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'Bicycle Treasure Hunt' shares Bellport history
Wearing a pink and black bicycle helmet, 7-year-old Rachel Wolf rubbed pink crayon over a piece of paper, revealing an engraving on a tombstone in Old Bellport Cemetery.
“I got it! It says Elizabeth,” Wolf said of the tombstone of an 80-year-old Bellport woman who died in 1865. “We solved the clue, Mom. Let’s keep going.”
Wolf and her twin brother, Justin, were among the nearly 60 children and parents to ride their bicycles, scooters or walk during the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society's second annual “Mystery History Bicycle Treasure Hunt” in Bellport Village on Saturday.
At the historical society on Bellport Lane, families were each given a map of Bellport Village with a sheet of 10 clues, leading to multiple locations limited to Bellport, Browns and Academy lanes and streets connecting them.
“Long Island has many hidden old cemeteries, and so does Bellport,” said Rachel’s mother, Leanne Warshauer, 41, of Commack. “This is a great opportunity for us to come to a place we don’t normally visit and we love to look at the old homes on Bellport Lane.”
The aim of the hunt is to allow kids, ages 6-12, to have fun riding their bikes while exploring parts of Bellport Village they may have otherwise overlooked on a given day, according to Anna Lou Fletcher, president of the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society.
“They need to keep their eyes and ears open and answer the questions correctly,” she said. “After the groups solve the clues and find the sites they must then return to the historical society as fast as they can, and the first three groups to get it all right win.”
Some of the clues had children head to the marina at the end of Bellport Lane and rub crayon on paper over a monument’s engraving; another asked how many free-standing flagpoles are on Bellport Lane and to get the dockmaster’s name.
It was clearly an advantage to live in Bellport, as that’s where all three of the families who walked away with the treasure hunt grand prizes were from.
Chris Fogarty, 45, and his daughters — Sofia, 11, and Flossy, 9 — won first prize of two passes to Splish Splash in Calverton. Claudine Burkhardt, 42, and her children — Anna, 12, Jack, 10, and Madeleine, 7 — won second prize, two tickets to “Singing in the Rain” at the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport.
Tom and Jennifer Wilson and their children — Tommy, 12, Ryan, 10, Connor, 7, Louis, 9, and Katie, 5 — won third prize, two tickets to “Seussical Jr.” at the Gateway Playhouse.
“I was born and raised in Bellport, but I still stumble upon things I didn’t know were here,” said Jennifer Wilson, 42. “The kids love the show ‘The Amazing Race,’ so they treated this history treasure hunt as a great race and I’m overjoyed that they won third place.”
Caroline Gershell, 7, and her brother Alexander, 4, raced down Bellport Lane’s sidewalk on their kick scooters to beat their grandpa, Bellport trustee Bob Rosenberg, on foot. Though they didn’t finish the hunt due to rain, they were excited to snack on watermelon slices under a tent in front of the historical society.
“Even though they didn’t win, they looked like they had a blast,” Rosenberg said. “At least they got a chance to explore more of their hometown and ride their scooters.”