The Mt. Gretna Newsletter
Pa. "Not a place, but a spirit." Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)
A Mt. Gretna that those who
come only in summer never see.
Scenes on a late afternoon in November by photographer Madelaine Gray,
amid sounds that the crowds of summer
never hear. . . the quiet of an empty Tabernacle, the rustle of
leaves along the path to the Jigger Shop, the utter stillness of a
setting that thrives on the energies of both its residents and its
It is a place like none other, a touchstone of solitude in a busy world.
A place where, if you stop to take it all in, the soul is restored.
Is there any question why so many love it? None have summed it up
better than the late Marlin Seiders, a former Navy chaplain who said,
"Mt. Gretna's not a place, but a spirit."
To all our readers around the globe, our very best wishes for a joyous
holiday season, from the many folks who have helped put this newsletter
together in 2012:
Sarah Ellis, Keith Volker, Donna Kaplan, Vanessa Groce,
Madelaine Gray, Joe Shay, Susie Afflerbach, Debbie Clemens, Dave Adams,
Kim Miller Gardner, Evelyn Koppel, Fred Schaeffer, Dina Keller, Nancy
Besch, Kerry Royer, Debby Erb, Bill Shoals, Laura Feather, Tom Mayer, Nan
McKay, Tap Roberts, Judy Bojko, Anna McDonald, Lois Herr, Patty
Reichenbach, Earl Lenington, Jane Mourer, Thatcher Bornman, Elaine
Hartman, Bill Care, Carol Groce, Kathy Snavely, Pastor Mike Remel, Chuck
and Charlotte Allwein, Pat Allwein, Chief Bruce Harris, Stephanie Burris,
Diana Lynn Orley, Jennifer Veser Besse, Fred Buch, John Hambright, Rhoda
Long, Tom Miller, Ron and Karrie Hontz, Carl Ellenberger, Betsy Stutzman,
Peter Hewitt, Max Hunsicker, Jessica Kosoff, Merv Lentz, Jeff and Deborah
Hurst, Rose Bair, Karen Lynch, Nancy Rogers, Peggy O'Neil, Kent and Mary
Jane Fox, Carl Kane, Tom Meredith, Peggy McGuire, Jean Healy, Phil
Schneider, Cindy and Barney Myer, Joe Wentzel, Emi Snavely, Marla Pitt,
Joe Foltz, John Feather, Patsy Oburn, Steve Strickler, Susan Wood, Amy
Wolfe, Glenn Yanos, Scott and Jane Zellers, Karl Gettle, Barb
Kleinfelter, Bruce Gettle, Sid Hostetter, Renee Krizan, Dorothy Gray,
Joey Wise, Ben Wylie, Peggy Seibert and Roger Groce.
In the Chautauqua tradition
A new idea that could launch
school for artists in Mt. Gretna
If all goes well, a nascent idea for an art school with the potential
to rekindle century-old Chautauqua traditions and perhaps open the way
for an infusion of fresh new talent into Mt. Gretna's future may emerge
here next summer.
What Jay Noble, 36, hopes to create is a school where perhaps 18 to 20
top undergraduate and graduate art students -- under the guidance of
nationally known and respected instructors -- could immerse themselves
in specialized art studies, professional discussions and Mt. Gretna
community life for six weeks every summer.
Jay Noble: High hopes for a Mt. Gretna School of Art in
It's an idea inspired by the
New York Chautauqua, which Noble himself once attended and
where he later became an instructor. He has since gone on to teach at
colleges and art schools elsewhere, including York and Lancaster, where
he now is an instructor and lecturer at
College of Pennsylvania and the
Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.
For this idea, he has the support of a key mentor --
who for the past 27 years has headed the
School of Art
at the Chautauqua Institution in New York State, where the Chautauqua
movement itself was founded.
His proposal is quickly gaining momentum among key
supporters in Mt. Gretna, including two residents who have become board
members of the new school: Lou Schellenberg, artist and faculty member
Elizabethtown College and Jennifer Veser Besse, an
adjunct professor of philosophy at Elizabethtown College and
He has also briefed the Pennsylvania Chautauqua Board of Managers on
his plans and is working with Kathy Snavely to integrate the school's
lecture series into the Chautauqua's 2013 Summer Programs. He says that
he has also received helpful guidance from Mt. Gretna artist Barb Kleinfelter
and Chautauqua president and attorney John Feather.
Noble says the initial fundraising goal will be
$100,000, a target he hopes to hit in large part through individual and
corporate gifts of $10 (fans), $100 (backers), $500 (advocates), $1,000
(benefactors) or $5,000 or more (major benefactors). He hopes to use
those funds to help attract top-quality students, including those who
may not have funds for a tuition that he intends to keep to minimal
According to its website,
the school was "formed as a non-profit and is seeking 501(c)3
status." The site says that donations to the Mt. Gretna School of
Art are currently tax deductible through the
Philanthropic Endeavors Foundation, Inc., a
York, Pa.-based fiscal sponsor.
Noble also foresees "sweat equity'" opportunities for
students who will pitch in with help in cooking, cleaning and set-up
chores throughout their studies here.
As for faculty members, Noble thinks he can attract
"headliner" teachers -- people with names and reputations
that will encourage art teachers at colleges and universities
throughout the country to send their top students to immerse themselves
in intensive studies. Among the key subject areas will be landscape
painting and figure drawing studies. Noble thinks there's a possibility
that Don Kimes, who created the Chautauqua arts program a quarter
century ago, may be able to arrange his schedule to allow time for a
welcome lecture here next year.
Noble says the
Pennsylvania Chautauqua has agreed to host the school's lecture series,
which will be free to the public, at the Hall of Philosophy. Students
will live in rental cottages here, part of a plan to integrate students
into the community.
Although he has been teaching only about a decade, Noble's experience
includes undergraduate studies at
Anderson University in Anderson, IN and a master of fine arts
American University in Washington, DC. He moved to the
Lancaster area about six years ago to begin teaching at York and the
Pennsylvania College of Art and Design. He formerly taught at
Hollins University in Roanoke, Va.,
Western Carolina University and the Chautauqua
School of Art
in New York. He was also lead painting instructor at the
Putney School Summer Programs in Vermont.
What is the potential for a program such as this? It's hard to say, and
Noble is cautious as he takes the first tentative steps to get this
idea rolling. He wants to test the model here in a first-year program
that will be primarily for students already enrolled in undergraduate
or graduate art programs elsewhere. He believes that the idea may also
appeal to a few adult artists, including public school teachers wishing
to further their professional careers. He adds that classes and
workshops at all skill levels will be offered to area residents.
As an economic stimulant in communities where they now flourish, arts
Getting to know Mt. Gretna: Jay and wife Heidi and son
Henry, at last month's fire company breakfast.
elsewhere have sometimes had dramatic impact. The
Savannah, Ga. College of Art and Design, begun
in 1979 with 71 students, now has transformed that city into a thriving
arts and commercial center with more than 4,000 students. A New York
Times article a few
years ago credited SCAD with transforming a dying city of abandoned
brownstones into an oasis for artists, thriving galleries, restaurants
Lancaster's Pennsylvania College of Art & Design emerged from the
collapse of the York, Pa. Art Academy into what became the Pennsylvania
School of Art in Marietta, Pa. 30 years ago. The PCA&D now has 400
students and has helped lead an arts, education and economic
renaissance in downtown Lancaster.
Although Noble's plans for the Mt. Gretna school aren't aimed at such
lofty goals anytime soon, many who support the proposal hope it could
spark yet another initiative to help Mt. Gretna further the traditions
of a Chautauqua spirit that began here 120 years ago.
The answer to every
chocoholic's prayer? Could be in a new book
co-authored by Campmeeting resident and Hershey Foods analytical
chemist Jeffrey Hurst (inset).
Chocolate as Medicine takes a serious
look at the long march throughout history to assess chocolate's
potential medical benefits. Starting in the Mesoamerican era, many have
claimed beneficial effects for everything from alleviating fatigue to
treating snake bites. Hurst and co-author Philip Wilson delve into the
remarkable claims made for a treat that nearly everyone on the planet
Published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the book is
available through Amazon.com and
other book sellers.
Yes, he's a serious scientist. And yes, he's
had a long and distinguished career. But if Dr. Hurst is unaccustomed
to the sounds of "hip, hip hooray" in his laboratory, it's
likely that cheers from Mt. Gretna's chocolate lovers will now greet
him at the post office whenever he strolls down to pick up his mail.
Eva Bender (inset), among the
first artists to exhibit at Mt. Gretna's Art Show 38 years ago, now
getting ready for her new show at The Gallery at Lebanon Picture Frame
& Fine Art above the Lebanon Farmers Market.
Eva's approach -- a simple pencil sketch to which she
applies generous amounts of water and color to allow her paints to
bleed deep into the paper -- invites "accidents and
surprises," she says. "I enjoy the lack of control in working
Art clarifies, some-
times saves, lives..
Although perhaps best known for her scenes of Mt. Gretna over more than
three decades, Eva's works also spring from summers in her native
Sweden by the Baltic Sea.
Most of her paintings are done in one sitting, including the piece at
left, which she just finished.
"Art deepens and clarifies, sometimes even
saves your life," she says. Her show runs throughout this month,
with an artists' reception Friday, Dec. 7 at the Gallery, 31
South 8th St., from 5 to 8 pm.
Back in town after a two-year absence: UPS driver
Shirley Rennix, mother of nine (five
still at home), who left Mt. Gretna in July 2010 for a route in the
Quarryville area to spend more time at home. "But it didn't work
out that way," says Shirley.
She found that she spent as much time on the Southern
Lancaster County route as she did here. "Most days I'd drive five
hours without seeing or speaking to anybody," she says.
The return to Mt. Gretna is refreshing, says
Shirley: "It's good to be back. The atmosphere is so much better
here. I even sleep better because the whole atmosphere is so much
better. The job's the same," she says, "but it's really the
people who make the difference."
Santa Sightings -- Where you're most likely
to see him in and around Mt. Gretna:
If you make advance reservations, join Santa for
breakfast at Sacred
Saturday, Dec. 8 at 8 am or 9:30 am, compliments of Cornwall Police
Dept. DJs, music plus pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes and
gifts for all children. Email
names, ages, phone number and preferred seating time to chief Bruce
by 4 pm Monday, Dec. 3.
Then Santa will move Saturday, Dec. 8, to one
of his favorite spots, the Mt. Gretna fire hall for lunch with Santa
from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm. No reservations needed. Lunch and gifts
are compliments of the firefighters. (Note this special plea to all
cookie bakers: The lunch was moved up to 11 am this year. Please drop
off your Christmas treats at the fire hall early that morning.)
Santa returns to Le
Sorelle Porch and Pantry Saturday, Dec. 15 from 9 - 11
am. Special $3.99 menu options include snowman-shaped pancakes and holiday-themed
French Toast, plus a complimentary photo with Santa. Reservations not
Just how much of your Christmas shopping can you do in Mt.
Gretna this year? More than you probably think.
Jane and Scott Zellers (left) got their start at the
House last month, a fire company fundraiser sparked by Samantha
Sutcliffe, who's married to Albert, the Mt. Gretna fire department's
Helping them make their choices was Campmeeting resident Annie
Roach, presiding over one of nearly a dozen tables scattered throughout
the fire hall.
Above right, Valley Road resident Sandy Roman eyed the
selection of gift ideas throughout the hall on a November Saturday
afternoon -- the third vendor open house in Mt. Gretna. Samantha plans
two more next year, in July and November. All proceeds go to the fire
Gallery at La Cigale, along Route 117 next to the
miniature golf course, displays the talents of 11 local
artists -- in oil and watercolor paintings, acrylic on wood and canvas,
and watermedia as well as pottery, stoneware clay, photography and
stained glass - often with Mt. Gretna themes. Also on display is an
entire showroom dedicated to French
Looking for a 2013 Mt. Gretna Calendar? Carol
Snyder, one of the artists at La Cigale, still has a few on hand.
Featured are familiar scenes of Mt. Gretna, done in Carol's distinctive
watercolor style. Cost: $15 plus tax and $2 S&H. Call her at (717)
304-3753 or email email@example.com.
Gifts from Mt. Gretna
Hall of Philosophy
4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4"
orders in U.S.
Light yellow with Hall
Philosophy early postcard imprint)
M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL)
Make checks payable to
Pennsylvania Chautauqua, P. O. Box 622, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064. Contact:
Kathy Snavely, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming up: A Valentine's Weekend Dinner Cabaret Feb. 9, Gretna
Theatre's Broadway Bus Trip to New York City on Wednesday, Mar. 13
(your choice of "Newsies" or the new musical "Chaplin"),
and Faith Prince in Concert, a one-night-only show Saturday, June 1.
Or choose from the 2013 summer season lineup: A Tribute to
the Music of Frank Sinatra June 12-23, "Watson: The Last Adventure
of Sherlock Holmes" June 27-30, Cole Porter's "Kiss Me
Kate" July 11-21, "The Wizard of Oz" July 25-Aug. 3 and
"The Bikinis" (a new musical beach party) Aug. 22-25.
Call the box office (717-964-3627) to order your gift certificates, or
stop by Gretna Theatre's booth at the Lebanon Farmers Market
Thursdays-Saturdays thru Christmas Eve. Visit website
the gift of music
Tickets on sale now for
these performances, all* at Music at Gretna's winter venue, Leffler
Performance Center at Elizabethtown College
*except the Dec.5 concert at Ware Center in Lancaster:
Andreas Scholl, countertenor
Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 8 pm
(Steinman Hall, Ware Center, Lancaster, PA)
Tudor Choir & Wheatland Chorale
Saturday, December 15, 2012, 7:30 pm
Joel Fan, piano
Saturday, February 23, 2013, 7:30 pm
Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 8 pm
(717) 361-1508 or order ticket packages online at
For those on your gift list who
positively love Mt. Gretna history:
ideas from Mt.
Gretna Area Historical Society
Just out: Reprints of Jack Bitner's 1990 classic,
Mt. Gretna: A Coleman Legacy by Jack Bitner. $30
Plus $5 S&H
Pennsylvania National Guard's Mt. Gretna Encampment (1885 to 1935),
a DVD with 140 photos and music, created by Jim Seltzer. $10 ($3
Two DVD box set, "The Early History of the Chautauqua and Narrow
$25 or two for $48. ($5 S&H)
Mt. Gretna Narrow Gauge Railroad, 1889-1915
Jack Bitner $6.95, two for $11. ($2 S&H)
The Mt. Gretna Maximum State Security Prison," a special pamphlet
by historian P.H. Gibble, Jr. $5. ($2 S&H)
membership in the
Mt. Gretna Area
makes a great gift!"
-- Jeff Hurst
by the Society's Headquarters, 206 Pennsylvania Ave., to pick up a gift
for the history buffs you know. Deborah and Jeff Hurst will be there
from 1 to 3 pm on Dec. 8 and 15 (on the lower level, accessed by steps
on the Playhouse side of the building). Tel. (717) 964-1105.
Note: For mail orders, items purchased together with either the Bitner
2 DVD Mt.
Gretna History or the book, Mt. Gretna: A
Coleman Legacy, will be included with no additional
Make checks payable to: Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society, P.O. Box
362, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064
In search of the perfect soup, Mt.
Gretna cooks serve up a veritable feast
descend like a small army. Newcomers and veterans -- armed with
crockpots and kettles, scoops and dippers, recipes and aromas carefully
crafted to tantalize taste buds the moment you walk in the door.
Most of them from the hills surrounding Mt. Gretna and all
ardent devotees of that advertising
wisdom: "Nothin' spells lovin' like something from the oven."
All of them determined to knock your socks off with soups that win your
heart and capture your vote.
It's the annual Mt. Gretna Fire Company Soup Contest,
which last month attracted 12 cooks and more than 150 judges -- each
with a $10 bill in hand ready to donate to the firefighters for a
chance to sample soups with gourmet ingredients and then cast their vote
for the best-tasting, best-presented and most innovative soup in the
The voting was close (second and third-place winners separated by only
a single vote), the soups irresistible and the judges all sated when
the two-hour tasting safari was over. Capturing the first three places
were Bob Hertzler of Lakeview Drive with his dessert-like "White
Chocolate Alexander," Chautauqua cottage owners Nick and Deidre
Sweet for their "Col. Mustard's Shrimp Lejon," and
Campmeeting residents Eric Sheffer and Emily Hitz with their
distinctive "Pickle Soup." For the first time ever, second-
and third-place winners Nick and Deidre and Eric and Emily also walked
away with best presentation and most unique honors.
Other entrants included Ken Storck (BBQ Soup), Jay Yeager (Mexican
Pulled Pork Chili Vegetable), Jean Ditzler (Spring Fever Asparagus
Leek), Gloria Rust (Grilled Cheese and Tomato), Lorie Reichard (Spicy
Chicken Enchilada), Deb Vollmar (Vermont Sausage), Keith Richmond
(Stuffed Pepper), Glenn Yanos (Zucchini Parmesan) and Jeanine
Krause-Bachard (Egg and Hot Dog Soup).
All the cooks left with smiles, accolades and an assured confidence
that their culinary skills will pay dividends. Campbell's has it right
when it comes to the "M'm! M'm! Good!" qualities of steaming
soup on a cold day. But so do our Amish neighbors, who may possess an
even higher wisdom: "Kissin' don't last, but cookin' do."
Guidelines for Mt. Gretna Residents:
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
Met-Ed officials offer this advice for residents using generators:
Never connect a generator (whether stationary or portable) directly to
your home's electrical system without a proper isolation switch that
disconnects your house from power lines while your generator is
operating, and vice versa.
Use a qualified electrician to have an isolation device
installed. Unless Met-Ed lines are positively isolated, a generator
connected into your home's wiring system could start a fire or
electrocute a service technician attempting to restore your power.
Once power is restored, turn off your generator and
activate the transfer switch. If you don't have a transfer
switch, disconnect the generator from your home's electric system and
put your main breaker back in service. Drain any extra gasoline out of
your generator's motor.
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, there are no
accommodations for pets.
trip to see the Rockettes this year? That's right. . .
unfortunately. The trip originally planned for Dec. 5 was cancelled,
another victim of Hurricane Sandy. Volunteer organizer Rhoda Long had
to decide by mid-November whether to reserve show tickets and a bus.
Although a number of folks had made early commitments, the storm and
its aftermath convinced many to cancel. With fewer participants than
needed to assure that costs for this popular firefighter fundraiser
would be covered, Rhoda had no choice but to shelve the New York
excursion this year. She'll try again in 2013.
Want to read one of the most literate,
insightful new blogs on the Web? Check out Music at Gretna founder
Carl Ellenberg's new blog, now a part of the Gretna Music website at http://gretnamusic.blogspot.com/.
Musician, physician, writer? It's hard to say which of Ellenberger's
impressive talents triumph. But his blog is guaranteed to provide a
fresh perspective on how music shapes our lives.
"It's getting to be quite a chore to get
all the magazines and catalogs to the Ronald McDonald recycling bins in
Lebanon and Hershey," says volunteer Evelyn Koppel,
"especially with Christmas catalogs rolling in."
She sends this reminder: If you're on your way to Hershey
or Lebanon, it'd be a big help if you could pick up a filled bin at the
post office and take it to the recycling bin at 16th and Cumberland in
Lebanon or the Ronald McDonald House on Rte. 322 in Hershey. "You
could be Santa's little helper," says Evelyn.
Organist or pianist needed for Mt. Gretna
United Methodist Church's 7 pm Christmas Eve service. If someone you
know can help, please contact the Church (964-3241) or Sarah Ellis
(964-2341). The 11 pm service will be performed by an organist with
prior commitments at 7 pm.
"Absolutely ridiculous," says
veteran real estate pro Emi Snavely, quoted in a front-page
Lancaster Sunday News article last month on the
300% to 500% increases in reassessed values for seasonal homes.
"They are priced as if they are year-round
homes," she said, citing the example of a seasonal home without
running water on the second floor that was assessed at $290,000.
After having their appeals rejected, a number of Mt.
Gretnans are now preparing to take their case before the Lebanon Court
of Common Pleas. County officials quoted in a Harrisburg
Patriot-News story last month called the
reassessment process "relatively smooth" -- despite 5,300
appeals filed by nearly 10% of all Lebanon county residents (including
approximately 45% of those in the hardest hit areas -- the Chautauqua,
Heights and Campmeeting).
Yet another publicity coup for Kendra Feather
(inset). The latest -- a glowing review for
her newest Richmond, Va. restaurant, The
Roosevelt, in Garden & Gun, one of the South's
fastest-growing magazines (launched five years ago by former Mirabella
and The New Yorker publisher Rebecca Darwin.)
Feather, whom writer John T. Edge calls "an ascendant
Richmond entrepreneur with four food businesses in her portfolio,"
is the daughter of Laura and Joe Feather of Conewago Hill.
19 Awards (so far)
Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein's new World War II spy
adventure novel for young adults that's captured
rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. A New York Times critic called
it "a fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel, the kind you have
to read twice." In fact, the newspaper just this week added it to
the New York Times Book Review "Notable
Children's Books of 2012."
Wein (left, at a writer's series program at the Hall of
Philosophy last summer) is a former Mt. Gretna Heights resident who
spent summers here as a youngster with her grandmother, Betty Flocken.
She now lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She is the
author of five
Among Code Name Verity's other 2012 honors:
Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist, selected for the best teen books list
by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Publishers Weekly, School
Library Journal, Booklist Youth Editors' Choice, Texas
Library Association's top 10 high school reading list and the Boston
Globe/Horn Book Award honor book. Code Name Verity
has also been nominated for ten similar awards in the United Kingdom.
vultures swarming over Mt. Gretna? No, we haven't seen that many since
2004, thanks to the team of volunteers who divided Mt. Gretna into
territorial grids and followed a coordinated strategy to shoo them to
unpopulated areas. It worked! One of the best campaigns ever seen by
the USDA's wildlife experts.
Only a hundred or so TVs are back this year,
following an inbred instinct to return to areas they knew as
youngsters. So Max Hunsicker's team still needs volunteers -- using
techniques to keep noise to a minimum and birds away from Mt. Gretna's
rooftops, patios, shrubbery and automobiles. To join the effort, drop
him a note at email@example.com.
County Special Olympics' share of a windfall when the nearly
80-year-old Central Pennsylvania Dry Cleaners Association folded
recently. Mt. Gretnans Jane and Scott Zellers, among 18 remaining
members, presented Lebanon County's portion of a five-county split of
leftover funds to the local group, which "provides athletic
opportunities and helps create meaningful, lasting friendships,"
"waste," another account of the "escape-proof,
riot-proof" Mt. Gretna Prison -- begun in the Depression era but
never completed -- appeared
in the Lebanon Daily News last month.
You meet the nicest people
at a fire company breakfast
If there's a better place to meet people in Mt. Gretna on a Sunday
morning, we certainly don't know where it is. So head on down to the
Mt. Gretna Fire Company breakfast, a tradition now 10 years in the
Before church, after church. . . even the minister shows
up here. So does the police chief, the mayor and most of the other
people who make the town hum.
Bumper sticker on
Pennsylvania Avenue: Could be a motto for the Mt. Gretna Fire Company
It raises money for the fire company, gives you a chance
to shop for one-of-a-kind Christmas items with a distinctive Mt. Gretna
touch, and could probably even offer a money-back-if-not-satisfied
guarantee. Nobody ever leaves here unhappy, unwelcome or underfed.
Plus, it's where you probably get to meet more nice people
per square inch than any other place on earth, including the 22
volunteers who run the Mt. Gretna Fire Company.
All this for a donation you stuff in the fireman's boot as
you enter the door. The typical cost of a meal is around $6, so
donations in the $20 and up categories are welcomed. Sometimes grateful
patrons have even been known to stuff $50 or $100 bills in the boot.
Yet the impact of difficult economic times remains evident. Although
the average contribution climbed to $10.81 last month, a breakfast in
July netted contributions of only slightly over $6 each. That's a
downside that could force the firefighters to think twice about holding
a breakfast in July next year.
Hands down, the absolute best thing about these breakfasts
is that Mt. Gretna's a place where artistic talents abound and creative
energies flow. So stopping by for breakfast at the fire hall is the
very best place in town to learn something that you never knew before
about talented, enterprising and engaging neighbors.
Take, for example, guys like Chuck Long (left), who's married to lively
gal-about-town and Realtor Rhoda, who organizes fundraisers for the
fire company and helps out at community gatherings like the Christmas
tree lighting today (see Calendar items below), the annual tour of
homes and other events that lend sparkle to Mt. Gretna life.
Spend a little time with Chuck and, if you coax him enough, you'll
learn that after a career in the auto parts business on the West Shore,
he just retired as a National Ski Patroller (the EMTs for skiiers in
distress). The Longs moved to Timber Bridge nearly 10 years ago.
Other interesting people you're likely to meet. . .
from left: Campmeeting residents Robin May (whose grandfather Col.
Wiilliam Hicks ran the Mt. Gretna Army National Guard until it left for
Indiantown Gap in 1936) with friends David Lloyd, who runs Ephrata
Rehabilitation Services, and Marcie Webber, a fifth grade teacher in
Ephrata (where Robin is an intermediate school literacy coach). Guests
of honor? The firefighters themselves, who also roll up their sleeves
and help make these breakfasts happen: Josh Thies of Manheim,
fire company president Joe Shay, Tim Yeingst of Timber Hills and Steve
Schall of South Lenanon Twp. Also, at right:, Becca Moyer of Cleona,
Ian Gumbert of Lancaster (but soon returning to Mt. Gretna) and
Charlotte Freise of Annville. Surprised by the out-of-towners who now
respond to our emergencies? It's a fact: About 60% of Mt. Gretna's
firefighters now live outside of Mt. Gretna. Five years ago, only 15%
Updates & Stuff to
SATURDAY, DEC. 1:
15th Annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting and carol
singing at the home of Peter Hewitt and Walter McAnney, across
Carol sing starts the season at the Hewitt-McAnney
from the post office. Hot mulled cider, organ music.
No admission charge.
Please bring a holiday treat to share.
Tree lighting promptly at 5:30 pm.
TUESDAY, DEC. 4:
Winterites covered dish luncheon in the Mt. Gretna Fire
Hall. Bring a main dish, salad, side dish, vegetable or dessert. Kathy
Kercher and Sharon Solie will be there with handmade gifts: proceeds
benefit the firefighters. All are invited -- men and women. Bring along
a friend or two. Begins at noon.
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 5:
The Gathering Place luncheon at Mt. Gretna United
Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. Good food and conversation in a
"between the holidays" break. Free will offering supports the
ministry. All invited. Begins at noon.
FRIDAY, DEC. 7;
Candlelight dessert buffet with "holiday music,
candles everywhere and
Incredible treats at Le Sorelle's candleight
desserts to get you into the Christmas spirit," says
the website at Le Sorelle. Reservations (717-269-3876) needed by Dec.
Also see "Sightings" above: Santa comes to breakfast Saturday, Dec.
Lebanon's First Friday Art Walk extends to Mt. Gretna as
Cigale artists gather to greet visitors with
refreshments, answers to questions and Christmas gift ideas galore.
Open until 8 pm.
SATURDAY, DEC. 8:
Santa arrives on Dec. 8 (see "Sightings," above,
Hike at Governor Dick Park. First to find all clues to old
Christmas rhyme wins a prize. Small entry fee. Hike starts at 1:30
SATURDAY, DEC. 15:
Wheatland Chorale joins the Tudor Choir from Seattle in a
Holiday Choral Spectacular at Leffler Performance Center, Elizabethtown
College. Tickets online at Music
at Gretna or call 717-361-1508. Concert begins 7:30 pm.
THURSDAY, DEC. 20:
Winter Stoltzfus at the Timbers. Nobody delights
more in narrating the Amish Christmas story than Mt. Gretna's
celebrated Belsnickel, Tom Baum -- surrounded by friends, fans and family.
Reservations recommended for this popular night, when prime rib's the
specialty. Tel. 964-3601. Starts 6:30 pm.
SUNDAY, DEC. 23:
Children's Christmas Pageant at Mt. Gretna United
Methodist Church. "Our Children's Sunday School works hard preparing
for this yearly performance and it shows," says Pastor Mike Remel.
"If you know of a child who's not involved but would like to be,
call 964-3241," says Pastor Mike. Held at the 10 am service.
MONDAY, DEC. 24:
Christmas Candlelight Services, Mt. Gretna United
Methodist Church. What's Christmas without a traditional
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service? Perish the thought, says Pastor
Mike. Carols and readings to warm the heart and inspire the soul. Two
services: 7 and 11 pm.
A New Year's Eve tradition at the Timbers that includes
buffet dinner ($21.95) with pianist Andy Roberts , vocalist Nicole
Roberts, guitarist Scott Galbraith, Andrew Loose on trumpet, drummer
Max Hunsicker, vocalist Bobby Licata on bass and harmonica artist Bart
Briody. Reservations: 964-3601. Starts 7 pm.
TUESDAY JAN. 1:
Pork and sauerkraut dinner at the Mt. Gretna Pizzeria
(following their regular morning breakfast menu) on New Year's Day, 10
am to 3 pm.
year-round calendar appears online,
a service of the Mt. Gretna Arts Council. Email listings and updates to
Jennifer Veser Besse at firstname.lastname@example.org
F. Pearson (1933-2012)
Pearson, who formerly lived on Timber Road with wife Barbara, a
respected teacher who succumbed to cancer nine years ago, died Nov. 9
in Glenmoore, Pa., near the home of his daughter, at age 79 following a
long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. The former steel industry
executive was an Army veteran of the Korean War, a Penn State graduate,
and had been an active member of this community, serving as president
of the Lebanon Rotary Club and as a member of the Central Pennsylvania
Sports Hall of Fame. A complete obituary appears online.
H. Seltzer Jr. (1931 - 2012)
Seltzer, a Chautauqua resident who, together with his wife Terrie, had
loved antiques and collectibles and sharing them with others, died
Sept. 18 in a Harrisburg hospital at age 81. He was an Army veteran of the
Korean War and a graduate of Lebanon Valley College. Following his
retirement in 1991 from a life-long career in the insurance business,
he continued to serve as an insurance consultant over the ensuing 20
years. He and Terrie, who had been married 26 years, once operated an
antiques business in the Route 117 location now occupied by Gretna
Computers. An obituary appears online.
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, 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
Music bulletins -- E-mailed updates on concert events,
schedule changes and other news. See "Join Our Mailing List"
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
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
Londonderry Township Newsletter -- of primary interest to Mt.
Gretnans in Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge; online at
Campmeeting Newsletter --
mailed to residents.
Mt. Gretna Heights Newsletter --
e-mailed to Heights residents. Address inquiries to Michelle Shay,email@example.com
An article in last month's AARP Magazine reminds us that the
best way to stay healthy is to keep busy. That, in a nutshell, sums up
why I write this newsletter.
It is in this space that I usually explain that the
newsletter is utterly unofficial, with no particular ax to grind, and
nothing more than a retirement hobby. Yet, as the writer J. M. Thorburn
once suggested, "All the genuine, deep delight of life is in
showing people the mud-pies you have made; and life is at its best when
we confidingly recommend our mud-pies to each other's sympathetic
This month, I thought I'd share one of my recent ones, spawned
just before Thanksgiving. . .
Mt. Gretna "Supermarket"
Readers of this newsletter sometimes comment about what they perceive
as a similarity between Mt. Gretna and Lake Wobegon, where Garrison
Keillor maintains "all the women are strong, all the men are good
looking, and all the children are above average."
Just how we'd stack up against such illustrious
competition I don't know, but I suspect Mt. Gretna -- with its high
PhDs-per-square-mile quotient -- might fare pretty well in the
smarter-than-average category. So I'm surprised whenever I hear people
say there aren't any supermarkets nearby.
You can tell that people who say such things are what the
late Dale Grundon called "flatlanders."
Since this is the time of year when many of us are
cooking and baking and driving to the store for things we overlooked on
what should be our once-a-week trip, newcomers ought to know exactly
what it means to be a certified Mt. Gretnan.
For those occasional incidentals, Mt. Gretnans don't buy,
they borrow. Need a few eggs, a bottle of wine, or an ingredient to
whip up pumpkin bread for the holidays? The Mt. Gretna Supermarket has
precisely what you need.
Here's a hint for how to find it: Get to know the good
cooks in your neighborhood. They always have what you're looking for.
Or, if they don't, they know someone down the street who does. In
nearly a quarter century of living here, I've yet to find even one
person who isn't happy to help out a fellow Mt. Gretnan. Not
Mt. Gretna's that kind of place. Borrowing from a neighbor rather
than dashing to the store is embedded in our DNA.
Of course, if you insist on not bothering the
neighbors and want to drive to the store, you'd do well to think first
of Collins Grocery in Colebrook. Collins sells darned near everything,
including gas. Only once have I ever asked for an item they didn't
have. Margaret, who's usually behind the counter, told me she didn't
have any red food coloring. Instead, she offered the key to her house
and told me where to look for a bottle of red food coloring in her
When it happened last month that we found ourselves
suddenly out of three ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner -- namely
ground allspice, cloves and nutmeg -- I walked to the homes of two
neighbors, knocked on the door and found exactly what we needed. Jan
Brandt and Eleanor Sarabia are excellent cooks and superb neighbors.
Borrowing stuff in a pinch leads to delightful visits, better than
anything you can find on Facebook.
If you're new to Mt. Gretna, I figure you'd want to
know about these things.
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