Sue & I were in VT this past weekend celebrating our 38th wedding anniversary! Whew - where did the time go??
When we got home, I found this great email in my inbox:
Our Signature Stamp
Have you seen it in a logbook near you?
Please take a minute on the trail & save a box by rehiding it better than you found it!
Our Interview Series
This series of eleven interviews, conducted by Mark Pepe, is our effort to link letterboxing's past to the present by interviewing personalities from across the country who have made a significant contribution to this pastime.
The series first came about after Randy Hall / Mapsurfer announced on the LBNA talk list the he had published a new book about letterboxing. I thought it might provide some good fodder for readers to learn a little more about Mapsurfer. After publishing the interview, with some encouragement from Legerdemaine and the boxing public, we then decided to expand this idea from a one time interview into a full blown series.
How can you letterbox in the present if you don't know the past?
What is Letterboxing?
(photo by Mark Pepe)
Letterboxing enthusiasts hide and hunt weatherproof containers in remote or scenic places. Each container holds a logbook, a rubber stamp and stamp pad. The planter of the letterbox distributes clues to it's location via the internet, Word of Mouth, on websites or via other means. Clues can be easy to difficult. Finding a letterbox may require a combination of skills such as mapreading, orienteering, and puzzle-solving.
Letterboxers carry their own logbook and personal stamp when hunting for hidden boxes. Upon finding a letterbox, they will imprint their own logbook using the found stamp, and leave their own stamping or personalization in the letterbox's logbook. Some artistic letterboxers carve and even design their own stamps and logbooks. Letterboxes are hidden in various locations throughout the world.
Letterboxing has its beginnings in Dartmoor National Park in England, where the first letterbox at Cranmere Pool was placed in 1854 by a Dartmoor guide named James Perrott, who left his calling card in a container there while guiding tourists through Dartmoor.
There is most likely a Pinecone Production somewhere close to you.
Sue & I have this habit of leaving them where ever we visit. We'd like to thank all of the finders and caretakers of our boxes planted on distant shores.
We appreciate you making sure that you leave all letterboxes hidden better than you found them! Thanks!
Visit our favorite boxing sites!
Clues, FAQ's and History!
- the original clue repository that started it all!
Clues, Tutorials & much more
- the new kid on the block!
Are you new to letterboxing?
Join this talk list for encouragement and answers - where no question is a dumb one!
Have fun and just get out there & box!!!
Welcome to Our Home!
Thanks for stopping by! And don't forget to rehide those boxes better thanyou found them!!!
If you are new to letterboxing, try our New Boxers Talk List - where no question is a stupid one!
Sue & I were in VT this past weekend celebrating our 38th wedding anniversary! Whew - where did the time go??
When we got home, I found this great email in my inbox:
I can't believe that there are still overnight and day tripper openings for Labor Day weekend's 15th anniversary celebration of letterboxing called Live & Breathe XV. Here we are only several months away. Come on!
When it was first published that this event would be located on the East coast (after the first gathering 5 years ago was in Oregon) many of us thought the event would sell out as quickly as the first one did especially given the fact that there is such a huge concentration of boxers here on the right coast and New England especially. That first event sold out like in 5 to 10 minutes after reservations began! With all the letterboxers on the East coast, everyone imagined that this new event would do the same.
Why haven't you signed up? Are you willing to sit back and miss out on the fun? As one who attended the first event, I encourage you to sign up for this event. It's like letterboxing camp! Imagine exchanging with other boxers from around the country; not to mention the terrific boxes!
Day tripper rates are only $40 per person for the weekend which gets you entrance all 3 days (Friday through Sunday) plus the BBQ dinner planned for Friday night. And, if it's anything like the last time, the swag you receive when you check in is worth the $40 and the BBQ!
So go ahead, do yourself a favor and sign up here. Or would you just rather read about the fun we all had after the fact?
:-) Hope to see you there!
We'd like to bring to your attention a gathering that will take place in a most exceptional spot and one of our favorite areas - Downeast Maine.
The gathering will be held Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19. Buddy Robin's Nest emailed us to advise us of the Twilight Downeast gathering. Arrangements have been made for great rates at the Twilite Motel for those of you lucky enough to attend. Don't delay~
To view the AQ Event Page and reserve your space, click here!
And eat a lobstah for us!
I received this email from Pink Panther last week and hope that you all can help her out:
"Posting this here and hoping that my Dad continues not to read the posts of AQ (Sorry Ryan).
Pop The Sailor Man, the other half of RV Greyhound Travelers turns 80 in June. We are have a B-day bash near their new hometown in Bedford, PA.
Anyone who would be kind enough to send a stamp to me for this auspicious occasion could do so before May 25th. I know many of this community have met them on their adventures when they were full-time RVers and travelled the US.
AQ mail me for details or questions. I will probably present the stamps on his birthday. I am sure they will have a great time planting them in their favorite park in the area.
They are currently in FL, and yes they have been letterboxing down there!
Thanks in advance,
We have our dates and a location for our annual Bed & Boxing weekend. This year, we are back at the Cape Point Hotel for the weekend of October 18 to 20, 2013.
Come and join us for this fun weekend at the Cape in the fall and hunt for those great, historic Cape boxes. And don't forget the seafood and just spending time together during a great weekend that goes by way too quickly!
We're very happy to announce that we have negotiated even lower rates this year for you! One rate for everything makes it easy and includes: 2 nights stay, 2 full buffet breakfasts each morning (in our own private room), and all taxes and gratuities!
Single rate is $200 for the weekend; Double (2 people) is $220 for the weekend. Many times participants like to arrive a day or two early or stay a day or two after the weekend and the special rate for that is $69 per night plus tax per room.
More details to come. Sign up or watch our Atlas Quest event page. Hope to see you there!
Well, it's been a while since we've posted and we thought we might bring you up to date:
*Bed & Boxing at the Cape was a huge success. We had a ball hunting the tons of boxes there. Special thanks to Chunna and Rabbit Tracks who planted several series especially for this Pinecone Adventure! Everyone had their own opinion as to where next year's event should take place. We're working on it and will announce it shortly after the first of the year. Hope you all can make it - these weekend events are so much fun and everyone is different in its own unique way.
* Sue & I and 10 other letterboxers joined a tour of Italy for 12 days. It was an amazing journey - much more about that later.
* While in Italy, we met up with old pal, Phyto of Maine, who is in school in Naples, Italy. She is the boxer who carved our sig stamp many years ago. You'll find the story about that sig stamp in the "About Us" section of our blog.
Phyto gifted us with a new sig stamp - one that we love and hopefully we can exchange it with you in the very near future. We'll be posting it at the top of our blog shortly to replace the older version which we will retire.
* While in Italy, we planted a 2 box series called "The Pinecone Pair" which was artfully carved by Maude of the mid West. While she insisted that the images didn't represent anyone in particular, we thought they could represent Sue & I. The first box is planted in Rome which was our first tour stop and the second in Bellagio, Lake Como which is our last stop on the tour. Clues to be posted soon. We hope you all get to find them someday as Italy is an amazing place - somewhere everyone should visit at least once!
* At least once? No way! Plans will be worked on for a return to Italy in 2016 for a southern Italy Pinecone Adventure that will feature Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento and Sicily. Our tour guide who led us on our last trip does freelancing and on the second day of our tour, I asked if he would work with me on a return trip to southern Italy. Without hesitation, he agreed and our return to Italy began to take shape. Let me know if you might be interested in traveling with us. This will be a Pinecone Adventure designed by me so you can be assured of great destinations, wonderful hotels and all the bells and whistles you find on one of our trips. Ciao!
I tried to post to this website with my iPad and sadly discovered that without Flash (there isn't such a thing as Mac-based Flash) that we would not be able to post on this blog.
So speaking to our good friend, Dave, he suggested an easy way out. Create a talk list and post to that. Following Dave's advice, we've created Viva Italia Blog, a Yahoo talk list where once you join, you will receive the day's activities of our group right to your mailbox; or choose to read it on the talk list homepage.
Here's the talk list homepage.
When you joined, you will notice that it's moderated and I have to allow you access. Access is open to everyone - we just put that in place to stop spammers. Just identify yourself - trailname and state and we'll approve you. Be sure to join before October 23 so we can approve you. Once we get past that date, we'll be preparing to travel. Thanks!
When I bought my used iPad in the spring, I also bought a Bluetooth keyboard for it. My intention - to blog while Sue & I and 10 other letterboxers are in Italy later this month for 13 days. As long as the internet is available in our hotels, we will be blogging about our trip at the end of every day.
Normally, we keep a journal and then place it all on our blog when we return home. But, life always gets in the way and I never finish it or just rush through it to complete it in a timely manner. With blogging every day, we'll keep a running commentary, hopefully projecting the excitement we feel in our posts.
Stay tuned for more about our upcoming Viva Italia Letterboxing Tour!
What a great weekend. We had cool weather and sunny skies in VT. Dave & Deanne came up for the weekend and we found a few boxes on Saturday and 1 today as well. Had lots of time to catch up with the Lazy one and the Ham and time to plan our strategy for our free time during our Viva Italia Letterboxing Tour coming up in 5 weeks.
Sue & I planted a new box which was a carve by Tsuki Ames called Partridge in a Pear Tree. Then we got home and found a confirmation in our inbox that we had made the cut for Live & Breathe next year as day trippers! Needless to say, it was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend. Hope you all found some time to "just get out and box!!!"
Well, today's a special day here in Pineconeville, USA. Sue & I are celebrating 2 very important milestones.
The first is Sue's landmark birthday. While it's not proper to divulge a woman's age, suffice it to say that AARP has been knocking at our door! I'm 6 months older, so I recognize the knock! Best wishes to the most important person in my life. Happy birthday, Sue!
The second milestone, which is connected with Sue's birthday, is our 10th anniversary in letterboxing! On another milestone birthday 10 years ago I surprised Sue with a weekend at a B & B. That's the weekend we started boxing - and haven't quit yet. It's been a great ride and we hope to never stop! Funny, we just started our 18th logbook last weekend! What a fast and terrific 10 years. We've made so many great friends all across the country and the world while pursuing Tupperware!
So, lucky us, we have 2 very important milestones to celebrate today. Pardon us while we toast ourselves!!!
It's official - we've met our minimum for our Viva Italia Letterboxing Tour this October!
All of our 11 participants are very excited. We needed a minimum of 20 people total for the trip to happen on the dates we signed up. Word came through yesterday from our agency contact that we had met the 20 person threshold with additional sign ups.
There's still time for you to make this trip if you are interested; but time is running out! All of the info can be found here on our AQ event page.
In fact, Nana C of Nana C and the Seedlings from Alaska is looking for a room mate so she can save the $769 upcharge for a single occupant on the trip. Interested? Let me know via email and I'll send it along. If she already has a room mate, maybe we can pair you up with someone else.
Come and join us on this trip of a lifetime as we wend our way from Rome north; hitting all of the important churches, museums and attractions. Throw in some wine and great food and a bit of gelato and you've got yourself memories to last a lifetime!
This past weekend, we headed to VT to revive our batteries a bit. While it rained most of Saturday, we had a chance to go by our Where Are We? letterbox; which is a mystery letterbox.
Much to our amazement, the edifice in the picture clue was moved from where it was several years ago!!! It was moved up a hill, about 100 feet away from the original location where we planted the box.
"Look!" said Sue. "They moved it! Our box must be lost!"
"I think I just received an email report that someone found it last week," I replied as I turned into the area to check it out. Running between raindrops, you can imagine my surprise when I actually found the box exactly where it should have been!
Whoever moved this landmark, also moved our box as well! That was a bright and sunny surprise for us on such a dismal, rainy day. West Dover and Wilmington, VT officials have been wonderful in working with us when we had our Back to Our Roots gathering several years ago. They understand the importance of letterboxing and how it brings people from out of the area to hunt boxes we've planted there. Do a quick search on 10 mile from West Dover, VT and I think you'll be surprised at the 80+ boxes in the area. We thank whomever it was who decided to move our box with the landmark.
Wonder if it was that "Official Letterb0x" printed in the logbook? :-)
We've finally chosen a spot for our 5th annual Bed & Boxing weekend - Cape Cod!
Even though last year's weekend and location was a huge success, we just couldn't come up with a weekend at Woodbound Inn that fit our schedule and theirs. Hopefully, we'll return there again for B & B 6.
But in the meantime, we chosen the Cape as the location for this year's event and specifically, the Cape Point as the destination. We've done our very best to once again keep prices down. This year's weekend rate for 2 people may be a bit less than last year's which was certainly a challenge since the Cape is such a popular destination especially in the fall when we hold these events.
We're please to offer a package price of $240 per couple (2) which includes 2 nights stay, 2 private breakfast buffets each morning for Saturday and Sunday mornings, room tax, gratuity and maid service - all included. One convenient price that rivals last year's pricing. Single in a room has a rate of $220 for the weekend so you probably want to "buddy up" and split a room! Additional nights before or after the event are available at a rate of $89 per couple + room tax per night.
Dates for this year's weekend is Friday, October 19 through Sunday, October 21 - just a few days before our next Pinecone Adventure - Viva Italia! Letterboxing Tour!!! As Tonto of Tiptoe and Tonto said "Looks like you and Sue will be living out of a suitcase for most of October!" And we wouldn't have it any other way!
The Atlas Quest Event Page is located here. Please be sure to call the Cape Point (all the info is located on the event page) and mention "Pinecone Adventures" to receive your special weekend package pricing. Because the meeting room we have there only holds 70 people, we've had to limit signups to just 70 people. I hate to exclude anyone - especially since we had almost 90 boxers at last year's event, we really have no choice due to fire regulations and space constraints. Be sure to sign up to secure your space and that means calling the resort and placing your deposit - not just signing up on the event page. The first 70 who make a deposit with Cape Point are those that are counted in the 70 attendees.
Also, we're negotiating pricing for our traditional Saturday night buffet with Ardeo's; one of our favorite places to eat at the Cape. I'm still waiting for the contract but it looks like a $25 all inclusive cost (a bit less than last year's) which will include a delicious Italian-themed buffet including coffee, tea and dessert. More on that to come once the details are worked out.
So don't delay! Signup before you miss out. These are always such fun events. It's so satisfying to see that of the 28 boxers besides Sue & I already signed up; all but 2 have attended other Bed & Boxing events and some have been multiple times. Start your own tradition with us this year and join us while we "Cavort at the Cape!"
That's right - mamma mia!
Our Viva Italia Letterboxing Tour!!! has reached 13 members. And with the minimum of 20 people, there are only 3 spaces left to make that minimum (maximum for this trip is 38 people.) No - my math is correct because the tour has 4 people not from our group set to travel on that date that have reserved space but have not yet made a deposit.
Check out our AQ Event Page here and our blog's entry with all the particulars of the trip located here. This is one heck of a bargain at a leisurely pace with time on our own to sightsee, hunt for existing boxes and plant our own new ones. It is almost a fully inclusive price except for airfare and a few other minor items like tour guide gratuities and transfers from Rome's airport to our hotel.
The trip starts in eternal Rome and wends it's way north, hopscotching along the scenic Italian countryside to our final departure point of Milan. We will see all of the main sights in Rome, Assisi, Florence, Venice, Lake Como and much more. Pricing includes 9 dinners, all breakfasts and 1 lunch as well as all entries to museums, sights, etc. and bus and train accommodations, baggage handling.
This trip also includes a free night in Rome and breakfast the next morning so we'll have a full day to enjoy the city before the "real" tour begins. There will be a full time professional guide who will be with us the entire trip as well as local experts that we will pick up along the way like at the Vatican; experts who will not only make this trip special, but a learning experience. Learn how one of Italy's leading winemakers goes about their craft (and enjoy lunch and wine while there,) take a gondola ride in Venice, see the balcony reported to belong to Juliet from Romeo & Juliet, view the Colosseum in Rome in a more, up close manner than ever before, see how much that Leaning Tower leans and view all of those wonderful paintings, statuary, architecture and history that you've only viewed in books! Be there to soak up all of these amazing sights in person!
Please come and join us. We're proud to say that everyone except 1 of the 13 travelers in our group came with us on the Alaskan cruise last June (and several have traveled with us on other Pinecone Adventures as well!) And that 13th person held a mini meet for us in Anchorange!! This is a real fun, great group of people; it's amazing how close we became after spending time together in Alaska. Now we get to do that all over again - but in Italy!
We hope that you can join us and add to this Pinecone family! Email me with any questions you might have. Time is running out . . . . . .
What a great day Sunday was for Sue & I. We went out boxing with Tsuki Ames and Jei for the day in Penwood State Park in Bloomfield. After a late start, I was loading up the car when a red car pulled in the driveway with Rubaduc and Gizz inside!
"We're heading out to Penwood to do your early boxes" I told her. Most of the boxes were placed around 2004. It's always a hoot to find these vintage letterboxes and see how much better carvers have gotten from their early beginnings and the logbook entries.
After picking Amy & Jay up we were off. It was a perfect day to be out on the trails as I'm sure many of you found out! A few times we had to snake in between downed limbs and branches still left from the October early snow disaster. We spent about 4 hours on the trails and hiked about 5 miles - it felt so good to be out letterboxing again. All of us kept mentioning how crazy it was to be this warm in mid March but we were glad to have it.
Then we headed out to dinner - Braza's in Hartford for a Brazilian feast, which was as good as always. Dropping Amy & Jay home, Amy was so kind to gift us with a bunch of her stamps so that we can plant them for her. Watch for some new boxes that will be coming out soon. Hope your weekend was as good as our and you found some fun time! We all need that to clear the work out of our heads!!!
Sue & I mourn the passing of letterboxer Northstar, who died a few weeks ago at a very young age. Those of you new to boxing might not recognize the name as he wasn't very active in recent years. He leaves his wife Gina and a daughter.
Our best memories of Northstar, a CT boxer, was a certain clue that he left on our website! Don't want to spoil anything but suffice it to say, I was amazed when I spotted the clue, did some research and found that the answer brought us to a well known area cemetery where the boxing began. This series brought Sue & I many hours of consternation and fun!
It was a unique way in which to clue a box and we will be forever grateful to Rob for the joy that he gave us. He told me once that he received so many visitors at this series that he was going to have me hide more of his clues on our blog. Northstar's carving was excellent and he managed to stay below the radar - just doing his thing. We appreciate his talent and wish the best to those loved ones that he left behind. There is some talk of a special box to be planted in his honor but that is still in the planning stages. We'll let you know when that happens.
Now that we've whet your appetite for our Viva Italia trip, we now have some more info - although unconfirmed at this point but just about certain:
1) We're looking at a departure date of Wednesday, October 24th to arrive in Rome on the morning of the 25th. This tour includes an extra, free night at the beginning of the trip which is the night of the 25th to allow us to get acclimated to the new time and do a day's worth of exploring on our own and the free breakfast the next day.
2) The morning of the 26th, we hit the ground running in Rome which begins the first of 12 exciting days in Italy. The tour includes all breakfasts, 9 dinners and 1 lunch as well as all tickets for venues that we visit, baggage handling throughout the tour including tips to bellmen, bus and high speed train tickets, wine-tasting, and more! Gratuity to our tour director who is with us the whole trip is not included but we'll take a group donation and present it that way - which is what we did for our AK land trip.
3) Pricing for the trip is $2399 per person based on double occupancy per room. All hotels are four star accommodations that are hand-picked by our tour company - Riviera Tours. The trip is called Classic Italy tour. You can find the link here which shows you itinerary including links to the beautiful hotels that we'll call our home-away-from-home, trip overview, what's included, etc. Be advised that typically their tours are at a 38 person maximum so, like our recent AK trip, there will be others on the trip with us.
4) After reading this webpage, please contact me again, even if you have already, and let me know if you are still interested. This should be a commitment to travel with us. From there, we'll open up a special Yahoo talk list to begin the trip planning and inform you how to contact Riviera Tours and our group name, etc. so you can make your deposit to secure your reservation. Then we'll purchase airfare together but that Yahoo talk list, as those of you who have traveled with Sue & I before, becomes our lifeline to each other for planning, updates, questions, etc.
5) Airfare is additional and we've found it for about $850 per person which is for JFK to Rome; then Milan (our final destination of the trip) to JFK. Also additional are transfers from Rome airport to the hotel and the Milan hotel to the airport for which I was quoted about $125 total for all transfers which depends on how many travelers with whom we evenly divide the fees. This would be a minibus for our group only.
So don't delay - the trip will be here before you know it! We don't want to get locked out of this trip since there are already people signed up for it. Earlier departures were not available because of almost filled capacity.
We hope you will contact us soon for this trip of a lifetime. As in all of our sponsored trips, the value cannot be beat as well as the beautiful Italian countryside and cities, letterboxing, exchanges and especially the friendships that are made that will last a lifetime! Ask anyone who has traveled with us - deep friendships are made.
Atlas Quest sign up event page is located here! Sign up only if you plan to come. Thanks!
That's right - we're taking a group to Italy this year - probably October. I'm having a conversation with several tour companies and want to get an idea of how many of you are seriously interested in a 10 to 12 day tour of Italy with Sue & I.
While itineraries are still be discussed, the following items are a given and should help you determine if you are seriously interested:
1) Group airfare from JFK to Italy
2) 10 to 12 days fully escorted with the services of a guide who will remain with us the entire trip. Once we get to the Vatican, there will be an additional, well-versed guide for that particular venue (and for other venues on the trip.)
3) Price includes all breakfasts, most dinners and possibly a lunch.
4) We will hit the main sights in Rome, Venice, Pisa, Florence, Milan, Lake Como. Modern air-conditioned buses and high speed trains where possible - all included in the pricing. All entrances to museums, venues included.
5) There will be a free afternoon on the second day of each city to allow for personal exploration - and letterboxing!!!
Cost? It will be firmed up later once we have an idea of how many people are seriously interested but for budgeting purposes, plan on approximately $2000 to $2300 per person PLUS airfare. Airfare with 1 carrier quoted $1200 per person but I found it for $800 per person which we can discuss. Based on double occupancy the price per person would be about $3000 to 3200 including airfare for 10 to 12 days with most meals included.
Please email me if you are interested this week sometime so we can lock in the best price. I would like to give a preliminary count to the tours who are in the process of pricing this trip for us.
Also, email me if you have any questions about the trip. If you traveled with us before either domestically, or on a cruise or to England, you know that we always to our best to offer you the best possible value for your money.
So come; join us on Pinecone Adventure's Viva Italia Letterboxing Trip.
Sue & I would like to wish all of you and yours a wonderful Christmas or whatever your holiday might celebrate.
We wish you happy times with loved ones and friends; good cheer and good health always and all the peace that this season should bring!
And our best wishes for a Happy & Healthy 2012! May all of your found boxes have stamps; may your travels be safe and may you have the most wonderful adventures imaginable!
Ever notice how things keep repeating? Like when you learn a new word, you tend to see it many times after you learn it. Or you notice a model of car that you like and have never seen - then you find the same model wherever you turn.
Well, over the past few weeks the number 60,000 has come up several times. LBNA recently had its 60,000th letterbox posted on the website. And a week or so later, Atlas Quest had its 60,000th member join.
And yesterday, I celebrated a milestone birthday that was a combination of those numbers! Thanks for all of the great birthday wishes on Facebook. It helped ease the pain of my new age! :-)
Sue & I had the opportunity to go to VT again this past weekend. While we noted some marked improvements like repaired roads and guardrails, there still is a mammoth need for food and money to help local families. The stores in the downtown area of Wilmington are ever so slowly opening but for some, it will be months and months. A handful of shop owners have decided not to reopen.
There was a bunch of leftover packaged food from our Bed & Boxing weekend which we dropped off at the local food pantry on Saturday. They were very appreciative of all that we brought. We also asked if they needed anything else that they didn't have and they made a list which we'll try and fill.
Also Sue & I stopped by the headquarters for the Deerfield Valley Human Web, a charity that was set up to help the local people in the Wilmington/West Dover area of southern VT. This is the brainchild of a local college student who attends school on the West coast and is being run by her mother out of their architectural office. We dropped off some checks that we had collected from other residents in the community in which our VT place is located. Again, there was so much appreciation for the checks. Julie also told us that she had received some checks from letterboxers from around the country, especially Portland, OR area who had seen our plea on this blog several weeks ago. Sue & I thank those of you who took the time to drop a check in the mail.
If you still haven't sent a check (and it doesn't have to be a huge amount) the info is located here. If you click the "How the fund is being used" link, it will take you to a blog that details the money coming in and being disbursed. There are no administration fees - this is all done by volunteers and 100% of your donation goes directly to those in need.
Checks can be made out to "Deerfield River Valley Human Web" can be sent to the fund at 14 Castle Hill Road, Wilmington, VT 05363. Please be sure to include the notation "Letterboxing Group" in the memo portion of your check. Sue & I want to show the locals that letterboxers who have hiked and used their extensive trail system are giving back to this community during their time of need.
As an ancient Chinese proverb says (found located on the bottom of the Human Web blog):
An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.
Thanks for reading and thanks for sending a donation - whatever the amount. Sue & I really appreciate it as does the Southern Vermont Community at large!
Event Stamp and Patch Design - by Bungalow Boxer
What a weekend!
This was our largest attended Bed & Boxing in the 4 years we've been doing it. Counting day trippers, we ended up with 83 attendees. About 55 people stayed at the Woodbound Inn with us in a combination of accommodations ranging from rustic lakeside cabins to king size deluxe suites in the main inn.
Sue & I drove up to VT on Wednesday night after work with some boxing friends. After a leisurely breakfast, we headed out with our sights set for Rindge, NH and the Woodbound Inn - our temporary home for the weekend. Sue & I had visited the property twice over the summer to plant 2 new series for the event - Hiking Essentials and Alaska Memories, which was carved by some of our attendees from our July Letterboxing Cruise to Alaska.
After unpacking and getting settled in our cabin, a bunch of us headed out to do some fairly easy boxes due to the threat of rain. Setting the AQ search function on 10 miles from Rindge, we came up with about 133 boxes plus a handful from LBNA. What to choose . . .
After greeting Tiptoe & Tonto from the Chicago area and Sewsewbizzy from Va, we all headed to dinner at a local pub style restaurant with a nice menu. Returning back to the property, we ended up in our cabin for great conversation, a box of wine and a blazing fire! A nice way to end that Thursday pre-gathering day.
Friday, after breakfast, we headed out to do a few series located on the rails to trails system in Rindge. There, we met Rubaduc & Gizz who had just finished. Then the rains came and we decided to head back to the inn. There we checked out the Play Barn - our community center for the weekend and met with everyone for a 7pm meeting to talk a bit about the weekend. It was great to see all of the attendees as they arrived - all excited about the coming weekend. The weather seemed to clear a bit before the sun set and that made us very happy. As usual, exchanges, conversation and hotdogs roasted over the fireplace made for a nice first official gathering evening.
Saturday morning came and a group of us headed out to get some of Jay Drew's/DrewFamily's Grand Monadnock boxes. This historic, 10 box series is a result of many years spent vacationing in the area with a box or two planted each time. The Tuesday before we left for Bed & Boxing, I noticed a box alongside our front door. Among the contents were clues to a new, Grand Monadnock #11 box entitled "A Bed & Boxing Bonus Box" that Jay had placed for our event. This was the main focus of our trip to Monadnock and a successful find made it all the better.
Almost at the summit - photo taken by Jei
Monadnock was a difficult hike, in our opinion. The rain from Thursday and Friday made for slick and very wet spots in the trails, combined with wet rocks. The elevation gain was 25 to 30% over rocks at times (according to an internet source I found.) After the first 3 hours or so, I questioned whether I would see the summit. Jei, Tsuki Ames, Tiptoe and Tonto, Martini Man & Wisconsin Hiker and of course, Sue, all were very encouraging. I have a fear of heights but I'm usually fine on a trail with trees surrounding me but this was a bald mountain. Plus the scrambling and climbing on rocks was not what I expected. Once we got to the summit, which is just under 3200 feet with no surrounding mountains, we could see forever. The fall colors just made it all the more picturesque and worth every ounce of effort expended to get there. Thanks, guys, for the encouragement!
Back at the inn, and late for dinner, the festivities had already started. We arrived close to 7pm with a 6:30 starting time on a great buffet we had arranged. When Sue & I arrived, we were greated to cheers - but not in tribute, I don't think - it was more like "finally you got here!" After dinner, with the help of the V's, Lundy & Vickster and Jess and Scott, our night series, Ghosts from Gatherings Past, was planted and made ready for our guests. At 9pm, the hardiest of the group joined us down by the lake for a bonfire and 3 great stories told by TaleSpinner from MA and some letterboxing conversations after that.
After breakfast on Sunday, we packed and said our goodbyes for another year. Everyone wants to return next year to this same location. I had already told the inn we'd be returning after seeing the grounds, the 10 miles of their hiking trails, the lake and everything they had to offer - even 9 hole golf! It's always a downer to see something we've spent 8 months planning end. But we weren't down for long . . . we've already started to plan B & B5 plus our Italy trip as well all next year!
We'd like to thank the following people for their great contributions: Bungalow Boxer for a terrific event stamp and design, which we used for the event patch as well; our hiking buddies to Monadnock, all of the carvers for the Alaska Memories series, TaleSpinner for weaving some great stories, Robins Nest for that great Pinecone Adventures quilted pillow, the Ghost hiders, Jay Drew for dedicating that new Monadnock box to Sue & me, Deanne and Dave for letting us borrow the skewers that we used to roast hotdogs and marshmallows, BookWorm for making the ghosts and for all the little things she did, all the attendees who brought grab bag gifts and food to share for the weekend. It was the best ever Bed & Boxing - according to the inbox full of emails that we've been receiving. And like anything in life - nothing good is accomplished by one person - it's always a joint effort.
The best thing about this event is the precious time spent with a great group of people. See you all next year!
Monadnock and Pinecones - photo taken by the V's
Today, Sue & I took some friends for their first day of letterboxing. We've been talking about it with them for some time but couldn't find an opportunity to get together until today. We made plans to eat at a Middletown restaurant after we boxed so we left 1 car there and started our boxing afternoon.
As an intro and with the predicted rain showers, I thought some drivebys might be nice since we could run between the raindrops and give them a taste of what boxing entails in an easy format as a starter. The first few boxes went great - and the husband of the couple really seemed to take to it - finding the proper place, rehiding well etc. His wife was the one who initially liked the sounds of letterboxing but he was teasing us about it. A day in the field and we think it might have changed his mind. Little did we know that we'd have more than 2 letterboxing converts!
Well we went to a 2 box series planted in the cemetery on the grounds of a CT mental institution. Apparently, thanks to the history that the local planter included in her clues, mental illness was looked down upon in the late 1800's and early 1900's and had an attitude of shame attached to it. All of the graves were marked with numbers only on small cement gravestones due to the then current attitudes about mental illness. Names were not put on the stones to protect the families of the patient.
In the early 1980's, a group got together and started to research the names and their corresponding grave stone marker numbers so that loved ones could now find the plot where family member rested. A huge 3 stone memorial was erected at the beginning of the main cemetery plot with all of the patients names, their plot number, date of death and their age at the time of death. One of the stones has a stirring poem that told about a 3 generation search for where a loved one rested and how, due to this project, the plot number was now available. It was a very sad but interesting memorial to visit.
After we found the first box, we headed to the field across the dirt road from the first cemetery to the second box found in a smaller cemetery plot. While we were finishing stamping in, we all noticed a State police car driving down the road and it stopped next to my car after the officer noticed us on the hill. We finished stamping in and as we walked down to the car, we noticed "backup" had arrived in the form of another State police car!
As we walked to the street, we noticed it was a female officer and I said, "I bet you'll never guess what we were doing!"
"I've heard it all," she responded.
"Bet you never heard this one!" I responded.
Then I took the clues from Sue and showed and explained what we were doing and how letterboxers planted boxes in historic sites or areas that were of special interest. I further explained that we never would have found this cemetery and explained the impression it made on all 4 of us. She went on to explain that some of the mass graves were unmarked since the patients were participants in experimental treatments like lobotomies and such.
She said she was surprised to find people in the cemetery since it usually wasn't until near Halloween when the public started visiting. Apparently, this cemetery has an area where people have spotted orbs and is on several of the state's haunted websites as an active area for ghosts and paranormal activity. "We usually throw them out" she said.
As we explained letterboxing to her, and her backup left seeing the situation was under control, we spotted that gleam in her eye. You know the gleam - the one when someone gets it?
"Do you have children?" I asked after spotting a wedding band on her hand.
"Yes, 2 young daughters," she responded.
"This is ideal for them" we explained and gave her the 2 major clue repository websites so she could research boxing a bit more. While she said she didn't travel much because of the expense and having a young family, this sounded like a great hobby to do as a family locally.
Then, since she must have reported the car before we headed down the hill, she asked for my license just to complete the process. When she brought it back, I teased her and said "So the outstanding warrant on me didn't show up?" She laughed, wished us a good day and we went off to finish our boxing for the rest of the afternoon. You just never know how and when you'll get a chance to convert a muggle to a boxer!
Those of you that follow this blog know that if there's anything we love as much as letterboxing - it's Vermont. As you probably know, the Wilmington area of southern Vermont was one of the hardest hit from Hurricane Irene several weeks ago, according to FEMA during their recent visit there to access damages. We've all seen the hurricane videos of Vermont on the national news outlets.
After being kept away for several weeks due to the clean up effort of the National Guard and others opening/repaving roads, etc. Sue & I had the opportunity to finally get up there this past weekend. We were not prepared for the damage that we witnessed despite having seen YouTube videos and photos sent to us from one of the permanent residents of the community where our place is located. The devastation is unimaginable - cars washed into enlarged river beds, tarps and clothing hanging from trees tops, aluminum siding and building eaves along the roadside. Sue could just about contain herself as we drove through downtown Wilmington village and the stores there that we've frequented so many times - all closed trying to get their investments up and running again after water damage, blown out windows and empty first floors left after the innocent-looking Deerfield River that meanders through town rose to a raging flood of water leaving destruction in its wake.
Sue & I had the opportunity to hear some of the stories at a Natural History Fair at Hogback Mountain on Saturday. A young foreign exchange student who perished while trapped in her car as the flood waters overcame her vehicle, cows and horses being swept away to their death by the raging waters, whole house being swallowed by a river when the bordering land gave way to erosion. So many heart-breaking stories that touched us deeply - after tears and hugs between us and the locals. We came away with a sense of loss and the need to do something. In the past, we've privately emailed some of you to raise money for a letterboxer that might need some financial help for one reason or another. But this time it's different.
This time, though, given the gravity of the situation, we are appealing to all of you boxers and readers of this blog. If Sue & I have touched your life in some way - whether it be through our friendship, or a conversation at a gathering, or an email where you asked us for help or advice, or attendance at one of our gatherings or even if you've hunted one of our boxes - please consider a donation to this effort. No amount is too small. Many of these people lost everything - homes, jobs, clothes, food, etc.
100% of what you donate goes to the people in need - no administrative costs like other charities. Here's the link for the website that explains how to donate and where your money will go. We've had an ongoing love affair with the Deerfield Valley for many years and hope you will help restore it and its people to the beauty that it was.
Checks can be made out to "Deerfield River Valley Human Web" can be sent to the fund at 14 Castle Hill Road, Wilmington, VT 05363. Please write "Letterboxing Group" in the memo portion of your check. I want them to see that we, as a group, are donating to the area that has held several of our gatherings and has over 70 of our boxes.
When do you get a chance to make such an impact? We know you won't disappoint us - you never do. We both thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity - however much it is.
As we go about our daily lives today, we must not forget the tragedy and sacrifice that our country faced 10 years ago today. Over 3000 Americans perished because of the hateful attack at the hands of terrorists. But we demonstrated that out of this tragedy came a united country which showed the strength and mettle of the US.
Today we ask that you take a moment of silence in remembrance for those who died in the terrorist attacks and those brave individuals who perished fighting the war on terror.
We will never forget - God bless America!