North Carolina June 19, 2017
You’ll Never Forget A Trip Through This Old Gem Mine In North Carolina
Tucked away in the Blue Ridge in Little Switzerland, Emerald Village is a slice of the past you can still experience today. Here you can mine for gems, pan for gold, or take home treasures with staff to help you identify your discoveries and also professionals that can assist in cutting and polishing your finds to make them into jewelry. This place is a true ‘hidden gem.’
The unique Emerald Village is a cluster of 12 historical real gem mines that have been featured on National Geographic and Travel Channel.
As an ode to its history, Emerald Village aims not to recreate the classic experience of mining but make it easy, accessible and safer for a new generation. The grounds of Emerald Village were mined for years and years, but they still keep producing treasures!
One aspect history buffs enjoy is the display of original equipment once used in the mining process. In the picture above, you'll see an ore car. In 1981 at Crabtree Emerald Mine, the ore car was loaded with emerald and brought to the surface.
Of this harrowing experience, Emerald Village said, "Peering down into the mine shaft and waiting for the slow-moving car to appear was a mixture of anticipation and a lesson in patience. The creaking sound of the rocking car preceded the vision of it. At long last the ore car emerged from the dark earth loaded with rocks and gems that had never seen the light of day. As it did, you had to watch out for, and be careful not to trip over, the slow-moving rusty cable snaking across the dump from the ancient winch as it drug the ore car up the incline to the waiting treasure hunters. Note the decrepit condition of the crooked rails! We all felt that surely this load carried "the big one" and that it was our lucky day! As I now know, even if we found nothing, we were lucky just to be there and experience the process!"
A popular activity for the little ones is panning for gold or the gemstone mine. One way Emerald Village is set apart from the other popular mines is that everything you find, you get to keep. If you want to learn a bit more about the history before digging for gold, stop by the NC Mining Museum. Those seeking a more rugged, hands-on adventure have the option to dig in the dumps of the famous Crabtree Emerald Mine or McKinney Mine dumps where over 100 various rocks, gems and minerals have been discovered.
Sure, everything during the day is awesome but you'll REALLY want to come at night for the underground, black light mine tour. You'll journey underground into Bon Ami Mine, the blacklight makes visible the hidden colors earthed within the rock. Coatings in Bon Ami are mainly Hyalite Opal, a true form of opal found in this area.The black light tours are only offered ten days out of the year but you can arrange special custom group tours.
From the family and pet friendly facilities, to the Discovery Mill Building (with great mountain views), two gift shops, underground mine tours at night, and all the natural beauty...waterfall included, Emerald Village is a truly unique experience you won't find anywhere else in North Carolina.
Wow! What a cool place, did you know this existed?
You’ll find Emerald Village at
331 McKinney Mine Road
Spruce Pine, NC 28777
For more information,
visit their website here
Looking for other North Carolina gems to fill your summer with? How about a
Wizard of Oz train ride.