Reasons I Like A Rural Setting

Maureen Bonatch
Maureen's vivid imagination, and a love of sarcasm, help her craft stories full of fun, magic, mayhem and a touch of mystery.

I live in a rural part of Pennsylvania and set most of my stories in and around this area. My love of the versatility of Pennsylvania must be shared, because there are a large number of movies filmed in the state and in my nearby city of Pittsburgh. It’s true that I chose this setting because it’s what I know, but it’s much more than that. It’s what I love.

It’s a Setting That I Love

Pennsylvania bike trail
A nice place to rest on the trail and enjoy the beauty of nature—or craft stories of magic and mystery

It’s not just the beauty of the four seasons, and the way people get to know each other in a small town—those certainly add to my stories—my favorite thing about this setting is the lush wooded areas filled with beautiful trees.

Even with what I refer to as my ‘black thumb’ when it comes to gardening, I can appreciate the glorious transformation occurring with each season.

When I’ve traveled to busy cities, other warmer states and out of the country, the first thing I notice is the absence of trees.


Trees Hold a Bit of Mystery

Perhaps the way the dense foliage seems to harbor ancient secrets, or they way in which they whisper in the wind intrigues me. But I’ve always found a gorgeous forest a little magical. As a child I loved to play in the woods behind our house. I would craft my first stories while dreaming I might uncover a fossil in their tangled roots.

As an adult I continue to escape my worries from the everyday world  in the woods. The area I live in has countless beautiful walking and biking trails to explore. One my favorites is the Ghost Town Trail. Utilizing many of the old railroad trails,

Ghost Town Trail, Pennsylvania
At the start of the Ghost Town Trail

Pennsylvania has converted over 93 railway lines to walking and bicycling paths (rail-trails) covering 1063 miles and continues to add more. Traveling on these trails is like walking into the past. The remains of old structures hold the promise of many untold stories.

The Wooded Trails Really Inspire My Muse

The eerie woods play a huge role in the setting of my first book of The Enchantlings Series, Destiny Calling, because something so

trail, Pennsylvania
A gorgeous, yet cautionary view, from the West Penn Trail

beautiful, and so desolate, can craft a multitude of stories. When we rode our bicycles to approach the church rising from the woods in a nearby small town, I knew it would be featured in my story, Grandma Must Die.


While venturing down a path, I looked through the eyes of my heroine from Forget Me Not when she returned to her home state of Pennsylvania from New York City. What would she see? If she’s like me, the first thing she’d notice is the beautiful scenery nature has created.


Looking to escape the hustle and bustle? Why not take a walk into the woods in Destiny Calling.


Have you ever pondered the mysteries concealed in the woods?


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  • Kathryn Knight

    Love this! Your descriptions of the woods really evoke the beauty and mystery of nature–I think the woods are magical as well, and I spent countless hours exploring them as a child. Now I want to visit the Ghost Town Trail…sounds right up my alley! Thanks for sharing.

  • Kim Hornsby

    It’s funny how so many people find the forest creepy, even in broad daylight. Fear of the unknown is powerful.
    Great article, Maureen!

  • Maureen Bonatch

    Thanks so much Kathryn! So glad you stopped by.

  • BrendaWhiteside

    Love forests. Growing up in southern AZ, I was deprived of the woods. The first time I visited Connecticut I was in awe of the thick forests. But…they were a little too dense for me and I’m sure my claustrophobia wouldn’t take living there. Still, my favorite settings are woods or rugged mountains.

  • Alicia Dean

    Fantastic post. I love wooded areas too, and the mysterious, creepy ones are the BEST. Sounds like you live in a place rife with inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

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