When guests visit The Glasbern Inn, they seldom see or hear from owner Al
He likes it that way.
The former U.S. Marine officer and businessman is 78 now, but he still
prefers working outside of the bed and breakfast at 2141 Packhouse Road in
Upper Macungie Township.
He enjoys the garden, repairing the site’s nine buildings, and raising
Glasbern’s farm animals. They are pasture-raised on the 130-acre, 19th
Century farm without hormones or antibiotics and become healthy meals in
“I spend most of my time outside,” he said. “I’ve got good people to take
care of the inside. I do what I enjoy.”
He’s not the type of owner to glad-hand couples visiting for the weekend or
the business clients staying during the week. He has about 40 employees to
“The kids bring their carry-ons and never leave their whirlpools and
fireplaces,“ he said. “Some people go out and walk all around. They are
usually interested in our garden.
“They do what they want to enjoy.”
He doesn’t feel the need to be involved. His first wife, Beth, did the
interior work at Glasbern and died in 2006. Granger’s second wife, Laura,
has taken up some of the work, he said.
But ask him about Glasbern’s production of natural food, and he goes on a
“A few years ago, in 2005, the township decided we were as big as we ought
to be, and I needed something else to do.” said Granger, who holds an
engineering degree from the Naval Academy.
He went to natural farming.
“The qualify of food is much better.” he said. “It doesn’t have all the
chemicals in it. We raise cattle, lamb, pigs, hogs and chickens. We have a
garden for the green things.”
Granger grew up in Ridley Park with his wife, Beth, a high school
After his stint in the Marines in the late 1950s, he worked for “Corning
Glass, Kraft, RCA and on Wall Street with Ross Perot” before setting down
to a retirement job as owner of a body shop, Allentown Coachworks. Then
they had a bed and breakfast in Allentown called Coachaus.
Then he and his first wife traveled to England and decided to sell Coachaus
to the innkeeper and buy a place in the country.
“The farm was vacant,” he said. “We originally bought 16 acres. We started
with six rooms, we expanded up to 38 rooms, now to 34...The four weren’t up
to standard. They had noise problems. .”
Glasbern opened in 1985, and the Grangers moved from a home in nearby
Applewood development while the inn was being constructed.
“My wife, Beth, wouldn’t come out here until there was running water in the
farm house,“ he said.
“It‘s kind of a retirement project. It’s a very good lifestyle.
“If not for Glasbern, I’d probably be rocking somewhere at my age. Both my
father, a manager at a plant that was eventually Monsanto, and grandfather,
a vice president at PECO, were retired with nothing to do.“
A dinner and night at Glasbern is far above average.
A large plate dinner ranges from a $35 grass-fed beef tenderloin to $17 for
fried chicken offered by Chef Yianni Arhontoulis. The dining area fits 75
people, and often has openings during the week,
A room at Glasbern ranges from $165 to $370 per night, with the quaint
rooms usually offering fireplaces and whirlpools, among other amenities.
Among its deals, Glasbern offers military specials, including a 10 percent
discount to active service members and a free night stay to those returning
from Iraq or Afghanistan during their first month back.
Granger said he was proud that Glasbern was recently named to the Historic
Hotels of America, almost as proud of the environment he’s created on the
“We don’t use any chemicals here, so there are an awful lof of birds,”
Granger said. “Once you leave this valley, it’s a different world.’’
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