Mt. Gretna, Pa.
"Not a place, but a spirit." Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)
October 1, 2011
other side of the lake on a foggy first day of fall, sunrise brings a
view of Mt. Gretna that some never see. Above, a woman and her dog
stroll at dawn, in what for many becomes the best of all seasons.
The Lessons of a Quieter Time
For a glimpse into what
makes Mt. Gretna special, consider the onset of fall. Not only are we
beginning to lose our leaves, but also many of our friends, the people
who come to live in their cottages each summer but soon slip away after
September has passed.
By November, Mt. Gretna will have picked up fully the tempo of a
quieter time. Friends who are left become special treasures.
social scientist in Europe a few years ago noted that we typically lose
half of our best friends every seven years. When we first read that, it
seemed impossible. Now, with the passage of time and a check against
experiences of our own, we conclude that he may well be right.
One friend who divides his time between Mt. Gretna and a high-rise
condominium along a beach in Florida says that he and his wife had
debated recently about whether to buy a new condo in the building next
door. It had a better view of the ocean.
While they were deliberating that move, they decided to rent a garage
space in their old building. Suddenly, they could go right from their
car into an elevator that whisked them straight to their condo on the
21st floor. Yet a few days after they began using their new garage,
they noticed something had changed; they no longer walked through a
lobby where they talked with people who over the years had become their
friends. That experience convinced them. Not only would they stay put
in the old building, but they also returned their key to the garage.
In Mt. Gretna, the post office is not only where we receive our mail,
but also a reassuring mixture that somehow makes our lives run more
smoothly. Smiles, greetings, genial glances -- even if they only
acknowledge mere acquaintances -- it is at the post office where we
rediscover their true value. There is comfort in familiarity. If
America ever decides to close down its rural post offices, it will make
a huge mistake. No matter how much money it saves.
How do we know that? It's not that we Mt. Gretnans are smarter. It's
simply that we live among assets often unrecognized in busier places.
The yearly coming and going of good friends prepares us for the process
of change. Fortunately, most who leave in the fall will return in the
spring. While we are acquainted with the realities of disabilities and
death, we are also conditioned to the realities of renewal. Part of what
attracts people to Mt. Gretna is the lure of old friends and the
assurance that new ones will add steadily to our rich treasure
It is probably that quality which seemed so appealing about another
"meet the neighbors" gathering in Timber Hills last month,
Hills, bring a treat to share and meet the neighbors... an old idea,
with renewed vibrancy.
other purpose than getting
to know better those who share similar experiences. Absent daily walks
to the post office, many miss out on the sustaining pleasures of
repeated contacts with people who live next door or just down the
Perhaps that is why our pets are such useful companions. More than good
friends, they are also magnets for human contact. They stimulate
conversations we might otherwise not have. Winston, our
soon-to-be-4-year old Cavalier King Charles, has a regal name but a
down-home nature. He reminds us sometimes of the old men who gathered
around the post office our grandfather ran in Worthville, N.C. In the
days before iPhones, Twitter and Facebook, they sat on benches,
whittled wood with their pocket knives and talked face to face. It was
a setting where we first learned the value of friends. Now in the fall
in Mt. Gretna and in our 70s, it is a fitting setting where such
lessons may be reaffirmed.
A Property Owner Withdraws Her Rezoning Request
The owner of a 20.7-acre
tract who originally had joined in a rezoning petition affecting
residential forest land in Mt. Gretna has, "after further
consideration," decided to withdraw her request.
In a letter dated Sept. 23
to the West Cornwall Township supervisors, B. Valeria Heisey said she
"no longer supports" the Eastern Enterprises rezoning
petition and is "officially withdrawing my request to have any of
my property rezoned from R-F to R-1." She added, "I oppose
Eastern Enterprises' rezoning petition and ask that the board not agree
to the requested rezoning."
Officials of Eastern
Enterprises were unavailable for comment last week on how Mrs. Heisey's
decision might affect their plans. Their June 10 petition had requested
that 90.5 acres,
including Mrs. Heisey's land as well as their own 69.8 acres, be
rezoned from RF (Residential Forest) to R1 and R2. If approved, that
would permit more single-family homes and open the possibility of
townhouses on a 25-acre tract they own south of the rail trail where
the roller skating rink is now located.
At a public meeting the
supervisors held Aug. 22 to address rumors and stem "a deluge of
public records requests" following the rezoning proposal, some 250
citizens turned out to voice their concerns. Citing its potential
impact on Mt. Gretna's unique character, environment and quality of
life, several groups formed to oppose the
rezoning plan. One of those groups
circulated a poster at this year's art show under the banner,
"Help Save A Very Rare Piece of Our World as You Know It!"
Also opposing the rezoning
change is the Mt. Gretna Campmeeting Association Board of Managers. A
Sept. 14 letter to other local governing bodies and the news media
cited a resolution stating that the board is "vehemently
opposed" to the rezoning proposed by Eastern Enterprises.
Township supervisors have
tabled the motion and are expected to take no action until later this
year or sometime early in 2012, In addition to listening to the views
of local citizens, they await recommendations from Gannett Fleming
consultant Michelle Brummer, who is reviewing long-range development
plans for several municipalities in the Cornwall-Lebanon School
District. Ms. Brummer said Sept. 30 that the site still shows on her
planning maps as land that does not need a zoning change.
A Quiescent Artist Who Loves Her Customers at Mt.
Gretna's Post Office Prepares to Retire
When she landed the post
office job in Mt. Gretna, it was like winning the Miss America contest.
"Thirty-five of us had applied, and they called out the names of
three finalists. Mine was among them. I guess I got the job because I
was a veteran" says Cathy Dugdale, who retires Oct. 31 as
She knows most of them by name, including Campmeeting
resident Dorothy Landis Gray
then head for Waukesha, Wisc. to be near her daughter, son-in-law
and Kevin, her 6-year-old grandson. It will be Cathy's second
retirement. Her first was as an Army cartographer 19 years ago after a
military career that spanned two decades and took her to an assignment
in Hawaii that lasted seven years.
Hawaii to Mt. Gretna to Wisconsin? Does Cathy really prefer cold
weather? "I love the changing of the seasons. Snow
especially," she says, "at least if I don't have to drive to
work in it."
a home she's just purchased near a park located only about a mile from
her daughter, Cathy looks forward to the move.
she mind living alone? "After my father died and her friends
thought she should remarry, my mother, who was vary happy while married
to Dad, used to say, 'It's so much better to be alone than not to be
alone and wish that you were.'" Cathy's own marriage during her
Army career ended because her husband, a civilian, found it hard to
always be on the move.
mother was right. I like living alone. Dinner is whatever I want to eat
at whatever time I get home, and I don't have to explain what are all
the packages that I bought."
recently stocked up on books on sale at Borders, which is closing.
"I'm going to love reading them this winter in Wisconsin,"
she says. Yet she'll miss Mt. Gretna, especially her customers. She
knows almost every one of them by their first names.
the Miss America contest: "I was so lucky to be picked for Mt.
was so lucky to be picked for Mt. Gretna," says Cathy, who yearned
to become an artist after she got her bachelor's degree in art from
Penn State University in 1968. She never got the chance to make art her
career. But working in the post office has brought its own rewards.
people here are so friendly," she says. "Sometimes I'm
assigned for short-term assignments at other post offices. In many
places, everyone seems to be in a hurry. They're often tense and get
mad if there's a long line and you take a moment to notice that someone
has a new baby or make some other friendly comment. In Mt. Gretna,
nobody seems to mind if you say something besides 'Next.'"
hopes retirement may finally bring the chance to pursue her
long-delayed interest in art. "My dad was a history teacher
at Lebanon High School and thought art was a hobby, not a career. So he
wanted me to teach. I tried that, but it wasn't for me." So, after
experimenting with other jobs for several years she decided to go into
the Army, which had begun a renewed emphasis on recruiting women.
Having now worked for the past 18 years in a community where artists
abound, she hopes to at last be able to pursue passions she has
deferred for so long -- photography, painting and sculpting.
she come back to exhibit in the Mt. Gretna Art Show someday? Cathy
hesitates, with just the trace of smile and a faraway look that
suggests the thought may have already crossed her mind.
"Well," she says ". . . maybe."
more than 70 years, the cardinal flowers were part of a Mt. Gretna
away in a secluded setting just north of the rail-trail, they grew in a
thick forest where sunshine scarcely penetrated.
Before Dale Grundon led annual treks to see these seldom-glimpsed
flowers, Mt. Gretna summer residents Leonard and Alice Bennetch had
previously led groups for many years. When they were no longer able to
do so, Dale picked up the tradition.
After his death last June, Sid and Evelyn Hostetter volunteered to
carry on the time-honored hike, and this spot came to be called
"Dale's Garden." But that distinction was fleeting.
Floods that followed Hurricane Lee into Central Pennsylvania last month
ravaged the garden and much of the surrounding area. The storm left the
entire Lebanon Valley Rail Trail with an estimated $125,000 in
restoration work to be done. Gone is Dale's Garden. Gone is the
footbridge that led hikers over an earthen dam that formed nearby
ponds. Gone perhaps forever are Mt. Gretna's cardinal flowers.
Coming: A Year-Round Website
To Promote the Arts in Mt. Gretna
The Mt. Gretna Arts Council
seeks your ideas for a new year-round website that's under development.
Jennifer Veser Besse created the site (http://artscouncil.mtgretna.com/) with the aim of making it
a lively online hub for arts activities in and around Mt. Gretna.
we can really get this to be a central location for arts information,
whether in the summer or at any other time of year," she says. The
idea is to promote Mt. Gretna activities and artists as well as
other Arts Council programs including scholarships, programs for kids,
the Calendar of Events, the Summer Premiere, the council's quarterly
newsletter and similar activities.
She also wants to be sure that all artists with ties to Mt. Gretna have
a place to post their information, whether they're painters, writers,
sculptors, musicians, actors, jewelers, woodworkers, photographers or
those working in multi-media.
How can you help? Take a
look at the beta site and send Jennifer a note with your suggestions.
"It's not perfect, and that's why I want people to give me
feedback," she says. "Please poke around and let me know what
you think." Jennifer's eager to begin posting events on what will
become a year-round calendar, updated as events change or are added,
with plenty of hyperlinks to direct readers to appropriate web pages.
Le Sorelle's winning formula:
Magic in the Pancakes, Fruity French Toast
And Customers Brimming with Neat Ideas
Is there something magic
about Mt. Gretna that even transforms the blueberry pancakes?
Priority #1: Pleasing people with good food and a
for some reason I can't even make them taste like that at home,"
says owner-chef-and-full-time-engineer Ken Shertzer, left, who lives
just over Television Hill on Northwood Drive.
no prior experience in running a restaurant, he's nevertheless made the
tiny cafe a surprising success. Sales this year will likely eclipse
last year's records by 10% to 15%. That's an achievement not many
businesses, restaurants especially, can claim nowadays.
behind Le Sorelle's success? Shertzer credits his team, which includes
veteran and newly-hired employees as well as his wife Judy, a married
daughter Amy who's also a professional photographer and a son, Greg,
now in his senior year at Lock Haven University where he's co-captain
of the soccer team.
Sunday breakfast is a special treat for locals like
Joyce and Gene Nagy, left, and Lancaster friends Barry and Pam Emich.
play a part in the family business, which is now back to its
three-days-a-week winter schedule. He also relies on chef-managers Amy
and Angela Licata, a Batdorf Avenue housewife and mom who are his
backups when Shertzer is tied up by his full-time job as an engineer
for the division of a company he helped launch more than 30 years ago.
That assignment takes him on an hour-long commute five days week to
Schuylkill Haven, in Pennsylvania's coal region. "The
restaurant business is successful, but I couldn't give up my day
job," he says.
also credits his customers for ideas that have helped the restaurant
flourish. They include the introduction of credit cards as well as
favorites such as eggs benedict, corned beef hash,
make-your-own-omelets and French toast loaded with fresh fruits. Le Sorelle
has also moved its beverage bar to the front, so it's easily accessible
to patrons both inside or out on the porch. "The porch is the No.
1 favorite summertime spot," he says. Breakfasts constitute about
80% of business, but he's thinking about adding dinners at some point.
guesses that 15% of Le Sorelle customers are first-time visitors.
Daughter Amy keeps plenty of staff on hand to serve them promptly.
"When the porch is open, it's hard to get orders out of our tiny
kitchen fast, so we want to have people on hand so no one is kept
waiting," he says. "When somebody is disappointed, I take it
personally," Shertzer admits.
big thing at this restaurant is having good food, good atmosphere and
customers who enjoy the experience. That's what keeps me going. And
that all happens with having good employees. I can't emphasize that
enough," he says.
is also big on what he calls "the Le Sorelle 'experience,'"
one that people can't get anywhere else. It's a combination of things:
"The trees, the quaintness of Mt. Gretna, the ambiance." But
he also knows that some things -- asking patrons to get their own
beverages, for instance -- probably wouldn't work
there's the Art Gallery, operating under the same roof but a totally
independent activity from the restaurant. Nine artists display their
works, which dominate the interior walls. On the back of each painting
is an envelope. All gallery sales work on the honor system. People take
down the paintings and carry them home, sending their checks directly
to the artist. In effect for many years, the honor system works pretty
well. But every now and then there's a hiccup. One customer, after
having lunch at the cafe left with a painting but when they got home
discovered they'd made a big mistake: "Oh, my goodness," said
a desperate voice over the phone, "I'm going to have to return
this. I thought I'd chosen a $35 print, but when I looked inside the
envelope, I discovered it's an original that's well over our budget."
patron, learning of the gallery's honor system, remarked, "That
wouldn't work in Philadelphia." Maybe not, but add it to the
list of things that make "the Le Sorelle experience"
3rd Winter coming up for the
hale and still hearty Doodle, who's become increasingly urbane. Now
settled down into life befitting a country gentleman, he makes a porch
rocker his usual perch, seldom pays attention to passing dogs anymore,
and crows with the authority
of a German burgomeister.
mornings find him settled at Penn Realty's entrance, where he greets
Brenda Henning when she arrives for work. Brenda and Peggy Seibert keep
a jar of Brown's Song Blend Supreme Buffet handy, a premium grade of
dark oil Sunflower seeds that is Doodle's first breakfast course. That
keeps him contented until it's time to strut down to the pizzeria where
a second breakfast treat awaits. Depending on the day, waitress Rose
Bair doles out Cheerios, cheese curls or baked oatmeal -- dry, no milk.
A trick, some say, Doodle must have picked up from those birds in
7 tips to get homes and cottages
ready for winter from borough staffer Joey Wise:
Clean gutters and downspouts by mid-November. It eliminates headaches
this winter and next spring. "I can't stress that enough. It's the
number one cause of problems in my experience."
 Even if you don't rake
your leaves this fall, at least get them away from foundations;
adequate ventilation around the base of a home deters wood rot.
Turn off water lines to outdoor faucets, especially if they're not the
Disconnect hoses. "It's easy to ruin a $40 hose that wasn't
disconnected," he says. "And don't forget those seepage
hoses for flower beds."
 Clean your chimney.
Creosote builds up quickly, especially if you're burning unseasoned
Get your furnace serviced every year. Many furnaces that were under
water last month are at risk, even if they were checked after the
flood. Although they may now be working, electronic components are
vulnerable to failure at any time. "Replacement parts are in short
supply, so repairs this winter could be delayed," Joey warns.
Reseal cracks in caulking and weather stripping around windows and
When he's not on the job for Mt. Gretna Borough,
Joey Wise runs a home repair service. Email or call 717-304-3343.
years ago, Pat Pinsler was talking
with a friend outside the post office about the mess the buzzards caused
as they roosted every night above Mt. Gretna's rooftops, decks,
shrubbery and parked automobiles. A government official who happened to
be passing by overheard their conversation and casually interjected,
"Well, why don't you just cut down all the trees?" That
wasn't, to put it mildly, the solution Pat wanted to hear.
The buzzards, or turkey
vultures as they're officially called, started to roost here more than
25 years ago. They have long memories. Where they grew up is where they
return every November -- unless something happens to discourage their
their numbers increased, eventually reaching 600 or more swirling
vultures every night. It looked like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's
Yet in recent years their numbers have dropped to maybe 200. What
happened? Mt. Gretnans organized. Rather than
every-man-out-for-himself, beating pots and pans to scare the buzzards
away from the top of his own home, people set up a strategy to drive
them out of town. A coordinated campaign sent the birds into nearby
forests, where their droppings landed without harm to property or
danger to human health.
That coordinated strategy was an extraordinary success, one of the best
the USDA had ever seen.
Lately, however, the ranks of volunteer patrols that once covered every
Mt. Gretna neighborhood have dissipated. People retired, moved away,
died or simply tired of the nightly duty, says Max Hunsicker, who
helped organize the effort.
Now he needs fresh volunteers to use aerial screamers, lights, and
other devices that chase the birds to out-of-town roosts.
Will the buzzards be back next month? Count on it, says Max. "They
have long memories," he repeats. He hopes he can count on you to
help reinvigorate the shoo-away effort. It's one he calls "The
few, the proud, the Buzzard Busters." He needs about 25 volunteers
who'll go out each night around dusk, discourage the birds and keep up
the effort until they've flown to new roosting spots in unpopulated
forests. To sign up, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call
Winterites' Season Opener Oct. 4:
Memories Wrapped Up in a Billion Dollar Industry
you thought that building doll houses was a cheap way for grownup girls
to indulge their passion for decorating and moving furniture around,
first dollhouse that Eleanor Sarabia ever built (right), with electric
lights wired into all three floors, took six years to build and cost
more than all but the snazziest of modern kitchen stoves. "That's
nothing," she says. "I recently saw a dollhouse that had
smoke coming out the chimneys and surround-sound in every room. I'll
bet it cost $100,000."
don't have to be over-the-top, of course. About $700 may be a good
average, but the hobby has sparked a billion-dollar industry that gives
enormous satisfaction to people like Eleanor, the publicity-shy artist
who lives with adventurer-husband Val atop Conewago Hill on a spot once
occupied by the 125-room hotel built there in 1909.
pen-and-ink sketches of the hotel and other notable Mt. Gretna
buildings appear in the fire company's fundraising coffee mug series,
which has become a favorite of collectors.
does paintings, too. But almost never is an Eleanor Sarabia original
offered for sale, execpt for charitable occasions like the Summer
Premiere or Gretna Theatre Gala (which comes up Oct. 8).
the Christmas cards she designs and sends with hand-made touches to
friends are eagerly sought and often framed.
dollhouse (shown at right) that she's done for a grandaughter will be
the program feature of the Winterites' season opener Tuesday, Oct. 4 (a
luncheon at the fire hall, 12 p.m.; reservations required: 964-2174).
the fascintation with dollhouses? "I haven't a clue says Eleanor,
a former motorcycle enthusiast who once worked as a bartender at
Catalano's Restaurant, a favorite of Harrisburg politicos. ("It's
where I learned there are a lot of lonely people out there," she
adds that almost every woman she meets has favorite memories of the
time when their father, older brother, uncle or a kindly neighbor made
them a dollhouse. "It's a hobby I hope to still be doing when I'm
in the retirement home," she says.
Starting Oct. 4, the Mt. Gretna Winterites meet
every first Tuesday of the month except January from now through April
at the Mt. Gretna fire hall. Except for a Christmas potluck luncheon in
December and this month's $12 catered buffet at noon, other Winterite
gatherings begin at 1 pm and are not luncheon meetings. All Mt. Gretna
area residents, men as well as women, are welcome. For reservations or
other details, call Donna Kaplan, 964-2174.
Artist Fred Swarr, sighted last month amid his paintings at Lebanon's
popular Trattoria Fratelli
Restaurant, where he's the September-November featured artist. Fred is
the marathon painter who celebrated his birthday in 2007 by painting
one fresh canvas for each of his 60 years in a single day. Then he
swapped one painting for a bottle of wine among each of the spectators
who'd gathered to watch the 7 am-5 pm exhibition outside his 301 Bell Avenue studio in the Campmeeting.
do another live painting show at the Lebanon Valley Realtors' Habitat
for Humanity auction
Oct. 14 at Lebanon Country Club. He's also just issued two
instructional DVDs, "Painting to Music," on sale at his
co-author of a new book on family caregiving, is a
college professor, a registered nurse and a PhD. Turns out, she's also
PDQ* when it comes to accepting an offer of peaches-ladened French
toast at Le Sorelle. The dessert magically appeared right after Julia
and her husband, the architect William Barlow, turned the corner as a Mt.
Gretna Newsletter photographer was winding up a photo session.
Since nobody else seemed hungry, Julia got the offer and dived in. And
we suddenly got another "Sighting" to brighten the pages of
this month's letter.
*Pretty Darned Quick
Something about those fire company fundraisers must
stir a sartorial surge.
At the annual pig roast, count on Joe Shay, the normally sedate fire
company president, to turn up in a vibrant Hawaiian shirt,
looking as if he's on his way to a luau. Last month, in muted black
tones with distinctive red, yellow and gray accents that looked as they
might have been hand-painted, his honor (Joe is also Mt. Gretna's
mayor) took sartorial splendor to new heights, looking as if he'd just
stepped from the pages of Travel & Leisure magazine
A few days later, at the block shoot, volunteer Morris Coleman (right)
showed up in a kilt that would have made Scotsman and La Cigale
proprietor John Mitchell envious. Married to the granddaughter of the
late Ed Miller, who for more than two decades served as Mt. Gretna fire
company's president, Coleman is also a Lebanon police officer. Why the
kilt? When someone asked him to wear one for a friend's wedding several
years ago, Coleman discovered they're comfortable. They've since become
his favorite "special occasions" attire.
After a shooting incident that wounded a Mt. Gretna
woman and her dog as they walked near the State Game Lands along Pinch
Road last month, even Moumba, a 4-year-old American Mastiff, is wary of
should take extra precautions says owner Christi Reistad, who's lived
on Timber Lane for the past three years. She recently purchased this
fluorescent hunting vest for her pet.
is especially cautious at this time of year as she walks along the
rail-trail. Hunting season has already begun, and sportsmen are often
out early in the day.
gets an early start herself. She's up at 5:30 am to take Moumba for his
first walk around the neighborhood. Then she's off to Palmyra to take
son Holden, 8, to school before she heads to work at the Lebanon County
The Music at Gretna Bargain
Making Tight Budgets, Short Schedules And a Tough
Economy Pay Off
Buffeted by storms,
electrical blackouts and a 30% drop-off in ticket sales this summer, you'd
think Music at Gretna chief Michael Murray might be discouraged. But
you'd be wrong.
the fourth year of a whole season's worth of concerts that lumps
everything into August and the first week of September, Murray wouldn't
have it any other way. "The ability to book artists on any night
of a given week gives us scheduling flexibility," he says. That
translates into savings. Murray takes advantage of a Thursday night
performance for performers en route to weekend engagements in New York
or Philadelphia. Usually at fees under their normal rate. That
translates to bargain prices for area music lovers, a fact that some
are only just now beginning to appreciate.
night in Mt. Gretna? It's not exactly a marketing theme, but it might
be. The struggling music festival, now in its 36th year, offers many
plusses in a throttled economy. Murray and his team are out to
capitalize on them all.
also assume some risks by occasionally catering to special
interests. Since most audiences prefer familiar standards like Bach,
Beethoven and Mozart, few presenters would dare to offer two concerts
of Bartok string quartets. But last April, Gretna Music did just that,
winning the hearts of devoted Bartok fans. .
its end-end-of-the-summer schedule, Gretna Music can also afford to
wait two months before locking down its season. It's a distinct
advantage that he uses to negotiate performance fees under the most
favorable terms. Even the best artists, he finds, are anxious to block
unfilled dates, usually at a deep discount.
challenges remain. Most people still don't realize that when they buy a
ticket, their purchase doesn't come close to paying for what they get,
says Murray. Typically, 60% of the performance cost must be covered
through private donations. "We need to develop the culture of
philanthropy," he says. "If you want it, you've got to pay
extra for it. Fortunately, growing numbers of people now understand
Note: Music at Gretna announced
this week that it has reached over 70% of a goal to meet a benefactor's
$5,000 challenge. If they raise $5,000 on their own by Oct. 15, they'll
have $10,000 to go toward future classical concerts. Make donations through
their website, call 717-361-1508 or mail
a check (noting "Classical Match Challenge)" to Gretna Music,
One Alpha Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022.
Firefighters Need Your Recipes
Barn Burner of a Cookbook
Readies All-New Edition for 2012
When it came off the presses
nearly 20 years ago, the Fire Company Cookbook was -- by Mt. Gretna
standards at least -- a publishing phenomenon. The first edition went
into at least two
and people still ask for copies. One budding entrepreneur, poised to
open her new restaurant several years ago, was downright desperate to
find a copy. Yet none turned up, even on eBay.
now, a second cookbook edition is in the works. Not a reprint, but an
all-new collection of recipes from the culinary wizards of Mt.
company volunteers -- ever in search of successful fundraisers -- hope
to have it ready for sale next spring. But they still need more
the first to offer an original recipe for the new edition was former
model, interior designer and Timber Bridge resident Julia
Lurz-Phillips, a native of Canada who now divides her time between Mt.
Gretna and Sarasota, Fla. and loves to cook.
her recipe for . . .
Chocolate Raspberry Swirl
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons Chambord
2 1/2 cup white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 well chilled 3.5 oz bars of Ghiradelli Dark Raspberry bars
over to 350. Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla. On low speed add
the Chambord. Do not over-beat. Add eggs using electric beater on low
speed. Again, do not over-beat. Sift together the dry ingredients and
add to butter mixture. As batter begins to thicken, use a large spoon.
Break the Ghiradelli Dark Raspberry bars into small pieces on top of
the cookie dough. Fold in the pieces until pink raspberry swirls form
(over-beating the chocolate pieces will give you a gray cookie dough).
Drop by the teaspoon onto cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for about 12
minutes. Cool slightly on cookie sheet before removing as the chunks of
chocolate when warm will cause the cookies to break if they are too
hot. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Tips: Over-beating the Chambord may cause the butter
to curdle. Smaller pieces of broken chocolate bar will give more pink
swirls. Big chunks of broken chocolate bar and big cookies will break.
If the cookies turn out "flat," the dough was beaten too long
and at too high a speed.
The cookbook volunteers expect to gather additional
recipes from Mt. Gretnans all over the world "at least through the
end of October." So even if you live in Pago Pago but are still a
Mt. Gretnan at heart, submit your entries now to: Mt. Gretna Fire
Company Cookbook, P.O. Box 177, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064. They'd love to
hear from you.
No, it doesn't help to wait
'til spring to rake your leaves,
arborist John Brewer told a Hall of Philosophy audience last month.
Decomposed leaves make for
a rich compost -- great to spread around the base of a tree as
long as you don't pile them against the trunk. But decomposition is
slow, so leaving them out over the winter doesn't do much good. What
does work? Put leaves in a compost pile and turn them occasionally.
When fully decomposed, they make an excellent mulch.
of Lancaster-based Arborist Enterprises, Inc., says threats like Emerald
Ash Borer and Hemlock Wooly Adelgid now are spreading across
Pennsylvania, but they're treatable. Such invasive pests soared after
free trade agreements spiked wooden pallet shipments to the U.S.
Writing a community newsletter is never boring. Take, for example, this
tale, which unfolded in Timber Hills last
month. Seated quietly at home one evening, Teressa Ceresini and her
husband heard a van full of teenagers pull up along their driveway.
Someone got out, ran up and deposited this bird right at her doorstep.
Then they took off, laughing as they disappeared into the night.
much for the adventure. Teressa, now stuck with a bird she didn't ask
for and doesn't want, would like to return the bird to its owner.
you have any clues, send us a note. We'd like to help clear up the
mystery before (when the bird-snatchers reassemble over a few beers at
the Hideaway 30 years from now) it has morphed into an exploit akin to
the Harry Winston Paris Jewelry Heist.
Energized Mt. Gretnans, led
by Harmonia Music Club's grand doyenne Nancy Hatz (below), are out drumming up
ticket sales for the Tamburitzan
Dancers (right) at Allen Theater Oct. 22 to benefit the club's
Mt. Gretnan Pat Walter says that in addition to Nancy (who began
playing piano at age 3 and was honored this summer at age 96 by the
National Federation of Music Clubs Convention in Virginia), their team
includes Dorothy Landis Gray and organ impresarios Walter McAnney and
Peter Hewitt (now planning the Harmonia Club's American Music Month
tribute in Mt. Gretna Nov. 5 with Ross Ellison, a featured Longwood
Gardens and Bruton Parish Church recitalist).
Harmonia Club provides scholarships for Lebanon County seniors who'll
major in music.
Runners' World? Ever notice those Saturday morning
runners warming up on the Chautauqua parking lot? They say there's
something special about Mt. Gretna. "Not only is it a beautiful
spot, it's safe," says Bucknell graduate and Cedar Crest High
School cross-country coach Brandon Risser (right). He puts beginners on
the rail trail with confidence, knowing they're not going to get lost.
markers tell them precisely where they are, and the advanced runners
can leave the trail and run on dirt roads, stone, tracks and
switchbacks without fear of injury. It's unbeatable," says Risser.
Although he favors softer surfaces and encourages kids to run with as
little shoe as possible, he doesn't go as far as Chris McDougall, a Mt.
Gretna Writers Series speaker this summer who advocated running
barefoot. "We do some barefoot running to help them get used to
it, but we don't advocate suddenly switching from shoes with a 1"
heel to nothing. The foot needs time to adjust."
Is it easy to get kids
running these days? Not always, Risser says. "We've got kids who
are addicted to video games. But this is a positive offset, a healthier
alternative. Once they start running, they love it. They're out here on
a Saturday morning because they want to be. Running's a social sport,
less adversarial than soccer, where only 11 kids can be on a team.
Here, everybody who wants to can take part. No one's excluded."
Natalie Jean Smith (1935-2011)
morning after Natalie Smith's death on Friday, Sept. 2, a friend
stopped by the office they had shared as Cicada Festival volunteers.
She wanted to straighten out a few things Natalie had worked on just
needed to be straightened. Natalie had left the office as tidy as she
had left her cottage on Muhlenburg Avenue. The cottage was one that she
had inherited from her uncle, Arnold Bowman. It was a treasured spot
that provided for her and husband Richard enduring Mt. Gretna memories
throughout their 55-year marriage.
a reputation for getting things done well, Natalie was a co-chair of
the Cicada ticket office, manager of the Summer Program Play Readings,
a volunteer at the Mt. Gretna Art Show, and she often housed and fed
visiting artists during the summer season.
for her broad, expansive smile, even after cancer took its hold,
Natalie focused on others and made her Mt. Gretna cottage a haven for
friends and family.
in Harrisburg, she was a graduate of Allentown High School and the
Allentown Hospital School of Nursing. She was a registered nurse and a
volunteer for organizations that included the Red Cross and Meals on
a Celebration of Life service last month at the Plymouth Meeting Church
of the Mall (which she helped found and to which memorial contributions
may be made), friends and neighbors in Mt. Gretna began plans to
dedicate a memorial bench in Natalie's honor near the Playhouse. Those
wishing to help purchase the bench may send checks made payable to
Maryanne Spychalski, P.O. Box 135, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.
& Stuff to
Pileated Woodpecker... posting stuff on the fridge.
Bill Shoals photo.
Saturday, Oct. 1: Cornwall Manor's Fall Festival. Pancakes 8 - 10 am, hot
dogs, hamburgers, silent auction, clowns, balloons, arts & crafts,
plants & fall flower sale; 9 am - 2 pm
Sunday, Oct. 9: Patsy Kline's final Bluegrass workshop and jam
of 2011 season at Gov. Dick Park; 1:00 pm for beginners; jam starts 2
pm. Bring lawn chairs.
Sunday, Oct. 9: SFJazz, Gretna Music,
E'town 7:30 pm
Monday, Oct. 10: R.A.D., personal safety
course for seniors, begins locally, sponsored by Cornwall Police Dept.
Call Stephanie Burris, 274-2071 for details.
Tuesday, Oct. 11: Blacksmith Fred Eberly shows tools &
techniques of his craft in colonial times. An Iron Furnace Lecture
Series talk, Cornwall Manor Freeman Hall, 7 pm
Thursday, Oct. 13 Home school Field Day at Gov. Dick Park,
9:30-12:30. Need 5 registrants by Oct. 7 or events (Insects & Forester)
will be cancelled. Register: 964-3808
Monday, Oct. 17 The English Concert, period instrument ensemble
from the U.K., 7:30 pm, Gretna Music, E'town.
Friday, Oct. 28 The grandest parade of the century! It forms at the Jigger Shop at 6:30 pm and steps off promptly
Spooks, goblins and SuperPumpkin himself march down the highway to the
fire hall, where hot dogs, drinks and a cakewalk await. Mt. Gretna's
official Halloween Band will be there, too. Don't miss it!
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, e-mail email@example.com
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 http://gretnamusic.org/
Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society Newsletter -- Online at http://www.mtgretnahistory.org/newsletter.php
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
South Londonderry Township Newsletter -- of primary interest to
Mt. Gretnans in Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge; online
Campmeeting Newsletter -- Available online and mailed to residents.
Mt. Gretna Heights Newsletter -- e-mailed to Heights
residents. Address inquiries to Michelle Shay, email@example.com