On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

School is out for the summer and families are sending their children to day and sleep away camps, packing and taking vacations and for many heading to the shore. In Mountaintop we have the varied mountain and forest vistas to enjoy year round, but a visit to the ocean is always special. The surf pounds endlessly and the rhythm of the waves is a calming experience. This early the water is cold but by August and with the help of some nice hot days now and then it will be just right for the hearty swimmers to take a dip.

Father’s Day was a few days ago. In our family we let our husband, father, brother enjoy what he likes best. It is usually a round of golf. I have been playing on Sundays with Charlie for the past couple of years. He is patient with my skill of play, which is one stroke or more per hole than his best. He learned as a teenager caddying at a 9 hole course in Carmel, New York, where he spent summers with his mother, brothers and sisters at grandma’s house. Learning young is a great advantage to playing the game for life. There are always ample opportunities to play.

This weekend Charlie and I will play in the 4th Annual Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club’s Pink & Blue Tournament. Pink is for cancers that especially affect women, breast and ovarian, and blue is for men, who are at risk for prostate. All of us as we age face colon cancer risk.

The proceeds from the Pink & Blue are donated to the Prescription Assistance Fund at Medical Oncology Associates of Kingston, PA. Patients who need help paying for medications or treatments because they are underinsured are taken care of by the fund.

Golf tournaments need many volunteers pitching in to solicit prizes, find golfers, sell sponsorships and make the event fun as well as profitable. The Pink & Blue has two major sponsors: The Tambur Family Foundation and Petroleum Service Company –Black Horse Foundation. There are 30 additional hole sponsors, many Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club business associates and others Mountain Top businesses that make up the backbone of the donations. Somehow it comes together and we all pray for good weather.

Speaking of weather, after the dark and dreary week we just said goodbye to on Father’s Day, it looks like the 80’s including sunshine and thundershowers will be on the horizon this week. That is perfect weather for making my garden grow. Ideally it rains only at night.

The Train Rides July 5

The Rotary Club of Mountaintop is racing toward their June 30 deadline for selling tickets to the Steam Train Excursion from Mountain Top to Jim Thorpe on Saturday July 5. All of Mountaintop will certainly hear that “train a comin” as it travels the 40-mile route. Conductors will announce “All Aboard”.

Passengers on the Rotary’s unique excursion will ride the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad (RBMN) train pulled by the restored Steam Locomotive #425. RBMN is a regional railroad operating in eastern Pennsylvania. It operates occasional passenger excursions utilizing restored steam locomotive #425. In addition, RBMN operates the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway a heritage railway based in Jim Thorpe. RBMN interchanges with the Norfolk Southern Railway –Reading, North Reading, Temple, Lehighton, and the historic Mountain Top Yard at Penobscot Knob.

The Black Diamond passenger train was the most famous train in the Lehigh Valley line from 1896 to 1959 and included passenger rail that travelled through the Fairview section of Mountain Top, according to the best research I could find online. It included service near the old Glen Summit Hotel built in 1884 and torn down in 1915. Today the abandoned railroad bed south of the Glen Summit section is the Black Diamond Trail connecting from Wright Township all the way to Philadelphia. We have a strong history of “Black Diamond” in our region. Researching the history is best left to the Mountain Top Historic Society.

The Rotary’s ambitious project is unique for our town and will be long remembered. Be sure to check out rotarytrainride.com.

Rice Reminisces

It has been a year since former Rice Supervisor George Venesky and Miller Stella approved the decertification of their volunteer fire company. Wright Township Volunteer Fire Company was offered the job of covering Rice for $30,000 per year, more than Rice had ever given their own struggling company. But that was then and Wright Fire Company regularly answers calls in both municipalities.

There were other unpopular issues that passed through Rice last year. One of my favorites was the proposed abandonment of Heslop Road to adjacent landowners and the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the erection of a gate to keep the people out before the issue was finalized. Rice residents including hunters and outdoorsmen were outraged. The gate was dismantled and left to rot at the end of the graveled part of the roadway last fall.

Earlier this month the rotted gate and the posts that were installed in the earth on the township right of way to hold it up were removed by Rice Township road workers and the lane is now back to nature. I was thrilled to see it gone, when I went for my walk down Heslop into the Gamelands last week. Roadmaster Mark Taney told me the old gates, actually there were two, are now at the township recycling center. No more barriers on Heslop. There is room for at least 3 vehicles to park about 500 feet from the PA State Gamelands boundary line along the public right of way. Chapter closed.

Still Time for Flowers The beautiful flowering shrubs

and spring perennials are all but gone this week, but there is new color on its way in the form of bright summer annuals. Last week’s damp weather gave all the transplants a chance to dig deep and this week the heat will make them explode. I sprinkled weed screen around many of my plants and the newspaper mulch is spreading on the vegetable garden. It’s fun to have outside activities this time of year. Every day I see a change. I stopped by Old Post Farm to return some potting materials that the nursery will recycle and saw that there is still a nice assortment of color in the greenhouses. If you have a corner in your yard that could use a pop, plan to stop by one of the local nurseries before it’s all gone.