Wanda and Pete's Letterbox Hikes - Westerly, RI

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164. WESTERLY SURF & TURF Come see two faces of the seaside RI town where Wanda spent many years of her life.

Westerly, the most westerly town in RI before hitting CT, had many little neighborhoods ranging from very modest to affluent. This letterboxing trip takes you to one of the richest and one of the poorest that are on the eastern side of Westerly - Weekapaug and Bradford.

To begin your little adventure, start between them at the eastern part of town along route 1 called Dunn's Corners. At the traffic lights here with MacDonalds to the east and Applebee's to the west, turn south towards Langworthy Corners (and a notable tree), then continue southward to the Weekapaug breachway. Follow the easterly trending road along the shoreline, passing some weathered summer cottages, until you reach a few legal half hour parking spaces on the right along Spray Rock Rd. It is possible to carefully climb down the rocks to the small beach below, but it might perhaps be easier to take the narrow path surrounded by rose bushes towering above your head on either side that begins by the first legal parking spot near telephone pole number 48.

CHANGE 25 Dec 2006: The large piece of driftwood in the original clue has floated down the beach during some storm, and the box location was threatened as well, so the box has been relocated well above the surf in the rocks as follows.

Once on the beach, walk some 200 steps easterly looking for a yellow pictograph painted on the rocks. This walk is best done near low tide. The pictograph is a circle about a cross with four dots between the arms of the cross. Proceed another 35 steps east from the pictograph and look up at the rocks. There should be an isosceles triangle rock with two drill marks in its base above a step shaped rock with four drill marks in its side. To the left of these is another rock with seven drill marks. (If you go 12 steps further you will be beside a rock with two holes.) Climb up and above the step shaped rock and look to the right of and somewhat beneath the isosceles rock. There, find the first half of your little treasure tucked away safe from the surf. Please try not to crush the box with a rock when you are rehiding it. (If you're feeling "flush" or want a quiet break from TV and phones you could even tuck yourself in at the Weekapaug Inn - down the dead end road - for about $350 a day per person!)

Now to get back towards our turf, return to Dunn's Corners and continue northward to Bradford. Turn left at the donut shop just before the BDA (Bradford Dying Association), then right onto Bowling Lane, historically one of the poorer mill house areas in town although it is starting to look quite a bit better lately. Park at the end of the road in the turnaround with an entrance to some preserved town land that goes down towards the Pawcatuck River. Follow the wide dirt path right circling counterclockwise for awhile until you reach a formerly paved section of road sloping downward on your left. Take that old road uphill to near where it levels off shortly, with a large boulder about 16 steps off to your right (south). The Turf letterbox is hanging out under a slightly overhanging ledge on the north side of the boulder that is directly below a sapling that is growing about half way up the rock. Cover the box well with leaves to leave it looking natural.

Then proceed up to the next 4-way intersection (where the pavement ends), and keep bearing left (about 60 degrees) until you find yourself back facing the houses of Bowling Lane with your car just off to the left. Hope you haven gotten a feel for the various aspects of our local Westerly "surf & turf"!

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