If you’re reading this from NYC and are anything like us, sometimes you just need FRESH AIR. Like, more than the farmer’s market can offer. And with the warmer months just before us, that itch gets especially strong. To cure your need for adventure in the great wide open, I propose – strap on a hardhat & GO MINING!
Okay, you probably don’t need the hat for these…
At the Historic Barton Mines in North River, NY – about 4.5 hours north of NYC – you can join the Barton family in digging for garnets. “The hardest garnet in the world is only found on Gore Mountain, making the garnet extremely rare. The Barton garnet has an unusual and beautiful ruby red color that flashes in the sun. In 1969, the Governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, made the Barton garnet the New York State Gem Stone.” And apparently, it’s just a matter of looking, as testimonials on the Barton Mines site claim that ANYONE can find a garnet without even the use of tools. I would also encourage you to check out their site as you can download the “Barton Mine Song” – an instant classic!
The great state of New York is also the home the Herkimer Diamond – exquisite double-terminated quartz crystals found in Herkimer, New York. These beauties are close to five hundred MILLION years old and rival true diamonds on many counts – “A true diamond found in the rough is exactly that, a rough appearing glass-like stone. The true diamond must be painstakingly cut by man to give it smooth faces and a geometrical shape. On a hardness scale, a true diamond scores a ten. Herkimer Diamonds falls at a 7.5 on the scale, giving the real diamond a close race. They are naturally faceted, each having eighteen facets and two points.”
YOU CAN MINE FOR HERKIMERS TOO! Just four hours outside of NYC, you can dig, chisel, or sledgehammer (!) to your heart’s content at Herkimer Diamond Mines, Crystal Grove Diamond Mines , or Ace of Diamonds. The first two have campgrounds (with cabins) as well, for the full outdoorsy effect.
Read here for a great lesson on the formation of Herkimer Diamonds.