Mt. Gretna Newsletter
Mt. Gretna, Pa.. . . "Not a place but a spirit"
Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)
Feb. 1, 2014
A different way of seeing
Winter has a way of clarifying priorities in Mt. Gretna. Only the
essentials remain. Laid bare is all that truly counts.
It is a time of solace in a solitary capsule, buffeted by
the cold and snows repeated one upon the other. The season devolves
into the quietest of the year.
Those temporarily enticed to faraway places soon discover
satisfactions flow from an unexpected source. Affirmed is that which
they already knew: The place where they were, the place they had
chosen, the place where the soul resides is their center.
Marlin Seiders expressed it
perfectly: Mt. Gretna is more a spirit than a place.
And also a feeling -- as vibrant today as a century
ago when those who came before us were first drawn by something that
pulled them here.
Amid the trees and hills and an
enveloping warmth that defies thermometers, it is a grand arena
of nature -- complemented by endeavors in arts with talents and
passions that strive toward excellence. A presence that cannot be
stilled by time, nor distance nor winter's
Even a winter that seems unusually harsh will quickly fade.
Transient. Ephemeral. Then gone.
What remains is permanent, a treasure chest that reopens
each spring, rewarding each generation anew.
photographs of scenes at the lake Jan. 21, 2014 were taken by Elaine
Hartman, a Mine Road resident who once embarked on a year-long
photographic project to capture a familiar scene each and every day in
a new and interesting way. The result seems to have created a different
way of seeing. Her gifts continue.
This issue, of necessity pared down to its essentials
because of the constraints of time and travel, comes with an iron-clad
guarantee to readers in sunnier parts of the world that Mt. Gretna,
despite temperatures that twice this season have dipped to levels of 3
below zero, remains intact, largely unscathed and fully energized for
its return to normal come summertime.
Those of us
who have passed into our seventies and beyond hope to do the same.
With all best wishes for continued health and happiness,
Where's the flamingo? Crossing
the border into Italy with John Mitchell, who says each
one-of-a-kind flamingo at La Cigale raises funds
for Mt. Gretna firefighters and promotes America's best, yet
least-known, small town. Adopt a flamingo (for a fire company
donation of $100 or more) and take it on your next trip.
Calendar for February
Souper Bowl Sunday at Mt.
Gretna United Methodist Church. Following the 10 am worship service,
members serve their favorite soup for a luncheon starting around 11:30
am. All in the community are invited. (Please bring a donation or can
of soup for the Food Bank.)
Music by the Fireside, Gov. Dick Nature Center, 1
to 4 pm. Location (A) on the linked trail map.
Tuesday, Feb. 4:
The Winterites present a virtual tour of the Philhaven Center for Autism and Developmental
Disabilities in a program arranged by Walter and Claudette Steele plus
committee members Barb Fishman, Lois Herr, and Fred and Judy Horowitz,
Peggy O'Neil, Mary Ellen McCarty, and Eleanor Sarabia.
The program begins at 1 pm in the fire hall.
All are welcome, men as well as women.
Looking ahead: Victor Bojko
recounts a trip to his birthplace in the Ukraine, March 4. For
information, call Donna Kaplan 964-2174.
Friday, Feb. 7:
First Friday of Art and Music at the Timbers Restaurant
starting at 6 pm. Music by Andy Roberts (piano and melodica) and guitarist
Guest artist will be watermedia
creator Elizabeth Stutzman, who
lives nearby on Mine Road and operates a private studio in the Campmeeting.
Wednesday, Feb. 12:
South Londonderry Township Supervisors take their monthly meeting on
the road to the Timbers Restaurant, starting at 7 pm. (Issues primarily
affecting residents of Timber Hills, Timber Bridge and Conewago Hill but also often of interest to others
in Mt. Gretna.)
Friday, Feb. 14:
Valentine's Dinner at Le Sorelle Porch and Pantry
Cafe, starting at 6:30 pm. **Reservations required. **BYOB. Dinner
options (chosen at time of reservations) include: baked Atlantic salmon
with creamy dill sauce; baked seaside jumbo lump crabcake;
glazed baked ham with pineapple sauce; homemade fettuccine alfredo; chicken divan over steamed broccoli and
rice topped with cream sauce. Desserts include New York-style
cheesecake topped with cherries; chocolate mousse garnished with fresh
strawberries and homemade whipped cream; ginger ice cream tartlet (ginger
crust with an ice cream filling and hint of lemon). Call or email
reservations by Tuesday, Feb. 11; tel. 717-964-3771.
Valentine's Weekend dinners (Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14
and 15) at the Timbers include specials in addition to the regular
menu, music from 6 to 9 pm by Harrisburg pianist Paul Bratcher and a display of the water media
paintings of Mt. Gretna artist Elizabeth Stutzman.
Reservations recommended for fireside dining, starting at
5:30. Tel. 964-3601.
Sunday, Feb. 16:
A glimpse of early Mt. Gretna you've probably never
seen before, with scenes from daily life at Stoverdale,
a community that opted to escape the "worldly"
Years before the Campmeeting
was founded, its forerunner thrived 20 miles away.
influences of neighboring activities
(card-playing and horse racing, among them) and move in 1892 from its
once-quiet pastoral campgrounds 20 miles away near Hummelstown to
establish the Campmeeting in Mt.
It's the Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society's winter
program, this year with scenes from six recently acquired postcards
that depict life in Stoverdale and affirm the
strong influences of that community's United Brethren leaders on the Campmeeting's subsequent architectural, cultural
and spiritual development.
Nearly always filled to capacity, this popular winter
program will also present other newly acquired historical postcards
from a recently auctioned 40,000-card personal collection which
included over 400 early scenes of Mt. Gretna: the Chautauqua, the lake,
park and Mt. Gretna Heights as well as scenes of military operations
which dominated grounds from Timber Hills to Colebrook.
Open to all, the program begins at 2 pm in the Mt. Gretna
Wednesday, Feb. 26:
The Gathering Place, a monthly fellowship luncheon at Mt. Gretna United
Church where everyone is invited. Freewill offering. Beginning at noon.
Friday, Feb. 28:
It's another community-wide gathering of neighbors in
Timber Hills, Conewago Hill, Timber Bridge and, for that matter, anyone else in
Mt. Gretna who wants to join the fun. Relaxed? You
Come anytime that suits you from 5 pm onwards. (Don't
worry if you're late. This is an event where the priority is not
punctuality but simply on having a good time.)
All that's necessary is to make your reservations in
advance (and tell Josie or Tap you're part of the Timber Hills group).
It's an order-what-you-want, pay-your-own-bill affair with the emphasis
on getting to know your friends and neighbors who by this time will be
looking for a relaxed break not far from home.
Last year, about 80 folks showed up. This year, they're
hoping for even more so they're encouraging everyone to call a few of
To reserve your space, call the Timbers at 964-3601.
Sunday, March 2:
It's not a buffet--it's an extravaganza! Mt. Gretna
present the most sumptuous breakfast you can imagine -- complete with
friends and neighbors who've shared the saga of another Mt. Gretna
winter -- at the fire hall, 8 am to noon.
The late Dale Grundon
made it his favorite event, and together with friend John Hambright, awarded it a "5-fork rating."
Come see for yourself. All proceeds go to the Mt. Gretna Fire Company.
Since it's a fundraiser, the firefighters
appreciate donations of $20, $50 or $100 as you enter the hall and pass
by the firefighter's boot.
Mt. Gretna's new
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
DETOUR AHEAD: There's a reason most road-building takes place in the
summer. Wintertime is not conducive to keeping construction projects on
That, in a nutshell, explains the delay behind
a $313,000 project to replace the 73-year-old bridge west of Mt. Gretna
on Rte. 117 (shown in blue), originally scheduled to have begun Jan. 2.
Officials now say work will start Monday, Feb. 17
and preliminary detour signs will go up Feb. 3 to meet PennDOT's two-week notice requirements.
All construction on the bridge must be finished by March
31 to avoid the start of bog turtle activity in surrounding wetlands.
Resurfacing operations on the highway should wind up by April 25.
Roadblocks will establish detour routes (shown in green)
along Mine and Butler roads for local traffic headed to and from
Colebrook. Trucks and through traffic will be routed around Routes 322
and 241 (shown in red).
BEST SELLER: It may not top The New York Times
best-seller list, but in Mt. Gretna every summer it's the best-read
the Mt. Gretna Summer Calendar is the best way to keep up with what's
going on in perhaps the liveliest, most energized small town in
the calendar ideal for advertising, say Arts Council volunteers who
distribute thousands of copies without charge to restaurants, stores
and other popular spots for visitors, residents and the just plain
year's deadline for calendar listings is March 1. Business listings
(Name, email address and phone number) are $50. Patron listings are
$35. Mail listings with payments to Mt. Gretna Arts Council, P O Box
513, Mt. Gretna PA 17064.
MAGIC TOUCH: Kendra Feather, daughter of Conewago Hill residents Joe and Laura Feather,
added to her growing honors as a restauranteur
in Richmond, Va. Her newest venture, The Roosevelt, last month was named Restaurant of
the Year by Richmond magazine. Roosevelt's chef Lee Gregory was
named Chef of the Year.
Garnett's, another of the four food and dining
establishments she has launched in the past 13 years, collected the
People's Choice Award for Best Neighborhood Restaurant. The chef at her
recently opened WPA Bakery won Best Pastry Chef honors.
WINTER WARMUPS: Eighty million people
flee to Florida every winter and Mt. Gretna has its own contingent.
We'll make up a list someday, but meanwhile, we get pictures from some
of our favorites, many of whom seem to gravitate toward Sarasota.
One group that wound up there last month included, from
left, Mt. Gretna photographer Madelaine Gray,
Pam Bishop and husband Doug Lorenzen and Mt.
Gretna Bird Club founders Evelyn Koppel and Sid Hostetter,
who found plenty of birds including one that looked strangely familiar.
Ms. Koppel suspects it may have been Ichabod, the wayward Sandhill Crane that flew into Mt. Gretna a few
winters ago on a faulty vector and stayed for months, becoming a minor
celebrity in the process.
JULY BONUS: For organ recital fans, maybe the best news is
that July includes five Thursdays this year. That means five afternoon
concerts at the Chautauqua home of Peter Hewitt and Walter McAnney, who have over the past 17 years made their
residence a favored destination for up-and-coming organists at the
nation's top music schools.
Performers this year will include two from South Carolina,
one from New Jersey, and a student now at Julliard. Another has a large
church in Hanover, Pa. and has performed in Europe "and many
auspicious venues," says Mr. Hewitt.
SUSAN M. AFFLERBACH (1957 - 2014)
moved with her husband to the Mt. Gretna area a few years ago and
quickly made herself an integral part of the community. A gifted
pianist who began playing at the age of five, she discovered at age 45
a talent for painting and photography which blossomed through a
profound expression of her love
She said that she wanted to speak for
four-legged creatures who could not speak for themselves. She did that
through their eyes, which she captured with both brush and lens in artistic
statements of eloquent compassion, expressing their yearning to both
understand and to be understood. Through such remarkable gifts, she
transmitted their feelings with a clarity and honesty that compelled
rapt attention, honor and respect.
Her artwork and photographs were the distinctive signature of Elmer's Rainbow, a business she founded soon after
she came here.
She also took a major role in establishing an
art gallery at La Cigale, where the works of
11 artists are now on display. And she was instrumental in the launch
of Mt. Gretna's First Fridays, a summertime and fall cavalcade of
exhibitions at six small galleries in a town of 1,500 -- a remarkable
monthly series that, along with wine, cheese and conversations about
art, brought greater exposure among residents and visitors alike to the
talents, tastes and sensibilities of Mt. Gretna-area artists and
Born in New Jersey, she and Gregg Afflerbach were married in 1991. Together, they
built a life of adventure, travel and companionship that fulfilled them
through the next 22 years, until the recent discovery of an illness
that would quickly prove fatal.
There are no prescribed measures for how best
to die. Yet surely if there were, at the top of any list would be to
die in the arms of a loved one.
died in Gregg's arms early on the morning of January 6. In a note
dispatched just hours later to friends who had supported them
throughout their ordeal, he wrote, "She lived her last days as she
had lived her life, with dignity, class and a deep concern for
Later, in an official obituary that appears online, he added, "Susie touched many hearts
and souls with her musical and artistic talents, generous and
compassionate spirit and kind soul. Her first and foremost love was for
all creatures great and small."
A celebration of her life will be held today
(Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014) at the Timbers Restaurant at noon. A
fundraiser in her honor, benefiting the Lebanon Humane Society, is
planned in May.