Mt. Gretna, Pa.
"Not a place, but a spirit." Marlin
August 1, 2011
For the 37th Straight Year
Challenges, Mt. Gretna's Outdoor Art Show Attracts People Who Create
and Buy Art
temperatures, a sluggish economy and shriveled streams of artists and
their patrons isn't exactly the magic elixir for outdoor art shows
these days. Yet what explains the durability of Mt. Gretna's Outdoor
Art Show, now in its 37th consecutive year?
all the hurdles that plague such en plein
air events across the country, this year's show will arrive Aug.
20-21 with all flags flying: Its 250 exhibit spaces are sold out, a
waiting list of eager young people clamored to win a spot in the
coveted emerging artists category, and the area's tastiest food vendors
are ready to dazzle the crowds with "food
as special as the art."
behind the momentum? A five-star reputation for one thing. Traveling
artists who make their living by selling their art at outdoor shows
have good things to say about Mt. Gretna. "I've gotten more calls
this year than ever before from artists who told me that they heard
about our show from fellow artists," says show director Linda
Bell. "The word has gotten out that we have a lot of patrons who
come here to buy art, and it's also a compliment to all the volunteers
who go out of their way to help them in a show that's admittedly
difficult to unload and set up in." Despite declines in attendance
affecting nearly every outdoor art festival (last year's crowds were
down over 40% from the record levels of 2000, when 19,854 patrons came
through the gates), the Mt. Gretna show still ranks favorably in terms
of sales, satisfaction and smooth-running
operations over the third weekend of August.
on the list of crowd pleasers, in addition to the juried artwork on
display, are the free entertainment and food court offerings, which
provide special pleasure for Linda. "I'm thrilled when someone
tells me that they found the food as special as the art," she
Mt. Gretna show, like most, still faces many hurdles. "In my
conversations with other show directors, we're all coming to the
conclusion that the traveling artists are getting older. Some have
passed away or are retiring. And there's not
too many younger artists who want to be exhibiting artists on the road.
It's a hard way to earn a living. And many of the artists who are
traveling express a deep regret that there are no exhibiting artists
coming into the art field," she says.
the bright spot is the show's "emerging artists" category.
Her most satisfying experience as show director came a few years ago
when she presented a Judges' Choice Award to Cory Nogle,
the first emerging artist ever to capture that honor. "His mother
broke down in tears when I presented that check to him," says
there always be an art show in Mt. Gretna? Linda certainly hopes so.
"Even if you don't like the art show--and
I know there's a downside to having the art show in your
backyard--there's definitely a downside that I don't like myself. But
like it or not, having that art show in our community along with all
the other cultural activities increases the dollar value of our houses."
We're not a bedroom community. We actually know our neighbors,"
there's yet another benefit: monies that annually flow back into the
community. "The whole of Mt. Gretna gets together to pull off this
show, so the whole of Mt. Gretna should reap the benefits," says
groups that shared $30,000 in proceeds last year were the Mt. Gretna
Fire Department, Lawn Ambulance, the Cicada Festival, Gretna Music,
Gretna Theatre, the Summer Programs, Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society,
the Campmeeting and Mt. Gretna Heights
associations, Mt. Gretna Library, and the Tabernacle. This year, the
show will provide part of the funds needed to help resurface a roadway
used by art show patrons as well as emergency vehicles and residents of
Timber Hills and Conewago Hill.
she doesn't foresee her retirement anytime soon, Linda says she always
wants "the art show to be remembered as a special time with lots
of happy memories for everyone. I would like people to smile when they
think about the show, about the porch parties they had, what they did
during the show, and remember it in a really happy light."
Rezone Mt. Gretna Forest Land Meets with Questions, Concerns &
news that approximately 90 acres of forested land opposite Mt. Gretna
Heights and the Campmeeting might be rezoned
to permit construction of added single-family homes and perhaps open
the possibility someday for townhouses has stirred questions, dismay
and, in some quarters, strong opposition throughout Mt. Gretna.
by Butler Road on the east, the tract lies between Route 117 and Old
Mine Road in West Cornwall Township.
Township planning commission member and Mt. Gretna resident Ben Wiley
points to the green, red and yellow areas that could be
land is presently zoned as Residential Forest, which would allow
perhaps as many as 78 homes on the site. Land owners are requesting
that 65.5 acres located north of the Rail Trail be rezoned as R-1 and
the remaining 25 acres that lie south of the trail be rezoned as R-2.
If their requests are granted, some residents worry that many more
dwellings could be built, especially on the 25-acre site rezoned as
days after the rezoning request was filed, a group opposing the change
began organizing. A July 19 meeting at a private home brought out
residents from nearly every sector of greater Mt. Gretna, so many that
the hosts were compelled to discourage attendance because of limited
seating. To accommodate larger groups, a future session is planned Aug.
9 at 7:00 pm in the Mt. Gretna Heights Community Building.
ultimate decisions will rest with the supervisors of West Cornwall
Township, those opposing the request say the potential consequences
could adversely alter the character of Mt. Gretna, which many feel is
--among communities of similar size throughout America -- rarely
matched in terms of its historical, environmental, recreational and
cultural offerings. Additional concerns relate to increased traffic and
parking problems, especially during the summertime when overflow
parking along Route 117 is already a safety concern.
how many dwellings could be built on the site? It depends on what factors
are included in the estimates. At a township planning commission
meeting June 22, landscape architect Michael L. Saxinger,
representing principal landowner Eastern Enterprises, Inc., which owns
approximately 70 acres, pointed out that topography, flood plains and
environmental concerns would limit the number that could be built. He
added that an initial sketch plan his firm developed showed that as
many as 80 to 85 dwellings, including townhomes and single-family
homes, were possible on the usable land that his client owns.
however, fear the number of dwellings might be much greater.
Encampment Building, erected in 1890, on the site where rezoning that
could permit multifamily housing has been requested. The oldest
building in Mt. Gretna, it is now used as a skating rink.
the zoning is changed, any plans they say they have doesn't
matter," says Evelyn Koppel, a Mt. Gretna resident who is among
those challenging the rezoning plan. "We have to focus on what the
zoning allows and assume that if they're given permission, it would
and others have organized a committee to oppose any zoning change for
the tract. "We want people to know that if they are
interested in joining our effort they can email their name, address and
email address to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll put them in our
group notification list. We will keep them informed and let them know
what they can do to help. We're gathering supporters and building a
long group email list to keep people on top of this. We're also asking
that everybody write to the West Cornwall Township
Supervisors and the West Cornwall
Township Planning Commission (WCTWP@comcast.net), asking to receive email
updates on any action taken on this issue. The township has agreed to
do that so we'll know of any public meetings, votes and the minutes of
their meetings. We should all be informed, and we should attend every
meeting on this topic."
West Cornwall Township Planning Commission has invited "as many
affected parties who want to be heard" to their Aug. 25 meeting,
says commission member Ben Wiley, a Campmeeting
resident. The commission's meetings start at 7:30 pm at the township
office, 73 S. Zinns Mill Rd.
their June 22 session, the township planners tabled the rezoning
request to allow more time to study the matter. On the recommendation
of township consulting engineer Jeff Steckbeck,
they opted to seek comment on this and other pending zoning matters from
Michelle Brummer of the Harrisburg office of
Gannet Fleming, a consultant now developing a regional comprehensive
plan for several municipalities in the Cornwall-Lebanon School
District. Her recommendations are expected to play a key, though not
decisive, role in influencing the township supervisors' ultimate vote. Steckbeck predicted that the supervisors' vote was
unlikely to come before sometime late next winter or early
Spurred by growing interest in America's cultural
National trail links Chautauqua communities across U.S.
The Chautauqua Trail was
officially launched last month. It's a national trail that links Mt.
Gretna to13 other communities across the United States that share a
common heritage. Established by the Chautauqua Network, which has as
its mission to help everyone develop intellectually, spiritually,
emotionally and physically to their fullest potential, the trail is
part of a strategic initiative to promote the 21st century Chautauqua
Movement and articulate its value in today's society, according to its new website.
Mt. Gretna resident Kathy Snavely, elected
last year as Chautauqua Network secretary, says the group is
well-funded and has the resources it needs to carry out its mission.
She notes that many Americans today now plan their vacations around an
interest in history. Mt. Gretna is one of more than 200 chautauquas established in this country during the
late 1800s and among the few that remain.
The new Chautauquatrail.com website provides "an excellent
opportunity to learn more about the Chautauqua Movement and
contemporary Chautauqua communities... each unique in its own right but
[sharing] a common goal of providing opportunities for personal growth,
rest and renewal," said Chautauqua Network president Frank Gwalthney. He believes that each of those
communities is "uniquely positioned" to take advantage of the
resurgent interest in America's cultural heritage.
anybody knows how to keep warm on cold nights, it's former Mt. Gretnan Kim Miller Gardner, now living in St. Paul,
Minn., where last winter nighttime temperatures dropped to 22
moved there a few years ago, Kim's applied her talents to quiltmaking and recently returned with a 77"
by 100" quilt based on the pattern, "Summer Haven." She
donated it to the Mt. Gretna Fire Company volunteers for a raffle
be ongoing for the next few months.
tickets are $5 each or three for $10. All funds go to the fire company, which is in the final
push to hit their $400,000 fundraising goal. (They are, by the way,
getting close to the finish line.)
Although Kim (left) did
most of the work, she credits her niece, Amanda Campbell of Bath,
Maine, for teaching her how to use a longarm
Amanda, who writes an
informative blog for Mariner's
Compass Quilt Shop in Bath, also donated the
quilt backing, batting and quilting thread.
Working together, Kim and
Amanda make a statement.
The annual tour of homes, cottages
A Treat for Visitors... and Those Who Yearn to Live Here
a clue to how Mt. Gretnans first discovered
their homes and cottages, look no further than the annual tour of
homes, cottages and gardens.
be sure, the Art Show, Jigger Shop, lake and offerings at the Playhouse
all play a part. But "what usually causes the phones to ring in
real estate offices is the house tour," says Rhoda Long of tour
sponsor Brownstone Real Estate.
in its 27th year, the tour always takes place the first Saturday in
August, from 10 am to 5 pm. It's an event often cited in The New
York Times annual roundup of recommended house tours for
states. This year, it also won a spot in Victorian Homes magazine's list of "things to do, places
to go, and exhibits to see in the world of Victorian art and
possible by homeowners who graciously open their cottages and homes to
appreciative and respectful visitors (dusting off their shoes at the
front door is a time-honored tradition), the tour benefits Music at
Gretna, one of the nation's premiere music festivals.
Complete descriptions of
this year's 13 Tour Stops appear online. They include: Bellisimo, in Mt. Gretna's Campmeeting, where owner Geri Benseman
loves her "5-star community" and claw foot tub, Just a
Cottage Small (a Chautauqua cottage named for
A Sense of Place garden
1926 Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians 78
"the least-changed cottage" in Mt. Gretna, and A Sense of
Place, a Timber Hills garden that rekindles childhood memories and
helps preserve wildlife.
stops on the tour include:
A Cottage to Build a Dream On, Kirkwood and Mimi's
Maison in the Campmeeting;
the Lenington Cottage and the Mt.
Gretna Historical Society in the Chautauqua; 96 Birch Avenue,
the Community Building and the Mt. Gretna Inn in Mt.
Gretna Heights; and the Honeychurch
Residence in the Village Cove section of Timber Hills.
they were right around the corner
Solie and Jared Nourse
both were born in Milwaukee, both graduated from high schools there in
1957, and both were part of a long-range study of 10,317 men and women by
the University of Wisconsin. But, until recently, neither realized the
other also lives around the corner in the Campmeeting,
625 miles from home.
first clue came when a researcher hinted to Sharon that another study
participant was a neighbor. Because the longitudinal research project
delves into careers, marriages, lifestyles, health issues and other
personal details, however, researchers must keep names confidential. So
Sharon asked the Mt. Gretna Newsletter for help in tracking down
her fellow Wisconsinite.
after our July issue was out, Jared's wife Gail noticed the article and
called it to his attention. Sharon, it turned out, lives around the
corner from the Nourse cottage on Markwood Avenue.
a reunion on Sharon's porch, the two met, laughed and even sang a few
bars of that Blatz Beer jingle popular 54
years ago, "I'm from Milwaukee and I ought to know..." Now,
Cicada Festival Tickets Still Available for Some (But
Not All) Shows
Yes, you can still get tickets to Cicada Festival performances this
month, even though the final concert, Phil Dirt and the Dozers, Aug. 16
has been sold out for weeks.
Promoter Ceylon Leitzel says he's anxious for
local audiences to hear the Teen Challenge Men's Chorus Monday, Aug. 8. "These
14 men from Teen Challenge in Rehrersburg,
Pa. perform contemporary Christian music and familiar tunes with
Christian-based lyrics," he says. Tickets for this performance
only are $5. Other shows in the all-volunteer Cicada series are $12
Another of Ceylon's favorites is Eddie Bruce, who'll salute Tony Bennett
on the occasion of his 85th birthday Wednesday, Aug. 10.
Also on tap are the Bronx Wanderers Tuesday, Aug. 9 and Johnny Angel, and The Halos Thursday, Aug. 11.
"Non-stop action from this group of singers, dancers and musicians
from Pittsburgh," says Ceylon. On Monday, Aug. 15, the festival
presents Hotel California, which is nearing sell-out
status. Telephone 964-2046 for tickets.
Surprise hits of the summer
season? Add Bill Gifford's Friday
morning Mt. Gretna Writer's Series to the list. Last week, Christopher
McDougall (above), author of the national bestseller "Born to
Run," attracted a standing-room-only crowd at the Hall of
Still to come are former Wall Street Journal features editor Ken
Wells (Aug. 5), whose "The Good Pirates of the Forgotten
Bayous" won the Harry Chapin Book Award, Steve Volk (Aug. 12), author of
"Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain
Away the Unexplainable -- and Couldn't," and Chet Williamson
(Aug. 19), author of more than 20 books including a local favorite,
"Pennsylvania Dutch Night Before Christmas." All sessions
start at 10:00 am.
Picky buyers? Yes, but sometimes with cash
At the right
price, properties can sell quickly
is this really a good time to buy a home? An article in last month's
idea-packed Bottom Line/Personal newsletter summed up the
pluses: Prices are low, you can lock in great interest rates,
homebuilding has dropped to its lowest ebb, and in many areas of the
country owning is now cheaper than renting.
how do these national trends play out in Mt. Gretna?
be sure, Mt. Gretna is not the USA. Prices are generally a bit
higher here. And
price declines haven't been as
regardless of national trends, it's often hard to draw conclusions from
the modest database. Even in boom times, fewer than 30 homes in Mt.
Gretna typically change owners during the course of a single
more than 25 years of reading the real estate tea leaves have given Mt. Gretna Realty's Fred Schaeffer (inset,
right) a knack for interpreting faint signals with the deft touch of a
cardiologist listening to heartbeats.
32 homes are on the market, but nearly half of them are priced at
$300,000 and up -- a category that has seen only eight sales here since
2009.What's selling are homes in the $250,000 and under sector, says
Fred. Thirteen of them have already sold in 2011, some in as little as
buyers? It would seem so. Mt. Gretna homes bring higher
per-square-foot-prices (up to $185 per sq. ft. vs. $100 per sq. ft. in
communities just a few miles away). Moreover, says Fred, Mt. Gretna
homes tend to hold their value. Therefore, Mt. Gretna real estate is a
better place to make an investment, he believes.
date, 18 Mt. Gretna homes have already sold this year. That compares
with a total of 22 in all of 2010 and 18 in 2009. (The "boom
years" of 2008 and 2007 saw a total of 25 and 27 home sales,
down and the sales numbers look like this:
Under $200,000: 8 sold year-to-date; 6 in 2010 & 2009; 5 in
2008; 6 in 2007.
$200,000-$300,000: 9 year-to-date; 13 in 2010; 8 in 2009 & 2008;
11 in 2007.
$300,000-$400,000: 1 year-to-date; 3 in 2010; 4 in 2009; 11 in 2008 and
8 in 2007.
$400,000-$500,000: None sold in the past three years; one in 2008 and
two in 2007.
it too early to draw conclusions for the entire year? Perhaps not,
since the bulk of home sales traditionally
take place in the first six
Rhoda Long (inset, left) of Brownstone Real Estate, thinks the next few weeks
could see a sudden spurt.
the house tour, our phones usually start to ring," she says.
"Buyers are extremely picky. They want top quality for bottom
dollar. They're watching HGTV and reading that nationally prices are
dropping, dropping, dropping. We're telling sellers they have to adjust
their prices to the market if they really want to sell. And they have
to make repairs and have everything in top shape," she emphasizes.
But people are looking and often have cash, she finds. "We've had
some sales of homes that were on the market two or three days. Some of
them were to people who had been looking for years. Finally they said,
'Prices are where they need to be, and I'm not going to wait any
longer.' And when the right house came on the market, they
that mean for buyers and sellers in Mt. Gretna? Perhaps Bottom
Line/Personal, with its optimistic headline "Now is the Time
to Buy a House," may be right on the money.
Echoes of History in a Quiet and Unique Observance:
of Campmeeting Grove Coming Aug. 20
is a glow from yesteryear. A quiet, singular tradition of the Campmeeting, one that harkens back to the days
when youngsters finishing up their studies at church summer camp
strolled through the streets, lanes and byways of the historic Campmeeting, singing hymns they had learned in
camp. The rite traces its origins back to the 1930s and '40s. But until
it was revived by Campmeeting resident Irene Rollman in 2009, the observance had been all but
who spent her childhood years in the Campmeeting
but acknowledges that she has no first-hand memories of the celebration
and that precise details of its early history are missing, nevertheless
sparked its revival. Inspired by similar events carried out elsewhere
around the country, including a grand illumination observed by the Campmeeting Association of Martha's Vineyard, she
and others who helped revive the tradition hope to preserve its
religious heritage. Hence the name, "Illumination of the
Grove," to distinguish it from other observances and adhere to the
quiet tenor of the Mt. Gretna Campmeeting.
the observance a few years ago, Irene said, "I don't want to
mislead anyone. We don't have written accounts of how the observance
was carried out 70 or 80 years ago. Much of what we do is based on the
way we suppose it might have been. Residents sat on their porches and
listened to the children singing hymns they had learned at church camp
as the camping season came to an end." As a gesture of their
appreciation, they illuminated their porches with what were called
Chinese lanterns as campers circulated through the Campmeeting.
Photos: Madelaine Gray
year's event, sponsored by the Mt. Gretna Community Library, begins at
8 pm on Saturday, Aug. 20 with self-guided walks through the historical
Campmeeting. Visitors are encouraged to bring
flashlights and battery-powered lanterns as they stroll through the Campmeeting Grove.
Lancaster artist Liz Hess has added another Mt.
Gretna painting to her growing collection of scenes from around the
world, all accented by her trademark red umbrella.
completed this work last month after spending time here "being
artistically inspired" by what has become Mt. Gretna's own
distinctive trademark, the rows upon rows of illuminated porches that
captivated visitors during last month's Grand Illumination.
right, Ms. Hess's latest work, a pastel original which
premieres at her Prince Street gallery on
Lancaster's First Friday (Aug. 5). She introduced her first Mt.
Gretna umbrella scene in January 2010 and has another one in the works.
Before becoming a full-time artist, Ms. Hess spent eight years in
mission work in Sweden. Now a frequent visitor to Mt. Gretna, she was
here last month both to paint and to appear in a video that will show
this globe-trotting artist at work.
Time to Sever Ties to South Londonderry Township?
everybody he's talked to thinks that Jack Heisley
has a good idea: Merge the communities of Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge into Mt. Gretna
74-year-old insurance broker, who's lived on Village Lane for the past
15 years, says he's had enough of paying top tax rates and
"getting almost nothing in return, especially when you compare us
don't have municipal water. Our sanitary sewer is contracted
through the Mt. Gretna Authority.
Snow removal is contracted with Mt. Gretna Borough. South Londonderry
can't provide the police coverage that our neighbors enjoy from
Cornwall Police Department. And very few of us have children using
their schools," he says.
much are we paying, and what are we getting in return? Those are
questions I'd like to have answered," says Heisley,
who says the tipping point came when South Londonderry officials
recently voted to pay $500,000 for land to build a park that no one in
the three local neighborhoods is ever likely to use.
wants to talk with people willing to explore the possibilities,
particularly people with legal and accounting expertise. "The
first step is to get together and talk about the plusses and
minuses," he says. If you'd like to join in the conversation, call
him at 964-1994 or email email@example.com He plans to hold a meeting
on the topic early in September.
How to Cool Off on a Hot
August Night? Come
on down to the tennis courts along Rte. 117. The Mt. Gretna annual
tennis tournament got underway this past weekend with some of the top
men's competitors from throughout Lebanon County on hand. The matches
until probably Aug. 7, depending
on the weather.
also a bountiful supply of food, courtesy of some of the best cooks in
Mt. Gretna. Meatloaf sandwiches are a specialty, but you can also find
homemade casseroles, cakes and pies available. Mike Rohrbach,
a Lebanon elementary school teacher with family ties to Mt. Gretna (his
grandparents Bob and Betty Mason lived on Timber Road for 30 years) is
taking over the tournament for 84-year-old Stan Templin, who ran the
series since 1966. Far and away, it's the best tennis you're
likely to find in Lebanon County all year long. So is the meatloaf.
Frenock, Gretna Theatre's producing
director, lauded in a Lancaster Newspapers article last week by entertainment
critic Jane Holahan, whose article, "The
Little Theater That Could," credits Larry with a stunning
turnaround. He came on board in 2006 with "a commitment to
rebuilding the theater's reputation," wrote Ms. Holahan, "and he's been doing just that."
The theater "finished up its 84th season on a high note," she
said, "with a wonderful production of 'Funny Girl'."
Former Mt. Gretna Heights resident Wendy Ulmer will
be at Gretna Emporium this month for a book signing.
makes the occasion extra special? It's for the paperback edition of her
first book that honors the memory of her father, Bill Uhler, who, with his wife Ruth, lived in the
Heights 40 years. He was an artist and also a former Mt. Gretna Art
Show exhibitor. She's also the sister of Kim Miller Gardner (see
"Blanket Statement," above).
now lives in Maine and will sign copies of "A Campfire for Cowboy
Billy" from 11 a.m. to 2 pm Saturday, Aug. 6,
and from 4 to 7 pm Sunday, Aug. 7.
up an easel next to canoes alongside the lake on a sunny morning last
month, Jean Zaun recalled the ties to
her surroundings: "Mt. Gretna ingrains itself in you and becomes a
part of who you are," says Jean, granddaughter of early Mt. Gretna
cottage owners Nora and William Wertz,
who also ran the Karmel Korn
Shop on Cumberland Street in Lebanon (now Wertz Candies).
school girl whose relatives owned a candy shop? "I had many
friends," she admits, "but the caramel corn may have had a
lot to do with that." A 1983-84 Art Show exhibitor, Jean confines
her en plein air paintings to private
galleries, including her
own. "I like having my
work shown under stable lighting conditions. It's a lot less hassle
showing at a gallery, but then they take 40%, too," she says. Now
showing at the Garth Gallery in Columbia,
has a show coming in February at Red Raven Art on Lancaster's Gallery
Row. She's also been featured in
Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's World and B
magazines and has appeared with her
chocolate sculptures on The Food Channel and other television shows.
many links to Mt. Gretna also include Esther and George Jackson
("my adopted aunt and uncle"), art patron Gary Schaeffer,
fellow musician (Jean also plays flute) Dale Dourte,
and girlhood friend Connie Buck. When she's not at the lake she
sometimes comes to paint and relax at the frog pond in Mt. Gretna
Heights. Painting outdoors "is a wonderful way to embellish yourself in nature," she says. "If you're
fortunate enough to have art in your life, you're never bored."
Hostetter (inset, far left) leads the Leadership
Lebanon Valley 2011 class on a tour of Mt. Gretna last month. Sponsored
by the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce to help identify and develop
people with potential for future leadership roles in all phases of
community life, the 11-month program includes a "heritage and
culture day" to familiarize class members with the historical,
architectural, cultural and recreational assets of area communities.
Chamber director Larry Bowman, a Campmeeting
resident, says comments he heard from
class members following their tour were "excellent, and they
wanted to learn and experience more about Mt. Gretna."
Ideas, Old Computers & New Volunteers
A Computer Lab at Church?
It's Coming Next Summer
New ideas are perking all the
time at the Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church.
latest is a computer lab being planned for next summer.
McDonald, who arrived in Mt. Gretna two years ago, plans to coordinate
the effort, which will include computer classes and maybe even laptop
clinics so people can bring in their own machines. She needs three
people willing to donate their used computers and such things as
printers, a projector and networking equipment.
Anna and daughter
Brin, 5 months
ideas for classes (such topics as Facebook,
online shopping, how to pay bills safely, create a website and Google
finally, volunteers who can be there for weekday hours to allow anyone
in the community to come in for assistance, classes and maybe even
laptop clinics so people can ask questions using their own computers.
make sure things run well, we'll need to limit the age of donated
machines to five years at the most," she says. If you're not sure
whether your equipment would qualify, ask Anna with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
hopes to open the lab when the season starts next year on Memorial Day
weekend. Anna, who works for a mathematical software company from her
home, formerly taught a computer class at the Lancaster Public Library.
"I really miss sharing that information," she says, "and
I'm excited about having a way for people to remain connected here
among the trees."
You won't have to wait until
the Art Show to see the latest works of
two Mt. Gretna artists.
Mary Kopala and David Adams, who for years
divided their time between New York City, Bucks County and Mt. Gretna,
now find they can spend more time at their Campmeeting
That means more time for art and exhibits like the one coming up Aug. 5
a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Lebanon Valley Council of the Arts
on Willow Street in Lebanon.
a former psychologist and college professor. Dave started out to be an
astronomer but became a college administrator. Now retired, they enjoy
working with their art -- she with mixed media drawings inspired by
travels to Provence, he with High Dynamic Range photographs that put
familiar Mt. Gretna subjects in a new light. The exhibit continues through
Dale Grundon Memorial Scholarship added to
the Mt. Gretna Arts Council's college scholarship program. Honoring the
photographer, stained glass artisan, raconteur and railroad-cap-wearing
Dale who loved Mt. Gretna and served the council and many other groups,
the award will go to a student majoring in photography. It is one of
five scholarships now funded through the Arts Council's Summer
Premiere, which also underwrites Summer Calendar expenses not covered
Nancy Besch (inset, right) has been
coordinating services -- handling such things as guest ministers, vocal
and instrumental musicians, preparing
the worship services, printing
the bulletins -- and other details as Chancellor of the Pennsylvania
Chautauqua Sunday 10:00 am worship services in the Playhouse.
has plenty of help. Mary Ellen Kinch has been
pianist and accompanist every Sunday for more than two decades, Terry Schoeneck and Jim Mummert
provide plants and flowers for the services,
and many volunteers arrange for ushers, help with the audio system,
present the flowers and clear the stage following every service. The
flowers in this picture were for a special memorial service the
Chautauqua held for Dale Grundon last
religious services are also conducted during the summer at 10:00 am in
the Tabernacle by the Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church. Located on
Fourth Street and Boehm Avenue in the Campmeeting,
the church also provides an 8:00 am indoor service in the
Block Party, a Campmeeting tradition that
goes back at least 11 years and honors the motto, "Once a
neighbor, always a neighbor." Organized by Kelly Weaber, Mark Keefer, Linda Campbell and Jess and
Karen Henry last week, the party was revived after a brief hiatus a few
years ago. Participants
wore T-shirts commemorating the day as well as parties of years past.
They also shared laughs, viewed old photos, feasted on grilled food,
sampled varied covered dishes, and
applauded the music of Rob Marquette and Scott Galbraith. When someone streched the original block party banner across the
street, that signaled this year's July 30 party was officially
underway. And before everyone scattered, plans for next year's
celebration were already churning.
If you're restoring an older
home and want to know how to
also protect historic trees, arborist John Brewer will have answers at
a Friday, Sept. 2 program at 7:30 pm at the Hall of Philosophy. His
clients include Longwood Gardens and Milton Hershey School. Brewer says
he'll answer questions and give tips on special precautions to take
during historic renovations. The offering is part of a Mt. Gretna Area
Historical Society series.
Questions Readers Ask
 I've heard that 90% of the
trees will be cut down on the stretch of woods between Route 117 and
Butler Rd. This will be done to hook up the five homes on Route 117 to
new sanitary sewer lines. Erosion and other environmental problems will
probably ensue. This will be done by the township between August 2011
and April 2012. Imagine how that will look. How many residents
know about this?
<> We asked West
Cornwall Township consulting engineer Jeff Steckbeck
about that. He replied: "A sewer main will be installed along
Route 117 for a distance of approximately 2,000 feet to the east of
Butler Road as part of a much larger project. The 12-month
contract began in February
and will not be totally complete until early 2012. I do not
expect the Route 117 lines to be installed until the autumn of this
year, at the earliest. The exact location of the sewer lines has not
yet been determined. We are applying for a PennDOT
permit to locate the line along the edge of the shoulder of the
road. If that permit is issued, as I expect, tree disturbance
would be limited. The statement '90% of the trees will be cut down' is
not true. The sewer authority and my firm are sensitive to beauty and
nature in the Mt. Gretna area. We are attempting, whenever
possible, to avoid disturbance of habitat or removal of trees.
Unfortunately, some habitat and tree removal will be necessary but
minimized to the maximum extent possible in this DEP and EPA mandated
sewer project, which is driven by the Chesapeake Bay Initiative."
I have quite a few lightly
handled books that I could part with. Could the library use them?
It's a thoughtful (and appreciated) offer. Unfortunately, the library is
currently unable to accept books, even those which are "lightly
used." So many books are offered each year that the library
volunteers usually must dispose of them for reasons of space, lack of
long-term storage options, mold or other defects. Nevertheless, they
appreciate the expression of support that prompts your question and
hope everyone will continue to contribute their time, interest and
financial support to the library's endeavors throughout the year.
Donations may be mailed to Mt. Gretna Library, c/o Debbie Clemens, P.O.
Box 430, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
here's an alternative idea: The Mt. Gretna Fire Company each year
sponsors a book sale in June. They set up a book drop-off at the fire
hall the first Saturday in June, a week before the book sale begins and
welcome your contributions. Make a note of it on your 2012 calendar.
I visited Mt. Gretna last summer, and there was a vendor stand,
unattended, that had baskets of peaches and wineberry
jam. I bought quite a few of the jars but have no idea of when they may
be setting out their wares again. Since I live in Philadelphia, do you
know how to contact them or if anyone else who makes wineberry jam may be selling it again? I understand
wineberries grow all over the Mt. Gretna
<> Janet Rudd, who runs the
stand near the waterfall along Route 117 with her two sons (as an
educational project for her eldest son to raise money for a Boy Scout
trip to Philmont), says that although the wineberry season is nearly over, they'll reserve
some wineberry jam for you. Janet and her
family like to pick various fruits and generally have raspberry,
blackberry, peach, cherry, strawberry and blueberry jams available. She
will be selling peaches (picked from a friend's local orchard) and her
jams on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays while supplies last. If you
want to be sure they'll have some on the day you come, email her at email@example.com, and she'll make sure that
you receive what you want, even if they are not open that day. If the
weather cooperates, she hopes to keep the stand open through August and
into September with a fresh supply of peaches and raspberries.
I last spoke with Helen Carpenter and Nancy and Marlin Seiders in 1992 while doing genealogical research
on Helen's grandfather, my great-grandfather's brother. During a visit
to Mt. Gretna, I met Marlin but later lost contact with him and Helen.
They have all now passed away. I am interested in any information that
Marlin may have collected and would like to make contact with a family
member familiar with his research or who has access to early family
photos. I am also interested in making contact with anyone from Helen's
side of the family. When this project is completed, I would glady share my information with their families. Eric
Christenson, 145 Terrace Court, Level Green, PA 15085. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope a reader or two will see your request and respond promptly.
Marlin Seiders occupies a special place in
the traditions of this community, for it was he who captured its essence,"Mt. Gretna.
. . not a place, but a spirit" which appears on the masthead of
Jeanette Barnes (1919-2011)
with her sister Edna, in the ranks of Mt. Gretna's legendary figures,
she rose to icon status, one of those always fastidiously dressed,
carefully groomed and elegant women whose graceful appearance set a
was one of the two "Barnes Sisters," summer residents whose
meticulous Campmeeting cottage became so
exemplary that it served as the cover illustration for the Mt. Gretna
Summer Calendar in a painting done by Mt. Gretna artist Eva Bender.
sister Edna, a few years older, continues to live at Masonic Village in
Elizabethtown, the town where they were born, reared and educated.
was a graduate of the local high school and Elizabethtown College. She
also attended the University of Denver. For 37 years she taught school
in Elizabethtown and was a talented musician, a cellist with three
local symphony orchestras including the Harrisburg Symphony, where she
was a performer for more than four decades. She also had taught school
in Japan, Germany and Panama. During the many summers she spent here, she became one of this community's most
active members. She was a Gretna Theatre board member, regularly
attended the Chautauqua Sunday services in the Playhouse and was a
member of the Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society. A complete obituary
& Other Stuff to Post on
Bluegrass Monday Nights at La Cigale...
and First Sundays (Aug. 7) at the Gov. Dick Nature Center. Every Monday
around 6:30 pm. First Sunday Bluegrass jams begin at 2 pm; beginner
sessions at 1 pm.
Tuesday, Aug. 2:
Grandest National Night Out of them all... a Cornwall
extravaganza, with real helicopters, the Hershey Kissmobile,
an antique police car, burgers, hot dogs, sno
cones and root beer floats. You won't believe your eyes. 5 to 9 pm. On Alden
Wednesday, Aug. 3:
Luncheon, 12 Noon,
Hall of Philosophy. Speaker Alletta
Schadler, who became in 1969 the first woman
to head a county extension service in Pennsylvania, is credited with
being among the first "to recognize the issues related to land
use" according to a 2010 Hidden Heroes nomination by the Lebanon
County Commission for Women.
Saturday, Aug. 13:
"Mama Mia," Family Movie Night at the
Tabernacle, complete with free popcorn! Sponsored by Timber
Hills residents, who invite one and all. 8:00 pm. Please bring
snacks and drinks to share.
Saturday, Aug. 27
Annual Hike to the Cardinal Flowers, a walk the late Dale Grundon had conducted, led this year by Evelyn
Koppel and Sid Hostetter. "We just
wanted to keep the tradition alive," says Evelyn. Starting at 9:30
am, from the bridge opposite the pizzeria.
Saturday, Aug. 27
Music Under the Stars. Big band music, better than a
tailgate party plus you can bring a picnic basket, purchase wine, dance
with friends, do something out of the ordinary... under the stars, by
the lake, everything under cover if it rains. Starts 7:30 pm.
Advance tickets $18 (304-0248), $20 at door. Proceeds benefit local
Tom Meredith's Bible Festival Picks:
Count on Tom for impeccable "don't miss it"
suggestions for the Mt. Gretna Bible Festival. His favorites this
month: popular Christian motivational speaker Tony Campolo,
Wednesday, Aug. 24; the Susquehanna Chorale, Sunday Aug. 21; and
Quintessentially Brass Sunday, Aug. 28 all starting at 7:00 pm. Plus,
this Saturday at 10:00 am, a special family program: Jack Hubley with his Birds of Prey.
And keep in mind: The Annual Community Picnic Sept. 3 at 4:00 pm.
Hall of Philosophy. Bring a covered dish to share.
Everyone invited. Reservations: 964-1830.
Newsletter: Winner of Constant Contact 2010 All-Star Award