Mt. Gretna, Pa. . . .'Not a place, but a spirit." -- Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)
June 1, 2010
An insiders' guide to the newest, the favorites & the sleepers:
Mt. Gretna's Top 15
"Don't Miss" Events for Summer
If Mt. Gretna has a problem, it surely is not the lack of things
to do in the summertime.
Summed up in the 58-page Summer Calendar just published are 575 events
that unfurl from Memorial Day to Labor Day. On most days, the question is
not whether there's anything to do but, rather, which things to pick. For
Art Show tops nearly everyone's list
. Gretnans, the dizzying array of choices right
outside their front doors often poses a formidable challenge.
Outsiders have an easier time of it. Every year, perhaps 168,000 of them
come into town with a laser-like focus -- for a day, a week or a month --
to see plays, take in concerts, dive into the lake or, alternatively,
into an ice cream sundae.
Yet we who live here may sometimes share an affliction with, say,
New Yorkers who never glimpse the view from the top of the Empire State
Building. Or Washingtonians who rarely make it to the Tidal Basin at
Cherry Blossom time. Indeed, at the Playhouse on some nights, Mt.
Gretnans constitute only about 5% of the audience, a fact that surprises
One solution may be nothing more than to start the summer with a slate of
things that we really want to do.
It is in that spirit that we offer the Mt. Gretna Newsletter's
2010 "summer musts." It's not necessarily better than
anyone else's "musts," but it has merits that include the
wisdom of crowds and a dash or two of insider tips.
What follows are the happenings most frequently cited by 30 or so Mt.
Gretna veterans who -- in telephone, e-mail and while-walking-the-dog
interviews -- offered their ideas of what to see, do, and plunge into
this summer. It may not be perfect, but who knows? Starting out the
summer with a plan may, at the very least, produce more happy memories
(and fewer "I meant to see" regrets) by the time Labor
Day rolls around.
1. Mt. Gretna Art Show
(Our panel's top tips: Sample the food court fare, pick a straw bale to
catch entertainers like the Carmitchell Sisters on Sunday afternoon;
stroll down Pennsylvania and Chautauqua avenues to view exhibits, then
work your way into the park so you catch them all.)
(Top tips: "If you never see another "Nunsense," this
is the one to see," with its New York cast and original playwright
leads a New York cast
ally Struthers. But if you must miss this one,
at least plan to catch "Peter Pan," "Mame" or
3. Elisabeth von Trapp Aug.
29 (Guaranteed to pack the house on this, the abernacle's only 2010
ticketed performance. Other Tabernacle picks: "Silver, Wood and
Ivory" July 28 and Susquehanna Chorale, Aug. 15.)
4. Phil Dirt and the Dozers:
Already sold out. (Act now to grab matinee or evening tickets for The
Grassroots with Rob Gill, Aug. 12 or Billy Price's evening concert Aug
5. Grand Illumination of the
Cottages (inset, right) Aug. 21. Reviving a Campm
Grand Illumination Night Madelaine Gray photo
eeting end-of-season tradition, residents will
light up their porches and windows as passersby stroll through the
historic grounds. No admission charge.
6. House and Garden Tour
Aug. 7. Mt. Gretna cottage and home owners graciously open their homes to
benefit Gretna Music in this annual favorite.
7. Pastimes, the a
cappella Doo Wop group opens this year's Heritage Festival June 19. The
festival's sleeper? Could be the Lebanon Community Band's July 3
8. Capitol Steps, coming
to the Playhouse Aug. 26 with a Surgeon General's warning: "The
Capitol Steps will cause your sides to split."
9. Baltimore Classical Players
Aug. 15. A big, costly-to-produce concert "unlikely to be heard here
again for at least a decade" (featuring a Beethoven septet and
Schubert octet on the same night). Also add to this year's
"musts": Sultry vocallist Hilary Kole and trumpeter Dominick
Farinacci, Aug. 14.
10. Day at the lake
("Try it," says man-about-town Tom Mayer. "It's lik
at La Cigale
e a day at the beach without the three-hour
11. Tuesday morning book reviews
-- Hall of Philosophy, starting June 22.
12. French Country Market,
9:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m. (Saturdays) and Mrs. Hernley's flower stand (Fridays and Saturdays, for over
13. Monday night Bluegrass sessions,
where talented pros and earnest amateurs assemble for their own enjoyment
-- and yours -- at La Cigale, next to miniature golf course.
14. Chautauqua University for a
Day July 10. Like going back to class -- but with no exams.
mixologist Kate Dolan takes center stage
Night at the Timbers, (inset, left) Sept. 4. (Insider's
tip: Reserve your spot now!)
And for kids: Peter Pan (alternates: Visits to the Fairy Garden in
Chautauqua Park; Teddy Bear picnics at Governor Dick Park, plus bug hunts
and other kids programs; Gretna Gala Idol Competition June 19; Theater
for Young Audiences, on five Saturdays in July; and Steve Courtney at
Tabernacle Aug. 7.)
Jigger Shop: It shows up on just about everybody's list, every
year; an iconic Mt. Gretna ice cream legend that ranks among the nation's
Chautauqua Summer Crafts classes: Learn to make everything from a
broom to a basket or a stained glass lamp.
Monday night foodie classes at the Hall of Philosophy: milk,
mozzarella and more!
Breakfast on the porch at Le Sorelle Café (Tues-Sun. thru Labor
Wednesday night movies at the Hall of Philosophy. (This year, a
Cary Grant festival starting July 7)
Thursday organ recitals in July at the Hewitt-McAnney residence,
Tennis matches (watch top local talent, enjoy the food: especially
those barbecue and meatloaf sandwiches), July 24-31.
summer, even rainy afternoons can be fun.
Handbell Festival at the Tabernacle, July 31
Book and magazine exchange at the Library
Sunday morning interdenominational services; guest musicians
include the Eaken Trio and a Susquehanna Chorale quartet.
Rainy days on the porch with a good book (Or "a true Mt.
Gretna thunderstorm when you lose power.")
Rail Trail hikes with a lunch stop at Colebrook Tavern
Collecting berries on the Horseshoe Trail
Music Under the Stars - Mt. Gretna's only dance event, Aug. 28.
Massed Choir Concert with composer Joseph Martin conducting many
of his compositions, at the Tabernacle (Aug. 1)
Cameron Carpenter organ concert at the Playhouse (Aug. 5)
Hall of Philosophy 100th anniversary, July 17.
Hot Club du Jour mini concert of gypsy swing music at Hall of
Philosophy, Aug. 15.
Already past the halfway point
Firefighters buck national trends in a
Charitable giving may have tumbled to its lowest point in 50 years, but you couldn't prove
that in Mt. Gretna.
Despite national trends making this "the worst possible time to
launch a fundraising campaign," Mt. Gretnans have already passed the
halfway point in an ambitious -- some said impossible -- effort to raise
$400,000 for the fire company.
What was needed -- and couldn't be delayed to wait for a more favorable
economy -- was a new, larger facility to house larger firefighting
equipment demanded by national safety standards as they faced requirements
to replace trucks more than 20 years old.
In the first wave of the campaign, 62 early donors have already committed
to multi-year pledges totaling $226,000, or 57% of the goal. A letter
from campaign chairman Tom Mayer last month proclaimed, "What that
says is that Mt. Gretnans believe in what we do."
It was a sentiment echoed by fire company president Joe Shay, who's
devoted more than 25 years in voluntary service to the Mt. Gretna
organization as a firefighter, administrator, leader and fundraiser
"Our volunteers are a small, dedicated group that serve 24 hours a
day, seven days a week," said Tom in a letter to prospective donors
"They can provide that support because of thousands of hours
they spend in training, without pay, to handle emergencies."
He pointed out that
the impossible: Tom Mayer, Joe Shay
during the past two years, firefighters
responded to over 400 calls, "everything from downed electrical
lines to burning homes." They also devoted nearly 8,000 hours to
other tasks, including administrative duties after they come home from
their regular jobs.
Noting their additional hours spent in raising money at bake sales, block
shoots, spaghetti suppers, book sales and community breakfasts, he added:
"Things like that not only raise funds, they also help knit the
whole town together in fun, friendship and shared memories."
Tom, himself a bit overwhelmed by the scope and intensity of the initial
response, nevertheless urged those who can help to "stretch harder
than you've ever stretched before."
Apparently, Mt. Gretnans both here and around the world are doing just
The address for donations, pledges and other contributions: Mt. Gretna
Fire Company, P. O. Box 177, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
In a field of 700 competitors
Mt. Gretnans Make their Mark at 7th
For a small town hosting a race that attracted 700 contestants from 16
states across the U.S.A. and Canada, Mt. Gretna acquitted itself with
Two of the women's category winners in the Seventh Annual "Got the
Nerve" triathlon May 22 were Mt. Gretnans. The seventh-fastest
finisher traces his heritage to Mt. Gretna. And the great-great-great
nephew of Mt. Gretna's shocking turn-of-the-century bather -- who exposed
her bare forearms in post card photographs that rocked this tiny hamlet
in the ea
rly 1900s -- again placed first in his division.
In all, it was a season-opening triumph for Mt. Gretna, for
well-organized planning that wrapped up the entire event in a little over
three hours, and for a fundraising venture that ov
er the past six years has raised more than
$160,000 to help victims of neuromuscular disease.
This year's race should probably add another $20,000 to that total -- and
to race organizer Chris Kaag's I'M ABLE Foundation, which helps provide
adaptive sporting equipment for disabled people determined to keep
Taking first-place honors in their age groups were Marla Pitt, a
Chautauqua resident who won the top award for women in the 55-to-59
category, and Pat Allwein, a previous winner and Campmeeting resident who
led the women's 60-to-64 group. Also competing in the race was
Chautauquan Bill Gifford, 43, who finished in an hour and 27 minutes the
500-yard-swim (in a 68-degree lake--balmy by the standards of previous
years), 16-mile bike race and 5 km (3.107-mile) run. Seventh-place
finisher was Philadelphian Timothy Otto, 28, who grew up in Mt. Gretna;
he completed the circuit in 1:11:27, less than three minutes behind
overall winner Daryl Weaver of Lititz.
"Mt. Gretna, with its idyllic setting, is a beautiful course for all
three events," says organizer Chris, himself crippled by a
neuromuscular disease 12 years ago. "I continue to make sure we
improve every year."
As for the competitor whose daring ancestor shocked Mt. Gretnans a
century ago, it was T.J. Jordan, the 42-year-old Lancaster banker who's
been here before. He runs the race around Mt. Gretna's lake every year,
in fact, presumably to keep in shape. But perhaps also to perpetuate the
smile, likely punctuated by a wink, which undoubtedly radiates from the
visage of his long-departed aunt.
news. . .
Yes, it's true, says Mt.
Gretna pizzeria owner Damien Orea: He plans to add another restaurant to
his burgeoning business activities.
It's the former Donecker's restaurant in Ephrata, which he, waitress Rose
Bair and his
brother-in-law plan to soon open as "The Ephrata House."
But they're not attempting to recreate Donecker's upscale dining. They'll
offer comfort food menus, featuring New York strip steaks, meatloaf and
chicken croquettes, says Rose.
Both she and Damien plan to continue working the morning shift at Mt.
Gretna, then switch to Ephrata for the afternoons. Damien's dad Elidio
and others will keep the pizzeria humming at night.
Will they succeed? If the persistence, determination and adaptability
they've shown here over the past four years are an accurate measuring
stick, bet on it.
Planning a cottage makeover? Preserve "the look of then with
the comforts of now;" talk with specialists at the Hall of
Philosophy June 4: Architects, contractors, suppliers and others
assembled by the Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society will offer
suggestions, photos, landscaping ideas and other guidelines to help
preserve historical accuracy and property values during a remodeling
project. Time: 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
They'll need your help at the
Playhouse concession stand this year. Volunteer coordinator
Gary Shrawder says open dates for plays, the Cicada Festival and Gretna
Music performances remain unfilled. If you'd like to help out, call
717-272-2284 to sign up or drop an e-mail note to: email@example.com
John Condrack's tennis clinics
for eight-to-14-year-olds proved so popular last summer he's offering
them again this month. Call 964-1830 for details.
Book lovers, sub specialists and pastry fanatics unite! It's time
for the fire company's annual "Book, Bake and Sub Sale." Books
to donate? Drop them off June 5 outside the post office. Subs made to
order: American, ham, turkey or roast beef. Reserve yours by tomorrow
(June 2), but extras will also be on sale -- along with books and baked
goods -- at the fire hall, Saturday June 12, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Mountain bike night rides, native
ferns of Lebanon County, fitness hikes, Celtic and Bluegrass music on the
porch, and backpacking tips headline Governor Dick Park's events this
month. For details, call 964-3808 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The annual bike rodeo,
sponsored by Cornwall Police for youngsters 12 and under, begins at 6:30
p.m. June 8 at Cornwall Elementary School. Details: Officer James
Conklin, 274-2071 or e-mail: email@example.com.
Stay alert for deer around
Mt. Gretna, warns the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Deer are most active
after dark and before sunrise.
Coming this week: The
Summer 2010 edition of Mt. Gretna Arts Council's Newsletter, "now going
electronic," says Kerry Royer. Also expected to be posted online
soon: the Arts Council's 2010 Summer Calendar.
Get ready for Big Junk Day
Wacky celebrations? That's our specialty
When it comes to finding something to celebrate, nobody even comes close
to Mt. Gretnans. Everything from Bastille Day, Beaujolais Day (to
celebrate the grape harvest in France) and the Halloween parade (with 120
marchers and 15 spectators) is reason enough to spark a celebra
Thatcher: "Junk day and hot dogs go together like New Year's
Day and pork and sauerkraut."
Even the grill once was "junk."
wackiest of all is the event about to erupt at 108 Lancaster Ave. in the
Chautauqua, home of bachelor, entrepreneur and hot dog griller
extraordinaire Thatcher Bornman.
Celebrating Mt. Gretna's annual "Big Junk Day" collection on
June 21, Thatcher will commemorate the occasion with a Sunday-night
spectacular that includes free hot dogs and all the fixings for anyone
who happens to stop by. Fellow junk collectors, mostly. People from
around town and elsewhere who annually roam the streets of Mt. Gretna Borough
seeking treasures that others have discarded.
Fire chief Bob Dowd extinguishing a
to this lumpy adventure should know that the process usually starts as
the "Big Junk" weekend begins. Fridays, maybe, as residents
start putting alongside the curb items too big and too bulky for the
regular trash collectors: Refrigerators, washing machines, old TVs and
other items that disposal services normally shun.
So that leaves opportunities aplenty for scavenger hunters, who seem to
delight in picking up discards. In fact, when the Borough cr
What, they're free?
makes its rounds on Monday, there's sometimes scarcely anything left.
"Call it the great community-exchange day," says Borough
Manager Bill Care. "It's true what they say," adds Jessica
Kosoff (inset, above right), "one man's junk is still another
Thatcher's annual celebration, which began around 2002, grows bigger
every year. He buys the hot dogs, buns and sauerkraut. Neighbors
sometimes pitch in with offers of soft drinks, potato chips and other
embellishments. But the spirit is spontaneous, widespread and infectious,
starting around 6:00 p.m. on Sunday before Big Junk Day, or what's left
of it, actually begins.
with John Dempsey:
Top international competitor brings chess, and a winning
perspective, to Mt. Gretna
a good chance that Mt. Gretna's next distinction may be that of a leading
chess center in Pennsylvania, if not the U.S.A.
That's because of two newcomers who are international competitors, avid
teachers and expert chess players eager to share their love of the game.
former captain of Scotland's Olympic chess team, and his new bride, Gail
Babic, a painter and former art teacher who moved to the Campmeeting a
few years ago, are offering chess lessons for beginners and pros alike.
In the na
is crucial to survival... and winning"
rrative that follows, John shares his
perspectives on the game, Mt. Gretna and life itself:
 As a newcomer to Mt. Gretna, what are your impressions of the land,
the people, the pace of life here?
<> I know that across this vast country the
climate and geography vary enormously, as do the peoples who have
been shaped in part by their environment. Yet I cannot help but
think that the nature of those who live in Mt. Gretna is a major
contributing factor in turning a wooded piece of land into a something
special. If this nature could spread, then so many other places could be
their own versions of Mt. Gretna.
 What are people usually most surprised to discover when they begin
learning to play chess?
<> They are often surprised to find that they need only learn how
six different pieces move. They see all those pieces on a board and do
not realize that, in fact, there are only six different types. When they
learn what one pawn can do, then they know what all 16 pawns can do!
 What you like best about living in Mt. Gretna?
<> There are many things. One of the things that I love is that
most people seem open to new experiences, new understandings. This bodes
well for this community as adaptability is a key to surviving in a
 What you believe is the biggest misconception people have about
<> One of the things which most surprises people about chess is
that adaptability is crucial to winning. A player has to take account of
how things change from move to move, the new reality, as opposed to how
they wish, or want that reality to be.
Just because something worked before is no guarantee it will work now!
Observe, process information, analyze, and then move!
 There's the impression that chess is a game only for intellectuals.
<> Another big misconception is that one has to be some kind of
genius to play chess. That it is in some way a cold, scientific,
supremely logical game. This is not the case! You need imagination,
creativity, visualization, and above all a feel for what is
happening. There is logic, but it is not enough by itself. In fact logic
without an artistic, creative side is a poor companion at the chess
 In addition to chess, what other interests do you intend to
<> I would like to write a novel. Probably it would come under the
genre of science fiction or fantasy. And what material I already have
gathered about different worlds living side by side: Mt. Gretna and
Milngavie (Scotland), Washington, London, Paris, Edinburgh. U.S. Mainland,
Caribbean, Europe. One day perhaps!
Can you imagine a world where the inhabitants slavishly obey their
masters, and like it? Welcome to parts of Europe! Can you imagine a world
where you don't have to work as nature throws food upon your
doorstep? Welcome to St. Croix! Can you imagine a world where...?,
and that's just it, somewhere on this earth of ours, the world you can
imagine probably does exist!
If you'd like to know more about
learning chess or how to improve your game this summer, drop a note to: JohnDempsey323@live.com or
Durable summer programs prove mightier
than. . . well, a 76-foot oak
Summer playground activities will continue this month, despite the
collapse last month of a 76-foot oak that demolished the Chautauqua
The tree toppled early on a Saturday morning
Judy Bojko photo
when, providentially, no one was around.
During a typical week during the summer, 50 or more youngsters use the
As insurance adjustors wrapped up their work and architect Roland Nissley finished drawings to preserve
the appearance of the 60-year-old structure it replaces, officials said
they hope to complete construction of a new pavilion this summer.
Meanwhile, playground coordinator Kim Beiler is romping ahead with plans
for a full schedule of activities in areas roped off from the
The Lebanon Valley College senior will oversee playground activities
Mondays through Fridays, 9:30 to 12:3o, in areas fenced off from
construction work. For details, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an emergency, count on
Sharon Solie and Dot Frymyer to keep their priorities straight. Early on
the morning of May 15, just before the fire company's semiannual block
shoot, Sharon and Dot showed up for the task as usual: Behind the stove,
stirring the soup kettle and pouring rivels into a secret ham and bean
mixture when, suddenly, a fire broke out -- in
priority: save the soup
the fire company's own kitchen. Someone had
dropped behind the stove a tea towel, which ignited when they turned on a
rarely-used middle burner.
Sharon quickly did the only thing she could: Call 911. Then, with the
coolness of an emergency volunteer, she whisked the soup pot to safety,
rivels and all.
As the alarm sounded, Mt. Gretna's off-duty firefighters responded,
squirted the flames with an extinguisher, then stayed around to clean up
But when the festivities started a few hours later, the soup was safe and
ready to eat. Good thing, too. When block shoot regulars talk about
"hitting the bullseye," they mean polishing off a bowlful of
Mt. Gretna fire company's legendary ham and bean soup.
Pennington: a Midas touch
Getting ready for
summer: Gretna Emporium's Stacey Pennington and Le
Sorelle new owner Ken Shertzer.
At the shop for imaginative toys, puzzles, games and pastimes, Stacey has
been delivering, unpacking and assembling displays for last weekend's
grand re-opening. It's her third year in Mt. Gretna. Best-selling items
last summer included
Shertzer: Despite "a lot of work," he's happy
"anything with Mt. Gretna printed on
it," she says.
Apparently there's lasting appeal to Mt. Gretna souvenirs -- including
those fire company fundraising coffee mugs first issued in 2001 (which
recently brought a 775% return on investment).
Also popular are board games and home decor items, all with a stimulating
twist that speaks to Stacey's unerring merchandising sense, a Midas
touch seemingly built into her DNA.
At Le Sorelle, Ken Shertzer, who took over
operations last November says he's happy with results so far. But (with a
full-time job as a plastics engineer) he's also discovering that running
a restaurant "takes a lot of work."
Fortunately he'll have the help of family members as the cafe switches to
a summer schedule that includes weekdays as well as weekends.
Assisting along with wife Judy will be their son, now attending college,
and a married daughter who is also a professional photographer.
Back in town last
driver Shirley Rennix, filling in on a temporary assignment in the
territory she served for eight years. Saying good-bye to Mt. Gretna was
knows Mt. Gretna like Shirley
"a hard choice," says Shirley, who
nevertheless opted for shorter hours afforded by a route in Southern
The new assignment gives her more time to spend with her kids -- all nine
"I don't have to look after them all," she says. "Two are
grown and out out of the house." Yet that still leaves seven for her
and her husband.
How many are adopted? "They're all mine," she laughs.
"I don't like splitting them up that way."
In truth, four are adopted, three are biological and the couple serves as
guardians for another. They range in age from 24 to four. "It's
fun," says Shirley. "My husband's a stay-at-home dad."
Although she's now assigned to a new route which allows her to leave
later and get home a bit sooner, she never really knows when she might be
called to return temporarily to her former route.
And even when she's delivering packages in places like Kirkwood, she
often gets calls from newcomers assigned to Mt. Gretna. "Where is this
street?" they want to know. "How do you get there?"
She says one UPS driver recently gave up trying to decide which streets
were driveable. He simply parked his truck at the church and walked all
over the Campmeeting, delivering packages along streets that are often
too narrow for cars, let alone a "Big Brown" truck.
Shirley misses her friends here but cherishes the extra hour and ten
minutes she has at home in the morning. "You know, doing all the
cute stuff, like tickling their little pigs and braiding their hair. I
Ron and Karrie Hontz,
strolling along Pennsylvania Avenue one recent Saturday morning and
placing alongside the curb limbs downed by a storm the previous nigh
NY to PA, balloon hones in on Pennsylvania Ave.
The Skippack, Pa. couple escape on weekends as often as they can to their
Campmeeting cottage, together with their handsome collies -- now Mt.
As she set one limb to the curb, Karrie noticed that it had snared a
Fearing that a dog or cat attracted to the rubber balloon might eat and
choke, Karrie removed it. It was then that she discovered the balloon had
a long tail, with a small, handwritten note attached.
Scribbled on the paper were explicit instructions from a preschool
youngster in upstate New York: "If you find this, please write back
and tell me where you found it."
Karrie carried the note back home, then did a quick Google search. It
turns out that the balloon was launched from a preschool located in
Friendship, NY. The school is headquartered on Friendship's Pennsylvania
Avenue. And the town itself is only a little more than one hour's drive
from Chautauqua, NY, which inspired the Pennsylvania Chautauqua -- with
its own historic Pennsylvania Avenue -- exactly 118 years ago.
Glassafrass! It's the
first of a one-of-a-kind, "bend-your-imagination" series of
mirrors that come from, g
a kind: Thatch ...and his mirrors
uess who? Thatcher Bornman.
Yep, the same guy who gives away hot dogs on Big Junk Day (see story
above, this issue), marches down the street as SuperPumpkin on
Halloween and, oh yes, runs a home construction and maintenance business
that thrives on equal doses of perfectionism and creativity -- seems to
justify his business slogan: "Home & Garden Projects with a
His latest venture: Novelty mirrors that appeal to little girls, big
girls and just about anybody looking to start the day with a sense of
Fun, in fact, is a guiding principal for Thatch himself. "I like
doing things a little bit different. Whether it's repairing a porch or
creating a mirror, my name's on it."
With its "no-two-alike" marketing mantra, his newest venture
gives him yet another outlet for those energies. "Glassafrass,"
which inspired this newest venture, was a highlight of last weekend's
Summer Premiere auction. So he's now at work in his Mt. Gretna workshop
on other mirrors, each with unique names to match. Looking to put a
little zest in your mornings? Give Thatch a call: 717-228-7506. Or drop
him an e-mail note: (email@example.com).
To the surprise of probably no one, an idea
first begun here three years ago has now captured the attention,
imagination and enduring loyalty of Mt. Gretnans. This, after all, is
where summertime studies to promote "cultural and scientific
enlightenment" were spawned from their Chautauqua roots in New York
over a century ago.
And if birds of a feather truly flock together, nowhere are you likely to
find birds more eager to continue stimulating their minds.
That, no doubt, explains why the first University for a Day program here
in 2008 lit a spark. It continues this year in July, with offerings that
will span everything from Fred Astaire to the State of the Union and
another probe into the endless appeal of the Canterbury Tales with
Lebanon Valley College professor Kevin Pry.
The cost is $50, which includes a luncheon with wine, cheese and
conversation at the end of the day.
DAY STARTS OUT WITH WARM BLUEBERRY BUCKLE. . .
if all that isn't enough, summer programs coordinator Kathy Snavely
promises to start the day with warm blueberry buckle -- "an
old-fashioned single-layered cake, peppered with blueberries, and topped
with a streusel topping."
The date is again on a Saturday (July 10), to facilitate attendance by
those with weekday commitments. The telephone number to reserve your
People everywhere are searching high and low for the elusive sandhill
crane who made an abrupt and errant landing here last fall, then decided
-- what the heck -- to winter over.
In our last report, we noted that Icky hadn't been seen for more than a
month. But no sooner was our May issue out than Laura Feather, of
Conewago Hill, spotted him foraging along the
Afflerbach's "Upside Down Ichabod"
creek just west of the lake, striking his usual
stately pose alongside the rushing waters.
A few days later, Pennsylvania Avenue resident Jim Miller reported a
sighting -- or at least what he thought was a sighting -- as a
large bird flew over his car along Route 117 near the ice dam. That's
where Icabod spent the winter, munching bugs and berries while attracting
legions of photographers. But few others have caught sight of him.
Meanwhile, some people are turning themselves upside down in the search.
And as wildlife photographer and
artist Susan Afflerbach of Spring Hill Acres shows, Icky sometimes
returns the favor. (Susan frequently exhibits at La Cigale and hopes to offer reprints
So is he still around? Nobody, not even our Mt. Gretna Bird Club
stalwarts, seem to know for sure. Keep your eyes peeled and your cameras
ready. Along with Doodle, the daring rooster, Icky's also now part of the
Making a difference
On most days she's dashing
about the country advising business owners
on how to achieve top results at their dry cleaning establishments. Her
husband, an entrepreneur with wide-ranging interests, is equally busy
with pursuits that keep him hopping along the East Coast.
Yet when they touch down at home base in Mt. Gretna, they make a
Dale Grundon photo
Despite schedules with commitments that stretch two years or more into
the future, Jane and Scott Zellers find time, energy and resources to
make their stopovers in Mt. Gretna rewarding both for themselves and
their community neighbors.
Don't forget: The Campmeeting
Playground's 2nd Annual Children's Carnival
Saturday, June 12, noon - 2:00 p.m.
Together with friends like Tom and Edie Miller and Deb and Jay Barnhart,
they've helped start and nurture the Campmeeting's butterfly garden,
launch fire company fundraisers like the coffee mug and cookbook series,
and ignite everything from car shows to soup cook-offs to the Heritage
feather in their cap: a Campmeeting Playground Pavilion honoring their
late parents, Dick and Judy Zellers and Jack and Jeanine Peck.
"We felt a need to help revitalize the playground," says Jane.
With a new shuffleboard court and the butterfly garden attracting adults
to the area, she and Scott thought the area would be attracting growing
numbers of adults. "The gazebo should provide a safe, comfortable
place to sit and watch their children in the playground," she says.
Jane and her equally busy friend, Campmeeting summer resident Deb
Barnhart, could use a hand in the butterfly garden. Interested? Call Jane
12 Year odyssey
completed, but now it's time to cool off: Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church minister Michael Remel finished his master of divinity
studies at Philadelphia's Palmer Theological Seminary last month.
Celebrating his new status as an ordained UM minister, he conducted
services May 23 for the first time in a black robe. But he warned
parishioners that until things cool down in the fall, don't expect to see
him in the formal vestment again.
Season of Chautauqua organ recitals begins July 1 with Harvard University
assistant organist and choirmaster Christian Lane performing works by
Bach, Charles-Marie Widor, and John Knowles Paine's Concert Variations on
"The Star Spangled Banner."
The Thursdays-in-July recital series takes place at the home of Peter
Hewitt and Walter McAnney. Seating is limited. Reservations required:
Dollars added to Mt. Gretna's $400,000 fire hall campaign, thanks to the
latest Mt. Gretna bus trip to New York. In addition to proceeds from
ticket sales, as the group rolled down the highway toward Manhattan,
organizer Rhoda Long raised more cash with a
raffle of summer performance tickets donated by Gretna Theatre.
Coming next: a $60 bus trip to the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament's final
qualifying rounds Aug. 27. For details, call Rhoda
Seedlings planted in Governor Dick Park to replace trees damaged by Gypsy
Moths. A WGAL-TV website
shows fencing erected to protect the shoots from deer.
For Lancaster columnist "The Scribbler"
How Mt. Gretna's mystique helped cement the deal of a lifetime
He writes "The Scribbler," perhaps the most
popular newspaper column in Lancaster. His parents met in Mt. Gretna and
spent fond years here in a Chautauqua cottage they converted to a
year-round home. And last month, while discussing his latest book, columnist Jack
Brubaker underscored his strong ties to Mt. Gretna.
"Remembering Lancaster County" is crammed full with
vignettes of local patriots, artists and inventors illuminated over the
years in his newspaper column.
Yet other, more personal, recollections not recorded in the book are
nevertheless etched deeply in the memory bank of this prolific author,
son of the late John Brubaker and Marie Brubaker (an artist who helped
get the Mt. Gretna Art Show started and now lives in Lancaster).
It turns out that Jack, clearly fond of Mt. Gretna, once employed its
transcendent qualities to help convince his wife Christine to marry him.
"We had been dating in Danville, Va. for several months before I
asked her to join me on vacation in Mt. Gretna in June 1972. She stopped
by for several days on her way home to Toledo, Ohio. I suppose I had not
properly described the place, so she had no idea that she was on her way
to one of the coolest retreats on earth.
"A lifetime outdoors enthusiast, she drove up Pinch Road through the
summer trees and then down to my parents' cottage on [what is now called
Stevens] Avenue. She decided she was on the right path. We were married
two Junes later."
Yep, that ol' Mt. Gretna magic. It works every time.
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 e-mail version is dispatched.) Once
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"print" command on your computer.
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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
Constant Contact, a commercial service that we use to distribute this
newsletter, also gives this advice to readers when pictures don't
Look at the top of the Newsletter for a button that may say something
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(That's AOL's wording, but different e-mail services use slightly
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If you use an e-mail service other than AOL and are still having
problems, drop us a note. We'll forward Constant Contact's specific recommendations
for the e-mail service you use.
Speaking of photos: Who
says you can't grow a garden in Mt. Gretna? Pat Pinsler's Mt. Gretna
Heights cottage garden, winner of an honorable mention award in Central
Pennsylvania magazine's roundup of top area gardens in 2006, began as
a failure 30 years ago.
Yet Pat's disappointing experiments with
tomatoes and petunias in spots that get little more than an hour of sun
on most days nevertheless led to her ultimate success as a shade garden
specialist. She sent this photo recently to show how her favorite spot appeared
If you have digital pictures of Mt. Gretna scenes, events or people
likely to interest others, please e-mail them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're delighted to receive Mt. Gretna-related
photos from readers here and around the world. Send us photos that
capture the events, surprises and passing pageantry of Mt. Gretna. We'll
use them whenever possible.
Note: To keep up with all
that's happening during the summer, check the e-mail edition of
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