Mt. Gretna Newsletter

Mt. Gretna, Pa. "Not a place, but a spirit."   Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)

No. 122                                                                                                                      September 1, 2011

It is the time of year when the summer people start to pack up, when an unaccustomed morning chill reminds year-rounders of what lies ahead, when the tempo of a rewarding summer slips back into 3/4 time.  We are approaching, but not quite there yet, a time that many believe is the grandest season, when fall reveals its grandeur. No, we're not yet there, but as Mt. Gretna Borough crewman Joey Wise once remarked, in a statement that serves to countenance his surname, "September is when we get our town back."

A Chairman's Gentle Pledge Helps Allay Rezoning Apprehensions

It was a session called to dispel rumors, quell unrest and stem what the township's attorney termed " a deluge of public records requests" -- all in response to a July 1, 2011 petition to rezone 90.5 acres of forest land located smack in the heart of Mt. Gretna.  

Yet the Aug. 22 special meeting of the West Cornwall Township supervisors soon took on the flavor of an old-fashioned town meeting, Norman Rockwell style.

Helping turn the session from a confrontation to something approaching a conversation was the chairman himself. Russell Gibble, a veteran of "30 years in the township business," a reliable contractor respected for keeping his word, and a man who drives a 48-year-old pickup -- which shows, he says, "that I like old things."   

Without taking sides or tipping his hand on how he might vote, he nevertheless conveyed subtle reassurances to those who fear Mt. Gretna's future hangs in the balance.

Gibble told the audience of some 250 persons who had squeezed into the standing-room-only Quentin Fire Hall that he admires the passion Mt. Gretnans have for their community. He also said he reads their letters and takes all their phone calls, even when he's up on a 45-ft. ladder repairing roofs, as had happened the week before.  He added for good measure that he himself usually skates four times each week in Mt. Gretna's oldest building, which houses the county's only roller rink and which could be threatened if the requested rezoning wins approval.

Helping further reduce apprehensions was a welcomed disclosure by township engineer Jeff Steckbeck. He said the tract affected by the rezoning request was not, in fact, one that long-range planning consultant Michelle Brummer had thus far identified as needing to be changed. "The Future Land Use Map, which is now in draft form, still shows that tract as Residential Forest," he said. (The rezoning petition is for R1 and R2, which -- if approved -- could mean more single family homes and townhouses or cluster housing could be built on the site.)

Then there was the statement of Marla Pitt, a Mt. Gretnan who now makes it a point to attend regional comprehensive planning meetings and urges others to do likewise. She discovered in one of those sessions that Lebanon County now has "enough land already designated as R1 and R2 to take care of projected population increases for the next 10 years," she said. Taken together, those ingredients seemed to lift the spirits of most who had come to register their opposition to the rezoning proposal.   Yet, despite what many considered "hopeful signs," doubts lingered during the hour-long session. Chairman Gibble and his team set about to air those concerns.

Campmeeting resident Madelaine Gray, among the first to speak, warned about the unintended consequences of revised zoning. It could mean, she said, the end of the skating rink, which is not only Mt. Gretna's oldest building but also "a beloved recreational outlet for Lebanon school children."

Pat Pinsler, another Mt. Gretnan, wondered how developers could provide public water to a townhouse development.

Evelyn Koppel, of Timber Hills, wanted to know "if the supervisors would be interested in finding out what the opinion of this audience is?"  The chairman, with a twinkle in his eye, replied, "I think I already know what the opinion is."

Tim Nieman, an attorney who lives in Mt. Gretna Heights, pressed the officials to comment on whether plans might be afoot to someday force residents of the Heights, Stoberdale and Campmeeting to switch their sanitary sewer service from the Mt. Gretna Authority to West Cornwall Township. Chairman Gibble, conferring with the township engineer and solicitor by his side, responded with carefully measured words: "That's all a rumor. At this time, I can say it's not going to happen."

Following up on questions about how a pumping station that was originally planned to be located along the rail trail was switched to a site 800 feet downhill, along Mt. Gretna's main entryway on Route 117, realtor Fred Schaeffer asked if consideration might be given to make it fit in with the architecture of Mt. Gretna. Specifically, he asked whether it would look like one recently erected on Reigerts Lane, which Schaeffer said "looks like a prison."

The new Reigerts Lane Pumping Station. Officials say Mt. Gretna's will be smaller with dark green fiberglass siding. They also hope to use green chain link fencing without barbed wire and a row of shrubbery in front.

Engineer Steckbeck replied that the Route 117 facility would be a 9' x 12' dark green fiberglass hut and "wouldn't look anything like Reigerts Lane."  

In a conversation this week, he later explained that the hut would have a visible generator and be surrounded by an 18' x 31' chain link fence, which he hoped to have changed to green vinyl coated fencing without barbed wire and a row of screen shrubbery in front. "We are sensitive to the community's concerns," he said. (The West Cornwall Sewer Authority meets next Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 7 pm in the township's 73 Zinns Mill Rd. office.)     

Steckbeck told the audience the pumping station was relocated because bids for the $2.4 million sewer project had come in $300,000 lower than expected. Faced with a "use it or lose it" windfall that would allow the sewer authority to extend the pipeline and pick up five additional homeowners who had been promised sewer service in 1992, officials opted to extend the sewer line to the lowest point at the bottom of the hill, near Butler Road and Route 117.

As the session neared its conclusion, Mine Road resident James Seltzer, who owns 10 acres adjacent to the tract requested for rezoning, expressed a concern about forests, carbon sequestration and global warming. "We know that forest land should be preserved," he said, "but we don't treat it the way we treat agricultural land, which we pay farmers to preserve forever. Yet forests have an intrinsic value, and it would seem that we should start treating forests for their intrinsic value of remaining forests." His 30-second comment, one of the briefest remarks of the evening, received the most sustained applause.

When the last members of the audience finally left the auditorium, it was chairman Gibble who locked up the building and, as he turned the key, remarked to a departing Mt. Gretnan, "I hope everybody knows that we're listening."

It was a reassuring resonance to those who heard it and placed their confidence in the chairman. Even more, for those who love Mt. Gretna,  it was a final brush stroke, one that Rockwell himself might have liked. 



Why Mt. Gretna's Outdoor Art Show Survives. . . and Thrives
By the time Wall Street had bounced through its first three weeks of August's stomach-churning cycle, the Outdoor Art Show bounded into Mt. Gretna, arriving amid delightful signs that the world wasn't quite ready to end.
Opening their wallets with what could almost be described as valiant attempts to perk up the economy single handedly, 12,258 art show patrons strolled through the gates cheerful, optimistic and willing to hold up their end of the bargain.
True, their numbers were off 40% from the record-setting

For art show patrons, a chance to meet the people who created the works that will shape their environments.

For art show patrons, a rare opportunity to meet those whose works help shape the environments of their homes.

                                                                             Photos: Bill Shoals  

year of 2000, when 19,854 entered the show. Yet this year's crowd was up, if only modestly, from last year, reversing a trend that outdoor exhibits across the nation have experienced. And it did that despite threatening skies most of Sunday, which finally erupted in a late afternoon deluge that sent patrons and presenters alike scurrying to the exits.
How to measure success? The best proof lies not in the numbers but on the faces of exhibiting artists, including those who stayed over until Monday to pack up and head home.
Photographer Madelaine Gray, who lives in the Campmeeting, reported that Saturday's sales of her bucolic, stress-dissolving scenes from the lavender fields of Provence and other European and American locales (including Mt. Gretna) had produced greater revenues in a single day than she had ever experienced in any exhibit anywhere in the country.
Her booth neighbor, a painter, sold two $2,300 paintings back-to-back early on Sunday morning. And a couple on Pennsylvania Avenue, making their first visit to Mt. Gretna, said their two-day sales for the weekend -- of assorted aromatherapy items averaging $7 each -- nudged against the $3,500 mark by the time their booth had closed late Sunday.
One sculptor, anticipating Hurricane Irene six days ahead of its actual arrival, closed early on

Memories not on sale at Wal-Mart

Sunday morning, right after he had sold a $5,500 sculpture, treasurer Mike Bell reported at the show's picnic for volunteers. His wife, art show chairperson Linda Bell, presented checks to the Mt. Gretna Fire Company ($11,244) and Mt. Gretna Borough ($15,275) with more to come for Lawn Ambulance and other groups whose services reach throughout the community. Over the years they have included such beneficiaries as Gretna Theatre and Gretna Music, the Cicada Festival, and special projects such as the turkey vulture relocation campaign, the installation of an emergency fire hydrant for Timber Hills residents, repairs along thoroughfares which are heavily used by art show patrons, and similar endeavors. Ms. Bell invites suggestions for similar uses of the funds raised annually by the art show.
Beyond the revenues, however, is the opportunity for artists to not only show their works but also build personal friendships with those who purchase their creations. Buying directly from the person who created a work that will shape and become part of one's environment -- it's an experience unlikely to happen at retail stores. For those with a penchant for focusing only on price, it may be the key to ferreting out this show's enduring appeal.




Designing a home, a magazine or an entire book, she does it all

Once the summer home of  Ladies' Home Journal writer Ann Hark in the flapper era, the Mt. Gr Chautauqua continues its lure as a favorite getaway of magazine writers, editors and design directors.

Cottage owner Elizabeth Hummer, for example, when she's not designing layouts for Harper's Bazzar, loves to scoot down from New York to the home she and writer Bill Gifford are restoring on Muhlenberg Avenue.

When she's not getting out another monthly edition of the magazine or refurbishing the grand home formerly owned by Jack and Jeanine Bitner, she's working on projects like this book, which she helped Glenda Bailey, legendary editor of America's longest-running fashion magazine, create to "look back on moments that defined a decade."

Set for introduction Sept. 7, the 320-page coffee table compendium on fashion trends and tastes will be sold at bookstores and on

We're betting that Elizabeth, who grew up in Lititz and loves walking around Mt. Gretna with Bill and his dogs, will be happy to stop, chat, introduce you to her fiancee's favorite four-legged friends... and maybe sign your copy of the book.

Does Mt. Gretna Have a Future on Facebook?

Most of Ezra Minter's buddies at Elizabethtown College had internships this summer that landed them squarely in a sea of office cubicles doing Excel spreadsheets. "Me, I've sat in an old post office (now the Chautauqua Information Center) and seen how marketing theories I've studied the over the past three years actually work out in the real world," he says.

Ezra Minter, the Chautauqua's first summer intern, is a Chicago native who grew up in Altoona, where his dad is a book conservator and his mom is an archival specialist.

The business instincts he's honed this summer? They probably come from his grandfather, who started one of Altoona's biggest dairy herds and RV

So what's his impression of Mt. Gretna and its potential to further the Chautauqua Movement's traditions? He sees lots of opportunities. "People who live just down the road, not even as far away as Lebanon and Lancaster, stop in and ask what's going on here," says Ezra. "There's a general unawareness of what we offer and how people can find out about things we do that will interest them."

Is Ezra a promotional expert? "Before I got here I'd never even written a press release," he says. Yet soon after he arrived, the newspapers were suddenly brimming with articles about lectures, shows, exhibits and play readings.

Can a century-old traditional community like Mt. Gretna attract visitors through social media? Ezra's already done that. Mt. Gretna now has its own page on Facebook. Plus, there are those 144-character tweets on Twitter. In part, that's because the Elizabethtown College senior is, like most young people, fully aware of the potential of Facebook and Twitter. He's worked largely on his own, but with helpful guidance from marketing professor Kathy Snavely. She's impressed with the innovations Ezra sparked in the 11 weeks he was on the job, which included setting up a Chautauqua YouTube channel and helping make the Hall of Philosophy a summertime wifi hotspot. He's now back in class for his senior year at E'town, but he's gained a lot of valuable insights.

Is it possible to over-promote a place like Mt. Gretna? Maybe, says Ezra, who understands the wisdom of moderation in all things. "But I think it's possible to get a good amount of people here without ruining anything. After all, that is part of the Chautauqua mission." 



Sightings hat trick at Ascot, Churchill Downs or the Easter Parade? No, it was the Mt. Gretna Outdoor Art Show, where hats were "in" this year in a BIG way. . . perhaps reflecting the fashion uplift provided by Princess Catherine.
Our photographers caught these creations while making their way through the crowds: Left, Pearle Parsells of Timber Cove; center, hairdresser and noted cattlewoman Diana Lynn Orley of Colebrook; and, right, an unidentified woman who caught the eye of Timber Hills photographer Bill Shoals on a Saturday afternoon.
More than a passing fancy? In a community with a century-long tradition of ladies in fine dresses and pleasing hats on summer afternoons, it's a wish to be hoped for.

Carpenter Jack Krizain was at work again last week, hewing to a project "for guys that are really fun to work for." In fact, David Drummond and his team delight in ferreting out century-old doors and windows, Federal-period wall panels and other distinctive architectural pieces for Krizain to fit inside a 108-year-old building that was originally a school and later became a church. It's just east of Mt. Gretna, along Ironmaster Road near the village of Burd Coleman.
Drummond, whose career as a set designer keeps him busy with the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" and whose hobby keeps him entranced -- transforming old homes and abandoned buildings into architectural masterpieces -- has been a Hollywood set designer since 1985. His first film was the Oscar-winning "Out of Africa." His latest restoration, of the First Baptist Church just outside Cornwall, should be ready by the end of this year. If it comes close to matching his Lititz-based Country Living Magazine
House of the Year awar in 2007, it'll be stunning.
Even though his latest creation won't be ready for public showing for several months, Drummond expects it to sell quickly. What then? He'll move on to another restoration. Something in Mt. Gretna? Probably not, he says, but he loves the area and hopes to find another architectural gem nearby that can be polished to perfection.

It was the Annual Hike to the Cardinal Flowers Aug. 27, a walk that had always been led by the late Dale Grundo This year's gathering attracted a large crowd that included, in addition to many Mt. Gretnans, Dale's nephew, Gaye Liddick of Halifax, Pa. and other members of his family. All had come to pay tribute to his memory as well as to enjoy the hour-long walk to see the rare cardinal flowers. Mt. Gretna Bird Club members Evelyn Koppel and Sid Hostetter, who wanted to help keep the tradition alive, led the hike which also included glimpses of a species of wild orchids whose seeds were still visible even though the blooms had disappeared. Nobody said so as the walk began, but the notion of seeds that live on after the blooms are gone seemed a metaphor for Dale's life and works. When the group reached a pond area where the cardinal flowers are found, they held a moment of silence and named it "Dale's Garden."  

She's been on Broadway, written seven books, and as a youngster often swam in the lake at Mt Gretna. Cara Saylor Polk, author of the
recently published "Code Koral," an adventure describes as a blend of  facts and fiction, stopped by the Information Center last month to talk about the things she loves. Topping the list, "I love Mt. Gretna," she said.
Then, poof, in an instant, she was gone -- off with relatives to visit the Jigger Shop and then take in more of the Pennsylvania countryside. She now lives in Georgia with her husband, James Ray Polk, a senior producer for CNN.

Sandy Moritz, a Mt. Gretna resident and the school nurse at Cornwall Elementary, featured in a
profile last month in the Lebanon Daily News. . . as was photographer Madelaine Gray, in an article that appeared in the newspaper's Aug. 22 edition.

Speaking of Madelaine Gray. . . she turned in some exquisite photographs following the "Illumination of the Grove" to celebrate a 60-year-old Campmeeting tradition last month, during Art Show Saturday. . . after a full day in her booth at the the show:



Road Show: South Londonderry Township officials will try something new next year: They'll take their monthly supervisors' meetings on the road in 2012, on a rotating schedule that varies the locations among Mt. Gretna and Lawn as well as Campbelltown, their traditional meeting site. Details are still being worked out, but township manager Tom Ernharth expects they'll have everything lined up by December. The supervisors normally meet on the second Tuesday of each month. 



4 Art's Sake. Four artists join this year to create the 2012 Mt. Gretna Calendar, out just in time for Christmas. Carol Snyder, Betsy Stutzman, Bill Barlow and Barb Fishman have combined their talents to offer three original works each to the calendar which is now on sale.
Bill has b painting since his years as a Penn State architectural student. "We didn't have computers, so our rendered presentations were either in ink, pencil or watercolor. I have continued to paint ever since." His biggest satisfaction? "Being able to take a true life scene and achieve a simple transformation of simplified painterly translations of tones, values and colors."
Betsy Stuzman, right, says she enjoys strolling around Mt. Gretna "looking for sites to paint that reflect my love of nature. I don't have to look far. There are beautiful sights everywhere, which I hope can be preserved for many generations to come. This was a fun project, and working with other local artists made it even more so." Snyder, left, who started the calendar project several years ago and did all the paintings herself, asked three other artists to join her for the 2012 edition. "Coming up with 12 new paintings each year became a daunting task," she says. "I think the calendar has a great look with the styles of f different artists represented. Working with them was a pleasure."
Barbara Fishman, right, began painting watercolors when she was a young adult and now specializes in them, often giving group lessons at her home studio in Alden Place, where she and husband Al moved three years ago. The former Mt. Gretna resident says that when she was first introduced to watercolors, she "immediately appreciated its many qualities, particularly the exciting ways that different papers received the paint, whether on an easel or a flat surface." It is a lure that continues to command her interest today.
Calendars may be purchased directly from the artists themselves. Prices range from $15 to $20 each, depending upon the individual commitments each artist has made to benefit their favorite charities. For details, email
Carol Snyder, Bill Barlow, Barb Fishman or Elizabeth Stutzman


5th Anniversary for the Mt. Gretna Pizzeria, which opened in late August 2006 with hopes, dreams and a determination to survive. With the help of a waitress named Rose, Damien Orea and his dad, Elidio (holding a 5 ft. hoagy to celebrate their have done more than survive. They've thrived.  

Rose Bair's bright smile and sunny disposition is one reason. Another i that they may be the only pizza shop in America where you can get a full breakfast. Still another, they've cornered the local market on subs, pizzas and ... well, a lip-smacking baked oatmeal that's a favorite of breakfast regulars. That includes Doodle, of course, who regularly shows up for breakfast. He's now an advertising icon and has done for the Mt. Gretna Pizzeria what his kinfolk did for Colonel Sanders.  On the occasion of their third anniversary, a reporter asked the Oreas what they liked best about being in business for themselves. "It's the people in Mt. Gretna," said Damien. He still feels that way and welcomes your orders at 964-1853.     



A book for those whose lives are about to change
If someone close to you must suddenly cope with cancer, you might want to know there's help close at hand. Julia Bucher, who moved to Mt. Gretna four years ago from Lancaster with her husband, architect Bill Barlow, has just published a new edition of
The Complete Guide to Family Caregiving, in association with the American Cancer Society. The work is a joint effort with her friend and long-time colleague, retired behavioral science professor Peter Houts, a former Music at Gretna board member, and Terri Ades, the society's director of cancer information., a registered nurse, holds a PhD and is an associate professor of nursing at York College of Pennsylvania where she teaches community health nursing.

"A person's life changes when they are told they have cancer," says an ACS press release announcing the new second edition. "Life also changes for the relative or friend who's destined to become a caregiver."  This guide is for them. 


Guidelines for Mt. Gretna Residents:

When power outages occur, call Met-Ed: 


Met-Ed gives top priority to outages affecting the greatest numbers of people. Your call not only helps pinpoint the scope of an outage but may also speed repair crews to Mt. Gretna.     

Make the call even though your neighbors might also have reported the outage, advise company officials.   

During extreme hot or cold weather conditions, the Mt. Gretna Fire Company provides emergency shelter in power outages lasting more than three hours. Bring medications and medical equipment; a sleeping bag or blanket and pillows; food for yourself and family members; books, games and other materials to help pass the time and, if the stay is likely to be for several days, a change of clothes. Sorry, no pets.



Gladys Sheaffer Norton (1903-2011)
When an interviewer asked for her secrets to longevity as she approached her 106th birthday two years ago, the usually light-hearted doyenne suddenly turned serious. "Oh, I couldn't tell you," she said. "If you put that in The Mt. Gretna Newsletter, I'd have to move."
She meant it. For Gladys Norton lived by the high standards of an earlier time: A time when respectability was everything and decorum was its measure. Sharp, witty and precise, she met every standard expected of the proper ladies of her era, and she carried that standard with a dignity.
For the past nine years, she had lived alone in a home next to her married daughter and son-in-law, Carol and James Mather of Conewago Hill.
Born in Hegins, Pa., she was the youngest of 14 children. After her father died, she and her mother moved to Ephrata where she married a high school sweetheart, William Hanford Sheaffer. Together they developed a poultry business that became one of the largest on the East Coast, delivering thousands of eggs every day to the restaurants of New York City. An interviewer wanted to include that fact in a story in this newsletter two years ago, but she demurred at the suggestion. "That would seem boastful," she said. They had two children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
When she died on Aug. 9, she had outlived three husbands and was the oldest person in Lebanon County. Some speculated that she might have been the oldest Pennsylvanian, but that fact has not been confirmed.
Active in the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, she was a charter member of the Ephrata Women's Club and held memberships in Cloister 46 Eastern Star, the Girl Scouts, and the Mt. Gretna Winterites. She had also been a Sunday School teacher and enjoyed classical music, playing bridge and, as old age dimmed her vision, listening to a Boston radio station's late night talk show, which kept her abreast of all the interesting chatter of the day.
As for those longevity secrets, among those we cited for the record were staying close to friends, eating small portions and cutting out fats. She felt healthy foods would help "keep the arteries open."
What, exactly, were those foods? They included a secret formula she began drinking daily four decades ago. Her doctor once asked her to describe the ingredients, how they were mixed and even what size glass she used. Gladys leaned toward him and whispered the answer. "I believe he went straight home and mixed up some for himself," she had said.
Our interviewer then pressed hard for the answer, but she remained resolute.
Yet when a Lebanon Daily News reporter persisted in an interview that took place just four days before her death, she revealed that her magic formula was a few tablespoons of brandy with orange juice every afternoon. Two days before her death, her daughter Carol stopped by to ask, "Do you want your drink today, Mother?"
"Oh, yes," she replied. "But add a bit more brandy, please. And mix some water with the orange juice."

Judith C. Toner (1939-2011)

Judy Toner, who lived on Valley Road and was for 54 years the wife of Parke E. Toner, Jr., died Aug. 7 at the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown. A native of Lebanon, she had worked 26 years for New Penn Motors and was also a retired store manager at nearby Thousand Trails campgrounds. Judy was a member of Grace United Church of Christ, Lebanon and had been an active member of the Eastern Star, Chapter 115 in Lebanon. She is survived by her husband and a brother and sister-in-law, Basil and Ann Achey of Mt. Gretna.

Robert F. Good  (1932-2011)

Bob Good, a former resident of Conewago Hill who with his wife Ann White founded White, Good & Co. Advertising with offices in Lebanon, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City and Westport, Conn., died May 27 in Naples, Fla. He was the son of the late Herbert F. Good and Hilda Binkley Good. His grandfather had been a mechanic for the Wright Brothers. A lifelong scholar, Bob received masters degrees at Princeton Theological Seminary and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1957. In 1970, he left the ministry and entered the advertising business with N. W. Ayer & Sons; in 1981, he founded White, Good & Co. with Ann, whom he married in 1984. They sold the agency in 1999 and spent their retirement years together in Naples, where, in 2009, Ann died of Lou Gehrig's Disease. Bob is survived by four children, two stepchildren, and nine grandchildren.

John Hiram Bender (1944-2011)

John Bender, D.O., who had been the husband of Mt. Gretna artist Eva Bender and spent most of his life in Pennsylvania, died this summer in New Albany, Ind. He started his career as a chemist at Armstrong World Industries after earning a degree at F&M College. During service in the Air Force, he became a medical technologist, then decided to follow a career in medicine. He worked at Urgent Care in Reading and the Army War College in Carlisle. His last workplace was Branchville Correctional Facility in Indiana, where he retired as a medical director in 2010. He was preceeded in death by his son Eli in 1997, and by two sisters. He leaves behind his daughter, Emily Sara Bender, N.D. of Seattle Wash., and his friend and former wife, Eva. He is survived by a brother and two sisters. Burial will take place at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery September16, 2011, at 11 am. Family and friends are welcome to a memorial get-together afterwards at the Mt. Gretna Heights Community Building. Donations may be given to Save The Children, The American Red Cross or The Salvation Army.



Updates & Stuff to 

Post on

The Fridge

Friday, Sept. 2: Arborist John Brewer discusses trees in Mt. Gretna and what residents can do to save them. Hall of Philosophy, 7:30 pm

Saturday, Sept. 3: Covered Dish Supper at Hall of Philosophy for all in Mt. Gretna; 4 pm. Reservations required: 964-1830.

Sunday, Sept. 4: Music on the Porch with Bluegrass and Traditional Appalachian aficionados. Beginners at 1 pm; Bluegrass jam at 2 pm. Bring lawn chairs to the Gov. Dick Nature Center atop Pinch Road.

Saturday, Sept. 10: Migrating Bird Walk with Audrey Madenspacher. Bring binoculars. Starts 6 am at Gov. Dick Center. Sign up: 964-3808.

Saturday, Sept. 10: It's one of the Fire Company's best FUNdRaisers of the year, the Annual Pig Roast, 4:00 to 10:00 pm. Last year's roast was a sellout, with more people than they had tickets. Restauranteur Jason Brandt is back, probably with another 260-lb pig. So are volunteers who whip up corn-on-the-cob, baked beans, cole slaw, glazed carrots, baked potatoes and pineapple filling. Plus, you can get a jump on Christmas shopping with crafts that Sharon Solie and Kathy Kirchner will have on hand for this event.

Saturday, Sept. 17: A lawn party for Timber Hills residents (adults only) at the 231 Valley Rd. home of Dan and Pat Hottenstein, 5:00 pm with a Sept. 18 rain date. Bring your choice of beverage with a treat to share and meet the neighbors.

Thursday, Sept. 22: No Light Night Hike, at dusk (7 pm), Nature Center. Even without a flashlight, it's surprising what you'll see.

Saturday, Sept. 24: It's a new date for the Fire Company's fall Block Shoot. It's now before hunting season, and it's where you'll find prizes, ham & bean soup and friends like the amiable John Hambright. Noon-5:00 pm.   


Other newsletters of interest:

Mt. Gretna Updates -- Issued as warranted to alert local residents to such matters as temporary road closings, utility repairs, shelter advisories for adverse weather and other conditions affecting people who live in the seven neighborhoods served by the Mt. Gretna post office. Send an e-mail request, with "LOCAL UPDATES" in subject line, to

This Week in Mt. Gretna -- Issued during summer months; a week-by-week listing of local events, sent by e-mail on request. To add your name to the mailing list, 

Mt. Gretna Arts Council Newsletter -- Now available only online (no mailed copies). Updated to include news concerning groups dedicated to the arts in Mt. Gretna, Calendar of Events, Summer Premier and Arts Council scholarships.Click here 

Gretna Music bulletins -- E-mailed updates on concert events, schedule changes and other news. See "Join Our Mailing List" at 

Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society Newsletter --  See NEW: Summer 2011 edition online  

Mt. Gretna Bible Festival Newsletter -- Mailed in the spring and fall without charge. Send request to Bible Festival, P.O. Box 408, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.

Governor Dick Park Newsletter -- Online and by e-mail. NEW: Fall 2011 issue, just out! See 

Cornwall Police Department E-Mail Bulletins -- issued as warranted to update residents on events of community interest, including crime alerts. To add your name to the mailing list, e-mail request to 

South Londonderry Township Newsletter -- of primary interest to Mt. Gretnans in Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge; online at NEW Community Planning Edition just out. 

Campmeeting Newsletter -- Available online and mailed to residents.

Mt. Gretna Heights Newsletter -- e-mailed to Heights residents. Address inquiries to Michelle Shay, 




This unofficial community newsletter, a little later this month than usual -- mainly because of an Irene-inspired power outage last month that knocked everybody's electricity, and many computers, out for 36 to 48 hours. It has neither any attachment to a particular group or organization nor any political or commercial ax to grind. Mainly, it's a retirement hobby, like woodworking, model airplane building, or fishing might be for others. It produces no income, but a great deal of personal satisfaction, mainly because it keeps us in touch with so many people who have come to be very good and lasting friends.
We send it by e-mail to anyone who asks, without charge and with no expectation of anything other than a gentle prodding when we err.
We don't cover everything. Some topics are better left to daily newspapers, TV and others with greater skills, resources and insights.
Generally speaking, we try to cover things that readers may not have already read elsewhere. Yet since the majority of our readers live outside of Mt. Gretna -- in other cities, states and countries -- we sometimes summarize local stories that appear in area newspapers. We also depend mightily on our readers to alert us to news, including local obituary notices, relating to present and former Mt. Gretnans.
In preparing each issue, we try to keep in mind the example set by the late Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas, who felt as if listeners had invited him into their homes. 

We also value the practical wisdom of Rotary International's Four-Way Test of the Things We Think, Say or Do: "Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?" It's a good guideline not only for writing a newsletter but also for conducting a life. Anchoring that guidance is the assurance that people may not remember what we did or said, but they will always remember how we made them feel. .
We've been writing this newsletter since January 2001, usually once a month unless we're traveling, ailing or attending to household duties that, in the interest of domestic tranquility, take a higher priority. 
We thank the many people who help us gather the news, take the photos, then edit, fact-check and proofread this newsletter. They include folks with special skills and knowledge of Mt. Gretna who live not only here but also in places like New York City, St. Paul, Minn., New Cumberland, Pa. and Hilton Head, S.C. 
If you have difficulty reading or printing the newsletter, please click on the online version appearing at .
Thanks to our friends at Gretna Computers, you can always find
back issues of this newsletter on the Web. That online archive, we're told, occasionally proves helpful to people planning to move here and want to know more about what goes on in a community which, as the late Marlin Seiders once observed, "is not a place, but a spirit."
Kindest regards,

Roger Groce

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Mt. Gretna Newsletter: Winner of Constant Contact 2010 All-Star Award