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No. 99                                                                        October 1, 2009

(Note to our online readers: Color photos, hyperlinks to referenced articles and updated stories are available in the e-mailed edition of this newsletter, distributed without charge. Our readers’ email addresses are never shared with anyone, for any purpose. The Mt. Gretna Newsletter has no political or commercial aims; its only goal is to inform, entertain and occasionally amuse its readers and an aging editor who enjoys keeping in touch with the world. . . and, especially, with Mt. Gretnans near and far.  To add your name to the subscriber list, send your request to:

Adding up the pluses in Mt. Gretna's surprising 'walkability''

Mt. Gretna, especially in the fall when crunchy leaves add their staccato to every footstep, is a walkers' town. Walkers, that is, as opposed to pedestrians, a term that only city folks use.
Ready, aim. . .
In Mt. Gretna, we don't stroll, saunter or perambulate. We walk -- sometimes even in the rain: To the post office, the Playhouse, or the ice cream parlor. Along streets that often are barely wide enough for automobiles but leave plenty of room for walkers.

Narrow streets, a distinctive Mt. Gretna hallmark, are just as the town fathers designed them over a century ago. And no one has yet seen much reason for change. Founders who cherished the joys of lively conversation, thoughtful contemplation and restorative calm in a wooded setting also knew that walking along meandering pathways is often a good tonic for sorting out our problems. As one writer noted, "The feet are little psychiatrists."

So it was no surprise to read that modern social planners have recently co Ready, aim. . . me up with a new study affirming what Mt. Gretnans knew all along: "Walkability" is a prized ingredient in a community, one that translates not only to healthy living but also to premium real estate prices. People willingly pay more to live where they don't have to get into a car every time they want to sample culture or savor cuisine, drop off a package or pick up a pizza, or encircle themselves in the company of friends who also happen to be neighbors.

Yet while the sociologists who studied walkability emphasized traditional yardsticks such as proximity to jobs and shopping malls, what they may have underestimated are widening differences in the way people earn their living and do their shopping nowadays.

A number of folks here who now work at full-time jobs rarely leave tow
Shopping? Why leave home? n, linked to employers in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia from home computers perched amid the trees of Mt. Gretna.
At the post office, assistant postmistress Kathy Dugdale notes that although the flow of letters and cards has dropped sharply, her UPS colleague -- driver Shirley Rennix (inset, left) -- has a truckload of packages every day and knows Mt. Gretna's most ardent TV and online shoppers by their first names.

Researchers may also have missed one of the best benchmarks of a town's walkability, namely benches themselves. Mt. Gretna's bench-to-resident ratio probably tops most places in America: nearly one bench for every 15 inhabitants by our estimate, 71 benches in the Chautauqua alone.

Benches scattered throughout the town often crop up
Professor Wise's thoughtful gift outside private residences, beckoning passersby to stop and sit a spell. Retired art professor Gordon Wise (inset, right), who now races sports cars, recently placed a community bench at the edge of his hillside home along Lakeview Drive in Timber Hills. He's one of many Mt. Gretnans who have added this hospitable and inviting touch.

Another unorthodox measure of walkability may be the number of couples one sees holding hands. In Mt. Gretna, they abound. Some New Age theorists say that's because ours is one of those rare spots on the plane Ah ha! The Lei Lines are at work again! t where ley lines converge, showering all beneath their transects with radiating beams of peace, harmony and love.

Whatever the indices, what's clear is that Mt. Gretna's walkability factor is higher than many might expect of a small town separated from the rest of the world by rolling hills and acres of forests.

Yet its reputation continues to grow as a walker's paradise. Tom Mayer, who heads the fire company's current "burn the mortgage" campaign, imported a walking stick from Gretna Green in Scotland. Terry Miller, one of the area's most ambitious hikers, regularly ascends Television Hill, 878 ft. above sea level and 205 ft. higher than Mt. Gretna itself. Rhoda Gibble, a Campmeeting legend, spent decades earning her undisputed credentials as the town's top w
Ready, aim. . . alker. And an enthusiastic bevy of dog owners agree with Paul Dudley White: "A walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world."

So when it comes to "walkability," Mt. Gretnans don't put much stock in research studies. Their measures are the number of benches they see scattered about town, the number of prams and pooches on parade, and, perhaps like Ralph Waldo Emerson himself, the number of shoes they have worn out.


Trick or treat night?

It's coming up Thursday, Oct. 29, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. -- all through the town where, most years, few trick-or-treaters are stirring and the spooks themselves are generally pretty darned scarce.

But the Friday night Halloween Parade down Route 117? Now there's where you'll find demons by the dozens. If you've never been before, don't miss it.
Ready, aim. . .
The parade begins forming at the Jigger Shop at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30.

Marchers -- accompanied by a Halloween Band, shrieking fire engines, and goblins galore -- begin the festive procession promptly at 7:00 p.m. . . . tromping, whirling and cavorting down Route 117.

Advisory to newcomers: Parade marchers outnumber parade spectators by a margin of 10 to one, but nobody seems to mind. Everybody winds up at the fire hall where the fare includes grilled hot dogs, a cake walk and fun -- plenty of it -- for all ages.

(Dale Grundon photo)


In Other News 

All that glitters? Planners assessing the
economic impact of a proposed 570-acre hotel and water park complex four miles east of Mt. Gretna say "The Preserve at Historic Cornwall Village" would pump $78 million in wages and salaries into the economy, the Lebanon Daily News reported.
The report forecasts 2,240 new construction jobs while the 10-year building project is underway -- with 505 permanent jobs remaining when the hotel, with its indoor
water park and surrounding 590 homes, stores, offices and marina are finished.
Yet amid all the alluring numbers, Cornwall Borough president Carl Hilton told the newspaper that although the added tax revenues -- an estimated $1.9 million annually --would be "welcomed money," he added a word of caution. Said Mr. Hilton, "Residents are not 100% concurring that they want this project."
For an aerial view of the proposed development area, around what is referred to as "Penryn Lake," the water-filled former iron mine quarry, click here.

Summer's gone, but the flowers linger. And so, as usual, does Mary Hernley. Throughout October, she intends to be right at the same spot on Route 117 where she's been for the past 44 years.
True, flower sales usually drop off sharply after Labor Day. How much? "Oh, I don't know," she says. "Maybe by half." But that doesn't deter Mary, who remains at her
Mary Hernley, in charge of cheer-up for over 40 years post, a study in perpetual motion as she flits about -- arranging, trimming and repositioning colorful assortments throughout each Friday and Saturday.
Along with her flowers, she also offers bakery items that often include the sticky buns many Mt. Gretnans find irresistible, baked by Marci Baum, one of her daughters.
Also on sale are fresh fruits, vegetables and brown eggs from the farm she and husband Peter operate along Hernley Road in nearby Manheim. That farm, with its sheepskin deed signed by William Penn, has been in their family since the 1700s. Profits from their enterprise go to missionaries that Mary and Peter support throughout the world.
Regardless of the assortments at her stand, however, Mary maintains that's she's not really selling flowers. "I am," she says, "in the 'cheer-up' business."

The annual art studio driving tour across three Central Pennsylvania counties Nov. 7-8 will include stops in Mt. Gretna, where 11 of the tour's 35 exhi biting artists will display their works in home studios and the La Cigale design center along Route 117.
Mt. Gretna artists opening their studios to visitors will be  Shelby Applegate, Floss Russell and Eva Stina Bender in Timber Hills and Madelaine Gray, Elizabeth Stutzman and Frederick Swarr in the Campmeeting. At La Cigale will be the works of Garrett Van Hoesen, former Mt. Gretnan Barb Fishman, Spring Hill Acres artist Susan Afflerbach, Monica Baebler and Bob Terwilliger. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and 12:00 to 5 p.m. Sunday. See
website for details.

Planning a "Wall of Honor" that will go up in the newly expanded Mt. Gretna fire
Ready, aim. . . hall next year, fund-raising chairman Tom Mayer (left) and fire company president Joe Shay review the tributes that contributors have indicated they'll use to commemorate those they have chosen to honor.

Among the gifts already in is one by an anonymous donor who made a pledge of $2,500 annually over the next five years to salute "Mt. Gretna's First Responders."
Others possible honoree categories include:

  • Loved ones who have died.
  • People who have served the Mt. Gretna community for years.
  • Someone they met at Mt. Gretna who became a life long friend.
  • Former teachers who made a difference in their lives. 
  • Organizations that have made a difference in the Mt. Gretna community or the country. 
  • Parents and other relatives.

Tom and Joe meet weekly to work out the details of a campaign that they hope will raise $400,000 to "burn the mortgage" on the fire company's newly expanded facility and pay for new equipment as older fire engines must be replaced.
Others wishing to join the fire company's Wall of Honor may initiate their five-year annual pledges (in amounts of $500, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000) with donations to: Mt. Gretna Fire Company, P. O. Box 177, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064. Tom Mayer has details (964-1987; e-mail

Gretna Music's
winter season at Elizabethtown College begins Oct. 30 with
Gretna Music o pianists Marc-Antonio Barone and Charles Abramovic.
Other highlights: The Raleigh Ringers, Dec. 6, the Vienna Boys Choir Dec. 17, Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man Feb. 14, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Mar. 19. An optional dinner and pre-concert discussion precede all performances.  See

Hike to Governor Dick Tower in the moonlight? Two opportunities ar
Bring a flashlight e coming up:
Join the Fall Moonlight Amble Saturday, Oct. 3, starting at the Nature Center in Governor Dick Park, then meandering up the mountainside. At the tower, talks will focus on night vision and how other senses are enhanced.
On Nov. 6, naturalist Audrey Manspeaker will hold another of her popular November Nocturnes -- with a bonfire at the tower, home-baked cookies and lively discussions. Both programs will start at the park's headquarters along Pinch Road at 6:30 p.m. Bring a flashlight.


36 Years of growing flowers around her Campmeeting cottage at the corner of Mills and Second Avenue, Esther Sauder, 88, was featured last month in a Lancaster newspaper column devoted to seniors. Now at the Brethren Village retirement home, she told a reporter she has worked with flowers all her life, "especially at Mt. Gretna, where I lived from Memorial Day to Labor Day." She and her late husband Merv, owner of Sauder Chevrolet in Manheim, sold their Mt. Gretna summer cottage five years ago.

60 Years that the Winterites have warmed up the coldest months with programs for Mt. Gretna's year-rounders. The group meets at 1:00 p.m. on first Tuesdays at the fire hall each month (except January) through April. Kicking off this year's schedule Oct. 6 is a buffet catered by Chef-on-the-Go Becky Briody. Coming Nov. 3: Diane Iglesias' Flemenco Dance demonstration. Reservations required; call Donna Kaplan, 964-2174.

106th  Birthday coming up Oct. 12 for Gladys Norton of Conewago Hill, perhaps the oldest Mt. Gretnan of them all. She's lived here 38 years, moving from Eph Gladys Norton, 106 rata to be closer to her daughter, Carol Mather.
Gladys has outlived 13 older sisters and brothers.
Her longevity secrets? Staying connected to friends, eating small portions, cutting out fats, and "keeping the arteries open" with a secret formula she began drinking daily for the past four decades.
A doctor once asked her to describe the ingredients, how they were mixed, even what size glass she used. Gladys whispered the answer. "Then I believe he went straight home and mixed up some for himself."
Exactly what were those ingredients? "If you were to put that in the newsletter, I'd probably have to move," she says with a twinkle in her eye. 

1,420 Visitors to Governor Dick Park's Environmental Center this summer (from Memorial Day to Labor Day). Located on Pinch Rd. across from the state game lands parking lot, the center recently observed its fifth anniversary. Ready, aim. . .
This fall and winter, the center will be open Thursdays-Sundays through October, shifting to weekends only in November. The building will close from December until March 7, when it again opens on weekends. Its Thursdays-Sundays schedule resumes April 2.
To reserve the center for group activities or see what
programs are coming up this fall, visit the park's website, e-mail, or write: Clarence Schock Memorial Park, P. O. Box 1616, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.  Tel. 964-3808.


Village Lane resident Julie Shearer, (inset, right) marveling at the handful of treasur
Jeff White: 35 Consecutive Appearances at Mt. Gretna Art Show es harvested at Soldiers' Field last month by metal-detecting enthusiast Jerry Lightcap.  Jeff White: 35 Consecutive Appearances at Mt. Gretna Art Show
Mr. Lightcap, who has been unearthing buried relics on the former parade grounds for more than two decades, believes an unending supply of bullets, medals, coins and other discoveries still remain hidden just eight inches or so beneath the surface.
A former member of the 28th Infantry Division (which mustered on these grounds near the turn of the last century), Mr. Lightcap runs a
carpet cleaning business in nearby Mt. Joy and, whenever time allows, loves to hunt for buried history.
So far, his discoveries in Mt. Gretna have included a 1915 cavalry spur, coins dating to the mid-1800s, and Spanish-American War medals (such as the one he dug up on Labor Day this year, together with spent cartridges, cannon primers, pistol and rifle cleaners, bullet clips and an 1862 Indian Head penny).
A self-proclaimed "detecting maniac," Mr. Lightcap has a Mt. Gretna displ
Ready, aim. . . ay case in his Mt. Joy home, created exclusively for items he's  discovered in Soldiers' Field over the past two decades.
His best finds to date: An 1853 $1 gold coin (now worth around $400), medals, and even some Civil War buttons, which he believes that troops stationed at Mt. Gretna in the late 1800s and early 1900s may have inherited from their fathers or grandfathers and sewn to their knapsacks.
Does he think he'll ever exhaust the storehouse of buried relics at Soldiers' Field?  "No. It'll never stop," says Mr. Lightcap, whose seven-year-old daughter delights in hunting for buried treasures with her dad.  "There are so many different weather and ground conditions affecting how my metal detector operates. So whenever I want to find something old, I come out to Mt. Gretna. I'm bonkers about history."

Yes, just as they sang in "Oklahoma," the corn in mid-September was "as high as an elephant's eye" along Butler and Colebrook roads, reports 5' 5" Ed Landis
In nearby Quentin: "the corn is as high as an elephant's eye" (left), who spent his early years growing up in Mt. Gretna and now enjoys summers here with his family.  
"We had been watching corn in the area around Mt. Gretna growing taller and taller over the past few weeks. It's like nothing we'
With an eye for natural beauty, Ed is also an amateur photographer who captured (at right) another perspective on towering cornstalks swirling beneath the thin outline of a faintly visible cellular phone tower in the distance, a scene he came upon early one morning last month.
(Photos: Ed Landis)

Emmy Award winner Gabe Swarr, son of Campmeeting artist Fred Swarr and
For young artist top honors Valerie Swarr. Shown with wife Karla at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Daytime Entertainment Emmy awards in Los Angeles, Gabe, 34, won top honors for outstanding directing in an animated program.
Profiled in a
Lancaster Intelligencer Journal story last July, Gabe received the award for an episode of the Nickelodeon animated series "El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera." 

When his Mt. Gretna friends and neighbors unexpectedly thrust him into the spotlight during the Timbers Dinner Theater's final night of the 2009 season, Tom
When duty calls Tom answers Sheaffer proved a good sport.
Dutifully climbing onto the stage, he donned a feathered red hat and joined the cast to enthusiastic applause of an appreciative, if traditionally boisterous, closing-night crowd.
Tom's stage debut ("the first and last," he vows) was a far cry from his distinguished 30-year career as an educator in Palmyra School District, from which he retired in 1996. He and wife Judy moved in 2005 to Mt. Gretna, where he now attends to many of the maintenance duties at the Timber Hills apartment community along Valley Road.

"On location" photos for high school yearbooks? Gone are the days of studio shots in formal gowns and white dinner jackets. Now the latest trend is to pick plac
For high school seniors, a celebrity touch es -- indoors or outdoors -- that reflect your tastes, talents and temperaments, and then hire your own photographer.
Courtney Wiederrecht, a Manheim Central senior who loves art, naturally chose the artistic setting of Mt. Gretna as the locale for her yearbook pictures. "I like Mt. Gretna," she says, "It's altogether different."
Courtney spent a morning here this week with photographer
Char Newswanger, creating shots outside the Campmeeting cottage of friends (and newlyweds) Brad and Allison Kleinfelter, in front of the Hall of Philosophy, and around the Playhouse. Accompanying Courtney on the photo shoot, her mom, Joell Ketcham (who evidently understands teens), predicted that long before the pictures show up in the yearbook, they'll be on Facebook.

Questions Readers Ask

[] "I loved visiting Mt. Gretna this summer -- going to the musical (Hello, Dolly) and ea
Tending the hanging baskets ting at the Jigger Shop. Also did some shopping. I loved the hanging plants. Most were the same, with very long stems coming down to the ground with leaves almost in steps. Do you know the name of this plant?" Vinca vines

<> Kerrie Hontz, a Penn State Master Gardener who divides her time between Skippack, Pa. and the cottage she and husband Ron own in the Campmeeting, says the vine is called "vinca major," shown here (inset, left) being watered by borough staffer Lindsay Kresge.
It's an annual that usually dies at the end of each season.
Widely available at garden centers, it's used in container plants and sometimes during warm winters may actually root itself into the ground and come back the following season.
Vinca major, Kerri points out, is an altogether different type of plant from "vinca minor," which is a perennial ground cover sometimes called periwinkle. Vinca minor can spread widely and overwhelm other plants, she cautions. 


Mom wrote the book, dad painted the pictures and Finn and Luke Royer, ages 3 and 5, are delighted that two of their favorite toys inspired
All in the family: 1st book's a team effort "Nightbear and Lambie," a new volume that will go on sale at bookstores everywhere this fall.
The Campmeeting residents will host a party at the Hall of Philosophy this month, celebrating the book's nationwide release to outlets including Pottery Barn Kids stores across the country.
Author Kerry McGuinness Royer and husband Matt, an environmental attorney who did the oil painting illustrations, say their first book was a year and a half in the making. The party, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Oct. 16, will include refreshments and a storytime for children. Kerry says the book is based on one of many bedtime stories she tells her young boys at their Seventh Street cottage. Autographed copies will be on sale at the event.


Christmas in New York? Rhoda Long invites folks to join her in an "at cost" bus trip leaving from Mt. Gretna Tuesday, Dec. 15.  Nothing formal, no special groups involved, "just a 'fun day, Rhoda Long '" says Rhoda, a grandmother*, real estate agent and community spark plug who also helps out with the July organ recital series (and extends warm thanks to all who helped with refreshments again this year).
What inspired the holiday trip? "Conversations with a few people, which soon multiplied to ten," she says. Now, over half the seats are already filled. For details: e-mail; (tel. 717-304-0248)
*Of Ryan Brunkhurst, Mt. Gretna's 16-year-old church organist and choir director; and his younger sister, avid tennis player Logan Brunkhurst.


Glimpses . . .  from an Internet blog written by a 28-year-old Massachusetts librarian who's also a farmer, describing her visit to Mt. Gretna last week: "It reminds me." she wrote, "of a place out of a children's story."


Zumba is zooming for Mt. Gretnan Janice Balmer (left), who just increased the number of sessions she offers for the popular dance exercise class based on Latin, h Zumba! ip-hop and international music.
She now holds classes at the Mt. Gretna fire hall on Sundays as well as Tuesdays through Thursdays.
What's neat about the experience, she says, is that it attracts "mature local folks who are coming out to dance and do something good for their health. One of my students is over 70 and tells me how much she enjoys the music and learning the steps."
Janice, an active mom who formerly headed the Arts Council's summer premiere, adds that it's a good weight loss solution. "I've lost over 50 pounds over the past 12 years," she says.  For details: phone 717-507-9349 or drop her a note at


Mt. Gretna's Cicada Festival will be held a week later next year: Aug. 10-12 and winding up Aug.16-17. "While most people don't care," says the amiable Dick Smith, who helps organize the popular series, "there are those who plan dates early." He's got a point.


Watercolor artist Carol Snyder began painting fresh scenes for her 2010 Mt. Gretna calendar last fall. Having finished that assignment Calendar artist Carol Snyder and with her new calendar just back from the printer, she's already thinking about new scenes to capture for next year's edition, her third in what's likely to become a collectors' series.
This year's calendar includes scenes of a snow-covered Playhouse and barbecue pit at the Mt. Gretna men's club, springtime views of the roller rink and Hall of Philosophy, summer glimpses of Gretna Emporium, the Jigger Shop, lake, Campmeeting quoits beds and Timbers Dinner Theater, and autumn paintings of Le Sorelle Cafe, canoes at the lake and the Campmeeting's water pump pavilion.
Carol personally takes orders for calendars  ($22 each, or two for $40) and note cards ($17 for an eight-card pack) from her woodland studio in nearby Spring Hill Acres.
"Last year, I received requests from all over the country, and sometimes people included a little note. They don't have to do that, of course, but when they do, it's fun." Call (717) 304-3753 or email


Yes, the music will continue. Mountain music every Monday this fall and winter, starting at 6:00 p.m.
During the three-hour sessions, count on hearing melodies that simply pour out of the hearts and souls of fiddlers, guitarists, and banjo strummers who gather in an informal setting to play for their own pleasure and the enjoyment of occasional passersby.
It's an easygoing, re
The music continues this fall in Mt. Gretna on Monday nights laxed weekly interlude at the La Cigale Design Center, next to the miniature golf course along Route 117.
Organizer and Mt. Gretna electrician Dale Dourte (inset, with guitar), says that when temperatures drop, they'll move inside, but still playing tunes as the spirit moves them.
Starting in October, however, on the last Monday of each month, the group will shift to an "open mike" experiment with musicians in "performance mode" for the entertainment of spectators.
So if you're looking for a way to to spend a leisurely Monday evening with sounds that emanate from folks who play for the sheer joy of playing, there's no better spot to find it. Bring your own lawn chairs, a group of friends, and prepare to have a good time.


The Chicken Quandary

Concerns are growing over what's to become of Doodle and Dolly, the chickens that took up residence here last spring.

With winter approaching and the birds now drifting out onto Route 117, many hope they'll soon find a safe winter haven somewhere on a farm.

The chickens appeared here last spring under what some say were mysterious circumstances.

Suspicions linger that Doodle was among a group of "hot" birds, brought here by the jittery driver of a pickup truck, anxious to make a quick sale. Just why he picked Mt. Gretna is not entirely clear. But while he was in town, two of the birds escaped, including Doodle, who has since evaded capture by a crack team of SPCA specialists and our own highly trained volunteer firemen.

Like Superman, Doodle has a remarkable ability to leap tall trees in a single bound. Dolly arrived a few weeks later and, except for an unexplained July fling when she briefly disappeared, has been here ever since.
Paul Bridges

So if Doodle and Dolly are to be rounded up for a barnyard retirement home, who, pray tell, has the chicken-catching skills to do it?

To the rescue may come Mississippi native and poultry executive Paul Bridges, right. He and wife Leiah just moved into the former home of Barb and Al Fishman along Lakeview Drive.
"You want me to get those chickens?" asked Paul. "I've been in the poultry business for many years, and I think we can figure out a way to catch them." He stresses that his method would be safe and not harm the chicken.

Hours after Paul made the offer, however, a betting pool got started. Oddsmakers quickly weighed his chances. Could a good ol' Southern boy actually snare the wily Yankee Doodle and gentle Dolly, now busily producing eggs in h
Ready, aim. . . er nest in back of the pizza parlor? To be sure, the birds do entertain visitors, eat leftover pancakes and stimulate conversations at the breakfast tables.
But some neighbors, weary of Doodle's 3:00 a.m. cock-a-doodle-dos, say a barnyard ought to be in their future. Others, noting that both birds showed up last week across Route 117 at the Borough office doorstep, fret over their safety.

A solution may be at hand, however. With his soft Southern accent, newcomer Paul says that if people want a safe home for Doodle and Dolly, he's willing to see what he can do to help.


When it comes to spending an afternoon with friends and neighbors, devouring roasted hot dogs piled high with sauerkraut, and walking off with prizes galore, there's no better place t Ready, aim. . . o be on a fall Saturday afternoon than the Mt. Gretna fire company's block shoot.
Another one's coming up Oct. 10, from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. Want more? How about the unbeatable ham and bean soup that Mt. Gretna legend Alice McKeone honed to perfection, her treasured family recipe now preserved by Sharon Solie, with steaming rivels as only Dot Frymyer can make them. All proceeds benefit the fire company.                   
(Photo: Dale Grundon)


 After six years, Mt. Gretna's soup cook-off has become the indisputable top-rated event in town every November Coming up: Soup Cookoff .
Organizer Thatcher Bornman is now lining up contestants from near and far for the 7th annual fest, coming up Nov. 7 from noon to 2:00 p.m.
If you'd like to enter, e-mail him at
Prizes go to three top vote-getters in the "best tasting" category. Medals are also draped over culinary artists who qualify for "best presentation" and "most unusual" honors.
Along with soups of tantalizing variety, soup-tasters (whose $10 admission fees go to support the fire company) also get to enjoy conversations with friends and the music of Scott Galbraith. 
(Photo: Dale Grundon)


Cornwall Police will offer free VIN etching Oct. 24 to help curb auto theft. The process can help lower insurance rates, doesn't harm a car's appearance, and takes only a few minutes. To schedule an appointment (between 9:00 a.m. and noon), call 274-2071, or e-mail


Restoring a local legend: John Wengert, a Mt. Gretnan who heads the rip-snortingly successful 19-mile long Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail that winds through town along the 1880s Cornwall-Lebanon Railroad roadbed, says they'll dedicate the refurbished and relocated Root Beer Barrel Oct. 17 at 11:00 a.m.
The landmark structure, which had served
Ready, aim. . . roadside patrons along Route 72 since 1969, was restored as an  Eagle Scout project by Travis Wise and friends, including original barrel owner Bill Schwarz. It's now ensconced at the Cornwall trail head near Route 419, where volunteers sell bottled water and LVRT shirts, with profits going to help fund the rail-trail.
Open weekends through October, they hope to add the original Jwigs frosty root beer just as soon as they can figure out how to get electricity to the site. LVRT volunteer and former Mt. Gretnan Doug Bedell (273-1040) handles volunteer staffing assignments.


Hunters will soon be roaming the countryside, in surrounding Rail Trail Walkers Warning state game lands and along the rail-trail. So wise hikers and joggers may opt to "stay out of the woods" during hunting season, especially if they're not wearing fluorescent orange vests and jackets as prescribed by state law from mid-November to mid-December.
About 100 hunters will again be in the Governor Dick woods Dec. 2-5 in a special hunt -- limited to bows, shotguns and flintlock muzzle-loaders -- to thin out the deer herd.


If it's the first Sunday in November, that means it's time for another fire company breakfast -- one of the most popular places in town. Tie a string around your finger: the first Sunday is Nov. 1. And the breakfast starts at 8 For a fire company breakfast, everybody turns out :00 a.m. with 30 dozen eggs, 60 pounds of fruit salad, four cases of breakfast sausage, and 30 to 40 pounds of sliced potatoes. All for a donation you stuff in a fireman's boot as you enter the door. 
Yes, the donations are important -- and generous donors have sometimes stuffed $100 bills in the boot.
The gastronomic extravaganza is more than a place to eat, however. It's the place to be to meet all your friends and neighbors on the first Sunday in November. And one thing's for sure: Man-about-town Dale Grundon will be first in line.


Glimpses from a Scrapbook:
Squeezing the Final Summer Sundrops of September
Expecting guests any minute now
Saturday afternoon at the lake

Top, left: The welcoming entrance to a Campmeeting cottage; at right, a boy and his dog at the lake, enjoying the sun on a September Saturday.

Because most Newsletter readers live far beyond Mt. Gretna -- in other towns, states, and countries -- we send along these last glimpses of summer.

As the season came to a close, those who remain surrendered to the season's final curtain reluctantly, squeezing from each foreshortened day a few final joys of summer. . . folding them into an ever-growing scrapbook of memories.

Below, left: In the Campmeeting, summer's last flowers; at right, afternoon shadows grow longer on a sun-drenched cottage.

At every corner, a burst of color
School Bus . . . for two Summer ebbs in the Heights
Above: In the Chautauqua on the first day of school; at right: a fern-draped home in Mt. Gretna Heights.

     Timber Hills home
Ready, aim. . .

Above, at left: Leaves begin to turn at a modern home in Timber Hills, where soldiers camped a century ago. At right: An ivy-covered cottage on Princeton Avenue.

October in the Campmeeting

Above: A final salute to Mt. Gretna's summer from a cottage in the Campmeeting.


Editor's Note: We cordially invite readers to send their Mt. Gretna Scrapbook scenes throughout the year (in .jpg  format) to

Campmeeting reflections