family gathering in Mt. Gretna before she left this earth," wrote her daughter, Anne Kinney Dacey.

She battled breast cancer for 23 years and for 45 years was the beloved wife of the Rev. Dr. George G. Kinney. She had a lifelong commitment to the mission of the Lutheran Church, and an extensive career in geriatric social work and nursing home administration. She also had "a profound impact on many people with her affirming spirit and genuine interest in others," Mrs. Dacey said. 
Funeral services were held last month at Egner Chapel at Muhlenberg College, where she graduated in 1964.
Memorial contributions are being received by the Priscilla Schlenker Kinney Scholarship Fund of Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, PA 18104, or the Priscilla Schlenker Kinney Scholarship Fund, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19119.



Printing tip: If you have trouble printing copies of this newsletter, click here for the latest issue. (Keith Volker usually has it posted on the Web within a few hours immediately before or after the email version is dispatched.) Once you've opened the current online version, just press the "print" command on your computer.

Photos not visible?
Some readers solve that problem by right-clicking on the picture space and then selecting "Show Picture."
Another way to see the photos is to go to our Website: and click on the current issue.
Constant Contact, the commercial service that distributes this newsletter, also gives this advice to readers when pictures don't appear:
Look at the top of the Newsletter for a button that may say something like, "Show images and enable links. Always for this sender." That's AOL's wording, but different email services use slightly different terminology. Yet their meaning is the same. If you click on "Allow content from this sender," the photos should appear immediately.
If you use an email service other than AOL and are still having problems, drop us a note. We'll forward Constant Contact's specific recommendations for your service.
Speaking of photos: If you have digital pictures of Mt. Gretna scenes, events or people likely to interest others, please email them to us at
That's what Nan McKay did last month. Nan, who moved to Pennsylvania Avenue last October, works at the M Hershey School's Horticulture Center. She enjoys identifying and cataloging photos of flowers from wild plants and trees and other scenes from nature in the areas surrounding her cottage.
A frequent contributor to this newsletter, she took this photo with a Canon EOS Rebel T1i in mid-April.
"I was in the stream across from the Jigger Shop and almost missed seeing these Tiger Swallowtail butterflies puddling," she says. (Mud puddling is the process through which male butterflies congregate around areas of moist soil rich in salt nutrients.) Typically, soon after a single butterfly discovers a tasty morsel, others quickly join in. Sort of like the NYSE.

Whenever possible, we'll use the photos our readers send us -- with appropriate credit. Thanks so much for your help.



"The Preserve at Historic Cornwall Village": Continued from page 1
Mr. Callahan's reply continues:
Before attempting to answer your questions, [let me] give you the background for my approach to development. Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, I had the good fortune to be born into a hard-working family that, through the tireless efforts of my grandfather, [a] New York attorney. . . were able to spend our summers in a quaint incorporated village on Fire Island called Saltaire.
I could relate to your reader who spoke of the special feeling while driving over the mountain into Mt. Gretna, like life slipping back into the 1940's. The Saltaire I grew up in was devoid of all cars, accessible only by boat. The commercial district consisted of a general store, a seasonal post office (my mother was the post mistress) and an ice cream  shop.
Boardwalks and bare feet took us from our home on the bay to the athletic fields, to the swimming dock on the bay and to the ocean to ride the waves, and then to the tennis courts. The day concluded with us huddling around the radio listening to shows so well done that the stories literally came to life in our minds, and then off to read in the candlelight. It was an escape to a magical place...
[Yet] the infamous Robert Moses had a nefarious plan to share this treasured island with all New Yorkers.... His ultimate goal was to connect the beaches at either end through the construction of a 40-mile road through all of the villages, destroying the charm and ambiance forever.  [But] Robert Moses. . . grossly underestimated my grandfather, who stopped the [project] and went to Washington, eventually getting Fire Island included in the National Seashore Act, preserving Saltaire and all the other Fire Island communities from further development in perpetuity.
The lesson I learned, is that life is too short for me to try and force my will on others when it comes to real estate development. I am always totally transparent, and take the project to the people to try and educate them to the benefits of what my project may bring to them. If the majority of the residents embrace the project, I move forward. I can't please all the people, and I fully understand why some people never want to see change. . .
I would [hope to] share my vision of "The PRESERVE (over 50 % of the site will remain as open space) at Historic Cornwall Village."  We will try and emulate the architecture that captures the history of this remarkable historic village of Cornwall.
Q. Although Mt. Gretnans appear to be aware that most visitors will access your project via Routes 322, 72 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, several express concerns that summertime traffic congestion will approach the levels of another water park near Allentown. Since about half our residents come here only in summer, usually on weekends, and often along those same routes from places like Allentown, New York and Philadelphia, such concerns seem legitimate.  

A. Unlike Allentown's outdoor water park which draws its largest crowds from Memorial Day to Labor Day, ours will be an indoor water park, with fall and winter being the biggest seasons for us.
Being an indoor park encapsulates both the noise and the lights that your residents feared would undermine the serenity that has attracted generations to Mt. Gretna. I hope this provides them with some peace of mind that their Saltaire will remain as it always has been, at least from the concern of noise and light pollution.
The "open pit", which has been filled with water, is being offered as a recreational amenity to all Cornwall Borough residents. We will have a marina with kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and non-fossil-fueled boats that will be available to all of our residents and the Borough residents as well. Could this new recreational amenity decrease traffic to your beautiful area now that they have a new alternative closer to home?
Q. Some residents who have grown up around the former iron ore mine have told us that, as youngsters, they were warned against dangers of cave-ins. Others have reported incidents of the ground giving way in certain areas near the golf course. If those rumors are true, why are you only now undertaking 'in-depth' geological studies?
A. Rumors of some ground in the region being subject to cave-ins is not completely unfounded. There is a pond on Iron Valley Golf course [which] was formed by such a cave-in. We have already identified a subsidence area on our site and have kept all development out of this area in our preliminary plan.
Since we are requesting a zoning amendment to allow our proposed mixed use development, it would be totally presumptuous of us to assume this request would be a fait accompli. The in-depth geological testing we would want done on the site is quite costly. It is not prudent for us to spend this money until we know if we have the zoning to allow us to move forward with this project.
Our in house geologist has done extensive research into the old mining archives and has steered us away from what she feels are the red flag areas. This opinion will be confirmed by more detailed geotech testing if we are successful in obtaining the zoning change we are requesting. Please keep in mind that for 200 years the mining that was done was surface mining digging a hole deeper and deeper to a depth of five hundred feet. Only after Bethlehem Steel acquired the property was the first underground shaft begun in 1921.

Note to readers: For additional details on this topic, click on and see "Community Info" for a link to "The Preserve at Cornwall"



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