Mt. Gretna Newsletter
Mt. Gretna, Pa. . . . "Not a place, but a spirit" --
May 1, 2010
Developer Paul Callahan shares his views
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
of the former iron ore mine today
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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 email@example.com.
She'd like to hear by July 5 from those planning to attend. Illuminated cottage
photos: Madelaine Gray
For newcomers and old-timers alike!
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
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.
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 sold-out
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 http://www.cicadafestival.com/Home_Page.html
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. . .
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
"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
to leap over object lessons faster than a speeding bullet?
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
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,
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
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
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 discussions,
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.
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
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."
Frequent 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. Besides 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 attracted photographers more than
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."
lingers. Crane photo: Susan
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 familiar 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
Zumba instructor Janice Balmer, sparking an '80s
Zumbathon fundraiser last week for the fire company: A 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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 http://www.nightbearandlambie.com/
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.
Gretna 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
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.
and sausages galore
breakfast enthusiasts like Dale Grundon recommend getting there by 8:00
a.m. But the affair contin
money in the boot and eat 'til you're full.
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"
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
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 Day 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 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.
been here before, but never like this
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
She returns June 3-6 to star in "Nunsense," with a cast that
playwright and director Dan Goggin will take to New York shortly
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 (http://www.mtgretna.com/theatre/CurrentSeason.htm)
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
Shuffleboard Association photo
-- it holds a "release" formula that, even in bucolic Mt. Gretna,
may be just the tonic needed for turbulent times.
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,
"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 Gone2Pot@gmail.com
(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. Gretna
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.
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
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.
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
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
*Including her mother, Garnett Beckman (see "Sightings," this
. .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 GtFalls@aol.com)
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?"
for Mt. Gretna Volunteers
For more than a century, the cavalcade of events that unfold in Mt. Gretna
each summer has
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:
Please send corrections and additions to email@example.com.)
Linda Bell 964-3270 Director, e-mail: MtGretnaArt@comcast.net
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,
Don Zechman 717-653-8588 don@MtGretnaTabernacle.org or Bruce
Sid Hostetter and Evelyn Koppel firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tel. 964-3412. The group meets every Friday at 9:00 a.m., Chautauqua
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.
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, email@example.com; Bob Moritz 964-2348, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Peggy O'Neil 964-3333, email@example.com.
Rhoda Long, 964-3394 or 304-0248
Concession stand at Playhouse:
Michael Murray, 361-1508 or Carl Kane (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Karen Lynch, 964-3505 email@example.com, or Joe Shay,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Carl Kane 361-1508 (email@example.com) or Michael Murray (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sign-up forms also appear online.
Renee Krizan 964-3322
Pat and Mike Allwein 964-2352
Fred Buch 1-800-242-3901, e-mail: email@example.com;
needed are volunteers to serve as museum docents, attendants at the visitor
center Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and people interested in serving on
Deborah Hurst firstname.lastname@example.org
Mt. Gretna Triathlon: (May 22)
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
and Karen Leitzel KBL555@verizon.net
Rhoda Long coordinates refreshments at these recitals; tel. 717-304-0248;
Kim Beiler is this summer's playground coordinator. Telephone:
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: email@example.com
Mike Dissinger (717) 949-2367 schedules trail clean-up days; John Wengert
posts e-mail bulletins (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
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 email@example.com
and Debbie Clemens, 964-3825
Visitors' Information Center:
Fred Buch, 1-800-242-3901 http://www.mtgretnahistory.org/
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
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
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
When she died April 15, she had just returned from a short visit here
the previous day, accompanied
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."
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.
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.
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,
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: http://mtgretna.com/news 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
That's what Nan McKay did last month. Nan, who moved to Pennsylvania Avenue
last October, works at the Milton 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
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
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
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 http://www.cornwall-pa.com/
see "Community Info" for a link to "The Preserve at