Ravenwood Revisited, Part 3 [world building]

Revealing the Dragon.

The beautiful and single Lisa Franklin revealed to him that she was merely a Sunday painter. Still, he gushed uncontrollably about art and favorite artists. Somehow, he managed to impress her enough to exchange deliberations about society’s perception of artists in the twenty-first century. Spinning merry fancy inside his overactive mind, he barely heard her when she offered to share a weekend outing to the countryside to paint a particular lakeside landscape she had seen during her move to Ravenwood. He nearly hugged her before thoughts of Nancy pulled his arms down and caused him to take a step back.

Alice Lake.

Like Myers Ridge, Alice Lake is center stage for many of my stories because of its eerie history dating back to when it was called Lac Petit-Miroir (which means “Little Mirror Lake”). It seems there was UFO activity at the lake during 1745 to 1747. Eyewitnesses claimed of seeing strange lights gather over the center of the lake at midnight, then whirl like “dust devils” and “water spouts” for several minutes before vanishing into the lake. The activity stopped after the 1747 incident described by Ezekiel Wood.

Lac Petit-Miroir was renamed in 1863 and its name is attributed to Alice Myers, wife of the lake community’s mayor George Myers. (Alice is paternal grandmother to Joseph Myers who once lived on Myers Ridge. Joseph is a ghost who appears in my stories.) The community held the stature of being its own municipality, complete with a town hall and post office until fire destroyed most of the town in 1955. It merged with Ravenwood in 1957.

Alice Lake is a spring fed glacier-made lake one-half mile wide and a little more than one mile long, 9 acres, and with an average depth of 30 feet along a kettle bottom with holes as deep as 50+ feet. It is at the southern end of Ravenwood and is a popular spot for vacationers (many from Pittsburgh). Surrounded by about 750 private homes and cottages, the lake is picturesque with its quaint cottages and beautiful homes. Visitors can rent rooms anytime at Richard and Melissa Bay’s Bed & Breakfast—a charming and spacious Folk Victorian home. They can tour the Alice Myers Museum—a colorful Gothic Revival House—every Tuesday through Saturday and acquaint themselves with the lake’s namesake. They can browse Ellen Waverly’s art gallery and buy excellent local artwork. And they can shop nearly every day at the several specialty gift shops, which sell a mix of country and Victorian knickknacks. Antiques are also a specialty, and Johnson’s Antiques and Auction is less than a mile away at downtown Ravenwood.

The Pennsylvania Fish Commission maintains the lake and its three public boat launches. The lake is used recreationally for swimming, fishing and boating. There are boats and canoes to rent at McGuire’s Boating, Fishing and Hunting, which is open year-round. For the angler, Alice Lake is stocked with pan fish, bluegill, perch, sunfish, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, and small and large mouth bass. For the hunter, the area is bordered by many public game lands.

In the winter, Alice Lake is widely used for ice fishing. Although many of the roads winding around the lake are dirt or gravel, the State maintains them well. Other winter activities include snowmobiling sponsored by the lake park’s Recreation Hall. The entertainment hall has a 24-lane bowling alley and a heated indoor swimming pool.

During the summer, there are fishing contests and kayaking, sailing and canoe rowing races on the lake, go-cart racing and miniature golf at the Recreation Hall, and a fireworks show on the lake every Fourth of July.

Tourists and locals can sip wine coolers and dip lobster in drawn butter on the patio at the Mill Pond Restaurant at the south side of the lake while kids swim and slide down the fabulous water slide into the lake. Or they can have great pizza—homemade and hand stretched—and subs and calzones any day of the year at Connie’s Pizzeria.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are inexpensive pleasures at The Roundhouse (aka The Roundabout). Once the lake’s roller rink, it was converted into a restaurant and dining hall after fire nearly destroyed the building in 1966. The place hosts dances and live music every Saturday night from June until the end of September.

The south side of Alice Lake comprises an Amish community, so it is common to see Amish buggies traveling the lake roads no matter the time of year.

But as I mentioned, Alice Lake has an eerie history—its charming quaintness hides an undercurrent of dark affairs, which investigation revealed to me when I researched the place for a story about a magical girl named Kinsey Avery and a demon named Keir Severin.


4 thoughts on “Ravenwood Revisited, Part 3 [world building]

  1. Lola

    Now that you have hooked me, when will the book be out? Please tell me you’re going to write this story (if you haven’t already).

    1. Steve Campbell

      The story is still in its discovery draft, Lola, so it could take a few years to chisel it out to completion. I have an idea that the main character Kinsey’s name will change and she will become my current main character Vree Erikson before the story is done. Stay tuned.

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