First of all, I love all things related to trains. Long ago, my grandfather, Dan Kennelly, was an engineer for the Monongahela Connecting Railroad in Pittsburgh, PA.
The Highline passenger rail station still stands in Greencastle, Pennsylvania. From 1906 to 1936 this station was active. At one time there was seven daily round trip passenger trains between Hagerstown and Harrisburg. And there were commuter trains to Philadephia and New York. The train station closed in 1936 and after that the station had a rocky life. In the 1960's the station was used most fortuitously by the Boy Scouts who fixed it up as a meeting place. Now it is part of historic Greencastle.
Across the street is the Highline Coffee house and Cafe and I love it as well. It is like coming home to a clean, well lighted place where someone has just made a pot of homemade soup for me. The welcome is sincere. "Come on in Sit down. Will you be comfortable here? Just make yourself at home."
(left to right) Pat, Kelly, Judy, Lyn, Bonnie &
(on the table) Maisie Dobbs
My book club met here for lunch today. The temperature outside was 100 degrees. Inside, we all tried to cope with the heat. Fans were on as well as the air conditioner, but we were still hot. 100 degrees is hot. "Use this room. Use these extra table for your books. Just spread out. What would you like to drink?" The welcome was so warm. What was a little heat?
So we settled into the rear glass enclosed alcove, as if it were our very own home. We exchanged greetings, then gifts and finally books. The best part of meeting at a restaurant for our book group is that we don't have to cook or clean at home. We just made a decision from the printed menu, then settled in to eat.
I chose the special of the day, roast beef with blue cheese crumbled dressing on focaccio bread. Two happily chose the special soup of the day, tomato florentine, a yummy creamy tomato spinach soup. Salads were popular on such a hot day. My friends enjoyed a lively mixture of specialty lettuces, dried cranberries, candied pecans and blue cheese. One friend chose the albacore tuna salad on artisan bread which was an excellent choice. We caught up on our lives and our families. Vacation and travel were discussed. We decided where we would meet next time and what book we would read. Everyone, almost, had a suggestion. And then it was over.
Did we discuss our wonderful book, Maisy Dobbs? I wondered. She has become our heroine, this feisty, authentic sleuth from the 1920's in London. She wore a cloche pulled down over her face, a roadster awaited her next adventure. We all admired Maisie Dobbs. For me, she is a grown up version of Nancy Drew. I am hooked on the series.
And, according to our complicated plan, here came my nephew, in town for a visit, so I said good bye to my book club. The Professor waited in another room for this is a house there are many rooms, like home. This room's walls bore a milky coffee color. The floors were oak. We sat at a window and shared our lives. All his children came to life as he told us about their interests and activities. Outside we watched the trains, Norfolk Southern, go by on elevated tracks in the backyard.
The Professor ate a lump crab cake on a Kaiser roll with a side of the fried sweet potatoes. Our nephew had the grilled salmon on focaccio bread along with home made potato chips. I sipped the strong dark coffee which I dream about at night, remembering the shock of the brilliant taste of this coffee along the edges of my tongue. Exemplary coffee. Staying on the tongue and then in the mind for a very long time. Dessert, of course. I had the creme bruleé which was satisfying, generous and gorgeous in its white fluted container. Our nephew had the warm blueberry cobbler that had a strong friendly taste of cinnamon.
We laughed and talked. "Oh, look, rain! At last! The heat broken for a moment."
Then we jumped. " What was that noise?" Looking out we saw that a limb had been torn from a tree and fell into the yard. This proved to be a violent storm in such heat.
Time to go back to our real home. I drove south, too fast for the weather conditions. But that was very strong coffee and I had two cups and I guess it stayed in my veins as well as my mind.
101 West Baltimore Street
Greencastle, PA 17225
Hours: Mon - Wed 7 am - 3 pm; Th and Fr 7 am to 9 pm; Sat 8 am - 9 pm; Sun closed.
Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm, Ph.D.
Your comments are welcome!