Letterboxing: Something to do for Spring Break


Many of you are preparing to leave or preparing to stay for Spring Break. Regardless of where you’ll be, if you have kids, you’re searching for something educational, intriguing and new for them to do. Have you heard about letterboxing? A real-life treasure hunt that involves art, problem-solving, hiking, mystery and intrigue. You can letterbox, pretty much anywhere in the world, surprisingly, probably your own local park. Choose your destination here or here. Mystery letterboxes are not for beginners, as they have vague starting areas. And a cuckoos is a traveling letterbox.

Letterboxing dates back to 1854 in Dartmoor, England. A well known Dartmoor guide (James Perrott) placed a bottle for visitors cards at Cranmere Pool on the northern moor in 1854. From this hikers on the moors began to leave a letter or postcard inside a box along the trail (sometimes addressed to themselves, sometimes a friend or relative) — hence the name “letterboxing”. The next person to discover the site would collect the postcards and mail them. The first Dartmoor letterboxes were so remote and well-hidden that only the most determined walkers ended up finding them, allowing weeks to pass before the letter made its way home. Increasingly, however, letterboxes have been located in relatively accessible sites. As a result, the tradition of leaving a letter or postcard in the box has been forgotten.

Searching for clues
Searching for clues

In addition to the maps and clues, you’ll need some tools:

  • A notebook to record the stamp you find on your hunt — to prove you found it!
  • Your own personal rubber stamp and ink pad — so that you can leave your mark at the letterbox. (Baby wipes might be a good idea too.)
  • A pencil to record your name and date on the letterbox notebook
  • A compass — this is a real treasure hunt, and yes, you’ll need a compass to decipher the clues.

  • You can also hide your own letterbox
    , and leave clues for someone else. You can announce your letterbox to the world, here.

    6 comments to “Letterboxing: Something to do for Spring Break”
    1. Oh, I love this. We have done a lot of geocaching, which are hidden treasures (in some sort of container), hidden all over the world. Originally started in the northwest, it is so popular now. We’ve found them in Mexico too.

      What I love about this concept is the fact that it takes you to places you most likely wouldn’t have gone otherwise. And it could be just around the corner for you!

      Go to geocaching.com for more details.

      Love the new site!

    2. What a fun idea… was not aware of this. I’m sure something like this could be done in a big urban complex like NYC,where we are now living. A big-city treasure hunt.

    3. Mother Pie: Yes — there are letter boxes hiding in big cities, all over the place. Most are hidden around landmarks and museums — you’d be surprised once you start looking through the web site at where they are.
      And, you can always hide one yourself!

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