Would you like to know a secret? Of course you would! Everybody loves a juicy secret, and we’ve got plenty of ’em. Our scavenger hunts show you the hidden wonders of beloved neighborhoods and famous landmarks all over the country.
In New York and Philadelphia, find out what’s hidden beneath two different Washington Square Parks. In Georgetown, discover the inspiration for the song “Afternoon Delight.” In Los Angeles, learn about one woman’s deadly luggage. Read on for five of our scavenger hunts’ coolest secrets.
1. Washington Square Park was a what?
Double secret! You can visit Washington Square Park in New York on the Secrets of Greenwich Village Hunt or Washington Square in Philadelphia on the Secrets of Old Philadelphia Hunt. Either way, you’re walking on the same thing: an old burial ground! Turns out both parks used to be potter’s fields, or public graveyards. Mostly unknown people were buried in both, although New York’s also catered to yellow fever victims, and Philadelphia’s to Revolutionary War soldiers.
2. Afternoon Delight was inspired by what?
As you explore the Secrets of Georgetown Hunt near Washington, D.C., you’ll come across Clyde’s, a local favorite that opened in 1963. If you pop in, a gold record adorns the foyer, courtesy of Starland Vocal Band. The group’s suggestive 1976 hit “Afternoon Delight” was inspired by the restaurant’s appetizer menu of the same name (though the song has nothing to do with hot wings and mozzarella sticks, really).
3. The world’s tallest church is where?
Chicago! Arrange a private Thrown for a Loop Hunt and look up, up, up to marvel at the Chicago Temple Building. Complete in 1924, the 568-foot skyscraper church at 77 W. Washington St. is in fact the world’s tallest—but it wasn’t the first in that spot. A gorgeous stained-glass window depicts a burning building, which a nearby plaque identifies as Third Church Building, destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
4. Hester Prynne was based on whom?
On the Secrets of Old Boston Hunt, discover King’s Chapel Burying Ground, the city’s oldest cemetery. One gravestone belongs to Elizabeth Pain, a settler in colonial Boston who was tried for (and acquitted of) the death of her child. Popular legend says aspects of her life, including her gravestone, influenced the creation of Hester Prynne, the leading lady in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
5. She put the bodies where?
In 1931, Phoenix woman Winnie Ruth Judd rode the Golden State Limited train to Los Angeles. But when she arrived, her luggage was mysteriously gross—it smelled terrible and was leaking. Turns out, Judd had shot and killed two friends in a quarrel over a man, and then stuffed both of them (one thoroughly dismembered) into suitcases and a trunk. You can find a plaque remembering the Trunk Murders on our Munch Around Downtown L.A. Hunt.