Willow Creek (fictional)

Willow Creek (fictional)

Willow Creek is a fictional town in the American state of Virginia, about 15 miles outside of Washington, D.C., where Bonnie Bryant's novels in "The Saddle Club", "Pony Tails", and "Pine Hollow" book series are set. Main characters Lisa Atwood, Carole Hanson, and Stephanie "Stevie" Lake all live in Willow Creek and ride at Pine Hollow Stables. A television show and movie called The Saddle Club, filmed in Australia, were later based on "The Saddle Club" books.

The residential area of Willow Creek is small enough that many characters can walk from one person's house to another's. The community is implied to be moderately wealthy, although this is never explicitly stated. Stevie Lake's parents are both lawyers, and they have four children and a large house with a pool. The Saddle Club's nemesis, Veronica diAngelo, is the daughter of a banker, the richest man in town. While her house is described as being very stately and elegant, with beautifully manicured grounds and a pool, she also lives in Willow Creek. The Llewellyns, a couple who live in a big house in the outlying areas of Willow Creek, are wealthy enough to donate $10,000 to the Marine Corps charity drive one Christmas.

In downtown Willow Creek, buses run regularly to and from the outlying areas. The town has some shopping facilities, including a strip mall and a shopping mall. The strip mall includes a shoe store, a jewelry store, a music store called Sights 'n' Sounds, a dry cleaner, a supermarket, and an ice cream parlor called Tastee Delight, where the characters often eat after riding class. Another strip mall is located in the original shopping district and includes HiValu Shoes, the fire station, an accountant's office, Old Dixie Hardware Emporium, and a dentist office.

The local shopping mall includes a bookstore, a hardware store, an ice cream parlor, a party supply store, a nut store, a dress boutique called Marie's, a clothing store called Sweet Susie's, several kiosks, and a tack store called The Saddlery. Another mall, the West End Mall, is described as being "fancier" and at the other side of town.

In the surrounding areas of Willow Creek are working farms; land for Pine Hollow, the stables where the characters ride; land for several other stables, horse trainers, and horse farms; a rock quarry; mountains and rolling hills; and a creek, aptly named the Willow Creek.

There are at least two educational institutions in Willow Creek - Fenton Hall, a private school, and the Willow Creek School System, a public school. Fenton Hall is a day school for girls and boys in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Fenton Hall is erroneously referred to as a girls' school in the first Saddle Club book, Horse Crazy. Stevie Lake and her three brothers attend Fenton Hall. The Willow Creek School System includes a middle school, Willow Creek Junior High School, and a high school, Willow Creek High School, and presumably an elementary school as well. Carole Hanson and Lisa Atwood both attend Willow Creek Junior High School. No mention of nursery school facilities is ever made. There are no colleges in Willow Creek, although a fictional college, Northern Virginia University, is located 40 minutes away, according to comments made Lisa Atwood in the "Pine Hollow" series. This fits with plot elements in "The Saddle Club" that refer to a college student looking after the Lake children in the summer and a college student who works at Pine Hollow.

A community theater, a dentist's office, an orthodontist's offices, numerous doctors, a hospital and emergency room, a bakery, an annual Founder's Day parade, a rescue animal shelter called the County Animal Rescue League, at least three veterinarians' practices, the Willow Creek Gazette newspaper, a town square where people gather for carols and refreshments at Christmas time, an annual hospital fair, a beauty salon, an annual spring fair sponsored by Fenton Hall, a flower shop, a McDonald's, a fire station, a circus that periodically comes to town, a country club, a feed and grain store, a local art museum, a community centre, a Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, a therapeutic horseback riding organization called Free Rein, a Triplex movie theater, a housing development called Willow Woods, a playground, and a police force are all mentioned at least once in the series.

Area restaurants include the Spaghetti House, Hank's Bank, Creekside Grill, Pizza Manor, Deanna's, the Magnolia Diner, Tastee Delight, and Houdini's, a bar.

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