Well yesterday was one of those days where I woke up hurting, went out detecting and came home hurting even more. I did find coins….eighty five cents in clad! Based on time spent, gas used, battery drainage that comes out to about minus a buck fifty an hour, not including the sore back, feet and necessary nap.
So if you are wanting to see a photo or video of Dallas Dick’s Sunday morning adventure, forget about it!
SO WHERE DO I DETECT?
You all should know by now that I am a coin hunter. It’s what got me started in this pastime, and it’s what keeps me going now, albeit at much slower pace. I don’t think I will ever get over the excitement of seeing that silver dime or quarter after removing a plug.
I’ve had a couple of people ask me where I go when I detect and my answer is usually “down the road a piece”. You see I don’t like to share this information for one reason….I don’t want YOU find MY coins. It is what it is my friend, and I am pretty sure you understand.
Now having said that I will throw a couple of things at you from my “Coin Hunting in Depth” book and you can take them for what they’re worth.
The following pretty much deals with old grove areas but I will talk more about a few of my other favorites in future updates (good things come to those who wait…LOL).
Now that I got your attention….
Quite often you will need to make quick decisions about where to spend your time detecting. You may only have an hour or two and you can’t waste it driving any distance. When I am faced with this (which is almost always now) I usually head to the closest park or school. I am fortunate in that I am close to both and while they are not old as in “turn of the century”, they can and will offer up silver every now and then. If I had my druthers I would spend my time at an old picnic grove or cellar hole, but as of now I have neither at my disposal (working on one potential grove but more investigative work is needed).
RURAL PICNIC GROVES
The key word here is ‘grove’! Today we have picnic ‘areas’ or picnic ‘grounds’. Years ago people congregated at ‘the grove’. No other explanation was needed. Usually it was a shaded wooded area not far from town. A place to escape the heat of summer and a place to relax with family & friends. Depending on the area it could be a very busy place on the weekends. Those who went brought blankets, picnic baskets, board games, footballs, baseballs and it was not unusual for families to spend the entire day at the ‘grove’. It was THE place to be and THE place to be seen. I might also mention a lot of church events, harvest home dinners, etc., were also held there, adding to the potential for great finds.
This old grove in Hunterdon County NJ gave up a lot of old silver
Eventually radio, theaters and television came along, and the picnic grove became a thing of the past. What was once a very popular gathering place disappeared, camouflaged by mother nature and remembered by an ever dwindling number of old timers.
How do you go about finding an old picnic grove?
Well for starters bone up on your local history. Use the internet and visit your local library. A lot of my early success came from reading the centennial and bi-centennial booklets that many communities published. They were loaded with lots of old photos. Also be sure to sort through the various church histories and look for mentions of harvest home suppers. Study old maps or plats of your area and look for any roads that end in ‘grove’. They were often named after the landowner, i.e., Johnson’s Grove, Herbert’s grove or an obvious natural description such as Oak Grove, Elm Grove or Pecan Grove (Google Earth is great for this)
If, while reading, you are unable to find any specific references to these gathering places drive the ‘grove’ roads and look for any area that might lend itself to picnicking. Look for shade, minimal ground vegetation, sometimes a brook or creek, and enough space between trees where one can throw down a blanket. Also look for what might be a path or entrance into the area (which today could be nothing more than a filled in ditch).
If you find an area that does looks promising, walk it. Look for any indication of past use. Remnants of old structures (believe it or not one old grove had a refreshment stand), rusty bottlecaps, square nails, oyster shells or small pieces of glass, and finally ask yourself if it looks like the kind of place you would take your family for a picnic? Let your intuition come into play and proceed from there. Your first impressions or ‘gut reactions’ are often the right ones.
The best part about these old groves? It’s not that difficult to get permission from the landowner. It’s usually an area that would not be greatly affected by someone digging coin size targets.
Lastly do yourself a favor and find out where the town’s seniors gather and spend time with them. They are a veritable vault of useful information, and whether or not they can tell you about these old meeting places matters little. You will come away with a new friend or two and be the better for it. Good luck!
Just got a short email from John Howland, who is spending a week long holiday in Cornwall, and he’s claims to be having one helluva time. I can just imagine….
One of John’s earlier holidays….