Mountain Home, September 2023

Page 1

Director Mark Polonia and Other Horrors at Mansfield University SEPTEMBER 2023 SPOOKY U PIP, PIP, Hooray in Blossburg Made By Hand to Lend a Hand Vintage Trailers Venture to Romulus FREE asthewind


16 College without the Campus

Spooky U

Cult director Mark Polonia and other horrors lurk at Mansfield University.

28 Glory Hill Diaries

34 Back of the Mountain

Model Horsewoman

Michelle Sepiol dreates big on a miniature scale.

Can It!

Check out retro camping at Sampson State Park.

3 Volume 18 Issue 9
Cover design by Wade Spencer; (top) Mark Polonia, by Wade Spencer; (middle) by Judith Sornberger; (bottom) Harry James, courtesy Tin Can Tourists. Made by Hand to Lend a Hand Fun and fundraising at A Just Cause Annual Arts and Crafts Show at Island Park. Northern Pennsylvania Regional College brings education to students. 18 Delta Echo Echo Romeo Seneca county’s military history and its white whitetails. Sunday drives. Muckin’ about.


E ditors & P ublish E rs

Teresa Banik Capuzzo

Michael Capuzzo

A ssoci A t E E ditor & P ublish E r

Lilace Mellin Guignard

A ssoci A t E P ublish E r

George Bochetto, Esq.

A rt d ir E ctor

Wade Spencer

M A n A ging E ditor

Gayle Morrow

s A l E s r EP r E s E nt A tiv E

Shelly Moore

c ircul A tion d ir E ctor

Michael Banik

A ccounting

Amy Packard

c ov E r d E sign

Wade Spencer

c ontributing W rit E rs

Maggie Barnes, Dee Calvasina, Nancy Hesser, Linda Roller, Karey Solomon, Judith Sornberger

c ontributing P hotogr AP h E rs

Michelle Sepiol, Judith Sornberger, Matthew Stevens

d istribution t EAM

Amy Woodbury, Grapevine Distribution, Linda Roller

t h E b EA gl E Nano


(1996-2014) • Yogi (2004-2018)

ABOUT US: Mountain Home is the award-winning regional magazine of PA and NY with more than 100,000 readers. The magazine has been published monthly, since 2005, by Beagle Media, LLC, 39 Water Street, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, 16901, and online at Copyright © 2023 Beagle Media, LLC. All rights reserved. E-mail story ideas to editorial@mountainhomemag. com, or call (570) 724-3838.

TO ADVERTISE: E-mail, or call us at (570) 724-3838.

AWARDS: Mountain Home has won over 100 international and statewide journalism awards from the International Regional Magazine Association and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for excellence in writing, photography, and design.

DISTRIBUTION: Mountain Home is available “Free as the Wind” at hundreds of locations in Tioga, Potter, Bradford, Lycoming, Union, and Clinton counties in PA and Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Yates, Seneca, Tioga, and Ontario counties in NY.

SUBSCRIPTIONS: For a one-year subscription (12 issues), send $24.95, payable to Beagle Media LLC, 39 Water Street, Wellsboro, PA 16901 or visit www.

For over 150 years, people from
walks of life
trusted C&N to help
And right now, when you open a new checking account you not only get the stability of a sound financial partner, you get a $400 bonus
Receive $400 Bonus when you open your checking account, online or in a C&N branch, with deposits totaling $1,000 within the first 7 business days from account opening date. Account must be opened with promo code 4FRANKS. Offer valid through July 31, 2023, for consumer checking account products only and only valid once per primary account owner. C&N employees are ineligible. Must be age 18 or older. Offer valid for applicable counties in PA, NY and NJ located at Consumer checking products include C&N Everyday Checking, C&N Relationship Checking and C&N Merit Checking. Three months of consecutive direct deposit totaling a minimum of $5,000 over the three months required to receive Bonus payout. Account must remain open for six months from opening date. Payout will occur within 45 days of six-month anniversary of account opening. Payout valid through March 31, 2024.
them meet their

Spooky U

I'm ready for my ghost-up: Mark Polonia sets up to shoot the party scene for his ninety-ninth movie, The Stalking. Wade Spencer

Cult Director Mark Polonia and Other

Horrors lurk at Mansfield University

Ah, Pennsylvania—stately, bucolic, industrial. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed there. But don’t be lured into thinking this is its only national legacy. A darker influence runs beneath the surface, possibly churned up by all the coal mining. Outside Philadelphia, Allentown and Downingtown suburbs were terrorized by a blob from outer space in 1958. (At least that’s when the movie came out.) Near Pittsburgh, the 1968 and 1978 zombie hoards have been well documented. In that same area in 1968, identical twin brothers were born who would write their first horror movie script when they were eight years old, a few years before the family moved to Tioga County. Now, one twin remains, and he works in a small office down an unassuming hall of the art building on Commonwealth University’s Mansfield Campus. But on weekends some have seen him hanging out with zombies, ghouls, demons, and killers in the countryside. And this is not the only strange occurrence to go uninvestigated.

Until now.

See Spooky on page 8

Please Join Us in 202 4!

On Sale Through November!

Sitting behind his desk in Allen Hall, Mark Polonia says he’s glad to live in Tioga County. “It’s a great place to blow up fake heads,” he explains. The few years he worked in Los Angeles weren’t as easy. “You had to get a permit for everything.” By day he’s currently video production specialist in marketing and communications for Mansfield University, but at night he’s filming his ninety-ninth movie, The Stalking. The story takes place on Halloween, when three high school kids who’ve been bullied get revenge at a party using black magic to animate a scarecrow and killer vines. Since 1987, Polonia Bros. Entertainment has made a name for itself producing micro-budget B-horror flicks. The Facebook page has 1.4 thousand followers.

What Lies Beneath the Ordinary

In the beginning, it was Mark and his brother John, born in 1968 in Johnstown, doing everything together. “We weren’t allowed to go to those type of movies back then,” he admits. But at age five, the boys, unbeknownst to their parents, watched Mothra vs. Godzilla on TV, wondering ‘how do they do this?’ Mark says he knew right away what he wanted to do when he grew up. Horror and gore were always on the edges of their otherwise ordinary lives. “At ten, when Dawn of the Dead came out, I remember passing the red barn on the highway.” In 1979, their father, who worked for Acme Markets, was transferred, and they moved from the Pittsburgh suburbs to Wellsboro.

At first it was culture shock. “I’d only seen cows in advertisements,” Mark says, “and the first day we moved here there was a cow in our backyard.” The patio at that house got stained when the eleven-year-old brothers filmed their first movie, a twelve-minute film titled The Killer, and only knew to use paint for blood.

This sounds like a familiar plot—twins who constantly play with fake blood and tell monster stories are not taken seriously by their parents who leave them to roam their small town and amuse themselves. At everyone else’s peril.

The whole town seemed to indulge them. There was even a high school class in supernatural literature, and the teacher let the brothers make a movie instead of writing a report. When they showed it in class, the principal came down to watch. John brought the props. Everyone really liked it, but, Mark says, “It didn’t help us in the dating scene.”

At seventeen they graduated from Wellsboro Area High School and started working

Spooky continued from page 7
Gleason, Hebe 570-724-2079 Our 2023 Season Sponsor
Call 570-787-5454 for reservations Due to subject matter and language, this production is not recommended for young children. September 22, 23, 29 & 30 at 7:30pm 24 at 2:30pm Coolidge Theatre, Deane Center Tickets: Adults $16, Children $8 CLASSICAL• JAZZ BLUES • PIANO • BRASS • POPS JULY 19 - AUGUST 4, 2024 570-787-7800 WELLSBORO H MANSFIELD H KNOXVILLE CHERRY SPRINGS STATE PARK H CORNING
Sponsored by Bill and Shirley Hebe and Spencer,
& Rague, P.C. A theatrical exploration of vigilante justice, mob mentality, fear...and ultimately hope.
Dinner & Show

on Splatter Farm, which was released on VHS in 1987, starting their career as professional filmmakers. Their 1996 film, Feeders, got picked up by Blockbuster and was their number one indie film rental that year, which “put us on the map,” according to Mark. Years later, he’d meet a man who’d been a bigwig at Blockbuster, who told him, “We got a lot of shit for releasing that, but it made us money.”

Much ado about acting: (Top to bottom) Ronald Keith Hartman in the 1966 Mansfield State College yearbook; Ronald receiving the Player of the Year award in 1966; Ronald, under the name Keith Wayne, in the movie Night of the Living Dead in 1968.

Mark had been working in Kingdom Inc.’s movie and video production as a production assistant, then head editor, where he learned a lot right out of high school— “like a college degree.” He was shooting Feeders when he left Kingdom to work at Mansfield University in the AV office. John was working at the same company as their father. Together they made over thirty-five movies before John died unexpectedly of pneumonia in 2008. Mark continued to make movies under the Polonia Bros. name.

In 2015, Mark took a job in Los Angeles at a Hollywood production facility doing show promos, History Channel projects, and dubbing movies. He shot on the beach where the famous Planet of the Apes scene with the Statue of Liberty was filmed. If anyone asked to see his permits, he’d tell them it was a student film. After two years, he returned to Mansfield University, shooting promotional films for them. “It’s a young man’s game out there,” he says, and while he still goes to LA to do editing for Showtime, Full Moon Pictures, and others, he’s happy to be back in Pennsylvania, land of the zombies. When asked if LA really does have more vampires than most places, he says, “Yeah, the wrong kind.”

A State of Terror, a Monster Class

There is something terrifically horrific about Pennsylvania, from Centralia—the ghost town in Columbia County that’s been burning since 1962 and inspired the Silent Hill horror media franchise—to director George Romero’s zombie movies set in the Pittsburgh area. A June 2023 study done by reports that Pennsylvania ranks first in the top ten deadliest states according to their horror movie death tolls. Pennsylvania, with a total of 615 deaths, beat New York by 361, and California by 477, even though those states had more movies counted in the survey. This is mostly thanks to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Land of the Dead (2005).

But there is a little-known Mansfield University connection. In 1966, Ronald Keith Hartman, from Washington, Pennsylvania, graduated with a degree in music from what was then Mansfield State College. Two years later, under the name Keith Wayne, he appeared as Tom in the cult classic and horror phenom Night of the Living Dead, where he helped the main character, Ben, fend off the hoards, then made a break from the fortified farmhouse (have you noticed how often old farmhouses figure into these stories?) to a truck in order to gas it up for their escape. Tom doesn’t make it, and Ronald, aka Keith Wayne, doesn’t appear in any more movies.

All this suggests something unusual going on around Mansfield University, like how Sunnydale High in Buffy the Vampire Slayer sat over the Hellmouth, a portal to the supernatural. There are certainly an abundance of old farmhouses—Mark has used many as film settings. Former Mansfield University English professor and provost, John Ulrich, who has since escaped, er, retired, once taught a very popular

See Spooky on page 10

class called Monster Lit. “It was developed to be a monster class—meaning large, which for us at MU meant 100 to 120 students,” he explains. Combining his long-standing interest in nineteenth-century British literature, including Dracula and Frankenstein , and the fact that monster literature was already a legit sub-genre, John thought, “here’s a way to introduce analysis and interpretation to students using a subject that is perceived as pop culture.”

John, who has long black hair pulled into a sleek ponytail and wears black almost exclusively, taught it in fall, to coincide with Halloween, and only in the evening, 6:30 to 9 p.m. “The class always drew a core of students who already knew a lot about vampires, zombies, or kaiju—but plenty of other students were drawn in,” he says. And if they thought they’d just be reading comic books, they were quickly corrected. The semester started with the tenth-century classic Beowulf.

“How do you even translate Old English,” John asks, “when the term monster didn’t exist in Anglo-Saxon then?” That word, aglæca, can also be translated as fierce combatant or fierce slayer, and is used to describe Grendel and Grendel’s mother, as well as Beowulf, thereby muddling the distinct categories of monster and hero. It’s an effective way to teach critical thinking, whether you are engaging in lofty ideas or examining Cookie Monster, an insatiable eater (“he’s categorically the same as a zombie,” says John) who nevertheless is not scary. “Asking how we can turn monsters into something benign can be educational,”

he claims. Likewise, they examined how people who cross categories can be portrayed as monstrous and de-humanized. Threats don’t have to be physical.

“They can also be a cognitive threat to the way we understand our world,” John says. “Monsters have always stood for the unknown, that’s why they were drawn at the edges of old maps to mark unexplored territory.”

Students studied movies as well as books. They learned when watching the 1932 White Zombie that the original zombies were based on Haitian folklore and depicted people turned into catatonic slaves. It was Romero, with his first zombie film more than thirty years later, who made up the rules that they became flesh-eaters, walked with the classic shuffle, and had to be shot in the head to die.

One of the highlights of John’s professorial career came about because he was presenting a paper on Beowulf at an academic conference that was part of a West Coast comic con. When browsing booths, he turned around to find one of his idols, the author of the bestselling zombie novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (2006).

“There’s Max Brooks with a stack of books, and I said, ‘I’m teaching your book. How do I get you to Mansfield?’” Max gave John his agent’s number, and in November 2012, Straughn Hall was filled with hundreds of people wanting to hear how to survive a zombie apocalypse.

John taught Monster Lit until 2014 when he transitioned into administration. His professional opinion is that college students today are no more zombified than anyone else,

including administrators.

A Dream Brought to Life

On the wall across from Mark’s desk are two black-and-white canvas prints of his grandchildren and a full color print of a creepy scarecrow from one of his movies. “It’s all the same to me,” he laughs.

Mark, who’s been married for thirty years, has two children. Anthony has worked with him on films and now makes his own. He has a gift for special effects, creates some of the props, and does the make-up. Courtney, mother of Mark’s grandkids, works at the university, too. The house they grew up in has been in numerous horror films, but otherwise the family seems like any other. If it’s a full day of filming, Maria, his wife, might make snacks for the actors who are attacking each other in her kitchen—just another day in paradise. “I’m a normal guy,” Mark says, “or at least I’m weird in a good way.”

And he wouldn’t choose to do anything else. “I’ve never lost my fascination and enthusiasm for the process of coming up with an idea, putting it on paper, and then bringing it to life. I’ve been in constant production since 1987.” Having an office in the art building means he’s surrounded by students and faculty whose work feeds his imagination.

His brand is fun, micro-budget party movies, ones you watch with friends to laugh at and scream. You can call his films cheesy; he doesn’t think that’s a bad thing. “Cheesy is a term applied to a film where the concept is bigger than its budget,” he explains. He says

See Spooky on page 32

Spooky continued from page 9 Wade Spencer A Straughn feeling: Mark Polonia stands on the stage in Straughn Hall, looking up at the balcony where years ago he saw something he still cannot explain.



Great business opportunity in an impeccably clean and well-maintained store front. Step in and take off where the previous owners left or begin with your own vision for your personal business. Turnkey business has a full kitchen set up if you would like to continue operating as a restaurant/ convenience store/gas station. MLS Number: 31716712



Rustic cabin with all the essentials just off Rt. 6 and close to Pine Creek. Bordered on the north by over 27,614 acres of Tioga State Forest connecting to over 6,217 acres of State Game Lands, the 2 story cabin includes 3 bedrooms, an indoor bathroom with shower and toilet as well as an outdoor privy, an open concept kitchen/living room and 2 large covered porches. MLS Number: 31717047



Perfectly situated, this lovely Cape Cod home located in a country setting. This home boasts 3 bedrooms and 2 - 3/4 bathrooms, large living room, eat-in kitchen with dining room just off of kitchen. This home is a short distance from the NY border and centrally located within a short drive to most of the local towns

MLS Number: 31717068



In town home with the feel of living in the country, located on a cul-de-sac road, this home is one of the last houses on the road. This 4-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home is located just off the main road. The home offers a living room and a family room for the family to spread out.

MLS Number: 31716969

11 477 Tioga Street • Wellsboro, PA Office: 570-723-8484 Fax: 570-723-8604 Licensed in PA & NY

Made by Hand to Lend a Hand Fun and Fundraising at A Just Cause Annual Arts and Crafts Show at Island Park

Forget the temperature—autumn is just around the corner and as near as Blossburg, this year’s host to A Just Cause Arts and Crafts Show, September 9 and 10 at Island Park. This annual event offers a chance to enjoy a seasonal whiff of pumpkin-spiced candles, music in the air, and goodies to spare, not to mention pony rides for the youngsters, one-of-a-kind gifts for early holiday shoppers, and drawings. And who doesn’t welcome a chance to buy local? A Just Cause promises a pleasurable way to spend a late summer day, but there’s much more to it.

The brainchild of event planner and jewelry maker Barb Sargent, A Just Cause is a proven fundraiser for Partners In Progress, a nonprofit serving Tioga County teens and adults with physical and/or mental disabilities. Founded in 1997, PIP’s reach extends well beyond its Mansfield facility to include

partnering businesses that share its goal “to eliminate barriers to employment and bridge the gap between job seekers with disabilities and the employers who want to hire them.”

Many know PIP through its local enterprises staffed with vocational trainees and employees in sheltered workshops. My Neighbor’s Closet, in Mansfield, serves as a handy donation center for items on one’s decluttering hit list. Shoppers with limited means, as well as incurable bargain hunters, can cull through an assortment of inexpensive (new and gently used) clothing, housewares, toys, books, and collectibles. Proceeds from the sales support PIP’s retail training program.

Even more Tioga residents and visitors may know PIP through Highland Chocolates, a nonprofit enterprise that operates a candy store in downtown Wellsboro and factory on Route 6 staffed by disabled

employees. The Main Street store stocks a staggering selection of unique confections, including chocolates in innovative forms such as tree stumps, animals, motorcycles, and souvenir medallions. The factory accepts custom, corporate, and wholesale orders for its preservative-free chocolates, promoted as “handmade, hand packaged and hand labeled with great care and attention.” A widely recognized resource for fundraising initiatives, Highland Chocolates plays a significant role in A Just Cause Arts and Crafts Show.

While some of PIP’s initiatives catch the public’s attention, many of its success stories play out quietly behind the scenes, in private and group homes, where volunteers counsel individuals and help with household tasks such as shopping, meal planning, finances, and other activities meant to boost an individual’s independence. There are also those

See Hand on page 14

Hearts and crafts: Designer and artist at Classy Glass, Barb Sargent, shown here with her brother, Danny Slater, organizes the Just Cause Arts and Crafts Show every Labor Day weekend in Blossburg to raise money for Partners in Progress. Courtesy Barb Sargent
13 welcome to WELLSBORO Come home to the beauty and warmth of Fireplace Xtrordinair and Lopi Stoves. High Quality Fireplaces and Stoves provided by and NATURAL GAS • PROPANE • WOOD • PELLET The Area’s ONLY NFI-Certified Installers • Free Quotes • Financing Available (570) 724-6100 www . wellsboroequipment . com 477 Tioga Street Wellsboro, PA Office: 570-723-8484 Fax: 570-723-8604 Licensed in PA & NY LISTED AT Stunning views for miles! You will think that you are on vacation every day sitting on the deck admiring the views from this 3 bedroom/2 bath home located just outside of Wellsboro. The master bedroom opens up to a gorgeous back patio with beautiful landscaping to enjoy a quiet morning or relaxing evening. $ 499,900 MLS Number: 31716687

We invite everyone from everywhere to come “Experience Bradford County!”

Hand continued from page 12

who work tirelessly as liaisons to other nonprofits, government agencies, advocacy groups, and employers to advance PIP’s goals.

For Barb, raising PIP’s profile springs from deep commitments. When she launched A Just Cause in 2018, she envisioned it as more than a platform for doing good by vending goods (although her inaugural event generated $3,000 for PIP). She imagined a community-wide event that would help exhibitors gain a feeling of personal involvement in PIP’s mission. A Just Cause commemorates her late father, Clifford M. Slater (1929-2012), who co-founded PIP to help individuals like his son Danny (diagnosed with Down syndrome) overcome barriers and lead fulfilling lives. Danny would eventually benefit from PIP’s vocational training and enjoy years of steady employment in the organization’s pipe-fitting facility.

While Barb remains brother Danny’s devoted pal and champion, her commitment touches other family members as well. She credits her son Steve for suggesting A Just Cause for the show’s title, and she sets siblings to work on some of the arrangements. The call to family is just one of countless steps—perhaps a thousand?—needed to put the show on the road.

In fact, preparing A Just Cause takes tasks to a new level. Imagine cutting up a thousand tiny squares from an enormous paper grid to make tickets for a mega drawing to take place at the show. The numbered squares are then delivered to Highland Chocolates and inserted between the double wrapping around each of the thousand goodies (this year, shortbread cookies) custom-crafted in the factory to support A Just Cause. The tickets, packaged with the treats, are sent to sponsoring businesses to sell. These distributors benefit from radio publicity citing them as PIP-supporting purchase points for the raffle tickets. Players can hope to net cash prizes ($101, $300, and $500), as well as various items provided by the exhibitors (including ten pieces of handcrafted jewelry from Barb’s own enterprise, Classy Glass). Follow-up drawings after the main raffle offer more chances to score a win.

If their number doesn’t come up after the lottery cookie is a long-gone scrumptious memory, visitors may purchase their own consolation prizes from a wide variety of exhibitors: Blossburg Company Store, KnitWits, Loomis Lane Trading, Gramps Tiny Trees, Yorkshire Meadows, Cornell Creations, Blackwell Crafts, Staggering Unicorn Winery, Dancing Heifer Art, and CBJ Collective, among others. In any case, visitors, volunteers, and exhibitors alike stand to come away with more than they imagined.

A Just Cause has continued to build on its initial success, generating donations and raising PIP’s profile in 2019 and 2022 (the show did not take place in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic). Barb describes the turnout and support at the previous events as “humbling.” At this year’s show as well, winners will far outnumber the tally of tickets taken, and the rewards will be lasting.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on September 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September 10. Check for updates on Facebook or call (607) 425-5277.

Nancy Hesser, a recent transplant from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, lives in Wellsboro with her husband and rowdy dogs. She teaches short story courses for lifelong learning programs.

us on Kayaking & Hiking Adventure Awaits Fairs & Festivals History & Heritage PostcardLike Streets
10 am Start 75 Mile Morning Ride & 50 Mile Afternoon Ride
& Start of 60 mile ride • 10 am A mix of paved & dirt roads through the scenic Endless Mountains, starting in downtown Canton, PA! TO BENEFIT CANTON LIONS CLUB & LOCAL CHARITIES 570-250-0174 Free Sat. Lunch & Dinner served by the Canton Lions Club Free Camping on Sat. Night Band @ Campground
570.265•TOUR Follow
part by the Bradford County Tourism and Promotion Agency
welcome to BRADFORD CO.
15 754 Canton Street, Troy PA • 570-297-7770 HOURS: Monday-Saturday 8am-5pm Kids Apparel welcome to BRADFORD CO. Email us at or visit One Elizabeth Street, Suite 3 Towanda, PA 18848 570-265-0937 Power Mobility - Oxygen Home Medical Equipment Custom Braces - Diabetic Shoes • Hospital Beds • Oxygen • CPAP/Bipap Machines and Supplies • Incontinence Supplies • Power Mobility • Compression Hosiery • Braces - Knee, Ankle, Arm • Mobility Equipment • Ostomy Supplies • Bathroom and Home Safety Equipment • Wound Care Supplies WWW.TROYVETCLINIC.COM All Under One Roof... SMALL ANIMAL • LARGE ANIMAL Healthy Wellness Exams Exams for Sick Pets Laser Surgical Procedures Portable Digital Radiology Acupuncture In-House Bovine Pregnancy Testing Customer Pet Portal • Online Store House Calls Available Pet Cremation Services Fully Stocked Pharmacies Pet Suplies: Flea & Tick Medication Food, Toys & Treats SERVICES OFFERED: JIM’S Sporting Goods 23 West Main St., Canton, PA • 570-673-3387 Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm • Saturday 9:00am-3:00pm OVER 1,000 FIREARMS IN STOCK Rifles • Shotguns • Handguns WE BUY, SELL & TRADE Large selection of Ammunition arriving daily. Call ahead to make sure we have your caliber. • Stocking Inline & Flintlock • Reloading Supplies & Blackpowder • Mounting & Bore-Sighting Available • Scopes: Burris, Leupold, Sig Sauer, Vortex • Gun Smithing Available • Gift Cards Large selection of Liberty Gun Safes

College without the Campus

Northern Pennsylvania Regional College Brings Education to Students

There’s a new way to get the education you need for the better job you want, and it doesn’t involve extra-long bedding, freshman hazing, or debts you’ll be paying off the rest of your life. A twenty-first century college whose office is based in Warren, Pennsylvania, created a new model to make higher education accessible for a diverse group of students when and where they need it. Northern Pennsylvania Regional College has no ivy-covered dorms, student union, or cafeteria—not even a campus. NPRC’s concentration is simply on education, and not having the burden of campus upkeep helps keep student costs down.

Students might be working in classrooms hundreds of miles apart, making friends they won’t meet in person until graduation. They may differ from each other in age, background, circumstances, needs, and interests, but they are united in their quest for an education that will make their career goals possible. NPRC primarily serves ten rural counties across the Northern Tier—Tioga County was recently added to the footprint that also includes Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, McKean, Potter, Venango, and Warren counties. It grants

five associate degrees—liberal studies, early childhood education, social sciences, criminal justice, and business administration—as well as offering workforce development programs and collaborating with existing institutions and service providers.

“Classes can be customized to a community’s needs,” says Jennifer CummingsTutmaher, vice president of enrollment and student services. “We figure out how to facilitate for them. We don’t have a lot of the barriers to higher education [of traditional educational models] but can be very nimble and responsive.” Adjunct professors offer classes tailored to specific community and workplace needs. For instance, the increasing sophistication of wastewater treatment systems highlighted the necessity for a new class. And for workers already in place, they set up classes and instruction to meet state certification standards.

“All municipalities need qualified individuals,” Jennifer says. “Same with EMT [emergency medical technician] and EMR [emergency medical responder] needs. We don’t issue the certificates, but we prepare students to take the national tests. We’ll even do CPR and first aid training. We don’t want to compete with what’s already there,

we want to complement it.”

NPRC representatives meet employers and potential students in businesses and institutions such as factories to learn about specific needs and share the pathways toward meeting them. For instance, live classes have been held at a variety of venues to prepare students for commercial driver’s license certification (for over-theroad trucking), to train medical assistants and certified nurse assistants, and for careers in child development. This will “fast-track people into jobs,” Jennifer explains. There are even full-time “champions” on staff to teach classes in arts, sciences, the humanities, and criminal justice.

“Our area may be very rural but it’s filled with very talented, brilliant people with amazing degrees,” Jennifer says. “Someone who’s learned it, experienced it, and can give real life scenarios of what the work is like.”

Some students need to begin their journey with a high school diploma, or equivalency, and, fortunately, there are many places where that dream can become a reality. Sonya Metzger teaches in Wellsboro and in Bradford County, working with ten students at a time, an often diverse group

Courtesy NPRC Trading in futures: Leigh Anne Kraemer-Naser, director of applied studies and instructor at Northern Pennsylvania Regional College, demonstrates a tool from their Early Childhood Education field kit to Frank Williams.

whose ages may range from eighteen to sixty-five. She recalls a woman who began working on her GED (equivalency diploma) in her mid-fifties, taking ten years to complete it. She went on to achieve her life’s goal—a degree in criminal justice. A young man, encouraged to drop out of a religious school that disagreed with his lifestyle choices, earned his degree, entered the military, and was promoted to the highest level of security clearance.

“Right now there’s also state funding for apprenticeships,” Jennifer continues. “We’re working to cultivate that in Tioga County, exploring what is needed. We’ve partnered with businesses and industries where they gotten funding for apprenticeships, then blending classroom instruction with hands-on experience. We assess and determine what the needs are, what the holes are, where the business doesn’t feel it’s being served. And we explore ways we can partner with existing entities. It’s a very collaborative process.” It works for the students, wherever they may be on their life path.

“There was a student when the school first started,” Jennifer recalls. “He’d take a class here and there, had gone to a trade school, trying to figure out what he wanted to do.” He told a counselor his dream job was working for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Any time he’d disappear, I’d send him an email to say 'you’ve got to come back!' He finally finished and sent me a photo of himself in his DCNR uniform. He often spoke about how the instructors and advisors he knew at NPRC valued him as much as he valued himself and, if he doubted it, we’d remind him. We had his back.

“We have an intimate advising approach with our students,” she continues. “What are their ultimate goals? Where do they want to go? We help them navigate challenges like bill-paying and childcare, help connect them to resources in the community. We have partnerships and articulation agreements with other higher educational institutions.” Continuing on, qualified students who want to pursue a four-year degree have a guaranteed spot at several colleges, and can transfer credits toward that bachelor’s. Jennifer says the majority of students receive need-based aid, and most graduate with no debt.

One reward for NPRC staffers is watching a hesitant student bloom. Jennifer was particularly gladdened by the achievements of a mathematically-gifted woman she’d known from her own high school years. She characterized her as “one of the smartest individuals in the school, but her life circumstances didn’t allow her to attend college. She was able to get that degree and get a bachelor’s down the road.”

For more information, find NPRC at To learn about earning a high school equivalency degree, contact Tioga County Workforce at (570) 662-8110, Bradford County Action (570) 724-1939, or your area high school. To find information about other workforce service providers, contact Trehab at or (570) 662-8110, or CareerLink at pacareerlink. or (570) 724-1939.

Karey Solomon is the author of a poetry chapbook,Voices Like the Sound of Water, a book on frugal living (now out of print), and more than thirty needlework books.  Her work has also appeared in several fiction and nonfiction anthologies.

Open Daily 9:00 am to 7:00 p.m. 1543 Maple Avenue, Elmira, NY FLOWERS • VEGETABLES • FALL PUMPKINS • SQUASH APPLES • 150 CRAFT SODAS RETRO CANDY • STRAW • CANNING SUPPLIES • AND MORE! BRADLEYFARMSELMIRA.COM Be Sure to Check Out... 200 YEAR SOUTHPORT CORN MAZE NOW OFFERING WEEKEND HAY RIDES! BEAST BLAST TENNIS BALL CANNONS CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED Something for Every Season! 415 Airport Rd, Towanda, PA 18848 Learn to fly! Bradford County Airport Towanda Flying Club

Delta Echo Echo Romeo

Seneca County’s Military History and its White Whitetails

Inconspicuously nestled between Seneca and Cayuga lakes on Route 96A in Romulus lies over 10,000 acres of the former Seneca Army Depot. Constructed in 1941, this first northeastern munitions facility’s operations were obscured from the public for over seventy-five years until the military formally decommissioned it in 2000. In 2016, over 3,000 acres of the abandoned site was privately secured. It is now a wildlife conservation and military history preserve— Deer Haven Park, LLC—and open seasonally for public tours. Tours begin and end at the Visitor Center, which houses military artifacts and a gift shop. Auto tours provide a virtual tour guide, whereas bus and private tours have an actual guide accompaniment.

As fascinating and vast as the military sites and history are (more on that later),

what many visitors revere most are the encounters with the elusive all-white whitetail deer. It’s the world’s largest known herd of all-white whitetail deer, in fact. These animals are not albino, they are leucistic, meaning that, due to a recessive gene passed down through the birth cycle, they lack pigmentation in their fur.

How does a herd like this happen? Well, apparently, nature had its own agenda for preservation when the government secured the original site within over twenty miles of fencing, having no idea about the land’s unique wildlife. The deer’s extremely rare sightings harken back to those original Iroquois homelands of the 1700s. As fate would have it, the recessive gene had a chance to be enhanced as time progressed, thanks to the blanket protection gifted to the animals

by the commander of the Depot, beginning with the military’s first sighting in 1949.

The park is not a zoo, however, so every visit is unique as to what wildlife may or may not appear. Fortunately, because visitors are entering a natural habitat, sightings of brown and white whitetails normally occur, along with that of bald eagles, turkeys and turkey vultures, blue herons, beavers, foxes, coyotes, and numerous other mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Visitors arrive excited to experience firsthand this amazing, archaic military facility, and are enthusiastically hopeful for their own white deer sightings—encounters which linger in the memory. Assistant Operation’s Manager Gary Hunt shared his own perspective on what appears to be a consensus of many guests.

“It is so peaceful and quiet inside the

Courtesy Deer Haven Park
Ghostly encounters of the herd kind: Lucky visitors to Deer Haven Park in Romulus, New York, will see white deer peeking out of the woods and scrub as they tour the Army Depotturned-wildlife preserve.

park,” says Gary. “I have been here for over six years now, and I still almost always experience something new. I love talking to the visitors who come from all over, but I really enjoy talking to the deer. I’m a deer whisperer. I’m always telling the does that they’re doing a good job with their young, and always telling the fawns that they’re looking good and getting big.”

This type of phenomenon can be witnessed while on tour as encounters with the deer, especially the white, are sublime, and cause for pause, reverence, and, yes, many times hushed but verbal interaction. It is unexplainable, but such a happenstance, even within a busload of people, appears to be solely between each individual and the deer. Eye to eye, heart to heart, and uniquely experienced. Surreal.

As for the military portion of the park, the Depot’s formerly clandestine operations are revealed and shared as visitors can see demolition sites, grenade throwing practice areas, and a once heavily guarded “Q” section (dubbed such as its contents were top secret), bringing the secrecy and intensity of the former military base to light decades after it was originally in use.

Munition storage igloos ominously loom up from the landscape, their antiquated presence captivatingly somber. As one further traverses an infrastructure replete with personnel bomb shelters and abandoned railway structures, one cannot help but be transported back to an era when a variety of extreme shortages, pantry and otherwise (it was the time of Victory Gardens), were the norm, and the country plunged into the Second World War.

Guests on the guided tours are allowed entrance into one of the over 500 igloos within whose immense dimensions everything from bullets to 10,000-pound bombs had been stocked. Standing within these concrete behemoths gives humbling perspective to the enormity of the nation’s military operations during this time, from WWII up through the Desert Storm conflict.

To keep things fresh, park officials are frequently introducing exciting new events. This year, on September 30, they are hosting their second annual Fall Festival, featuring open wagon tours. In addition to the forty-five-minute bus and open wagon tours, the festival will include crafts, food, Civil War reenactors, military vehicle displays, live animals, and much more.

Deer Haven Park is open from 11 a.m. until dusk every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from April through the end of October. Closing times will vary as days shorten, so check to keep abreast of those hours and of new or additional offerings. You can also follow the park’s events on Facebook. Bus tours require reservations, which can be secured on the park website. Auto tours can be enjoyed without reservations. There is a $35 fee per vehicle; up to seven people per vehicle are allowed.

This unique military and wildlife experience is a secret worth sharing and one you owe yourself to experience. Who knows? You too may walk away with your own magical encounter, and memories to last a lifetime.




Saturday September 9 starting at 5:00pm Open to


Lobster Meal: $35 • Double Lobster $47 • Steak $20

Steak and Lobster $45

Dinner includes Lobster (and/or) steak

Salt potatoes, cole slaw, corn, and egg

Draft beverage of beer or soda

Clams sold separately in advance $9/dozen

Music from Almost Home to follow!

Dee Calvasina is the author of Beyond the Fence, The Amazing World of Deer Haven Park, and a monthly columnist for the Finger Lakes Times. Her articles have appeared in various regional, national, and international publications. She lives in upstate New York, where she is currently working on a historical novel.

625 Gulick Street • Blossburg, PA Hillside Rod & Gun Club
tickets at the Hillside or call 570-638-3516 by Sept 3rd
the public! Purchase
Now offering our AIRBNB management services! Contact your personal host Stephanie for details! 607-329-6938 • Turn your camp/cabin into cash
Help pay for maintenance, utilites, etc • We book, bill, collect, and deposit to your dedicated account
Cleaning Services included in fees All the Hand Knitting & Crochet Supplies you could ever want. 91 E. Market Street, Corning, NY 14830 | 607.973.2885

Model Horsewoman

Michelle Sepiol Creates Big on a Miniature Scale

As a girl, Michelle Sepiol always envied her brother who received model ships and airplanes as gifts. She wished she was given “something to put together, glue, and paint,” too. Instead, her gifts were model horses, which were nice enough, “but you couldn’t do anything with them.”

Years later, as an adult in 2000 and the leader of her daughters’ 4-H club, the Tioga County, Pennsylvania, native discovered there was something you could do with model horses.

Designing and creating saddles, bridles, reins, and harnesses for Breyer horses (eight and a half inches tall at the ears and about ten inches long) was a project 4-H had developed for “inner city kids who couldn’t have a horse.” Although Michelle’s family had had horses when she was growing up, and she had them as an adult, she thought

the project would be good for her 4-Hers. Each year, as they worked on a different aspect of their model horses’ tack, they learned about live horses, practiced dexterity, exercised their creativity, honed research skills, and gained historical knowledge.

In 2019, Michelle got back into the model horse-creating saddle on her own, making the horses’ tack as well as creating dolls to ride them. The lower level of her home is both her workshop and a display space for her creations, one entire wall dedicated to glassed-in shelves holding all manner of horses and riders. Crocheted afghans and colorful quilts decorate the room, evidence that, long before engaging in horse artistry, Michelle couldn’t keep her hands still or her creativity reined in. She says she takes after her grandfather, Peter Conte, who was literally “a busy body”—trapping, hunting, fishing, and making model airplanes.

“He had something going all the time. I kind of know the feeling,” she says, chuckling, since she’s always teaching herself how to do something new. For instance, she recently started making vehicles to go with the harness horses and crafting other animals to fit in vignettes.

Michelle is proud of the fact that, except for the horses, she constructs each piece of her artworks by hand, which is not the case for everyone competing in model horse shows. Some of the pieces take weeks to produce. She purchases eight-inch manufactured doll bodies in bulk and customizes them, using her Dremel tool to sculpt them, including creating space in the inner thighs so the legs fit around the horse. The dolls are multi-articulated, making them poseable, and can be taken apart and reassembled to suit the situation Michelle is creating. She

See Horsewoman on page 22
Buckle up, buckaroos: This model, in which Michelle Sepiol crafted the rider to look like World Barrel Racing Champion Nellie Miller, won Champion of the Gaming Horses Division at the 25th Annual Nationals of the North American Model Horse Shows Association in 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky. Michelle Sepiol
21 & Slate Run Tackle Shop Wolfe’s General Store 14167 Rt. 414 • Slate Run, PA (570) 753-8551 • A unique store nestled among the steep mountains and gorges of Pine Creek! Located at the top of the 2.8-mile Pine Creek Catch-And-Release “Stretch” Remarkable Gift Shop Fully Stocked Orvis Fly Shop Fabulous Deli Hundreds of great gifts for the whole family! welcome to WELLSBORO Looking to rent out your place? We are taking on new clients too! MVR-VR.COM 64 Main Street Wellsboro, PA Kettle Creek Hills Lodge is just the private home you’ve been looking for with two levels, two living rooms, five bedrooms sleeping up to 11 adults with a set of bunks for 2 kids, three bathrooms and stunning views. Close access to ATV/Snowmobile trails, hiking trails, Cherry Springs State Park and Kettle Creek for trout fishing. Kettle Creek Hills Lodge Location: Gaines, PA 570-948-1293 Learn more Canyon Country Fabrics For All Your Quilting Needs! HOURS: Tues-Friday 10-5; Saturday 10-3; CLOSED Sun. & Mon. 664 KELSEY ST., WELLSBORO, PA 16901 • 570-724-4163 • 108” Wide Backing • Batting • Fleece & Flannel • Crafts & Gifts • Lg. Selection of Cotton • NEW Home Décor NOW IN STOCK! Wellsboro’s Iconic Department Store There’s Something about Dunham’s 45 Main Street Wellsboro, PA 570-724-1905 Enlighten your mind. Heal your spirit Nourish your body. Transform your soul • Functional Health Coaching • Healthy Lifestyle Classes • Cancer Prevention/Recovery Coaching • Aromatherapy & Herbal Classes/ Consults/Products: Featuring “The Scentual Soul” - Fine Aromatherapy EOs and Product Line Sheryl Henkin-Kealey, BS.Ed, CMA, Certified Holistic Cancer Coach Board Certified Health Coach TheSycamore ’ s Spirit Wellness Edu c ationCenter (570) 634-3777 • Visit for class schedules! New Location: 55 East Avenue, Wellsboro TRIPLE D FARMS HORSE RIDING • RIDING LESSONS SUMMER CAMPS Venue for parties, reunions, & field trips: You bring the people... we’ll provide the horses. Call for more information and to schedule Trail Rides - 7 Days A Week! 1411 French Hill Rd, Middlebury Ctr, PA (814) 258-7690 • 3 GORGEOUS CABINS NOW AVAILABLE FOR RENT! Triple D maple products for sale


Barrel 135 Casual Dining Done Right

We offer any occasion catering—on/off site.

(570) 322-7131 135 West 3rd St., Williamsport, PA 17701

Liberty book Shop

1 East Park St., Avis, PA 17721 • 570-753-5201 •

Used, Rare and Out-of-Print Books. Your source for unusual books on any subject. Browse our in-stock selection of over 40,000 hardcover books and paperbacks.

removes their hair and uses acetone to remove their factory painted faces.

“Then I create my own little people. I paint on new faces, rehair them with a natural fiber called viscose, and create clothing for them.”

Depending on the character she is creating, the hairstyles can be nearly as intricate as the riders’ costumes. Her display Performing the Marinera Cabello de Paso Peruano, based on the national dance of Peru, includes a horse, a male rider, and a female dancing barefoot as the horse and rider circle her. As with all her pieces, Michelle conducted extensive research on the dancer’s costume, since “this flirtatious and romantic dance is done in the native costume of Peru.” A stickler for detail, she fashioned the doll’s hair in a bun at the nape of her neck and twisted narrow braids around it.


Thursday 10am - 6pm

Friday 10am - 6pm

Saturday 10am - 3pm

(or by appointment, feel free to just call)

Free National Search Service for books not in print. Worldwide shipping!

On the wall opposite the displayed horses and riders, a large bulletin board is loaded with ribbons Michelle has won at competitions called live shows (versus photo shows). Horses and dolls that depict particular riders or kinds of riders and their horses are entered with detailed descriptions. One of the most embellished horse and rider combinations is an American Indian woman of the Crow Nation who, Michelle explains on her entry card, is participating in the Crow Fair Parade near Billings, Montana, where riders wear traditional tack and dresses adorned with elk teeth. Michelle’s rider wears beaded leather moccasins and a bone choker. Her hair is “plaited with otter fur,” and hanging at her side is a papoose in a cradle board. It is almost unthinkable that all these tiny items were made by hand, the overall effect being jaw-droppingly exquisite.

Lady Mary Crawley, one of the main characters in the PBS television series Downton Abbey, set in Yorkshire between 1912 and 1926, is quite a departure from Michelle’s Western-style riders. Michelle has written that “since [the series’] debut in 2010, there has been a revival in the art of riding sidesaddle.” The artist has depicted the glamorous young woman heading out to a fox hunt in a silk top hat with veil, a close-fitting jacket, and a riding skirt.

In a tribute to one of her heroes, Michelle created the display she calls Barrel Racing, without Legs, depicting Amberley Snyder and her horse Power. In 2010, the champion rider was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident; nevertheless, she later returned to competition, winning several major prizes.

One of Michelle’s favorite displays is Mountain Man. Based loosely on the 1972 film Jeremiah Johnson, with Robert Redford in the title role, Michelle points out special details: his powder horn she made from a rooster spur and his hat made of chipmunk fur. She had to get a special permit from the Pennsylvania Game Commission to use the fur from an animal her cat killed. Although Michelle alludes to the character Redford portrays, you can’t help wondering if he isn’t also a nod to her hunting, trapping, and fishing grandfather.

On September 9, Michelle will be hosting the Tioga County Model Horse Show at the Tioga County Fairgrounds in Whitneyville. The show, which runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., is open to the public, and admission is free.

Judith Sornberger is the author of nine collections of poetry and a booklength memoir. She is a professor emerita of Mansfield University where she created the Women’s Studies Program. She lives outside Wellsboro.

Horsewoman continued from page 20
23 Swimming Pools & Accessories Your Trusted Local Pool Pros Sewing Center 3 SHOPS...1 LOCATION! 1802 Green Avenue • Williamsport 570-322-6302 • Mon. Tue. Thur. 9-5 • Fri. 9-6 • Sat. 9-1 • Closed Wed. and Sun. Longarm Quilting, Sewing Machines, Machine Repair, Fabric, Classes & Notions Unleash Your Creativity SEE OUR STOVE AND SEWING MACHINES ON DISPLAY! You will also find... Stoves & Fireplaces Since 1975, we’ve offered the area’s biggest selection of hearth products Is in the Air! Summer welcome to WILLIAMSPORT

Open (mobile) house: On September 16, come see vintage trailers like this 1956 Rocket, produced by All States Trailer Co. in Jacksonville, Arkansas, which is one of the longest trailers ever produced. At forty-five feet, it sleeps seven and was renovated in 2017 by Brandon Clayson of Cuba, New York, a member of the Tin Can Tourists.

Can It!

Check Out Retro Camping at Sampson State Park

For many of us of a certain age, summer vacation may have included a family camping trip—outdoor cooking, campfires, and lazy days by the water or in the mountains. Some folks camped in Airstream luxury, but most of us were in small campers towed behind the family station wagon. Near the end of summer each year, a group of campers who celebrate vintage campers and old-fashioned camping—the Tin Can Tourists—gather at Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake’s east shore, near Romulus (just off New York Route 96A), for the Northeast Tin Can Tourist Rally. This year’s event, the sixteenth, will be held September 14 through 17.

Tin Can Tourists, founded in 1919, is the oldest organization of auto campers. The name does not refer to the cute campers so

popular in the 1950s through the 1970s, but it is, according to official TCT history, based on the only vehicle at the time dependable enough to make long distance trips. That was the Ford Model T—the Tin Lizzie.

This rally is the brainchild of Bill “Fletch” Fletcher, who owned Fletcher’s Trailers in Trumansburg, New York, for over forty years. He started going to the TCT National Rally in Michigan in 2005, but, as he says, “that was a long way.” He and his wife, Diane, decided that they could host a rally in the Finger Lakes.

“We settled on Sampson,” he says. “The park is beautiful!”

Harry James, who now hosts the Northeast Rally with David Coon, picks up the story.

“In the early days, we couldn’t fill

one loop [of the Sampson campground],” he recalls. But Fletch and other dedicated vintage trailer enthusiasts kept meeting at Sampson—Harry notes that thirteen of the regulars have been with this rally since its inception. This is the third year the rally has expanded to two loops, and two loops provides room for ninety-seven vintage campers. Spaces sold out in less than one hour this year.

These enthusiasts not only enjoy camping “as it used to be,” but they invite us to enjoy it with them. The free open house is Saturday, September 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors can check out the interiors of a wide variety of makes and models and talk to the owners about their trailers. It’s a chance to reminisce, and to see the unusual and the unique.

See Camping on page 26

Courtesy Brandon Clayson
25 Famous Brands began in 1983, offering “famous brand” clothing and footwear at below retail prices. Since that humble beginning in a tiny storefront, we have grown to 30,000 sq. ft. covering 3 floors and half a city block, becoming a destination store for 412 N. Franklin St. • Watkins Glen, NY 14891 Open Year ‘round 607-535-4952 Famous Brands
1983, offering “famous brand” clothing and footwear at below retail prices. Since that humble beginning in a tiny storefront, we have grown to 30,000 sq. ft. covering 3 floors and half a city block, becoming a destination store for millions of visitors and locals alike. 412 N. Franklin St. • Watkins Glen, NY 14891 Open Mon-Sat 9am-8pm • Sun 10am-8pm *Subject to change based on NYS regulations. 607-535-4952 meet your something blue Bubbly Candeo welcome to WATKINS GLEN
began in


Rough and Surfaced Lumber

Over 1,000 Molding Profiles (sale rack is loaded with a variety of moldings)

We carry both domestic and exotic species

2228 SR 49 West • Ulysses, PA 16948


For example, the 1949 Higgins owned by Chad Sherman from Providence, New York, looks like a tent on a box, and does seem to be constructed with Army tents. He has some of the old brochures advertising this model, and allows visitors a look inside this old-fashioned pop-up.

Last year, George Richards, of Mohrsville, Pennsylvania, brought a 1966 Streamliner Countess that he had owned for only two weeks. A “project camper,” the conversation centered on what was still good, and what needed to be restored in this midsized 1960s model.

The Clayson family owns an All States forty-five-foot Rocket. Like many TCT trailers, this one was found abandoned and neglected amidst weeds and brush. One of the longest made (All States did make a fifty-two-foot model), it was similar in design to the Redman New Moon trailer used in the movie The Long, Long Trailer starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Brandon Clayson from Cuba, New York, who handles rally registration, has owned this model trailer since 2016 and has refurbished it exactly like the movie version. Film memorabilia is on the campsite for visitors to peruse and marvel over. The Rocket is even longer than the one in the Lucy and Desi film, comparable to the size of a mobile home of the same vintage.

“But it’s not as heavy,” Brandon explains. “Originally, it weighed 9,000 pounds, and the weight with renovations is now around 8,000 pounds.” Interest in these large trailers increased after the movie, but they were manufactured to be used by families who traveled for work, especially in the oil fields. The family, rather than the company, would own the trailer, so their home was there, wherever the work sent them. “They [the trailers] travel, but they were made to go to a site and stay for a period of time, not move every day,” Brandon adds.

There are trailers made by the owners. One of the most innovative is Tom Moenter’s from Williamson, New York. He went to Japan on business and was inspired by the architectural design he saw there. Much of his camper is made of Aircraft Dacron, glued around the edges with heat tape, and dressed up with LED lights embedded in the ceiling. It folds for travel and weighs 750 pounds.

Other trailers from this era are small, like Anne Becker’s 1973 Scotty Gaucho, and easily pulled with the family car. At thirteen feet total length, it is shorter than her Subaru, and, empty, weighs less than 1,000 pounds. She and her husband, Al, purchased it from the original owners in the ’90s. It was perfect for a small family, and made travel cheaper than staying in hotels.

“Over a decade ago, I went to an open house at the Sampson Rally and took my camera. Right after that, I joined TCT and have been coming to the Northeast Rally,” Anne says. The dues are inexpensive, she notes, just twenty-five bucks.

A visit to the TCT Rally is a promise of a Saturday filled with memories and a step into the “wayback machine.”

For more information, visit or call (315) 585-6392. Though all the camping spots for the event are sold out, you can send an email to if you want to be placed on the waiting list.

Mountain Home contributor Linda Roller is a bookseller, and awardwinning writer in Avis, Pennsylvania. Camping continued from page 24
Log and Shiplap Siding
Flooring • Solid Wood Counter Tops
TCS Accents (use for Backsplashes, Wall Paneling, Table Tops, Flooring, etc) • Framing Material
Give us a call or stop in for all your fall home improvement projects! Locally Owned Since 1928 2351 Stannards Rd, Wellsville, NY 14895 (585) 593-1280
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum 5560 US Route 6 West , Potter Co. | (814) 435 -2652 OPEN YEAR ROUND | FALL
- Oct. 7 & 8, 2023
27 3708 Mathews Road, Burdett @ Vineyard Villas (607) 210-2677 Hello Beautiful SKIN BAR OFFERINGS PDO Thread Lifts HydraFacial MD Elite Cosmetic Injections & Fillers Skin Resurfacing NanoFractional RF TM Laser Hair Removal Skin Tightening & Body Massage Therapy Skin Rejuvenation PhotoFacial $5 OFF Please note, coupon cannot be combined with any other promotion or special. AgeLess SPA The Skin Bar AgeLess The Skin Bar 85 W. Market St., Corning, NY 607.846.3962 Open 7 days a week 10 AM—5PM 8231 Pleasant Valley Rd. Hammondsport, NY 14840 Follow us for Pat II Launch information! (607) 569-2222 For reservations, call 607-535-2014 WWW.SENECALODGE.COM 70 Years of Hospitality Cabins • Chalet Style A-Frames • Motel TV • WiFi • Air Conditioning BREAKFAST & DINNER SERVED 7 DAYS A WEEK World-famous Tavern Room - 6 Brews crafted on site Glass Animals • Paper Weights Hand-Crafted Personal Care Items Ceramic Ornaments & Dishes (made in the USA) But...We’re more than glass! Check out our Puzzles...Puzzles...Puzzles! 10 W. market st — corning, ny - 607-962-3339 GLA HOP BACALLES Open Daily 10-5 51 Soaring Hill Dr. Elmira, NY 14903 607-734-3128 Featuring one of the largest collections of Gliders and Sailplanes in the world. Exits 48 or 51A off Route 17 & 86 NATIONAL SOARING MUSEUM SoaringCapitalofAmerica

“Do you want to go for a ride?”

I fully admit that the dog and I reach comparable levels of excitement at this question. Especially on Sunday nights when the dishwasher is whirling away the mess and I’ve already designated the least wrinkled garment in my closet as my Monday outfit. There is something special about a ride in the country in the waning hours of the weekend to settle the soul.

Our region of the world offers countless scenic drives, and you don’t have to go far from home to take the road less travelled. We usually stay right in Chemung County, crisscrossing over hills, venturing down roads we’ve passed many times but never investigated. We read aloud signs for fresh eggs for sale, small engine repair, raw honey, and homegrown garlic. We grin at the road

Glory Hill Diaries

Sunday Drives

names: Hogback, Dininny, and Wyncoop Creek.

I marvel at the vast variety of house styles and sizes, and openly plagiarize ideas for our home.

“Mums planted in a tire swing? So stealing that. What color would you say those shutters are? I’d like a bench in that shade. Those porch spindles are beautiful! Could you make those?”

My husband usually ignores such home improvement musings, as he knows most of them mean work for him. His eyes are on the road which, in the Finger Lakes region, dips and rises and bends with the curve of the earth. Challenging for the driver. Gorgeous for the passenger.

People wave and we wave back. The fact that we don’t know each other has no

relevance. I often wonder if they think we have an agenda, or do they exchange knowing looks and say, “Sunday drive.”

There is no such thing as a bad season for a Sunday drive.

In the summer, you see big swaths of sky with pink and blue cotton candy clouds foretelling of sunsets being drawn before your eyes. Fields show off their bounty in corn you could see over the top of just days ago, but not now. Silent farm market stands remind you to visit on Saturday and load up with ruby tomatoes and prickly cucumbers. Windows down, you are bathed in that sweet smell of warm earth and growing things. The deer are on display, speckled tan against verdant green. Such a ride cools your skin and eases your mind.

See Sunday on page 30

© Isaac / Adobe Stock
29 GAFFERHAMMONDSPORT DISTRICT OF THE SOUTHERN FINGER LAKES Orchestra TOSHIYUKI SHIMADA Music Director & Conductor 23-24 Concert Season TOGETHER WE ARE SOUND ORCHESTRA CONCERTS Oct.14 at 7PM • Dec. 9 at 3PM Mar. 10 at 4PM • May 11 at 7PM CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERTS Fridays at 7:30PM Nov. 10 • Jan. 12 Jan. 26 • Apr. 26 • June 7 FREE MOVIE NIGHT October 12 at 7PM Chevalier GET YOUR SEASON TICKETS NOW! Details and subscriptions at 607.936.2873 • • 49 Bridge St., Corning, NY 14830 YourProfessional Orchestra Chamber Music Symphonic Chorus Youth Orchestras Community Collaborations LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1848 Sept. 5 – Nov. 4 CELEBRATING “175 YEARS” SERVING THE COMMUNITY 89 E. Market Street Corning, NY 14830 (607) 962-6301 Carrying the best women’s clothing, jewelry, & shoes around! Become a Pip’s Fan on Pip’s Boutique Stop in for a new wardrobe! Fall is here! Fall hours: Mon-Wed: 10am-6pm Thurs-Fri: 10am-7pm Sat: 10am-6pm and Sun: 12pm-4pm

Come winter, there are vistas bleached with snow so that every tree stands as distinct as an ink drawing. The farmhouses illuminate with warmth, and you swear you smell dinner mixed with the woodsmoke. Little remains of the corn crop, looking like fields of an old man’s stubble. You round a bend and slow for the small gray fox moving across the road, mouth holding tight to its unlucky meal. Horses breathe in bright clouds of white. Sunset comes early, and the world turns that winter blue as the snow reflects the last of the day’s light. Such a ride makes you feel cocooned and safe.

It’s spring, and you can feel your heart rejoice at the splashes of green all around. Clumps of snow hide in the shadows next to barns and sit like stale frosting on stone walls. The clouds are muscular and lumber across the horizon, indecisive about releasing their contents on the muddy hills. Mama deer are heavy with the weight of their future fawns. They nibble the early grass and dig for the bulbs you planted last year. A brief crack of the window brings a bit of chill mixed with the promise of warmth, a blend that brightens your cheeks and whispers, “Not yet, but soon.” Such a ride fills you with hope and gratitude.

But in the fall…oh, the magic of fall. The sky is almost violet it is so vivid, and you are sure such a color has never been duplicated by man. The late season sun blinds you on a curve and your squint raises your mouth into a smile. Summer’s green has turned emerald, a dense shade that demands to be seen once more before it departs for months. It is a meager attempt to keep up with the blazing reds and golds. The hills bring to mind toppled paint cans, with bands of color running through the trees. Pumpkins smile back at you from porches. Farmers gather what is left in their fields and ready the ground for sleep.

Though much of nature is preparing to slumber, you feel something energizing about turning inward. All the inside tasks that you couldn’t bring yourself to do during the warmth of summer still await you. You feel the call of nesting, preparing your home for the darker days to come, knowing there will be a gentle kind of closeness that doesn’t come in the heat of summer. This season brings the joy of soft blankets and hands cupped around warmth in a mug. The holidays approach with the speed of a calendar page turning. A ride like this brings you waves of reassurance and comfort.

Such a simple thing to get in the car with no destination and drive until the dark steals the views. A passive pleasure of sitting and watching, so in contrast with a world that expects productivity out of every waking moment. We know the coming days will bring noise, faces, and tasks that need doing by a defined point in time. But the value of such excursions comes from the very nothingness of looking out the window, trying to see every detail of the scenes as they roll by. It resets the mind, clearing the way for all that is to come in the new week.

I highly recommend it.

In fact, where’s the dog? Grab the keys, pick a direction, and let’s go.

Maggie Barnes has won several IRMA and Keystone Press awards. She lives in Waverly, New York Sunday continued from page 28
31 welcome to BRADFORD CO. Sponsored by the Canton Volunteer Fire Department Admission is a donation at the gate that goes back into the community through various outreach programs. DISTINCTIVE CRAFT VENDORS • FESTIVAL FOOD DAILY LIVE ENTERTAINMENT • WINE TASTING Saturday, October 7, 2023 10:00am–5:00pm Sunday, October 8, 2023 10:00am–4:00pm Canton Fireman’s Fairgrounds Route 14 South • Springbrook Road • Canton, PA 17724 FB: Canton Fire Department’s Pumpkin Festival PumpkinFestival 19th Annual 50 BALLARD STREET • TROY, PENNSYLVANIA 16947 NOW BOOKING Weddings • Private Parties • Events For more information or to see if your special date is available, visit WWW.TROYSALEBARN.COM Funded by a grant from the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency how do you build your walls? When you build your walls you should expect to get more out of a building product. Buildings today demand reliable, energy efficient building envelopes that provide superior performance benefits to minimize energy costs, reduce carbon emissions, and maximize property value. NUDURA structures offer greater strength, sound, and fire resistance and are why developers and contractors across the world continue to choose NUDURA’s Integrated Building Technology as a proven alternative to traditional building methods. With NUDURA’s 6-in-1 building step, you can build faster and more efficiently, while offering your clients an eco-friendly structure with substantial benefits that contribute to long-term energy savings. Change the way you build your walls. Hoover Hardware 570-297-3445 • 800-251-2156 816 CANTON STREET, TROY, PA MON-SAT 7AM- 5PM HOOVER INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY 866.468.6299 OPENING WEEKEND Friday Sept 29 • 5pm - 9pm COMMUNITY FESTIVAL Saturday Sept 30 • 11am - 5pm Adult community servants receive half price admission! 931 Sopertown Road. Columbia Cross Roads, Pa Open every weekend in October! Fridays 5pm - 9pm and Saturdays 11am - 9pm WE’VE GOT DINOSAURS! Dine, Stay or Just Get Away 35 Rooms Restaurant and Tavern (Traditional American family style) Catering Great Rates, GreatFood, Great Attractions Wyalusing Hotel 54 Main Street, Wyalusing, PA 570-746-1204

Spooky continued from page 10 the question to ask yourself is: are you being entertained?

There are lots of tropes in horror movies—common elements we associate with them—and Mark has clear opinions on which ones are effective. He doesn’t like the “found footage” approach—as if the video was found on a recording device. “Blair Witch was boring as hell,” he says. One of his favorite tropes is the jump scare, “but they’re hard to set up because the audience expects them.” And what about ‘let’s split up’? “Oh, you got to do that. It’s easier to take out one person at a time, plus it stretches the running time. And we’re more afraid when we’re alone.”

Mark, who is included in the recent documentary Sharksploitation, has made a lot of shark movies, including Cocaine Shark (2023) and Shark Encounters of the Third Kind (2020). Mark and John were seven in 1975 when Steven Spielberg’s Jaws came out, and wanted desperately to see it. But when their older sister came home and told their mom it was about a big shark that eats naked ladies, they weren’t allowed.

Monsters are all fun and imaginary games for Mark. But ask him about ghosts, and he’ll turn serious. When he worked in the AV office and managed Straughn Hall, he’d often go in at night to prepare for the next day’s event. “I was on the stage setting lights. I glanced up at the balcony and saw someone standing there. I said ‘Hi.’ I looked again and realized it was seven feet tall.” He thought it had to be a shadow. Then it glided, and when it passed in front of the lights, it was solid. He didn’t tell anyone but his wife.

A year later he was talking to the custodian and asked him, “Have you seen anything weird there?” He looked back at Mark and said, “Did you?” They exchanged stories, and the custodian had seen the same thing twice. Someone who rented the space saw it once, too. “It didn’t seem to know we were there,” says Mark. “I wouldn’t call it a ghost. Maybe a specter.”

Another time he was with a professor who had equipment to record supernatural phenomena. They went to Steadman auditorium where people had claimed to see Grace Steadman, a beloved music teacher who’d died in 1940, when they were rehearsing—an old lady in a back seat at the top would clap for them. Once the equipment was set up—with the professor on stage and Mark in the middle of the auditorium—they asked if there was anyone there who used to work at the university. A voice said, “Grace.” “We all heard it,” Mark says, and what’s more they recorded it.

“I’m pretty open-minded,” he says, but he’s not interested in proving or disproving anything. “There are things in life that can’t be explained. It happens to credible people and fruitcakes. Credible people have a lot to lose by speaking up.”

Mark also can’t explain why certain movies he makes become popular and others don’t. So he makes what he enjoys. “If someone says to me, ‘I could’ve made this on my grandmother’s iPhone,’ my response is ‘go do it.’ Making movies is a lot of fun but it’s also hard work. Anyone who makes a whole movie deserves congratulations.”

So, it appears that something unusual is going on at Mansfield University, but instead of sitting on a portal to evil it may be sitting on a deep source of creativity that infects the surrounding communities. People you see every day on campus, in nearby towns, might be on your screen that night if you stream a Polonia Bros. movie. But don’t worry, plenty of perfectly nice people enjoy horror as entertainment and


study it.

Open daily 7am to 9pm! 570-662-2972 2103 S. Main St., Mansfield, PA Homemade Specials Daily! Open daily 7am to 9pm 570-662-2972 2103 S. Main St., Mansfield, PA Specialties include Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches, Chicken & Biscuits, and Homemade Pies! Emerge Healing Arts & Spa 129 Main Street, Wellsboro, PA • (570) 360-8180 Follow Our Journey emerge_spa SKIN THERAPY customized for your skin care needs! Holistic Botanical Facials Chemical Peels • Dermaplaning Micro-channeling Microdermabrasion Advanced Spot Treatments Pure Mineral Makeup & More Fresh, Organic, Wild Crafters Skin Care Jimmy’s Park Hotel 127 Troy Street • Canton PA Open Daily for Lunch and Dinner - Daily Specials Catering Available for Weddings, Showers, Parties and Any Other Special event!
33 Mountain Home SERVICE DIRECTORY You could promote your business here! Call (570)724-3838 today! BEST EXCAVATING Driveways • Basements • Septic Systems Retaining Walls • Patios Stone • Gravel 814-367-5682 Westfield Pa WWW.BESTEXCAVATING.COM MOSSY EDGE WATERSCAPES LLC Kevin Fishburn - Water Feature Specialist (570) 439-4840 Ponds, Water Gardens, Fountains, Pondless Waterfalls 25 Main St. Wellsboro, PA 570-723-4263 “A hero can be anyone.” 222 Butler Road, Wellsboro, PA 16901 570-724-3333 North End of Rail Trail JF Martin Meats • Subs • Salads • BBQ’s Hershey’s Ice Cream • Bulk Foods Soft Custard • PA Produce In Season Open Mon-Sat. 10am-8pm; Sun. 10am-7pm 54 Windsor Ln. Morris PA 16938 (570) 353-2735 • Diamonds & Quality Jewelry • Bulova & Seiko Watches and Clocks • Fenton, Charms, Trophies and Engraving “We do watch batteries!” Hauber’s Jewelry Open 7 days a week! 7 Main Street Wellsboro, PA 570-724-4556 & EARNFREE DRINKS&MORE KICK UP YOUR HEELS In Monroeton MOUNTAINEER PARK • ROUTE 220 • MONROETON, PA 18832 MONROETON RODEO SEPT. 10, 2023 @ 1 PM FREE PARKING FREE ADMISSION for All Current Military w/ID Admission: Sr. Citizens $5; Adult $12 Advanced, $15 at Gate; Child (5-15) $2 Advanced, $5 at Gate.


Muckin’ About

The Muck shack is one of the most beautiful and peaceful spots in Tioga County. When it comes to this place, the early riser gets the view, as sunrise is filled with wildlife and colorful skies. The shack provides a blind, so you can watch anything from frisky otters to giant turtles, and enough birds to fill a birder’s book. These protected wetlands can be found near the intersection of Routes 287 and 6 just beyond Pag-Omar Farm Market. Don’t forget to sign the book when you visit.

NCI Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is proud to be recognized by the nation’s cancer authority – the National Cancer Institute – for excellence in patient care and research. Our team of medical and radiation oncologists in north central Pa. specialize in all forms of cancer, and offer personalized therapies and supportive services such as cooling caps to minimize hair loss during treatment, massage therapy, and a survivorship program. Visit to learn more. Nationally recognized CANCER CARE close to home

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.