Willow Lake is a (fictional) small rural town and the main location in the book The Next Generation. The farming community of Arvada Center is not far away, with some kids from Arvada Center coming to Willow Lake High School, which in 1983 had a graduating class of 44. Wrightsville, with its Hinckley Junior College is about 40 miles distant. The Spearfish River is a popular canoeing destination despite being 200 miles away.
There are a number of small businesses in the town, such as an ice cream store and:
- The Willow Lake American Legion Hall, which is also used by the high school for a graduation party.
- The Willow Lake Cafe, which is popular with local farmers looking for dealings, gossip or otherwise socializing.
- The Willow Lake Farm Center is better known as the feed mill which is a large farm service business, mostly fertilizer, machinery and feed and grain storage. Herb Anderson runs the fertilizer office.
- The Willow Lake Methodist Church has to share its pastor with the Arvada Center Methodist Church.
It should not be a surprise to discover there is actually a swimming lake that shared the town name.NG04
The Willow Lake Fire Department apparently covers the area that includes Arvada Center, but when the Griswold's barn catches fire, the Reading department is called in to help.
Another neighboring town in Geneva, the county seat twenty miles away, which also has the nearest hospital. The nearest big town would be Camden, if you were looking for something special, like a Saxmayer's for a prom dress.
Real World Notes
There is a Willow Lake Day Camp in North New Jersey for kids & teens ages 3-15.
There is a Willow Lake Park in Northeastern Ohio in the town of Brunswick, Ohio. See http://www.willowlakepark.net