On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

Ahhh! Is summer really here? It is sunshine one moment, thunderstorms the next. The grass is growing every day and it’s time to get the seeds and plants into the vegetable garden. It’s time for golf, a trip to the beach, graduation parties and weddings. Summer days are long. Sunrise today on Wednesday May 28 was at 5:38 a. m. and sunset will be tonight at 8:23 p. m. for a total of 14 hours and 45 minutes of daylight. From dawn to dusk it is a total of 16 hours of wonderful summer. And the days are getting longer for 3 more weeks!

We have just enjoyed our first summer holiday weekend. The days before were wet and sometimes stormy but sunshine was predicted for the weekend. My plans included some heavy-duty vegetable gardening including planting seeds and starts. I am hoping that at this last week in May there are no more frosty nights around. It’s time for the tomatoes, squash, peppers, and beans to rise up and start their quest toward harvest.

Mountaintop is bursting with activities this month and there is more on the agenda for June. The Crestwood High School Graduation will be held Friday June 13 6 p. m. at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes Barre. June 13 is also the last day of school. There will be no weather worries with the downtown location.

Wright and Fairview Townships will again sponsor summer camp programs at their municipal parks. Wright Township will be starting their 7-week park program on June 16 running through to July 25. Call or visit the individual township offices to register. The Eagle will have details in the next couple of weeks.

Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club is having a Junior Golf League again this summer starting Thursday June 19 with tee off between 7-8:15 a. m. Students must be between 10-18 years old. Cost is $10 for nine holes. The program is filling fast. Call Tony Barletta at 868-GOLF (4653) to register.

As reported here last week, I enjoyed a visit to my birthplace, Seattle, Washington and my 50th high school reunion from Holy Names Academy. For the final two days of my visit I revisited some of my old haunts including the Seattle waterfront, Pioneer Square, the commercial downtown and the Pike Place Public Market. My sister Victoria and I walked 5 miles according to my iPhone enabled pedometer app. I always enjoy walking down a street that I knew way back when and it is always a surprise to see the current business that is occupying the retail space. Many of the original building facades have been restored to their original style, especially in the historic districts. The “memory lane” trip for me is most enjoyable. I have the same feelings after living here in Mountaintop for the past 36 years.

My favorite catalog-internet-retail company for the past 30 years is Coldwater Creek, which specialized in women’s clothing and accessories. In April the company announced that it was filing Chapter 11 liquidation after years of financial losses. Coldwater had begun in Sandpoint, Idaho but had opened their flagship store at the more prestigious location in downtown Seattle in the former Best & Company building years ago. Best had been bought out by Nordstrom, which started as a discount shoe rack style store and after they became successful moved across the street to the former Frederick & Nelson department store where it now stands. Down Pine Street two blocks stands the former Bon Marche department store, which is now a Macy’s. East meets west on both coasts. Coldwater vacated their prime retail space more than 3 years ago. The writing was on the wall.

The tech companies are entrenched in the Seattle area. Microsoft began on the east side of Lake Washington 30 plus years ago and now the other giants of technology, retail, specialty and internet sales including Amazon, Google, Starbucks and Costco have a huge footprint with campuses and corporate headquarters under construction and an expanded presence in every city and town. When I left the Pacific Northwest 50 years ago to go to Fordham University in the Bronx, New York there were few options for a young person looking to work their way through college. Now it is a mecca for innovation.

Victoria and I took a ride on the Seattle Great Wheel, which goes high above the Seattle waterfront providing awesome views of the city and the Olympic mountains and Puget Sound. It is the largest observation wheel on the west coast at 175 feet tall. It is a wonderful new addition to the cityscape.

Back in Mountaintop after a marathon day of flying thanks to Midwest weather problems between Seattle and Philadelphia I was thrilled to see the trees have furled out and the rhododendron are about to pop. By the time you read this flowers will have re-brightened every yard and summertime will be here.