It’s crazy to see how life can bring you full circle, and take you back to where you first started. As you look back on the winding path you took to get exactly where it all began, you start to see how each step you took just brought you closer to your roots. Gene Pelland, the owner of Stoner Commons at Overlook Park, is a man who appreciates a good story.What you have to remember is that stories are very rarely 100% accurate. When you tell a story, it is your recollection of what truly happened. It is very hard to remember every detail of a defining event in your life, but you will always remember how it made you feel. With this in mind, as we dive into Gene’s journey, sit back, relax, and enjoy the story for what it is.
Gene is a transplant from a small New England town, who moved to a 14 acre farmette on Delp Road in. At age 7, Gene’s parents enrolled him and his brother for swimming lessons at Overlook Pool. Every morning Gene’s mother packed PB&J’s and he and his siblings rode off on their bikes to Overlook Park. They met friends, dove off the high dive, met girls, and played a lot of football. In the Fall and Winter months, Gene would spend his days at the Overlook Skating Rink. Life for him was Overlook Park.
Years passed and seasons changed, but Overlook Park remained a steady haven for this young Lancaster county teen. On a hot night in the summer of 66, Gene, despite his parents disproval, snuck out and ran through the fields he knew too well, guided by the Motown sound of The Detroit Wheels, to get to the Overlook Skating Rink. He saw a concert that would become one of the most influential events in his life. After a night of dancing to “Shake a Tail Feather” through the blasting Leslie speakers, Gene knew that someday, he would be involved in music.Through his teenage years, Gene worked at Overlook planting trees for $1.10 and hour and cleaning out stall at the Stoner Farm, which is the present location of Overlook Park and Stoner Grille. After graduating Manheim Township and three years of college, at age 22, Gene found himself following his music dreams and landed a job at Clair Brothers. He continued to work with some of his favorite bands, like The Beach Boys, The Eagles, and Elvis.
After landing his big dream job, Gene realized that without his dad moving to Delp Rd, which allowed him to enjoy his youth at what is now Overlook Park, he would not have had this “big dream” to pursue. Years after working his dream job, Gene found himself helping his daughter, Danielle, and son in law Freddy States, open McCleary’s Pub in Marietta. Then through a series of events, in 2014 Gene and his wife, Anneliese, found themselves taking over Barney’s Café right in Overlook Park, and creating Stoner Commons… where it all started. Gene renovated the space and named it Stoner Commons. It includes The Barn, Stoner Grille, and Pelvos Putt Putt 18 hole miniature golf. Gene’s vision for Stoner Commons is to become a place where families can make more memories in an area of which he is so fond. Stoner Commons is located about a quarter of a mile off of the Fruitville Pike at 605 Granite Run Drive, right beside the historical Stoner House, which is preserved by manheimtownshiphistory.org. Here’s what you can find at Stoner Commons…
- Event Space for private and public events including dinner weddings, parties, fundraisers, business meetings, bar/bat mitzvahs
- A music stage, Lights, Sound, Curtains
- Feb 11th: Valentine’s Dance
- Band: Pocket Full of Soul
- Starting in March:
- Sunday Morning Brunch open to public
- Feb 11th: Valentine’s Dance
- American restaurant
- Music Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
- Outside patio with additional music stage in warmer months
Pelvos Putt Putt:
- 18 Hole miniature golf course
- Open in warmer months