Every peaceful and quiet town has something kept under wraps, and Pelican Town is no exception. Despite giving you a straightforward goal in Stardew Valley, there is a certain mystery or vagueness to the game that Independent Game Creator, ConcernedApe, added to make this beloved farming simulator a more immersive experience.
So today, we will discuss everything you need to know about Secret Notes — where to find them and what they mean.
Secret Notes are collectible pieces of paper that uncover interesting and useful information about the town. These notes are either personal letters from villagers, cryptic messages written in anonymity, or images revealing the location of buried treasures.
Journal Scraps were added in the 1.5 update, and unlike Secret Notes, they are jotted down by only one unknown sailor. They contain insights that help you track down treasures, solve puzzles, and learn more about Ginger Island.
Secret Notes and Journal Scraps are automatically added to your Collections after obtaining and inspecting them. However, you can not find Secret Notes without the Magnifying Glass in your Wallet.
Getting the Magnifying Glass
If you have not come across one Secret Note after hours of playtime, that means you are still in your first year, and you have not reached the Winter season yet.
Head over to the Bus Stop during Winter, between 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM. You will see a Shadow Guy that oddly resembles Krobus, an NPC you will meet after gaining access to the Sewers. When the Shadow Guy sees you, he will immediately flee.
Follow his footprints in the snow, and he will lead you to the playground beside the Community Center. The Shadow Guy will hide behind a bush near the playground. Interact with the bush, and he will jump out, giving a panic-stricken apology. The Shadow Guy will hand you the Magnifying Glass thinking you caught him stealing it.
Finding Secret Notes and Journal Scraps
You can find Secret Notes by Mining rocks, Digging Artifact Spots, Slaying Enemies, and Breaking Resource Clumps (or the giant purple meteorite you sometimes see in Pelican Town).
Chopping down trees, Cutting Weeds, Digging Artifact Spots, and Harvesting Giant Crops are the usual activities you do on your farm. By constantly doing these tasks, you can also acquire Secret Notes.
Aside from getting algae, trash, seaweed, or an actual fish, you can also pull out Secret Notes when you go Fishing.
Journal Scraps can be obtained without the use of a Magnifying Glass. You will need to Kill Monsters, Destroy Rocks, Clear Debris, and do various farming activities on Ginger Island.
Continue working on your farm and exploring Ginger Island, and you will eventually collect a total of 25 Secret Notes and 11 Journal Scraps. Each can be inspected by holding up the item and clicking the right button.
Secret Notes/Journal Scraps and their Meanings
Secret Notes # 1 to 9 tell you all about the favorite gifts of Pelican Town’s residents:
Secret Note # 1
What you read in the first Secret Note is a page from Abigail’s diary. She described in her diary how much she loves Pumpkins, Amethysts, Chocolate Cakes, Spicy Eels, and Blackberry Cobblers.
Secret Note # 2
The second Note shows a holiday shopping list written by Sam. In his list, Sam specified that Sebastian loves Frozen Tears and Sashimi, and Penny’s favorites are Emeralds and Poppies. He noted that his Mom, Jodi, loves Crispy Bass and Pancakes, while his Dad, Kent, favors Risotto and Roasted Hazelnuts. He also included his little brother Vincent who adores Grapes and Cranberry Candies.
Sam also wrote his preferences in the list, which are Cacti, Maple Bars, and Pizza.
Secret Note # 3
You will find Leah’s writings in the third Secret Note. She explained that a perfect dinner would consist of Salad, Goat Cheese, Truffle, Wine, and Poppyseed Muffin.
Secret Note # 4
Maru lists the parts she needs for her greatest invention in the fourth Secret Note. These parts include a Gold Bar, Iridium Bar, Battery Pack, Diamond, and for some reason, Strawberries.
Secret Note # 5
The fifth one has sweet Penny’s handwriting. In the note, she scribbled: I want to get everyone something they love! She wrote that her Mom, Pam, favors Parsnips and Glazed Yams. Penny also noted, NO BEER! (But we all know Pam would prefer it otherwise). She also included her students — Jas, who enjoys Fairy Roses and Plum Puddings, and Vincent, who loves Pink Cakes.
She stated that the best gifts for George are Leeks and Fried Mushrooms. Meanwhile, George’s wife, Evelyn, would love to be gifted Beets and Tulips.
Secret Note # 6
The sixth note has Stardrop Saloon’s Special Orders from some villagers, implying these dishes are their favorites: Autumn’s Booty for the Mayor, Pumpkin Pie for Marnie, and Bean Hotpot for Demetrius.
Secret Note # 7
The seventh Secret Note reveals a page from an unknown person’s diary. It details how Harvey loves his Coffee and Pickles, how Elliot fancies Crab Cakes and Pomegranates, how Shane would always enjoy a mug of Beer, Pepper Poppers, and Pizza.
Secret Note # 8
The eighth Secret Note shows a letter from Hayley and Emily’s parents. It describes the ideal gifts for these two bachelorettes: Hayley’s favorites are Pink Cake and Sunflowers, while Emily’s are Gemstones and Wool.
Secret Note # 9
Finally, the ninth Secret Note has Alex’s Strength Training Diet. To maintain his special diet, he needs to eat a complete breakfast and a salmon dinner.
Secret Notes # 10 to 25 contain clues that can help you locate a few treasures or messages with some helpful facts about the game:
Secret Note # 10
The tenth Secret Note shows a cryptic message that says, “Someone is waiting for you on level 100 in the Skull Cavern.”
The Skull Cavern is a presumably bottomless dungeon swarmed with dangerous monsters. Completing this quest is no simple task, but it is feasible. Once you reach level 100, you will see Mr. Qi, the Desert Casino owner. He will reward you with an Iridium Snake Milk, which can increase your health permanently by 25.
Secret Note # 11
The eleventh Secret Note is not exactly a note but an old picture of a younger Marnie and Jas.
Secret Note # 12
The twelfth Secret Note explains all about the valuable items you can find in garbage cans. Since Linus is the only villager who does not mind you pillaging garbage cans, he could be the one who wrote it.
Secret Note # 13
The thirteenth Secret Note signifies a clue to where you can find a Giant Junimo Plush. It says on the last day of the season at 12:00 PM sharp; you have to check the bush above the playground.
Secret Note # 14
Written on the fourteenth note is another hint that gives away the location of the Stone Junimo. The text says, “I hid something behind the Community Center.”
To obtain this treasure, go to the right side of the Community Center and dig up the item using your hoe.
Secret Note # 15
The fifteenth Secret Note has the text, “Mermaid Show: 1-5-4-2-3.”
This message is a passcode that involves the Night Market’s Mermaid Show; an event held every Winter 15, 16, and 17. A cutscene will play if you watch the Mermaid Show. After that, interact with the shells in the 1-5-4-2-3 (first, fifth, fourth, second, and third) order, and you will receive a Mermaid’s Pearl. You can sell this Pearl for 2,500 gold or gift it to anyone you wish to give it as it is a universally loved item.
Secret Note # 16
The sixteenth note shows a piece of a map that marks the location of a hidden treasure. Walk up to the railroad, and alongside the west tunnel near the boulder, you’ll be able to dig a Treasure Chest that you can sell for 5,000 gold.
Secret Note # 17
Another x marks the spot image is shown in the seventeenth note. This Secret Note will have you looking for a Strange Doll, one of the artifacts you can donate to Gunther’s Museum. Go to the right side of the Riverbank above JojaMart, and dig out the item using your hoe.
Secret Note # 18
Once again, the eighteenth note shows a treasure map that unveils the location of another Strange Doll but with a different color. You will find the doll nearby the lone bench in the Southeast of Calico Desert.
Secret Note # 19
The nineteenth note has a couple of arrows that point you to the location of a hidden item. It is implied in the note that you will have to start walking from Sam’s house and follow the sequence of the arrows to obtain Mayor Lewis’ Golden Statue behind his house.
Secret Note # 20
The twentieth Secret Note is similar to the previous one. This time, you will have to start from the brick circle in the center of Town Square. Follow the directions, and it will guide you to the JojaMart Truck beside the Store. Talk to the truck driver while holding a Rabbit’s Foot, and you will get the Special Charm, an item that can permanently increase your luck.
Secret Note # 21
The twenty-first Secret Note displays a crude drawing of someone revealing Mayor Lewis and Marnie’s secret meeting spot. If this info has got you intrigued about their relationship, go to the bush that’s next to the bridge in the Town Square at 12:40 AM and shake that bush to interrupt Mayor Lewis and Marnie’s private time.
Secret Note # 22
You will find a message from Mr. Qi asking you if you have discovered his secret in the Dark Tunnel. This note conveys you can trigger one of his quests if you go to the West Tunnel entrance by the Bus Stop while bringing a Battery Pack. Inside the tunnel, you will see a lockbox where you can put the Battery Pack inside.
Secret Note # 23
The twenty-third note shows a bizarrely-written text a toddler or an animal may have scrawled. It says, “if yoo can read dis… come to seecrit wuds. Pleez bring may-pal serrup.”
It does not take a genius to decipher this message. If you go to the Secret Woods with a Maple Syrup in hand, you will discover the one waiting for you is indeed an animal and is a talking bear nonetheless!
Secret Note # 24
The twenty-fourth note contains a page from M. Jasper’s book. It details some information about “Forest Spirits” or Junimos. The note also explains that you can change the colors of your Junimos if you place a gem or mineral inside the Junimo Hut.
Secret Note # 25
The Twenty-fifth Secret Note is beneficial for those who want to win the heart of fan-favorite Abigail. In this note, she expressed her guilt when she had misplaced her mom’s Ornate necklace. You can acquire this jewelry by fishing outside the Spa during any season except in Winter. Talking to Abigail with the Ornate necklace in your inventory will earn you 100 Friendship Points.
Journal Scraps are pieces of log entries written by an unnamed Sailor. In his Journal, he marveled at the astonishing discoveries he had made on Ginger Island:
Journal Scrap # 1
The first Journal Scrap tells the story of a Seafarer who got himself stranded on an unknown island after a shipwreck — making him a castaway.
Journal Scrap # 2
In the second Journal Scrap, the Sailor stated that he had found a bunch of Golden Walnuts, which are a kind of currency you can exchange with Parrots to unlock some areas and buildings on the island. He also revealed that the cave by the Southeast Shore is the best location to catch Stingrays.
Journal Scrap # 3
The Sailor’s tale continues in the third Journal Scrap as he shares his findings on acquiring Golden Walnuts. According to him, you can use your slingshot to shoot down the tree to gather a Golden Walnut on the right side of the Volcano.
Journal Scrap # 4
The fourth Journal Scrap displays an image similar to the Treasure Maps you can get from Secret Notes. Go towards the west side of your farm, walk above the Birdie’s hut, and use your hoe to dig the area shown in the image. You will find a Quality Bobber and a Golden Walnut.
Journal Scrap # 5
The Sailor mentions The Forge in the fifth Journal Scrap. The Forge is a mechanism you can use to alter the stats and appearances of your weapons, tools, and accessories. It is stationed on the 10th floor of the Volcano Dungeon.
Journal Scrap # 6
Another Treasure map is shown in the sixth Journal Scrap. To find this buried treasure, walk towards the Southeast of the Island Farmhouse. Look for the area depicted in the image, and you can unearth a Pearl and a Golden Walnut.
Journal Scrap # 7
The Sailor gives further insight about the Forge in the seventh Journal Scrap. This entry explains how to enhance your equipment at the Forge and how different minerals have distinct effects on weapons and tools.
Journal Scrap # 8
More information about the Forge is written on the eight Journal Scrap. This time, it describes the various effects you get from enchanting your equipment using a Prismatic Shard.
Journal Scrap # 9
The ninth Journal Scrap will have you solving a puzzle that has something to do with a singing Mermaid. Since this part of the Journal is written profoundly, you will have to discern it. If you are having a hard time with this puzzle, worry not, as we are here to help you out.
Go to the southeast part of the island on a rainy day, and there, you will see a flute block icon in the sand. Craft 5 flute blocks and place them on the stones adjacent to that icon. Adjust the tune of the flute blocks based on the song from the Night Market’s Mermaid Show. You will have to click on the first block two times, the second block 11 times, the third block nine times, the fourth block five times, and the fifth block seven times. Play the song using the flute blocks, and upon hearing it, the Mermaid will give you three Golden Walnuts.
Journal Scrap # 10
The tenth Journal Scrap is the last Treasure map you will find on the island. This treasure hunt will lead you to the left side of the Volcano entrance. Look for the dig spot behind the curved tree. You can acquire an Ostrich egg and a Golden Walnut!
Journal Scrap # 11
The final information you’ll read about the Forge is found in the eleventh Journal Scrap. The Sailor provided details on combining two different rings at the Forge. Fusing two rings such as the Magnet Ring and the Glow Ring will give you a Combined Ring, which grants you the ability to glow and attract items when equipped.