Mark & Sue Pepe hail from Kensington, CT USA.

After finding our initial box in June 2002, we have since found letterboxes in 18 states and placed them in 13 states; 4 countries: Aruba, Bermuda, The Netherlands, Great Britain; and on a cruise ship! Thanks for stopping by our website and we appreciate your continued support.

"Have fun and just get out there & box!!!"

Email us: (Mark) or (Sue)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Achoo and Box!

We just received this great picture via email from Amy from Atlanta. Seems that with the lack of rain this year, most of the southern part of the US is covered in a yellow haze of pollen. From what we've heard on the news, this is going to be one of the worst years for allergies.

But, Amy, being the boxer that she is, chose to make lemonade from lemons!
Quite resourceful, eh?

Thanks, Amy, for making our day. Now the rest of you - follow Amy's advice - and don't forget the Kleenex!

You know what would be cool? Let's see how clever the rest of you are. Submit to us in jpeg format your most clever version of our boxing motto, along with your trailname and the part of the country/world from which you hail and we'll set up a webpage with these images. We'll also use them from time to time in our blog stories.
Are you game?

posted by Mark and Sue at Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

STILL Too Early!

Some of you have written us via email about our Letterboxing Cruise. Those of you that have corresponded in the past week or so were given notice that I would be calling the cruise line this past Saturday and to look for a report here sometime this week.

Guess what? I called and they told me that I was still too early and they haven't opened up the bookings for June 2008 yet. They are only as far as next April. It was suggested that I call back in June but I've decided to call every few weeks to be sure we don't miss out on, what they tell me, are the best deals as soon as they open the booking for a given month.

Until then - we'll just have to be patient - which is very difficult after seeing that beautiful ocean and those pink beaches and the friendly Bermudians and . . . . .

posted by Mark and Sue at Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's Almost Spring!

You can hear it in the air - the birds are singing; you can see it all around you - the trees have buds on them; and you can smell it in the air - that certain freshness that tells us that Spring has almost sprung here in central CT.

Saturday, Sue & I headed out to get a new series that appeared a few weeks ago about 3 miles from our house on the grounds of what was the town library when we first moved to town. A short visit there garnered the 2 letterboxes in the series and a HH, which we left for the next boxers.

Today, like most letterboxers - spring means box maintenance, which Sue & I accomplished today. We visited and maintained all of our Kensington/Berlin boxes and updated our Boxes page. Several of them are missing and 3 of them were fine but just needed a new box or logbook. Thanks to all of you who put in a temporary logbook, or replaced a ziplock bag or just emailed us a status report on our boxes.

posted by Mark and Sue at Sunday, March 25, 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Break a Leg?

Lord & Ladybug of MA have a Playbill Series that features some of America's favorite plays in the form of letterboxes. One we'd like to highlight is the box from the play "Movin' Out." Located in Lenox, MA, these trails also have 2 other Playbill boxes: Cats and one of our favorite plays, Phantom of the Opera.

Western MA is loaded with other Playbill boxes so take a weekend, enjoy the beautiful Berkshires and take in a couple of plays!

Everyone needs a little culture now and then! :-)

posted by Mark and Sue at Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Need a Shot???

Cooties - they are either the joy or bane of letterboxing - depending on your own personal view. Kids love 'em and some adults hate them. So - how can we keep everyone happy?

There is a current discussion topic on the Newboxers list asking for personal views of cooties. We've heard from a wide range of people and the views are just as varied as expected. Some love them; others despise them!

So how do we stop cooties from infecting those that do not want to participate? LockWench, at a recent gathering, put up yellow crime tape around a few tables and called it a "Cootie Free Zone," where one's backpack, pocket book, self would be free from cooties. Good idea, eh?

Well, Don from CA, refreshed and apparently at the top of his game (see story below,) just suggested selling "Cootie Innoculations" to those at gathers that don't want to play the cootie game. Proceeds would go to help defray the cost of the gather and would keep those cootie haters happy! Great idea. Then I suggest having a bunch of labels printed up - maybe with the image above - and those sporting these labels would show that cooties were not welcomed.

If there is enough support for something like this, I'll be happy to look into having roll labels of say 100 per roll printed up and then they can be purchased by those sponsoring gatherings. The organizer would want to get the cost of the labels plus a nice profit so as the help defray some of the increasing gathering expenses.

Contact me via email and let me know what you think. I'd get a bunch of them (2000 or so) printed up and sell them for cost to gatherings. Since I'm in the printing business, we deal with roll label suppliers from around the country and should get a terrific deal.

posted by Mark and Sue at Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Welcome Home!

Sue & I want to welcome home two of our favorite CA boxers and world travelers - Don & Gwen. They have just returned home from a fantastic journey from the Galapagos Islands.

You can hopefully learn more about that trip in our upcoming interview with one of the left coast's most favorite duos. In the meantime, send them a welcome home email. And send a hug to Gwennie for us!

posted by Mark and Sue at Monday, March 19, 2007

The Fury of A Woman!

It looks like Ryan found some time out of his busy schedule on St. Patrick's Day while recreating in Glenwood, HI to plant a new letterbox called Pele's Revenge.

And in true Green Tortuga style - it's an almost 8.5 mile strenuous hike over slippery tree roots, mud, possible rain and all in terrible heat. At least the elevation gain is only 500 feet! Wonder if the box should be called Ryan's Revenge?

OK - who wants to be first finder??? :-)

posted by Mark and Sue at Monday, March 19, 2007

This is One Smart Chick!

Michigan boxing pioneer and friend, SpringChick, offered some sage words of advice about hiking recently on the Great Lakes talk list. With her kind permission, we're pleased to offer her original post to the list.

Many of you who know me, know that I often hike alone, actually prefer to hike alone. I've posted this before to various lists, but thought I would share it again for those who are new and have not seen it before. While one can never completely ensure their personal safety while hiking, particularly alone, there are a few simple things I do to better my chances of having a safe trip or being located if something did go wrong.

1) This seems obvious, but always know where you are. Sometimes we follow the directions in the clues to get to a park and don't even know the name of the park or how we got there and thus could not accurately give a location if it became necessary to call for help. The more accurate information you can provide to a rescuer, the quicker somebody will be able to reach you if you need help.

2) Carry a charged cell phone -- you may not be ensured service, but it certainly is not going to hurt to have it ... remember the guys who were rescued off Mt. Hount based on the signal of a cell phone?

3) Let somebody know where you are going. Before I leave, I try to leave a list of the letterboxes I was planning to look for, in the order I am planning to do them (to the best of my knowledge before getting there.) Make sure the person you are leaving this with knows how to access the clues for these letterboxes or if they don't, make them copies of the clues.

4) Let somebody know where you are en route. As I move from box to box, I call home and leave messages on the answering machine as to my location -- where I've just been, where I am headed next. This information along with the rough itinerary I've left would make it much easier for somebody to zero in on my whereabouts should I fail to return.

5) Always carry water and a basic first aid kit at minimum.

6) Be aware of the conditions around you -- terrain, weather, etc. This can be especially important in areas that you are familiar with as we tend to not be as observant in familiar areas as we are in new areas. If the weather in your area can change in an instant and present an unsafe situation where you are (i.e. lightening storms, flood waters, etc.,) know the forecast and be observant.

7) Make noise while walking. Most wild animals are just as scared of you as you are of them. But it is instinct for a wild animal to attack if they are startled and feel threatened. While hiking with people, we generally carry on conversation and this is enough to warn of your presence and not take an animal off-guard. But when you're out alone, you don't have this (unless you use your hiking time as therapy and talk to yourself ;-). So shuffle your feet, hum, whistle, etc. just to make a little noise.

8) When you encounter other people, don't come across as a victim. The way you carry yourself, whether or not you make eye contact with another person, if you speak, even your own internal feeling of confidence -- these things all send non-verbal messages to a potential perpetrator and can make you more or less likely to actually become a victim of foul play.

Be safe!


posted by Mark and Sue at Monday, March 19, 2007

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Slide Along With Us!

Dartmoor 2004

Thanks to Lisascenic & Robb, which is where we first spotted this great slide photo viewer.
Visit them at How's Robb?

posted by Mark and Sue at Sunday, March 18, 2007

Searching for the Unplanned

Sue & I were so bummed that the inclement weather kept us from our long planned weekend with Deanne & Dave that was to include the NH Gathering and a nice St. Paddy's Day dinner after the event. Due to the pending forecast, we explored all sorts of options to get us up north before, during or after the storm. Common sense finally won out (don't you hate being an adult at times?) and we canceled our plans for our weekend away and the gathering. Bummer!

So - what to do? Here we had a 2 whole days with nothing planned - which never happens to us. Either we're home with a weekend full of plans or away for the weekend in VT or somewhere else. Sue puttered around the house all day and I chilled in the "zone" (our son Steve's nickname for our finished basement,) watching March Madness for the day on Saturday! I know, tough life, right?

Sunday, after a leisurely breakfast, Sue & I went to visit Butterfly at her home for the first time since her recent knee surgery. What a great afternoon we spent with her. We visited and took a little walk to the shore, despite the windy and cool weather. I'm not sure who was more energized and excited with the visit - Butterfly or us!

During the visit, Butterfly proudly showed us all of the wonderful get well cards sent to her by letterboxers from around the country. You know who you are - you Turtle people! You touched her deeply and Sue & I so enjoyed looking at the homemade cards with nice sentiments and great signature stamps. After our visit, Sue & I stopped at one of our favorite spots for a shore dinner and a nice trip home.

I got to thinking, while re-reading this story (and correcting a few errors!) - where we would be without letterboxing since it's not just a hobby? Butterfly's life has been touched by many who sent her puzzles, scrapbooking items and books to keep her busy; cards and emails of concern and cheer; and visits by letterboxers who brought a meal or just spent some time with her. How much better her life is because of letterboxing and the friends she's made. How many others are there out there in letterboxingdom who have been touched by a random act of kindness from someone who we might not have know if we didn't take up this crazy Tupperware-hunting distraction?

Sue & I realized this weekend that sometimes those unscripted events in our lives are often very precious and enjoyable!
Hope you found some special unscripted moments in your weekend as well.

posted by Mark and Sue at Sunday, March 18, 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Wish . . .

A big
Get Well Soon!

goes out to Koyote of VA, formerly of CT, from The End Gang. Recovering from knee surgery, Kris is progressing nicely and should be out on his beloved trails very soon.

Those of you who regularly visit this blog know that Koyote was the brains behind The Four Directions series that he recently gave up to Sue & I for adoption.

Drop Koyote a line and let him know that his letterboxing family has him in your thoughts!

Go on - show him some letterboxing love!

posted by Mark and Sue at Saturday, March 17, 2007

Breast Cancer Fund Raiser

Lisa, from The Family from Mass, will be walking in the Boston Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. A breast cancer survivor of one year and with a clean bill of health, Lisa is celebrating life by hosting a fundraising party in Franklin, MA which will include an event box as well as some of her postal boxes that have returned home.

The event will be located at the Elk's Lodge, 1077 Pond Street in Franklin, MA. The tax deductible donation of $25 per person or $40 per couple gets you a dinner buffet, DJ, door prizes and raffles and letterboxes.

Come one and all - get some cool boxes, meet some fellow letterboxers and, most importantly, help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer and help Lisa celebrate!

To find out more about this event or to sign up, please click here for her Atlas Quest event page.

posted by Mark and Sue at Saturday, March 17, 2007

A St. Patrick's Day Toast

Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

posted by Mark and Sue at Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Special Cross Country Greetings!

Happy Birthday Wishes to Amanda from Seattle!

posted by Mark and Sue at Friday, March 16, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Stampin' O' the Green!

Gosh and begora!

It's almost that time of the year when the whole world is Irish - St. Patrick's Day - March 17! Looks like some Capers have gotten a letterboxing jump on the leprechaun this year and have planted 8 wonderful pieces of stamping gold for the community.

And apparently a little pixie from the Rock named Rae had a hand in this series as well! Take a peek at this very timely and green series called Leprechaun's Pot O Gold.

Erin Go Bragh! And have a wee pint of some green beer in honor of your favorite pinecone couple~ don't ya know?

posted by Mark and Sue at Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Message with Wings!

Our favorite winged wonder emailed me a few weeks ago. Butterfly had some knee surgery and we've been checking up on her via email.

She started receiving cards and letters from boxers around the country and asked if I had anything to do with it! It wasn't us but we did write a little veiled story several weeks back meant to let the CT area boxers aware of her then pending surgery.

Someone else has sent out the word and given her snail mail addy. We offered to help her get the word out by posting a letter to the letterboxing community here. We're pleased to post this thank you note from a dear and wonderful friend.

To our Letterboxing Family:

Wow - a most fun and wonderful thing has happened with a twist of magic! Our letterboxing family proved to me how large and big hearted it is.

The news of my recent leg injury somehow spread across the whole U.S. and oozed over into Canada. Cards of well wishes have filled my mail box and brought many a smile along with them. I want to thank everyone for all the words of encouragement and positive energy. I have just progressed to the pool and exercises that will soon get me back on the trail.

Now for the magic. Somehow all the cards sent to me were addressed wrong ~ to East Lyme , and I live in Niantic. The East Lyme Post Office has been very kind to send them on to me and I am sure most all the cards found their way to my house. However a large black stamp from the East Lyme Post Office, on each envelope many times blocks out the return address so I have asked Mark Pepe to help me out by allowing me to send a big thanks this way.

To: Dewdrops, Shoe bee, The Ferg, J.B.S., Miss Jacenda and The L.B.Brat, Tea Cup ~ all from Maine; Checksix and Luna Crew from CT; Cath Cain Gwen from NY; Prairie dog, Nirtrocat and Kittens from IL; Whispering Thunder, Happy Papaya, Toad Hollow, Encouraging Angel, Team Garlic, Mild Mannered Piper, Lucky Charm, D.K., A Penguin from WA; Red Soup Duncan B.C. Canada; Wassamatta San Jose CA; Jolly Roger, Chickadee, Chariotte NC; Colorful Colorado, Anthrogradjess, Papozen, Turtle Girl, CO; Mommo, Columbia MD; and Batty Girl Justin TX.

To you all a big smile and many thanks!
You made my ‘down time’ much more fun.


posted by Mark and Sue at Thursday, March 15, 2007

To Gather - Or Not to Gather . . .

Typical New England weather!

Just when you can sense Spring is in the air, mother nature drops a wake up call on ya! Looks like a classic Nor'easter heading for New England that will surely dampen or "dumpen" on this Saturday's gathering in New Hampshire - The Mills at Salmon Falls Event!

Sue & I were so looking forward to it. We're keeping our fingers crossed and our weather eye peeled to the 'net and the TV weather hoping for a March meteorological miracle. We plan on traveling Friday night and that seems to be at the peak of the storm.

We do not want to discourage others from attending. Here's the link for the event at Atlas Quest.

Who knows - we might even see you there. If so, we'll have the remainder of our newboxers patches in tow as well as our personal travelers.

posted by Mark and Sue at Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Bumpy Ride?

Looks like Santa has come home to Santa Claus, IN and has even planted a letterbox!

Nice to know that he has time out from making all of those toys and he can recreate like the rest of us!

It's not Santa really - but Gobbles Secret Santa 706!

posted by Mark and Sue at Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Have You Read It Yet???

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is our latest read. I know, many of you are amazed that we've waited this long to read this book! Ryan even mentioned it in his interview with us that it was his all time favorite way back in 2004.

If you haven't read it - you must - even if you aren't a hiker. This book came to Sue & I secondhand through my mother-in-law, who is by far that last person on the face of this earth to hike! And she raved about A Walk.

Bill Bryson, with humor never too far away, details his account of his hike of the Appalachian Trail. The lush descriptions, history of the AT as well as many other side stories make this a great book for one and all. You will not be disappointed.

And if you are a letterboxer, it will strike a chord of truth a hundred times over. We even had fun noticing some of the letterboxing personalities that could have fit the different characters in the book. Also enjoyable was noticing how many times Sue & I had hiked the AT without even realizing it while looking for boxes - in VA, CT, MA, and VT.

With summer vacations just around the corner, you may just want to pick up a copy (also available in an oversized paperback edition.) It's a perfect vacation read. Hope you enjoy it!

posted by Mark and Sue at Tuesday, March 06, 2007