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Searching For The Old Grove

By Frank W. Pandozzi


“The sounds of the picnickers could be heard as they frolicked in the stream deep within the ravine.”

The above sentence appeared inside an old local history book that my metal detecting partner John had been reading.

That sentence jumped out at him as he read the words. Within minutes, he was on the phone telling me what he hoped he had found.

John like me, loves to research areas to metal detect. We both understand that re-search is very important to the success you will have when detecting. If you want to get out of those parks that everyone else has detected for years, then you need to look for other areas of metal detecting opportunities. This is why research is so vital.


John was reading the old local history book that he had purchased in a used bookstore. He was reading for interest as well as for research. John’s book told a story about a Ravine that was located an hour’s drive from his home. This Ravine was also the home to an old ghost town from the early 1800’s, as well as numerous boy-scout camps from the early 1900’s. Before reading this book, John had not been aware of the old town, or the boy-scout camp. Now, as he read the above passage, he became aware of a possible old picnic grove within the Ravine.

Just as fascinating as the old ghost towns we locate in the eastern States, are the old picnic groves. You never know what you will find when metal detecting these areas.

So the following Saturday, John and I headed to the area where the old grove, the ghost town and the old boy scout camp were suppose to be located.

Little did we know at that time that we were about to embark on a metal detecting adventure that took us three years and miles of walking through thick scrub brush, climbing up and down hills, and wading through ankle deep water looking for the old locations.

Years of vegetation had covered up any signs of the once-upon-a-time hideaways.

Our first three or four trips to what we thought were the correct locations left us feeling tired, frustrated, and empty. Empty because we had been metal detecting the entire time as we hiked through the rugged terrain, looking for anything that would help us locate the old grove, boy scout camp, or ghost town, but we came up with no finds at all, except for an occasional shotgun shell.

This unproductive search forced us to go back and forth to our topo’s and re-evaluate our approach.

We kept asking each other.

“Are we in the correct area?”

“Did we miss signs, such as the plant myrtle, or pottery shards, or perhaps we metal detected to quickly as we walked through the Ravine?

You may be asking yourself why we put so much effort into this seemingly inept metal detecting adventure. If you are wondering why, here is my answer.

It means that if we had a difficult time locating the old sites, then others, who metal detect, even if they had known about the area, also had a hard time finding these sites. And if that were the case, then once John and I located the old sites, we should have a field day digging up old stuff.

That was the reason why we kept searching, and finally, after three years and miles of hiking, John and I finally located, the old ghost town, the old boy scout camp, and the old picnic grove.

Was it worth the effort? Yes it was!

John and I literally cleaned up.

Between the two of us, we found hundreds of coins and old jewelry, as well as a beautiful silver pocket watch.

That area has continued to produce for us every time we go back.

So, what is the moral of this story?

Do your research to find the good stuff, and never give up.

Old trees near an old picnic grove.


Metal Detecting Ghost Towns Of The East

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