Get Out & Explore: South Shore Quests Celebrates 25th Birthday

Photo: Jay Willett / WBZ NewsRadio

HINGHAM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Looking to get the kids out of the house this summer? For its 25th anniversary, a program that encourages residents to turn off devices and explore the local outdoors is offering more quests than ever before.

South Shore Quests was started in 1998 by the late Dr. Richard Norton of Tufts Medical, placing "Questboxes" throughout trails across the South Shore and providing only clues to help questers piece together where those boxes might be. This year, to celebrate SSQ's 25th birthday, there are 25 different quests across 11 coastal towns to choose from.

To see how it worked for myself, I met up with Julianne Mehegan of SSQ to get a trial run with the "Farm To Playing Fields" quest in Hingham.

"The mission is to encourage people to be outdoors by doing clue-directed searches— so you can do one in Hull, that's at the ocean, all the way down to Marshfield to one that takes you up Pudding Hill," Mehegan said.

Here's how it all plays out— questers first pick up a Questbook for five dollars at either Holly Hill Farm, Ventress Memorial, South Shore Natural Science Center, or at one of several libraries along the South Shore. These books are loaded with information on the available trails, including the address, where to park, expected quest duration, and a brief history on the locale you're visiting.

As you walk along the path, participants follow the directions in their Questbook while keeping an eye out for "box clues," signage or environmental indicators that help fill in a hangman-style letter box at the bottom of the page. Filling in that phrase will eventually clue you in to where to find the Questbox, and the unique stamp available on that specific trail.

Photo: Courtesy of SSQ.

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Questers that stamp their Questbook with at least six different stamps are eligible to purchase a three-dollar exclusive SSQ patch.

Megehan tells me that Dr. Norton wanted to remembered for founding SSQ prior to his passing last year.

"Even if with all of his medical credentials, [he] wanted to have in his obituary the fact that he founded SSQ in 1998," Mehegan said.

The 2023 questing season runs from April 15 to November 15— SSQ officials remind any interested parties to check the status of the destination trail before heading out.

WBZ's Jay Willett (@JayWillettWBZ) reports.

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