November 11, 2012

Plattsburgh woman finds message in a bottle


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Lynne Layman was walking along Lake Champlain with a friend when she saw a green bottle on the shore.

Inside was a message dated Aug. 31, 2012, written by three children who set the bottle afloat from Willsboro Point.


Layman found the bottle near her family’s property on Layman Lane on Cumberland Head just shy of two weeks after the children wrote the letter, she said. It was roughly a week after a storm, and the wind likely blew the whimsical container up onto the beach, Layman said.

There’s about 20 miles of water between Willsboro Point and Cumberland Head, so the bottle traveled an average of just over 3 miles per day.

The note was protected from the waters of Lake Champlain by a cork wrapped in paper towel that was cut to fit the opening of the long-neck glass bottle.

“There was no moisture inside the bottle,” Layman said.


The note, written in pen by a boy named Connor; his sister, whose name was not mentioned in the note; and their friend Nicole, detailed the trio’s plans to make a trip to Burlington with Connor’s father and grandmother, as well as the bonfire they were planning for that evening.

Connor’s sister wrote of a canal he was building in the sand, which she said was not a success.

“Connor and I plan to rule the world,” she wrote.

The children had made their first canoe trip of the season in rough water on Lake Champlain that day, Nicole wrote.

The note also included several hand-drawn pictures, including one of a bonfire and a peace sign.

Connor ended the note writing, “Whenever you find this, if the Buffalo Bills are still a team, I hope they win the Super Bowl. Go Yankees.”


Before spying the bottle, Layman and her companion had found a fake parrot, a sailboat cushion and a cowboy-style snakeskin hat with the words “Made in Mexico,” written on a tag in the brim, she said.

She calls looking for lost or discarded items in nature “salvaging,” and Layman says the rules are simple.

“The first one that sees it yells out, ‘Salvage!’ and it’s yours.”

A good place to try your luck salvaging is near the area of Cumberland Head known as the Flats, which is popular with windsurfers, Layman said.

“That is state land. Anyone can walk the beach,” she said.


Layman, 61, grew up playing along the shores of the lake. She started “salvaging” at about the age of 15, she said.

“You couldn’t wait for school to start,” she said of her childhood. “You amused yourself in the summer with whatever you could find to do in nature.”

She has discovered some interesting odds and ends on her salvaging walks and, most importantly, had fun outside, she said.

“You can salvage on the side of the road. People lose anything.”

She hasn’t found anything of extraordinary value yet, though. The closest she came to that was a wallet with a driver’s license inside, which she came upon a few years ago.

Layman also collects heart-shaped rocks that she finds on the beach.

She hopes the three children learn that she found their note.

“I want them to know they are a success.”