Friday, September 30, 2011

When I Was Young

Ruth Ann, Buddy, Craig, Me, David, Irene Jenny Jump 1967
I received the following poem in an email.  I just had to share it because it is the absolute truth of what life was like in my home town when I was a child.

Our first house only had two bedrooms, and my parents had four kids and a grandfather living in it.  Then we moved to Alpha where we had four bedrooms.  We had a huge kitchen and always ate dinner together.  I can remember when we had half day sessions in school we walked home, to have our grandfather make us lunch.  He made us egg bread and didn't call it French Toast.  That was the best egg bread I have ever eaten  in my life.  It was wonderful to have had the extended family all under one roof.  Our Pappy, and my parents had never ended up in a nursing home. 

When my mother passed away in 1992, she still had the same phone number that we were given with our very first telephone in 1958, GL(Glencort)4-9514, only they changed the GL to 45.

Our idea of fun on a hot summer evening was either taking a ride with our mother through Springtown, and Carpentersville, or a game of "Pies" on our front porch steps with the Gara girls.  When we played baseball, my mother bought me the ball and my sister Irene the bat, so we had to get along in order to have a game.  We jumped rope in the street, and when someone spotted a car they yelled, "Car!" and we all quickly scattered to the side of the street until the car passed through.  Each family only had one car back then, and that is if we were lucky enough to have one at all. 

Sometimes when we wanted a snack my mother would melt butter and pour it over cheerious, and add a little salt.  She was always baking, and we not only had a milk man, but "Charlie The Baker", came around and he sold Tastykakes off the back of his panel truck.

 Our family doctor was Herman Smith, MD and he was a family friend, actually more like family.  He not only made house calls, but had his own pharmaceutical room where he supplied the meds, and there was no need for a pharmacy.  The cost was $6.00 at the office, $10.00 at the home, and he charged  $3.00 extra for each medication.   I will never forget the sound of joy in his voice the day he told me I was pregnant with my first child Jennifer.  It was as if he were my father.  He brought all five of my mother's children, and three of my nephews into this world.  When he was called out to deliver my nephews Craig and Mark, he was there to deliver them on his very own birthday. Not only was May the second their birthday, but my dad's as well.

When I Was Young

A little house with three bedrooms,

One bathroom and one car on the street.

A mower that you had to push

To make the grass look neat.

In the kitchen on the wall

We only had one phone,

And no need for recording things,

Someone was always home.

We only had a living room

Where we would congregate,

Unless it was at mealtime

In the kitchen where we ate.

We had no need for family rooms

Or extra rooms to dine.

When meeting as a family

Those two rooms would work out fine.

We only had one TV set

And channels maybe two,

But always there was one of them

With something worth the view.

For snacks we had potato chips

That tasted like a chip.

And if you wanted flavor

There was Lipton's onion dip.

Store-bought snacks were rare because

My mother liked to cook

And nothing can compare to snacks

In Betty Crocker's book.

Weekends were for family trips

Or staying home to play.

We all did things together --

Even go to church to pray.

When we did our weekend trips

Depending on the weather,

No one stayed at home because

We liked to be together.

Sometimes we would separate

To do things on our own,

But we knew where the others were

Without our own cell phone.

Then there were the movies

With your favorite movie star,

And nothing can compare

To watching movies in your car.

Then there were the picnics

At the peak of summer season,

Pack a lunch and find some trees

And never need a reason.

Get a baseball game together

With all the friends you know,

Have real action playing ball --

And no game video.

Remember when the doctor

Used to be the family friend,

And didn't need insurance

Or a lawyer to defend?

The way that he took care of you

Or what he had to do,

Because he took an oath and strived

To do the best for you.

Remember going to the store

And shopping casually,

And when you went to pay for it

You used your own money?

Nothing that you had to swipe

Or punch in some amount,

And remember when the cashier person

Had to really count?

The milkman used to go

From door to door,

And it was just a few cents more

Than going to the store.

There was a time when mailed letters

Came right to your door,

Without a lot of junk mail ads

Sent out by every store...

The mailman knew each house by name

And knew where it was sent;

There were not loads of mail addressed

To "present occupant."

There was a time when just one glance

Was all that it would take,

And you would know the kind of car,

The model and the make.

They didn't look like turtles

Trying to squeeze out every mile;

They were streamlined, white walls, fins

And really had some style.

One time the music that you played

Whenever you would jive,

Was from a vinyl, big-holed record

Called a forty-five.

The record player had a post

To keep them all in line

And then the records would drop down

And play one at a time.

Oh sure, we had our problems then,

Just like we do today

And always we were striving,

Trying for a better way.

Oh, the simple life we lived

Still seems like so much fun,

How can you explain a game,

Just kick the can and run?

And why would boys put baseball cards

Between bicycle spokes

And for a nickel, red machines

Had little bottled Cokes?

This life seemed so much easier

And slower in some ways.

I love the new technology

But I sure do miss those days.

So time moves on and so do we

and nothing stays the same,

but I sure love to reminisce

and walk down memory lane.

God Bless Always,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lady In White-My Favorite Halloween Movie

This is not just my most favorite Halloween movie of all time, but in my top three of favorite movies of all time.   I particularly love the fact that the timeline is 1962 when I was just two years older than Frankie Scarlatti the main character.   In the very beginning of the movie, Frank Laloggia the writer, producer, and director of the movie very nostalgically reproduced a very heartwarming 1960s location with breathtaking fall foliage. I believe all the "Baby Boomers" who watch this movie will be thrilled to see the classroom of the school and the cloak room.  These scenes reminded me of the classrooms of my own  Alpha Public School during the 1960s. 

Another of my favorite features of this movie is that Frank Laloggia created an extended family for Frankie Scarlatti, and I grew up in an extended family.  His wonderfully interactive Italian family dynamic brought back warm memories of our neighbors in our little town of Alpha, NJ in the 1960s.  Frankie and his family live in a farm house which so awakened memories of my Great Aunt Ree and Uncle Bill's home on True Blue Farm in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania during the 1960s. 

This movie was a great inspiration to me while writing My Ominous Adventures At True Blue Farm.   When I finished my first rough draft I had emailed it to Frank Laloggia and he wrote back with great words of encouragement, with the advice to expand on the storyline.  I took his advice and the rest is history.

The story touches on several 1960s social subjects, including, the ugly head of racism in small town middle America.   The music of the movie is very moving, and I totally love the way Frank Laloggia incorporated the Bing Crosby song, Did You Ever Seen A Dream Walking into the storyline.

There is a scene in the movie during a grade school Christmas party when the class is doing the limbo.  This scene brought back a fond memory of my late brother Buddy doing the limbo in our parent's luncheonette. 

This is a  Halloween movie that can be shared as a family. In fact I have done so every year since I first rented this movie from the former L.V. Video store in Alpha, NJ in the 1980s.  Lady In White is one of the three movies I watch over, and over again without ever growing tired of them.  Meet Me In St. Louis, and the Wizard Of Oz are the other two. 

Be sure to save Lady In White into your queue for rental on Netflix as a DVD to be sent to your home if you have that membership.  It is also available on Amazon.com.
To learn more about the movie:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_in_White

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Get Thee To The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire 2011

In 1980, a two-day jousting festival called the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire was held in the winery parking lot to attract visitors. The event proved popular, and expanded in the following years.
In 2009, the Faire which hails a two million a year profit, was held on a 35-acre site with 90 shows performed daily on 12 stages, hundreds of costumed characters, and a recreation of a 16th-century English village with authentic Tudor buildings. Musical performances, Shakespearean plays, and other acts were offered, twenty-three "Royal Kitchens" served food and drink, and Renaissance merchants were on-site. The Swashbuckler Brewing Company was founded on the grounds in 2000, and its product is available at the Swashbuckler Brew Pub.
The three-story bay window which rises to an octagonal turret at the west end of the house was built as part of the 1895 re-modeling.
Mt. Hope Estate
Two distinct architectural styles are visible in the Estate. Originally constructed in the Federal Style for Henry Bates Grubb between 1800 and 1805, Mount Hope Estate was the most formal iron master's mansion built in the area between 1750 and 1850. In 1895, Daisy Grubb oversaw significant changes, adding a Victorian ballroom, a billiard room, chandeliers, and parquet floors, and converting original hinged doors to sliding doors, while still maintaining much of the original construction, including the original facade and fireplace mantels.

The south-facing two-story facade, made of locally cut red sandstone, remains substantially unchanged from the original 1800-05 construction. The wooden porch running the length of the facade appears to be a reconstruction, as part of the 1895 remodeling, of a similar original porch.
The entire west end of the house went through substantial changes in the 1895 re-modeling. This included the construction of a striking three-story bay window rising to an octagonal turret with a patterned roof, and a two-story bay window near the southwest corner.
The most significant additions made during the 1895 remodeling are located at the rear (north) of the house. These include a conservatory with a polygonal glass dome, a greenhouse just east of the conservatory, and an enlarged kitchen.
The eastern end of the house was also remodeled in 1895, in locally cut red sandstone to match the facade. Aside from several Gothic arches from the original construction, the entire visible structure at this end was built in 1895.
The interior of the mansion, like the exterior, is a mixture of original 1800-05 construction and decoration, blended rooms, and Victorian construction and decor.
The entry hall is almost entirely original construction. Nearly all the woodwork and decoration in this area dates to the 1800-05 period, with the exception of several balusters and newel posts on the spiral staircase, which were Victorian replacements. The major change to the entry hall was the construction of false walls, allowing the conversion of the original hinged doors into sliding doors. The second floor central hall and Washington Room (on the second floor, in the southeast corner) were also changed very little in the renovation.
The dining room, on the other hand, saw extensive remodeling in 1895. The room size was increased by the construction of a bay window, parquet floor was installed, and the room was decorated in cherry woodwork, with a gilt and crystal chandelier and sconces. The only original item remaining left in the room was the fireplace mantel. The Pink Room, named for the pink damask which covered the walls in 1895, the library, the Best Chamber (Daisy Grubb's bedroom), was also extensively remodeled.
A number of new rooms were added to the house as part of the 1895 work. A billiard room and ballroom were added in the rear of the house, and several ornate bathrooms were added on the second and third floors.
At one time there were nearly 30 outbuildings on the estate, as well as a wall surrounding the estate, all constructed of the same locally quarried red sandstone as the mansion, "of which there seems to be an inexhaustible supply on the estate". Some, like Hope Church, are on property that was given away or subdivided over the years, and today, only four remain on the estate, all located to the north (rear) and northeast of the mansion.
The smokehouse is a square two-story building with a hipped roof, and is believed to date to the early 1800s. East of the smokehouse, a 1 1/2 story building with a three bay facade and a gabled roof was used as a school in the late 1800s, and may have served as a originally. The manager's farmhouse stands 2 1/2 stories high and is L-shaped with a porch. The springhouse is also 2 1/2 stories.

A fountain in the Mount Hope gardens.
The overall plan of the gardens, based on English formal gardens, can be traced to the original 1800-05 construction. Although some flower beds, ornamental urns, and the round fountain in front of the mansion were installed at the time of the 1895 remodeling, the overall plan was not changed, leaving the garden as "a very rare and largely intact example of a documented American formal garden predating 1840."

My take on the faire:
Fantastic! I was impressed with the details, enjoyed a step back into a time of merriment, got a kick out of the way some of the visitors come in the garb and all talk Elizabethan or Gaelic. When I spoke to some of the entertainers/characters they spoke it at all times, and stayed in character whether it be a royalty, wench or a pirate.

I really want to go again, and again. Update: We went in 2009, 2010, and are going again in 2011.  It is handicapped accessible also.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Re-Post Happy Birthday In Heaven-Remembering Aunt Dot on her birthday

It's your first birthday in Heaven
I know you're happy there

It just doesn't seem possible
That it has been a year.

You're surrounded by
friends, and family
That we miss and love,

And you're watching over those you left

Smiling down from above.

It's your first birthday in Heaven

We send our love to you,
And we find comfort in the reward.
Just to know, a birthday spent in Heaven,
Means you'll spend it with the Lord
All rights reserved Diane Dunwell-Hoffman 2009
Oxford Presbyterian Church Sunday School
My Aunt Dot will always hold a very dear place in my heart. I always had a great time during sleepovers at her house. She would take me to Sunday School at her church in Oxford. I have tons of great memories of the fun hanging out at Connolly's farm with Paula, Butch and Pete.

Aunt Dot loved to tell us stories of those she loved. She often told stories about her children and grandchildren.  One of the best was that of her son Pete when he was little. One Easter Sunday the pastor at the church asked the kids if anyone knew who Peter was, and Petey answered, "I know, I know, Peter Cotton Tail!" She told funny stories about me and my favorite meal "Oast Beef, Smashed Potatoes, and Peas." Sometimes it would be "Meat Oaf, Smashed Potatoes, and Peas." 

I can remember the story of the time that Uncle Charlie was in the Minstrel Show, and afterward when they were coming out to their cars, there was a blizzard outside, a couple of feet of snow.  Everyone was having such a good time they didn't even realize there was a blizzard going on around them.  It was a memory that stood out for her as her memories were slipping away from the dreaded Alzheimer disease.

She told a story of my mother loosing one of her "falsies" (fake boob enhancers prelude to padded bra)on a dance floor. She made us all laugh. When I was a child, I loved her visits to our house. The grown ups at the table were always laughing. I also remember that she usually had photos from a trip she and Uncle Charlie had taken.

Years later I so loved to see her smiling face come through the door at the airport for an extended stay at my home. We continued to have lots of fun, and she had a real knack at telling a joke. She would have a few new ones, and would repeat a few we had already heard. Each time she and Uncle Charlie came up for a visit I would take them to visit "Mary Package" Patrick in Oxford. I so loved the trip to Oxford. It brought a rush of wonderful memories of those precious moments spent on Orams Lane. A trip to Oxford would not be complete without lunch at "Hot Johnnys" the endearing name her granddaughter Andrea gave to Johnny's Doggie Stand on Rt. 46 in Buttzville, just outside of Oxford.

It was awfully sad to see my dear Aunt Dot slip away through the devastating affects of Alzheimer's. Yet, just a week or so before she passed away last October when asked how she felt, she replied, "With my hands." Yes, that was Aunt Dot, she was a jokester to the end. She will remain in the hearts of all who knew her, she was and continues to be loved. Happy Birthday Aunt Dot!

Please leave a comment below with one of your favorite memories.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sad News For Those Of Us Who Greatly Enjoy Millbrook Village Days

It is with great sadness that I report to all of my family and friends that this year the Millbrook Village Days 2011 have been cancelled.  It just breaks my heart.  Click here to see the announcement and photos of the flood damage from Hurricane Irene.

Millbrook Village
Poem by Diane Dunwell-Hoffman © 1996

A crisp cool autumn day, the scent of wood burning.
People dressed in flannels and jeans come with a yearning.
A yearning to experience a way of life, hands on,
sweat on the brow, crafters long gone.
Raking the lambs wool, spinning the yarn, and then weaving the cloth,
while the sheep graze in a pen.
The smells, oh the smells, apple butter in a kettle, a stew
cooking on an open hearth, hot burning metal at the blacksmith shop.
The tastes, the sips, the licks,
Cider, apple butter, honey, and hard candy sticks.
All around is autumns glory, trees of red, orange,
and gold.
No high-tech society, just the truly wonderful ways of old.

Millbrook Village Days 2007

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Living With Pizzazz

“Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true, but its father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife” Jonathan Schattke 

During the early days of the Internet I had been writing a column on the former Themestream.com entitled Living With Pizzazz,  from which I earned a monthly stipend. Not long after it took off in leaps and bounds I added a second column Travels With Jardinami.  Both columns were dedicated to the idea that we can add enjoyment and pizzazz to an ordinary life, and do this by using one's creative talents, ingenuity, a little elbow grease, and on a shoe string budget. 

Cheddar Seafood Fondue In Bread Bowl
There were recipes for romantic dinners for two, holiday decorations, arts and crafts, and day trips to many free admission local attractions.  It has been, and still is my mission in life, to bring pizzazz into the lives of those wonderful individuals allied to my inner circle, and anyone who is willing to step there in! 

In the formative years of my two daughters, I had been a divorced mother raising them on my own.  I did however have a tremendous support system with my parents, siblings, extended family, and friends.  

I baked and decorated birthday cakes whenever needed, and at least a dozen wedding cakes for family and friends, as well as my own in 1993.  I baked and sold Christmas cookies, and hors d' oeuvres for extra holiday cash.  

 When I make food for a picnic, I try to make the food look as good as it tastes. I've made melon swans filled with berry yogurt dip, watermelon baskets filled with mixed fruits, and cucumber canoes filled with dip for chips.   I so love tapping into the creative inspiration God has given us all to use, and the kudos you get for your efforts are well worth the while. 

I had worked for the Warren County Welfare Board for almost nine years. We often had pot luck lunches, with each of us bringing in some home made goodies.  Well, I made cheese cake Christmas wreaths, a veggie/crudites topiary,  veggie/crudites Christmas tree, and trays upon trays of Christmas cookies.  My dear late friend Barb nicknamed me "Martha Stewart".  

One of my favorite movies is Mermaids starring Cher, Winona Ryder, Christina Ricci, and Bob Hoskins.  Cher's character Mrs. Flax is my kind of woman, a little outrageous and full of pizzazz!

"Creativity is a drug I can't do without."
-- Cecil B. DeMille, film producer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On Sharing One's Birth Date With Someone Very Special

Aunt Essie & Uncle Bobby August 2001
While writing one's memoir I suppose the proper beginning would be that awesome day where it all began, and for me it was October 26, 1951.  Besides my mother and father, and siblings there was another very special person who was tickled pink to learn that I was born on the twenty-sixth day of October.  That very special person who had also been born on the twenty-sixth day of October is my Aunt Esther Dunwell.  She was married to my father's youngest brother Robert. 

Aunt Essie 2011, Warm Smile
Aunt Essie is one of the two remaining living aunts.  She is and always will be one of the most special and loving souls that I have ever met here on earth.  Aunt Essie is one of God's very special people sent here to earth to spread His message to everyone she meets, and sometimes that is done with just her smile!

Uncle Bobby met Aunt Essie in Texas.  They both had worked at a hospital for those with Tuberculosis.  This very lovely lady stole his heart, and all who have the pleasure of knowing her could very easily understand why that happened.

Lovely "Indian Princess" Aunt Essie
She was born into an American family of Mexican and American Indian decent in San Antonio, Texas.  Her mother died when she was very young, and she took over the maternal responsibilities in caring for her siblings.  At the age of eleven her father got sick, she went to work at the hospital for those with Tuberculosis, and contracted the dreaded disease.  She had a very hard childhood, but never complained about it.  She always spoke of it as a learning experience that gave her strength of character.

Nannie, Step-Grandfather Carl, Aunt Essie
Soon after they were married Aunt Essie and Uncle Bobby moved back to the Easton/Phillipsburg area, and set up housekeeping in Wilson Borough, PA.  I can remember going to visit as a child and Aunt Essie making us homemade tortillas sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Her Christmas Tree was covered in ethereal  layers of pure white angel hair. It had been the first time that I had ever seen such a divinely decorated Christmas tree that truly befit its decorator. She captured the hearts of every member of our extended family. 

When I was a child every birthday was celebrated with the most adorable pinata that was hand made by Aunt Essie.  She made them for all of our birthdays. She is always creating something new in the arts and crafts.  Her local church in the Pocono Mountains often depended on her creations for charitable events.

Jamie and Anna-Jean
Jamie and his mother, Esther
Her story of motherhood is almost biblical.  She often prayed that God would bless her with a child, and when she was almost 40 years old she became pregnant, and she and Uncle Bob were blessed with a son,  Jamie.  Uncle Bob has since passed on, and Aunt Essie has moved to Florida to live with Jamie and his lovely wife Anna-Jean. 

February 2011, Kindred Spirits

I got to spend some time with Aunt Essie this past February when I traveled to Florida with my sister-in-law Joan.  We went to the beach one day, and she came to cousin Paula's home for dinner, and stayed the night.  We were bed buddies that night and shared a wonderful conversation about our ideals, concerns, and memories of days gone by.  It was a very special experience with this very extraordinary woman, a blessing in my life, who shares my day of birth, the twenty-sixth day of October.
Beach Cape Canaveral,FL 02/2011
On Sharing One's Birth Date With Someone Very Special

* One day many years ago my youngest daughter Jamiann came home from Alpha Public School with a new friend Jill.  I very soon learned that her mother's name was also Diane and that.....you guessed it....she was born on the twenty-sixth day of October!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Broke Leg Bear, A True Story ~ Order Now

A few facts about Woodlands Wildlife Refuge:
Refuge    Founded

Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, Inc. is a non-profit, charitable rehabilitation facility dedicated to the care and release of orphaned and injured wild animals. The staff and volunteers at Woodlands are well trained in animal care and are involved in educating New Jersey's human residents about their wild neighbors' habits and habitats.
The Refuge is located in Alexandria Township, Hunterdon County,NJ and handle 800+ native wild animals each year. The ultimate goal of our facility is the release of healthy well functioning animals. With the help and generosity of the doctors and staff at Clinton-Perryville Animal Hospital, Woodlands enjoys a high success rate.

At Woodlands Wildlife Refuge the goal is to release well functioning WILD animals. For this reason, we are NOT open to the general public.

Please visit their website to find out more about their educational programs, and for exciting internship and volunteer opportunities at www.woodlandswildlife.org

Woodlands is proud to announce the upcoming release of their first children's book, Broke Leg Bear. She was rescued in June, 2007 - and, despite medical challenges and obstacles, she overcame the odds thanks to the care of many. Her story is about survival, the kindness of others, and of the many other animals cared for during her 13-month stay. Book will be available in November, they are now taking orders!  All proceeds benefit Woodlands Wildlife Refuge.

Click on the photo for pricing and more information. Please print and mail in the bottom portion of this order form to order your copy or call us at 908-730-8300 ext 8 to order via phone!

Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, Inc.
PO Box 5046
Clinton, NJ 08809

Truly The Information Highway

I have found that the Internet is a great learning experience.  Through the online posts of new friends and acquaintances I have stumbled upon many interesting and exciting destinations.  Today I will touch upon two of them.

I had just been lead through a link posted to Twitter this morning by a photographer friend, Gwen Dubeau of Massachusetts.

Whistman's Wood, Dartmoor, Devon, England

Nestled on the eastern slopes of the West Dart river stands a wood of dwarf oak trees. Once you walk into the tangled web of trees you are transported into a mystical world of moss carpeted boulders, lichens of all descript, finger like oak branches, all engulfed in a wonderful smell of earth and age. For millennia this small, mystical, stunted woodland has been held in awe and for many fear. Tales of Druids, ghosts, the Devil and a host of other supernatural creatures abound, some dating back to the long lost ages before man could write. Many writers have described the wood as being "the most haunted place on Dartmoor", others warn that every rocky crevice is filled with writhing adders who spawn their young amidst the moss and leaf strewn tree roots. Locals will never venture near once the sun begins it slow descent over the nearby granite outcrops for it is when the dark mantle of night draws tight that the heinous denizens of the wood stalk the moor in search of their human victims. 

Legend has it that Wistman's Wood was a sacred grove of the Druid's and it was here that they held there pagan rituals. The huge boulder in the title picture above has become known as 'The Druid's Stone', otherwise called the 'Buller Stone'. The wood is also said to be the kennels where the diabolical 'Wisht Hounds' are kept. These are a pack of fearful hell hounds who hunt across the moors at night in search of lost souls and unwary traveller's. It is said that they are huge black dogs with blood red eyes, huge yellow fangs and an insatiable hunger for human flesh and souls. It depends on what part of the moor you meet them but they are either led by the Devil or occasionally by the ancient spirit of Dartmoor known as 'Old Crockern' who lives nearby on Crockern tor. There have been reports from travellers that on dark, misty nights the hounds can be heard howling and baying for blood. The wood is also said to be home to 'hosts' of adders who writhe and slither amongst the velvet moss covered boulders, their bites are apparently more venomous that any other adder on Dartmoor. Sometimes the small ghost of a dog called 'Jumbo' can be seen scurrying around the rocks and boulders in search of rabbits. At nights, the plaintive cries of the little terrier can be heard echoing down through the valley below. History has it that the poor dog died in the wood, from what nobody is sure but there is a strong possibility that it was from an adder bite. Some people say that the small oak trees never produce acorns but on the other hand people also say that if you carry an acorn from the Druid's Grove it will protect from rheumatism. Near to the northern edge of the wood is the ancient Lych Way or 'Way of the Dead'. It was along this track that the corpses were carried for burial at Lydford. There have been reports of a ghostly procession of monastic looking men dressed in white habits slowly walking by the oak wood in sombre silence.
For centuries Wistman's Wood has been the inspiration for numerous artists and poets and a whole plethora of paintings, etchings and poems have been produced. The noted poet Carrington went into full flow when he penned the following drear lines:

So be afraid, very afraid, as the wagging finger of fate warns you to stay clear and risk not your mortal soul in the 'Wood of the Wisemen'.

"Scarce hoarier seems the ancient Wood
Whose shivered trunks of age declare
What scath of tempests they have stood
In the rock's crevice rooted there;
Yet still young foliage, fresh and fair,
Springs forth each mossy bough to dress,
And bid e'en Dartmoor's valleys share
A Forest-wilderness".
Sophie Dixon -1829.

Dartmoor! thou wert to me, in childhood's hour,
A wild and wondrous region. Day by day
Arose upon my youthful eye they belt
Of hills mysterious, shadowy, clasping all
The green and cheerful landscape sweetly spread
Around my home; and with a stern delight
I gazed upon thee. How often on the speech
Of the half-savage peasant have I hung,
To hear of rock-crowned heights on which the cloud
For ever rests; and wilds stupendous swept
By mightiest storms; of glen, and gorge, and cliff,
Terrific, beetling o'er the stone-strewed vale;
And giant masses, by the midnight flash
Struck from the mountain's hissing brow, and hurled
Into the foaming torrent; and of forms
That rose amid the desert, rudely shaped
By Superstition's hands when time was young;
And of the dead, the warrior dead, who sleep
Beneath the hollowed cairn! My native fields,
Though peerless, ceased to please. The flowery vale,
The breezy hill, the river and the wood,
Island, reef, headland, and the circling sea,
Associated by the sportful hand
Of Nature, in a thousand views diverse,
Or grand, or lovely, - to my roving eye
Displayed in vain their infinite of charms;
I thought on thy wild world, - to me a world, -
Mysterious Dartmoor, dimly seen, and prized
For being distant and untrod; and still
Where'er I wander'd, - still my wayward eye
Rested on thee!

In sunlight and in shade,
Repose and storm, wide waste! I since have trod
Thy hill and dale magnificent.  Again
I seek thy solitudes profound, in this
Thy hour of deep tranquillity, when rests
The sunbeam on thee, and thy desert seems
To sleep in the unwonted brightness, calm,
But stern; for though the spirit of the Spring
Breathes on thee, to the charmer's whisper kind
Thou listenest not, nor ever puttest on
A robe of beauty, as the fields that bud
And blossom hear thee.  Yet I love to tread
They central wastes when not a sound intrudes
Upon the ear, but rush of wing or leap
Of the hoarse waterfall.  And oh, 'tis sweet
To list the music of thy torrent-streams;
For thou too hast thy minstrelsies fro him
Who from their liberal mountain-urn delights
To trace thy waters, as from source to sea
They rush tumultuous.  Yet for other fields
Thy bounty flows eternal.  From thy sides
Devonia's rivers flow; a thousand brooks
Roll o'er they rugged slopes; -'tis but to cheer
Yon Austral meads unrivalled, fair as aught
That bards have sung, or Fancy has conceived
'Mid all her rich imaginings: whilst thou,
The source of half their beauty, wearest still
Through centuries, upon they blasted brow,
The curse of barrenness.

     N. T. Carrington 1834

The second destination that I had stumbled upon online is the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines through a video posted by my online friend Tata Chavez aka yummybro on YouTube. Click here for a link to his channel:
The Chocolate Hills is an unusual geological formation in Bohol, Philippines. It is composed of around 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped hills of about the same size, spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). They are covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season, hence the name. The Chocolate Hills is a famous tourist attraction of Bohol.

It is featured in the provincial flag and seal to symbolize the abundance of natural attraction in the province. It is in the Philippine Tourism Authority's list of tourist destinations in the Philippines;[3] it has been declared the country's 3rd National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Chocolate Hills are Bohol's famous attraction. Photographer Salvador Andre notes: Most people who first see pictures of this landscape can hardly believe that these hills are not a man-made artifact. However, this idea is quickly abandoned, as the effort would surely surpass the construction of the pyramids in Egypt.

There is no natural formation like them in the world. From a distance, they look like half a ball grown out of the ground. The molehill-shaped and almost uniformly sized hills dot the landscape with green and brown. The Chocolate Hills is a rolling terrain of haycock hills – mounds of general shape which are conical and almost symmetrical. Estimated to be at least 1,268 individual mounds to about 1,776, these cone-shaped or dome-shaped hills are actually made of grass-covered limestone.

The domes vary in sizes from 30 to 50 metres (98 to 160 ft) high with the largest being 120 metres (390 ft) in height. They are scattered throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan in Bohol. Bohol's "main attraction", these unique mound-shaped hills are scattered by the thousands on the island's central plain, concentrated near the town of Carmen.

During the dry season, the precipitation is inadequate such that the grass-covered hills dry up and turn chocolate brown. This transforms the area into seemingly endless rows of "chocolate kisses". The branded confection is the inspiration behind the name, Chocolate Hills.

Bohol, Land of Chocolate Hills

B-OHOL, Land of the famous chocolate hills
Cradles the smallest primate ever to exist,
The world renown Philippines tarsiers
That loves to cling upon rubout small trees
As they stare with their round eyes so big.

O-ver its verdant valleys, I have seen many hills
With wonderful sceneries sharing nature's gifts
As they speak to us geographical mysteries
And nature's wonder with the beautiful hills
Scattered around with their perfect cone shapes.

H-eaven I behold when I reach the famous hills
and extend my eye upon the horizon of the hills
For I have seen nature's captivating sceneries
of cone shape hills that radiates God's mysteries
And his artistic inclination when he made all these.

O-ver the sky, birds from the heaven fly with glee
As they sing with song of praises as they are free
To soar upon the blue sky as they enjoy the scenery
With a promise that they will never destroy the beauty
Of this abode and sanctuary of nature's tapestry.

L-ove our land and never rape its wealth and beauty
But be stewards of God in protecting all its scenery
with all it creation upon its wide verdant valleys
Like the birds, the tarsiers and other wildlife sanctuary
For our children's children to behold these someday

Melvin Banggollay

Click here for Local Attractions:

Just sharing the above information, it is not of my writing.