by Ann Marie Gamble

As it happens, I’m writing my vacation theme post while on vacation. My family shares a house with some cousins in northern Michigan and I work freelance, so I’m able to haul the kids and the library books and the laptops up to the cool woods for several weeks every summer. Although I usually have to bring work with me, there’s some project that ends up becoming the vacation endeavor. Some years this is regionally specific: I checked out all the books about shipwrecks from the library (which overlooks the marina--here's one tale) one year; another year a guest brought basket-making materials and we wove the local birch bark in. Some years I could take the activity home if I weren’t so in vacation mode—cf. the year I made biscotti every night.

This year the kids brought the activity with them: their grandmother has been taking them letterboxing when she picks them up after school. They have a logbook and a rubber stamp, and they look up the locality on the Internet to see if anyone has left clues to find another logbook and rubber stamp in a hidden (and public) location. Some letterboxers are mysterious, and write up complicated clues for you to follow to try to find the box. Others write step-by-step instructions.

Grandmother and the kids have been having mini-adventures around our town all spring. In pursuit of a box, they get to see old haunts through new eyes or go places they haven't had an excuse to explore. They come home frustrated or exhilarated after the search. When they came up to Michigan this year, looking for more letterboxes (in a new state!) was at the top of their list of things to do. They ended up creating and hiding their own. Our team leans towards mysterious clues. So far the logbook has been found by two people carrying rubber stamps and one toothed creature. Now we're looking for a tin box that can't be chewed open--as well as more letterboxes.

Check out these sites to see if there are any letterboxes near you:


  1. You have great points there, that's why I always love your blog, it looks like you are an expert in this field. keep up the good work, My friend recommends your site.

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  2. Hi: A friend pointed me to your Letterboxing blog because she said it came up in a Google search for my new novel "Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile," an Austen mash-up. I couldn't find the reference on your cool blog, but then I've only had one cup of coffee so far this morning. :-)

    Here's the link to my page on the book, which is my 21st. Austen and Wharton were two of the biggest influences on my writing career.



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