Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Massachusetts Road Trip: Herkimer Diamond Mines, New York

On day two of our road trip we stopped at Herkimer Diamond Mines (recommended by a friend).  It is in Northern New York, near Utica.  It was a nice change from our hours of complete road travel the day before!  Plus, it was right near the highway that we were traveling on.  We actually had no idea what to expect but we were ready for an adventure!

On the way we found a nice spot to stop and check out a river.

Next we headed straight for the diamond mines.  It wasn't hard to find.  It's on the main road with plenty of signage and a KAO across that street that is part of the company.  There is a main store that you enter to get signed up.  In there you can also purchase gems and rocks that are all polished and ready to go.  They also have a museum upstairs.

We paid our admission fee for the day (you can use the mine until they close for the day which is great for the campers that can take breaks in between mining).  You provide 1 drivers license in return for the use of the hammers.  You get your license back when you return all the hammers you borrowed.  There are other things you can buy to use or for keepsake.  I purchased protective goggles for my kiddos at $3 each.  Then we were each given a bag, a colored wristband, and we were sent on our way.

My son is going through a "funny face" stage :-)

Next, we returned to our car to put on socks and better shoes (we had on sandals and they recommend closed shoes).  Then a bathroom break before heading to the mine.  I made my son go into the ladies room with us since there weren't any guys in our group.  Of course he locked himself in the stall and I had to climb over the wall to get him out....  The joys of motherhood - LOL!

Now off to the mine!!

I have to say that it wasn't what I expected.  I thought we would actually be going into a cave but the mine is a wide open area of rocks that you need to break in search of finding a treasure.  We were, of course, completely unprepared for this dirty adventure and the sun was beating down on us!  But, we took a while to enjoy the moment before jumping in the car to continue our road trip.

Did we find any treasures?  We found many little diamond chips that we brought home for a keepsake. My mom, she didn't pay attention to what we were supposed to be looking for so she brought back some rocks with other shinny "gems" ;-)

Overall, it was a fun memorable experience that I doubt we will have the opportunity to do again.  I would highly recommend it if you are in the area and have the time!

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