Mt. Gretna, PA "Not a place, but a spirit."
Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)
December 1, 2014
Mourer, recording the grandeur of Mt. Gretna's first measurable
snowfall of the season, was captivated as she came upon this scene in
Governor Dick Park. "White, white, everywhere white," she
reported. "The ground, the trees, the sky. I've never seen
anything like it." Not the big storm some had predicted, yet an
exquisite reminder of what lies ahead.
Monday, Dec. 1 - Dec. 14:
continues at Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church to benefit area
charities and an Ebola relief mission in West Africa. Tip:
Call the church office to set a time you would like to stop during the
day, or come Sunday mornings at the 8:30 am or 10 am services. On
display are handmade items, gift baskets and cards and other donated
items. Tel. 964-3241.
Wednesday, Dec. 3:
The Gathering Place
combines its November-December meetings today in Fellowship Hall, Mt.
Gretna United Methodist Church. Freewill offering. Noon. Tip:
Here's where you can meet new people and can build new relationships.
The gatherings are popular among residents from Cornwall Manor, many of
whom formerly lived in Mt. Gretna .
Creek Association meeting. This group (http://conewagocreek.org/)
monitors the creek watershed, which has its headwaters near Mt. Gretna.
They are currently working with residents who live close
to the proposed natural gas pipeline, likely to be discussed tonight.
Meets at Conewago Township Building, 3279 Old Hershey Rd.,
Elizabethtown. 7 pm.
Thursday, Dec. 4:
Mt. Gretna School of Art fundraising event as
Lancaster Galleries (http://lancastergalleries.com/)
opens its holiday season show, "A Prelude Invitational" with
an artists' reception and wassail, 4-8:30 pm. A
portion of proceeds go to Mt. Gretna Art School alumni. The exhibit
continues to Jan. 3
Morning Bird Walk
every Friday with Sid Hostetter. Meet at Chautauqua parking lot, 9 to
11 am (followed by lunch, usually at Le Sorelle). Newcomers welcome. Tip:
Likely sightings this month: Pileated woodpeckers, pine siskins, yellow
bellied sapsuckers and maybe a Woodcock. What you can see and learn in
a single morning is amazing.
at Le Sorelle served all winter long on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
8 am to 1 pm, lunches, too. Tip: The lines are
shortest on Fridays. Across the street at the Pizzeria are grilled
stickies, baked oatmeal, eggs and bacon and hotcakes, Tuesdays-Sundays
. . . in probably the only pizza shop in America that also serves
First Friday continues at the Timbers all
winter long. This month, pianist Colin Mekeel joins John Gingerich on
acoustic bass in musical accompaniment for dinner and displays by Mt.
Gretna realistic and impressionistic water colorist Carol Snyder and
life-size and miniature wooden bird carver Gerry Boltz.
Only regulars seem to know to ask occasionally about lima beans, ham
and cheese wraps, roast duck or bacon cheeseburgers which are sometimes
available but not on the regular menu. "If we have it in the
fridge, we'll make it," says chef Rachel. Just like being at home,
with the coziest fireside in Mt. Gretna (downstairs).
Gallery at La Cigale adds to the fun of
First Friday. Flutist Mary Zehring provides musical entertainment as
visitors stroll through the gallery, chat with exhibiting artists and
enjoy freshly baked treats from Hershey's German Delights and seasonal
refreshments including Gluhwein (a German/Austrian winter holiday treat
known to many as an after-ski drink). Seasonal artwork also available.
5 pm to 8 pm.
Candlelight White Christmas Dessert Buffet
at Le Sorelle: live jazz and
holiday music, silver and white decorations with candles. Homemade
desserts include cranberry cinnamon tarts, white chocolate rice
pudding, coconut cranberry trifle, white Christmas cake plus a dozen
others. House beverages or BYOB. Reserve by Dec. 2: Tel 717-269-3876 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. $20. Starts 7 pm.
Former Mt. Gretna artist Eva Bender
opens an exhibit in Lebanon that runs through Christmas Eve. "I'm
open to accidents and surprises," she says of her abstract works.
"I enjoy the lack of control involved in working this way." Joining
artists Nancy Croll Sell and Sarah Hitz-Arnold, Ms. Bender will be at a
reception Dec. 5 from 5 to 8 pm at Lebanon
Picture Frame and Fine Art Gallery, 45, S. 8th St.
Saturday, Dec. 6:
Annual House Tour to benefit Cornwall
Iron Furnace, 10 am to 4. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 day of tour.
Fill-a-Cruiser arrives at Mt. Gretna Fire Hall. The
South Londonderry Police Dept. seeks unwrapped Chirstmas gifts and
non-perishable food items for area children and families in need. For
details, click here.
at Sacred Heart Church in Cornwall, sponsored by the Cornwall Police
Dept., has now been filled. No additional spaces are available,
according to a website
Tree Lighting and Carol Singing An open house at the Princeton
Avenue residence of Peter Hewitt and Walter McAnney (opposite the post
office). Mr. McAnney, organist, will be joined by pianist Thelma
are invited to attend and bring food to share, 5:30 - 7:30 pm.
E-mail Rhoda Long
for suggestions of what to bring.
Note: The 12-ft. tree at the intersection of Pinch Road,
Princeton Avenue and Rte. 117 is the generous and timely gift this year
to the Mt. Gretna community by the Cicada Music Festival, with
decorations provided by a group of volunteers led by Chuck and Rhoda
Long, Stacy Margut and Cliff Batz (who transported the tree to its
Sunday, Dec. 7:
Christmas Music by
the fire, Gov. Dick Nature Center, 1 pm.
Monday, Dec. 8:
Meeting, Mt. Gretna Boardroom (at post office), 7 pm. The
Council will be adopting the 2015 budget.
Supervisors Meeting West Cornwall Twp,
Municipal Building, 73 S. Zinns Mill Rd., 7 pm (matters affecting Mt.
Gretnans in the Heights, Campmeeting and in the areas of Butler and
Mine Roads). Tip: Supervisors ask those
participating in municipal meetings to "raise their hand when they
want to speak, state their name and where they live and act in a
respectful manner. Those who do that will be acknowledged," says
township secretary Deborah Doll.
Mt. Gretna Walking
Group begins its walks around town (weather permitting). A
half-hour of walking, talking and then breakfast for all who want to
join in. Meets at the Rail-Trail entrance on Timber Road every Tuesday
at 8:30 am. See story below, this issue.
Meeting South Londonderry Twp., Municipal Building,
20 W. Market St., Campbelltown, 7 pm (matters affecting Mt. Gretnans in
Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge). Tip:
Be prepared to speak early and briefly on topics of concern.
Supervisors ask residents to submit topics in advance for discussion at
a "Public Input" session when the meeting begins. Afterward,
opportunities for comments while other matters are being discussed (in
what is called a "Good and Welfare" session near the meeting's
end) are sometimes limited.
Thursday, Dec. 11:
West Cornwall Twp. will hold a Zoning Hearing in the Quentin Fire Hall
at 7 pm on the proposed Sunoco Logistics Cornwall Pumping Station with
an enclosed vapor combustion system. Among groups
urging attendance at this session is Preserve Mt. Gretna, which offers
for area residents an update
and detailed statement of concerns (click here)
on the proposed Sunoco Mariner East Pipeline project.
Saturday, Dec. 13:
Hike. Be the first to find all items on the trail and win a
prize. $2. Gov. Dick Nature Center, 1:30 pm.
Santa Comes to Mt. Gretna . . . at
Le Sorelle Cafe for breakfast 9 to 11 am and the Mt. Gretna Fire Hall
for lunch 11:30 am to 1 pm. Tip: Come before
9 am to get a seat at Le Sorelle's breakfast which, for $5.25,
includes a photo and cookie from Santa.
At the Fire Hall, Santa arrives on a fire
engine at 11:45 am. While kids wait their turn to talk with Santa,
videos will be shown. Lunch at the Fire Hall includes donated gifts
children can buy (most priced at 50 cents) for friends and family.
"It's amazing to see how much thought they put into the gifts they
buy, the cutest thing ever," says fire company
volunteer Karen Lynch.
Mt. Gretna Walking Group
(whoever shows up at the Rail Trail entrance on Timber Road) for a
half-hour walk around town. . . followed by breakfast for all who want
to join in. 8:30 am every Tuesday, weather permitting. See story below, this issue.
Thursday, Dec. 18:
An annual celebration based on a narration of Chet Williamson's
"Pennsylvania Dutch Night Before Christmas" by Tom (Levi) Baum, "the
Belsnickel of Mt. Gretna," with mischievous elfin aide Max
Hunsicker, surrounded by friends, fans and family. Early reservations
for this popular event are highly recommended. Tip:
Timbers' dinners reach their peak for this occasion, with succulent
prime rib and trimmings, plus standard menu choices. Complete with
exuberant cheerleaders (Join the cheer: "Robisonia, Robisonia,
Robisonia High! Baum's Bologna, Baum's Bologna, Aye, Yigh, Yigh!")
and more to start the season as only Mt. Gretna can. At the Timbers
Restaurant. Dinner begins around 6:30 pm. Reservations: 964-3601.
Friday, Dec. 19:
at Gretna Theatre's new offices above the La Cigale Gallery (next to
the miniature golf course). Come see the added
space available for expanded operations in 2015 in a season that
promises to be better than ever. Gift certificates for next year's
performances will be on sale, 4 pm to 6 pm. (Phone number and mailing
address remain unchanged.)
Sunday, Dec. 21:
Sunday School Children's Program
at today's 10 o'clock service at Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church. The
children will perform in a play written by a member of the congregation.
Mt. Gretna Walking
Group (whoever shows up at the Rail Trail entrance on Timber
Road) for a half-hour walk around town. . . followed by breakfast for
all who want to join in. 8:30 am every Tuesday, weather permitting. See
story below, this issue.
Wednesday, Dec. 24:
Christmas Eve Candlelight Services
at Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church, open to the entire community. A
Family Worship Service at 7 pm is a favorite of parents with small
children. The 11 pm service is also well-attended. Tip:
Arrive early to assure a good parking space.
Mt. Gretna Walking
Group (at the Rail Trail entrance on Timber Road) for a
half-hour walk around town, followed by breakfast for all who want to
join in; 8:30 am Tuesdays, weather permitting. See
story below, this issue.
Wednesday, Dec. 31:
New Year's Eve
at the Timbers. Starting upstairs at 6 pm, a holiday buffet and music
party featuring the Roberts Group during dinner with "Galbraith,
Briody and Friends" entertaining afterwards until 1 am. Separate
from the music, a limited menu service will be available on the lower
level from 5 pm to 8 pm. Holiday specials and decorations throughout
the restaurant in the spirit of the season.
Thursday, Jan. 1:
New Year's Day Hike
and 'Kraut. After a hike on the new year's chilly first day,
warm up by the fire with hotdogs and sauerkraut. $3. Gov. Dick
Nature Center, 11 am.
Association meets Jan. 7 at Conewago Twp. Building, 7 pm (see also
listing for Dec. 3, above).
Music, dancing and fun at the Mt. Gretna Fire Hall, Saturday, Jan. 24. Sponsored
by Cicada Festival, firefighters benefit; 7 pm.
Cabin Fever Hike
by the light of the moon, Saturday, Feb. 7. Gov. Dick Park; $3, starts
6 pm. (Jane Mourer photo)
This Bud's For You
Master arborist Jon Schach shows how to identify trees in mid-winter,
Saturday, Feb. 28. Gov. Dick Nature Center, 1:30 p.m.
Inner Harbor Bus
Trip A Fire Company fundraiser coming up Saturday, April 18.
Leaves Mt. Gretna at 8 am and Inner Harbor at 6 pm for
the return home. Tickets ($40) now on sale by fire crew members. Call
"looking ahead" reminder for Mt. Gretnans in
Florida this winter. Photographer
Madelaine Gray hosts a "Mt. Gretnans in Sarasota" party at
her new home in Sarasota, Fla. Saturday, January 17. Drop
her a note email@example.com if you expect to be in the area.
You can also reach her at 717-304-8323.
For additional information, see the Mt. Gretna Arts
Council's calendars in both print (summer) and online
(year-round) versions. Also
available by email during the summer is This Week in Mt. Gretna.
Tuesdays at 8:30
weekly half hour of walking, talking . . . then breakfast!.
Fitness experts say nothing's better than walking.
Unless, of course, it's walking somewhere and
talking while enjoying the company of others, as Geoffrey Chaucer
proved in the Canterbury Tales.
So along comes a modern-day
variation on Chaucer's idea from Kathy Wall: A Mt. Gretna walking
group that meets every Tuesday at 8:30 am at the entrance to the trail
head on Timber Road, just up the street from the pizzeria (where a
breakfast will follow if you like).
To take part, you don't have to be young or old, or even
up for long walks. "It will be very informal, just a group of
whoever shows up," says Kathy.
The idea is to walk with others at a specific time and
place every Tuesday, "but only if the weather is decent."
She plans to kick off the first walk, weather
permitting, Tuesday, Dec. 9. It will last for about a half hour, she
says. Longer or shorter walks may come later, depending on the group's
preferences. Breakfast, of course, is optional for those who care to
"As the group grows, it's
possible we may split up into those who want to walk more slowly or
quickly, or for a longer time. At this point, we just want to get
Have questions or suggestions? Kathy's open to ideas. Drop
her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or
call her at 964-3803. Or just show up at the Timber Road trail head
entrance on Tuesdays.
Aiding in the campaign to restore the American chestnut
tree to its former glory, Tom and Elaine Baum
were spotted recently by a photographer from the Journal
of the American Chestnut Foundation.
At a foundation event near their vacation home not far
from Raystown Lake, they picked up some experimental seedlings to plant
in the forest surrounding their Huntington County retreat and their
cottage in the Campmeeting.
American chestnuts once dominated America's forests,
including those surrounding Mt. Gretna. Tom is a principal of DBC Ag
Products, which specializes in proprietary natural formulas to promote
animal health worldwide. DBC traces it's origins to Baum's Bologna, a
firm started by his great-grandfather. Elaine, a former nurse, is a
noted Mt. Gretna cook and three-time soup cook-off winner.
Chestnut trees were wiped out by a nationwide blight
during the first few decades of the last century. The disease killed an
estimated three billion trees. Researchers are attempting to develop a
species that will survive in today's environment.
Elizabeth Wein, left, grew up in Mt. Gretna Heights and now lives in
Scotland. She regularly flies back to see grandmother Betty
Flocken, who guided her through life following her mother's fatal
automobile accident when Elizabeth was 14.
Following college, she married an Englishman who
shared his love of flying, a pursuit that not only led to her getting a
private pilot's license but also helped shape her career as a writer of
young adult novels.
Beginning first with Arthurian legends, she has recently
switched to books about young girls caught up in flying missions during
World War II. Back last month to see her grandmother, she stopped in
for a buffet breakfast at the fire company. Her latest ventures have
included book reviews. One just appeared in The New York Times' review of
audio books, a genre perfect for nonfiction, she says.
"The human voice lends life to words on a page,"
says Ms. Wein. "The tonal subtleties of a skilled narrator can
captivate listeners with a commitment that readers of the written word
must bring to a text on their own."
Another reader with strong ties to Mt. Gretna also
made it onto the pages of The New York Times last month.
Kendra Feather, right, is the owner of The Roosevelt, one of three award-winning restaurants she
operates in Richmond, Va. Named
Restaurateur of the Year in that city last year, she also runs a
popular bakery. And if that wasn't enough, she's also a new mom
--perhaps the achievement that most delights her Conewago Hill parents,
Joe and Laura Feather.
The Roosevelt, said the Times in its
Travel section, offers cuisine in a "Sunday supper after
church" style (soft-shell crabs and Surry sausage, for instance)
in a way that echoes her chef Lee Gregory's Lowcountry heritage.
galore, all with a common heritage. . .
This year's selection of gift
ideas share a common theme: All trace their heritage and inspiration to
Mt. Gretna. They are the recommendations of readers, guaranteed to
become lasting favorites of those who delight in all things Gretna.
It's an eclectic mix. Some are familiar. Some offbeat.
Others perennial favorites.
Some are pictured, others are not. Take, for example, one
reader's suggestion to commission
a painting by a Mt. Gretna artist of your gift
recipient's home, cottage or favorite local scene. Gift certificates
and commissions for 2015 are offered by Fred Swarr.
Someone else suggested re-gifting mementos the late
historian Jack Bitner used to share freely: railroad spikes from
the early days of Mt. Gretna's narrow gauge railroad. For Jack, the
pleasure was in the giving, and he shared those artifacts widely as a
means of spreading enthusiasm for Mt. Gretna's heritage.
There was also another suggestion we liked: Ask Mt.
Gretna's coffee and tea experts, Mim Enck and Walter Progner of the
Heights, to suggest a holiday
package from their emporium, the East Indies Coffee and
Gretna Theatre's Renee Krizan suggested George M posters from the 1960s. Only 10
are left, she says. They'll be at Gretna Theatre's new offices on the
second floor of the La Cigale Gallery. (Be sure to stop in during their
Open House, 4 to 6 pm, Friday, Dec. 19.)
Doubly appreciated by both performing arts organizations
and recipients are tickets to music and dramatic performances at the
Playhouse. Both Gretna Music and Gretna Theatre have Gift Certificates this
The Historical Society's best-known offering may be Jack
Bitner's Mt. Gretna: A Coleman
Legacy. But they also have other treasures for those
who love Mt. Gretna: MTG decals, pamphlets, other books and DVDs.
Making someone an official member of the Society is also a unique gift
idea. Check in at their newly refurbished website and online store.
The Campmeeting also offers a new historical work of note: Listed!, the story of
its recent ascent to a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Contact Debby Erb at the Campmeeting office. Listed! is also available through the Mt.
Gretna Area Historical Society.
For the young adults on your list, two spellbinding new
novels by former Mt. Gretna Heights resident Elizabeth Wein are New York Times best-sellers.
Those who know Mt. Gretna may recognize some of the settings
even if the names have been changed in Rose Under Fire. Elizabeth's other
book, Code Name Verity,
is also superb. Both recount the harrowing tales of young women in
secret flying missions and their capture during World War II.
Another book that those who love Mt Gretna will treasure
is It's A Fine Line,
published in 2003 by Art Show co-founder Bruce Johnson. Copies are still available on Amazon. With over 100 drawings, it
contains the classic "Tailgating," an unbelievably detailed depiction of what happens in the
rollicking hours at the stadium before a Penn State football game.
No, there's not yet a cookbook of winning recipes from the
famous Mt. Gretna Soup Cook-offs in years gone by, but "Vittles, Virtues and Vultures"
is the latest Mt. Gretna Fire Company Cookbook. It's always a favorite.
Anyone in the Fire Company can obtain a copy for you. The cost is
If you know a Cicada
Festival fan, you can probably find a T-Shirt in their size for $15 (plus $5 S&H, any
quantity). Leave a message at 717-964-2046; they'll call you with sizes
available and order details.
You can make a donation in someone's name to the Mt.
Gretna School of Art's capital campaign. Matching funds will boost your donation
You can also pick up gift certificates at the Timbers, Tony's Mining Company, The Hideaway, Le Sorelle and the Mt. Gretna Pizzeria. Or discover Mt. Gretna original
paintings, photographs and prints at the Gallery at La Cigale or the community gallery at Le Sorelle Porch and Pantry.
Something for everyone? Not quite, but darned close. If you
can't find it, just drop us a note to email@example.com. We'll help you have it in time
the Arts Council, scholarship awards for 2015
Two more scholarships for Lebanon County students have been
authorized for next year, boosting the total amount that the Mt. Gretna
Arts Council has awarded in scholarships over the past few years to
Available next year will be the Dale Grundon Scholarship
for $1,000 for a Lebanon County high school graduate attending a post
secondary school for photography studies. Another for $500 to $1,500
will be made to a local student in theater, painting, music or creative
writing studies. Click
here for details.
it wuz, wuz a Soup Cook-Off.
There's something Andy Griffith-like about November in Mt. Gretna,
something that echoes the 1950s.
Summer people who escape to Sarasota, Santa Fe or
Palm Springs needn't worry or wonder about what people here do when
there's a nip in the air, a first snowflake appears or suddenly comes a
plunging thermometer-inspired impulse to pull out the long-johns.
Those are the very
ingredients that spark down-home music, steaming crock pots, and hearty
appetites on a mid-November day.
That also explains why the annual soup contest is each
winter season's opening rite: Time to have fun and be with friends.
Something that emanates from the kitchens of the area's best cooks,
giving added dimension to the term "good taste."
winners Steven Vandevander (3d), Jen Fetter and Scott Smith (1st),
Nick and Diedre Sweet (presentation) and Bob Hertzler (unique).
Center: Judy Weimer (2d).
accounts, this year's soupfest was the biggest on record. Nearly
170 people jammed into the fire hall for an event that produced
revenues of over $2,100 for the fire company this year and some $10,000
since it began.
Elephant juice anyone? How about a sip of Blueberry Thyme?
Or some Roasted Red Pepper or Bobby B's Crab-o-licious,
dipped from a hot kettle?
The names were as exotic as the concoctions, whipped up by chefs
whose smiles give them away.
No, they're not overly serious in this event, advertised as the
"10th annual" for the past three years. What's
uppermost in mind is not medals but meals that make good times even
Jeanie Bachand was there
again. She comes dressed for the occasion every year. Sometimes in a
Hansel and Gretel outfit from Bavaria (if she's cooking up a German
soup) but this year in a sombrero and south-of-the-border cape,
fetching accompaniments to her Cuban black bean and olive soup.
Newcomer Chris Hannah, who last year breezed in from
California to renovate a cottage in the Chautauqua, offered a white
chili soup, alongside friend Lynn Davies who came with a taste-tempting
blend of ginger carrot soup.
Joining them were Dean Mease with his own recipe for white
chili, Paula Richard's tortellini, Sharon Warfel and her gingered
carrot with coconut soup, Amanda Pennypacker and Evelyn Koppel with the
elephant juice, Bobby Bernier with crab-o-licious, Tammy Travitz with
Caldo Verde, and Luann Wampler's roasted red pepper soup.
First-place winner Scott Smith's petite sweet lobster
"Langostino Love" may have benefited from his long
experience. He's been around since the early days of Mt. Gretna's chili
cook-off, which traces back to the late 1990s. Click
here for Scott's recipe.
All of this to the accompaniment of music by the hastily
assembled "Mt. Gretna Soup
Slurpers" with genuine "sophisticated hillbilly"
straight from the heartland of America.
They, too, came for the fun of it. No charge to the
firefighters,. They were just there to fill in for guitarist Scott
Galbraith, who suddenly got called away. "It's something they
wanted to do for the fire company," says organizer Thatcher
The room was packed, the voting intense, and
the palates generally delighted.
Nobody left unfilled or disappointed.
It's how those who remain in Mt. Gretna make the most of a
crisp, chilly day in November.
Winners' photo courtesy of Robert Travitz
Mt. Gretna Doggy Social Register (Vol. II).
This, by golly, is a continuing series.
It began last month. Nothing we've done in the past dozen years has
been so popular. Or so much fun. Here are some more poochologies to add
to our Register.
When our regular editions resume in a few months, we'll add more.
Please keep us in mind and send photos (of you and your dog). Tight
head shots, please. Our space is limited, so close-ups are mandatory.
just recently bought a cottage on Columbia Avenue, but Pat and Joe
Harris may know more about Mt. Gretna than people who have lived here
for years. Over the past quarter century, they've spent summer
vacations at 20 different cottages in the Heights, Campmeeting and
Not only do they love Mt. Gretna, but they can
also offer good advice on how to pick rescues.
"Look for one that speaks to you. Pick one that
makes a connection with you," says Joe.
He and Pat started coming here in the early '80s when he
began teaching English at Elizabethtown College. Over the past 30 years,
he has also taught at the University of Pittsburgh and at Duke
University in North Carolina.
Two years ago, his move to the University of Delaware
brought them closer to their dream of someday owning a cottage where
they could bring their two dogs.
8, a black and tan Shepherd mix, joined the Harris family at the age of
6 months -
Rocky and Lois
- timid, scared and
likely abused -- "but nowadays a sweet and gentle boy," says
9, a "somewhat goofy-looking" white Basset mix he says, came
later when a former owner was no longer able to care for her. "You
can sense her charm from the photograph," adds Joe, now the
university's Director of Composition.
He says the dogs filled a spot in their hearts after
their two daughters left home. (One teaches creative writing at
Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh; the other teaches high school in Durham,
Pat teaches English as a second language, Rocky and Lois spend a lot of
time together at home alone. They have now become inseparable, says
Joe. "One won't go to the vet without the other."
Just two hours from their Delaware home, Mt. Gretna is the Harrises'
favorite spot to relax. "It's good to be in a place where people
may not yet know me, but they already know my dogs' names," he
Carrot, 8, is just one of three "fur kids" in the
household of Maria and Rob Rambo, who discovered Mt. Gretna through a
friend they have known for 25 years.
When their friend moved to nearby Spring Hill Acres, the
Rambos began making regular visits back to Pennsylvania from their home
in Ashburn, Va. They soon fell in love with Mt. Gretna.
renting different cottages for several summers, they finally succeeded
in buying one six years ago. Their Princeton Avenue cottage, once owned
by the late Nancy Bressi, has now be
come their favorite
Since they have no other children, the dogs occupy a prime
spot in their lives. Carrot shares their 2-1/2-hour commutes with Max,
her 9-year-old dog sibling, and Jack, 13, an apricot-colored
cockapoo. All three are rescues. Carrot, in fact, was discovered
at a kill shelter inTennessee. She is now receiving chemo treatments
following two surgeries for cancer.
"We've had rescues even before we were married,"
says Maria. Husband Rob is an engineer at Lockheed Martin. They hope to
retire in a few years.
meantime, Maria, who once worked at a dog treat bakery and doggy Day
Care center, hopes to decorate their cottage with pictures of the Dogs
of Mt. Gretna.
Maybe the Mt. Gretna Doggy Social Register came along just
You might say that Addie,
a seven-year-old poodle that divides her time between Mt. Gretna and
Sarasota, Fla., missed her calling to AKC stardom not by a whisker but
rather a toe.
single white toe on one of her forepaws convinced her champion breeder
in Georgia to reluctantly send Addie, an undersized miniature poodle of
highly unusual red coloring, to an anxious Julia Phillips, waiting at
the Cargo Hold section of Sarasota Airport in Florida.
"I call it my angel's imperfection," says Julia,
a realtor and interior decorator who spends with husband Larry part of
the year in Florida but as much time as they possibly can at their home
in Timber Bridge.
Although Julia had seen her picture, she met
her new pet for the first time after Addie's first plane ride.
"There she was, 1-1/2 pounds of fluff in a kitty crate" she
She quickly showed an ability to entertain herself,
wrestling toys from towels Julia dries her off with when she's wet,
then sends them bouncing across the floor to give chase.
Julia's convinced that Addie has a clear
Pennsylvania preference. "When we return to Florida and get near
Sarasota, she begins looking out the window, almost to say, "Ho
hmm. We're back."
But on the return trip to Mt. Gretna, alone in the back
seat, Addie races from window to window when the car turns onto Pinch
Road. "By the time we get to the pizza shop, she's crying for joy
and so excited. She's saying, 'We're home.'"
Mandy and Brad Yeingst of Timber Hills met on a blind date Feb. 20,
1982. Brad's sure about the exact date because, as a devoted fan
of stock car racing, he'd just come back from his first race at the
He's just as passionate about fire engines. He is, in
fact, a key member of the Mt. Gretna firefighting team, which claims
almost as much of his time as his business as a commercial printer.
More than 30 years later, after raising two sons and a
daughter, they now have three grandchildren, a 10-year-old sheltie
named Jigger, and their newest passion, two Cavalier King Charles
They were out walking near the Timbers last month when our
photographer caught up with them and Bailey, a 1-1/2 -year old female, and Beau, a male that will
celebrate his first birthday this month. If all goes well, the Yeingsts
hope to soon have additional puppies for sale.
Might they keep one from the first litter for themselves?
It's possible, says Mandy. "I don't know what the limit is, but
I'd like to have at least one more, maybe two. They're one of the best
things that ever happened in our lives."
John and Marianne Spychalski (pronounced spy-HALL-ski)
7, shown here dominating the couch alongside Marianne, is their third.
"They're smart, obedient (most of the time) and good
watchdogs," she says.
They're also adaptable. Porter has been a suburbanite, a
farm dog and a denizen of Mt. Gretna for the past several years. He
arrived at the age of 6 months on the recommendation of a New Jersey
breeder who also specializes in rescues.
For Marianne, a former laboratory technician who now
sometimes works at an
Artisan's Gallery along Lancaster's popular Gallery Row, a certain
orderliness about Porter appeals to her.
His stuffed animal toys are not stuffed animals at all but
rather "possessions." Each has its place upstairs or
downstairs, but he sometimes has trouble deciding which belongs where.
. . and when.
Such indecisiveness, however, has a cure. Porter came to just
the right home.
His master, owner and chief counselor is John, a practicing
psychologist for the past 35 years.
As this series
proves, many Mt. Gretnans adopt dogs. Meet Roscoe, the 10-year-old
Pug that adopted
Chef-on-the-Go Becky Briody.
wasn't looking for a dog and didn't really have time for one as
Mt. Gretna's busiest caterer. But when Roscoe's former owners both died
within days of each another two years ago, a Facebook call for help
went out from the other side of the world.
Mellor, a former Mt. Gretnan who is now a translator on the Pacific
island of New Caledonia, needed someone to care for the pug her parents
had rescued from almost certain death in a Lancaster County puppy mill.
Although Becky had no idea of how she would do it, she
told Sheryl (a friend with whom she had grown up in the Heights) that
Roscoe could come to live with her. That's how this handsome pug has
been saved twice so far. Who says only cats have nine lives?
day he was born ten years ago, this Yorkshire Terrier named Maxie seemed
destined to someday
wind up in Mt. Gretna.
Musick, who lives in Bellefonte, Pa., with her husband Kevin and their
son, had been searching throughout Pennsylvania for another
Terrier like the one that had been their pet for the past 16 years.
after their dog died on Christmas Day, Maxie was born -- in the same
Bellefonte neighborhood where the Musicks themselves lived.
for the chances that Maxie would someday come to Mt. Gretna, three
generations of Leeshaun's family had grown up spending their summers
here. Her parents had their first swimming date at the lake. And after the
Musick's daughter was born, she spent summers here, as well, and had
her first date in Mt. Gretna. Now 26 and married, "she has a
beautiful child," says her mother.
the summer, Mt. Gretna is where Leeshaun and Kevin spend most of their
time. Their son William, 16, volunteers at Gretna Theatre and has also
become a member of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Jazz Band, thanks to
the guidance and support of Timbers Dinner Theatre manager Tap
Meanwhile, Kevin finds their 6th Street cottage convenient
to Harrisburg Airport for his frequent trips as a fund-raising
executive for Pennsylvania State University.
Maxie's fate, things couldn't have turned out better. He has three
Yorkshire Terrier friends in the Campmeeting. And the treatment he
receives, especially from Leeshaun is, well, kingly.
"He sits with us on my lap, and I feed him off the table. I
do everything wrong, and he's spoiled. That's what he loves," she
says. Ever wonder why they call it "a dog's life"
Golden retrievers always fetch ducks, pheasants and other
small game. Maybe the morning newspaper, too.
So when Barbara Maley found Simon, she was determined he'd
do just that. Yet the
training manual warned that while fetching newspapers is possible, it's
tough to teach.
That was all Barbara, a teacher by profession, needed to
She was used to impossible feats. After returning from the
Mt. Gretna Tour of Homes year after year and yearning to buy a cottage,
her husband, a busy Lancaster orthopedic surgeon, finally said,
"Oh, for heaven's sakes, go ahead."
That was all Barbara needed. Six months after she bought
their Chautauqua cottage, he finally stopped by to see it.
It wasn't the White Elephant he expected.
Barbara had done an excellent job of not only finding the
cottage but also getting it ready for summer. Moreover, Dr. Maley found
several projects to keep busy, including the addition of a second
"He's talented and can do anything. Before you knew
it, he was doing things that I wanted done, but it did not need much.
He loves being in Mt. Gretna and sometimes stops doing things and naps
on the porch. For a workaholic, that's progress!"
When she applied the same determination to Simon, miracles
happened. She started to teach him to fetch the newspaper exactly
as the manual instructed. Dr. Maley tried, too, but soon stopped.
"I give up, Barbara," he said. "Simon never will learn
to bring in the newspaper."
Barbara persisted. "I kept trying, and one day, it
clicked. He started to do it, and it's been such fun." Now,
she's onto her next project, training him to become a therapy dog with
Meanwhile, Simon loves coming up for his 3- to 4-mile
walks in Mt. Gretna, where Barbara first came as a Lancaster County
teenager. "I'm an old-fashioned girl -- I like kicking back in
time. This was the place for me. And everybody here is wonderful."
Our reporter asked if robots and Amazon delivery drones
might someday replace Golden Retrievers. Her instant reply: "Do
you think they could wag their tails, almost talk and smile as if to
say, 'Look at me, look at me. Look at what I've done for you'"?
John H. Stoudt
(1915 - 2014)
Stoudt, who had served as president of the Mt. Gretna Heights Community
Association and was a charter member of the Mt. Gretna Rotary Club,
died last month at age 99 in Cornwall Manor. He was the husband of the
late Margaret "Peg" Stoudt and had been a member and former
treasurer of the Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church as well as a
volunteer with the Mt. Gretna Fire Company. A complete obituary appears
The Mt. Gretna Newsletter
Award Winner but with no official status,
commercial interests, or political ax to grind.
It produces no income but much pleasure and many
friendships. Roger Groce