Letterbox Adventure around Ferndale

By, Sheri Kennedy


This time of year marks the end of the school year - and the beginning of Mom trying to figure out what to do for the next 12 weeks with kids that never seem to have enough to do. I know exactly how that goes with 6 children ranging in ages from 15 years to 20 months. I have to find something to do that all of them are going to enjoy together and that is not going to cost too much money. My goal each summer is to find a different outing each week for less than $10 for all of us.

This summer I decided to take a name that some of our friends have given us a joke and use it to my advantage, Camp Kennedy. Each outing will give the kids a chance to earn a patch to go on a vest I made for them. In order to keep the older children’s minds sharp for school, they will keep a journal of our adventures. All that is required is a picture or a story about what we did that day.

I found a great website, www.letterboxing.org which helped me plan our adventure. Here you can search your state and even local region for hidden letterboxes in your area. This is very similar to Geocaching but you do not need a hand-held GPS unit. You rely on cleverly written clues left by the person who hid the box to find your treasure. The only supplies you need are a stamp of your choice, an ink pad, and a small book. Our first outing was this past weekend was right in Downtown Ferndale. Since my husband and I both grew up in Ferndale, this was right up our alley. The decision was made; we were going on a treasure hunt!

I chose a set of clues called Fabulous Ferndale, gathered the children, one dog, some water bottles and headed out. The clues looked simple enough to follow for our first adventure. We started off at 9 Mile and Woodward and headed east into Downtown Ferndale. The clues were a couple years old so some of the businesses were different or had moved to another area of Ferndale. At times, we had to look ahead a couple of clues to keep heading in the right direction. Our adventure took us right through the heart of the Downtown District of Ferndale. It was great to see so many new businesses planting roots on 9 Mile. It was also wonderful to see that some old favorites that made it through these hard economic times got much needed face lifts.

Walking down 9 mile with six kids and a big red dog did bring some friendly faces out of the woodwork. People stopped to say hi and engage in some conversation. The kids loved telling our new friends we were searching for hidden treasure. The residents we talked to were surprised to hear that there was a hidden letterbox so close to their homes.

Our adventure, if we had walked it right through, should have taken us about 25 minutes but there was so much to see that we stopped a few times in different stores. We even stopped at a great kid friendly restaurant to have lunch. After about an hour and some light digging, we found our treasure. In each box there is a stamp and a small booklet. You are supposed to take the stamp left in the box and imprint it in your book. You do the same with your stamp in their book. We decided to leave a note letting the hider know when we were there and thanking them for a great hunt. Now, I don’t want to give away where the final clue led us, you’ll have to walk the walk yourself.