Old Home Week participants revisit Sandy Hollow

'It's a very peaceful, old-time setting'

August 03, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Dick Fisher of Greencastle, Pa., returned Tuesday to Sandy Hollow, where he swam as a child. The owner of Sandy Hollow opened his property for picnics as part of Old Home Week in Greencastle.
Jennifer Fitch, Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- The name of the event was "Sandy Hollow Revisited," but most of the participants were exploring the quiet, Conococheague Creek-front grove Tuesday for the first time.

Dick Fisher, however, remembers swimming nude there as a boy. Would the 90-year-old be skinny dipping for nostalgia's sake during the Old Home Week function?

"I wasn't planning on it," he said. "That's the type of thing you can get arrested for nowadays."

Like many others, Fisher joined family and friends for fellowship and food at Sandy Hollow off Pa. 16 west of Greencastle. Property owner Jerry Harness opened up the area to the public for the first time and told visitors about how it was the site of the first "Old Boys' Reunion" in 1902.

That event later transformed itself into the triennial Old Home Week, which continues through Saturday.

"Here we are: 108 years later," Harness said.

Some of the same sycamore trees probably towered over the "Old Boys" as they picnicked, a scene preserved in a painting by artist Mark Twain Noe. And things looked fairly similar Tuesday, although women were allowed and cars replaced horse carts.


Deb Shank of Greencastle mused about the authenticity of chicken and ham meals being sold to benefit the local Venture Crew of the Boy Scouts of America.

"It makes you feel like you're back in that era. It wasn't done like a sandwich," she said.

Shank lounged on a blanket and talked with her parents, Harry and Delores Oberholzer. She said she has a print of Noe's painting, but never before saw Sandy Hollow for herself.

"It's a very peaceful, old-time setting," Shank said.

The Oberholzers said they enjoy Old Home Week because they can talk with old friends and see people who moved out of town. They also like to tour new businesses, discover hidden spots like Sandy Hollow, and learn more about their community through the event's "Reminiscing" series of educational seminars.

Erin Starzynski visited her aunt's Greencastle farm every summer when she was growing up. A Pittsburgh resident, Starzynski made the trip to Greencastle this week to give her sons Robert, 9, and Thomas, 6, the same experience.

"We really enjoy Old Home Week, and I've never been down to this part of Greencastle," she said of Sandy Hollow. "We wanted to check it out."

The boys enjoy the open space and doing things like watching deer while in Greencastle, Starzynski said. Picnicking at Sandy Hollow was relaxing, she said.

"It's a lovely little corner of Greencastle, and it gives you a sense of how people enjoy the outdoors in ways we don't now," Starzynski said.

More information on Old Home Week events is available at

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