Monday, August 18, 2014

Herkimer Diamond Mining and Stone Buildings

A spur of the moment idea lead us to the Herkimer area of New York  for a much needed long weekend getaway.




We camped at the Herkimer Diamond Mines Resort. It was a one stop spot for our camping excursion and  "diamond mining expedition".  The place has everything you can imagine. A store complete with groceries, camper parts, souvenirs, clothing, firewood, and even  toothbrushes (we found out our son forgot his after unpacking).  



A schedule of activities started at 9 a.m. right through to 9 p.m. throughout the weekend. The pavilion based numerous family fun activities:  Even a pizza parlor/cafe  (you could order pizza and/or breakfast and have it delivered to site) bingo and other games, DJ and dancing, contests, and organized parades.  The playground is big enough to support a central school system. 


Lots are available for tents and RV's. There are cabins and green cabin rentals with plenty of restrooms and shower houses. 

We reserved an RV lot; right on the bank of the West Canada Creek.   It provides a fast moving water ride for those using tubes and kayaks. (Not recommended for swimming due to the currents and rocks.)

But wading at the edge and fishing is allowed.   "Crayfish catching" is encouraged and an organized activity for the kids. 




Swimming is allowed at the pool and of course my youngest son was very pleased.
A few different types of pedal carts are available for the kids and big kids to enjoy. 




Making smores is the park's theme. Complete kits are sold on the premises. A couple of evenings of these desserts were quite filling. (Only gained five pounds; I thought it would be worse.)



All is fun at the campsite but I had other things on my mind. Rocks. Diamond rocks. 


I came prepared with my wagon and tools. Bringing your own is welcomed and I didn't forget anything


The resort and diamond mines are pet friendly, so our dog enjoyed being with us instead of going to a doggie daycare. 




These Herkimer "diamonds" were the goal. The bigger and clearer, the better. I haven't chiseled this one out just yet. I'm saving it as is.

On a hardness scale, a true diamond scores a ten.  Herkimer Diamonds fall at a 7.5 on the scale, giving the real diamond a close race.  They are naturally faceted, each having eighteen facets and 2 points. 



Mr. R, working on the rock walls. 



Looking through the rock rubble on the ground also scored some finds. I found numerous small ones on the grounds just walking to the rock ledges.

In its natural state, these sparkly gems are so much fun to chip out of the rocks.

This is my best stone so far. 

I haven't decided what to do with it yet.  If I get enough of them, I can use them to decorate a frame of a photo of our trip. Or put them in jewelry settings... or do both!  



The stones are of various sizes and clarity.  They can be evaluated and sold at the Diamond Mine Store.  We kept all of ours. 

You can keep whatever you find and take home your rocks too. My wagon held up the weight of several... okay... many rocks to haul home for leisurely chipping.  I think I'll keep this hefty diamond in its original rocky house just for display.
It was fun... and still is with the rocks we brought home to finish mining!  


So when it was time to pack up, with full intentions of coming back again and maybe very soon, 
we allowed plenty of time to do a little sightseeing on the way home and support local businesses.

We stopped at the Palatine Cheese Factory in Nelliston and bought some of our favorite flavors after sampling them.  A day trip back to Palatine Valley Dairy Store just for the green olive and garlic cheese is in order! It's not pictured here because we ate the whole package, thus need to go back for more. 




As we continued on Route 5 there was a castle that pulled us in. 
We stopped by this lovely old establishment too early for dinner  so we just visited the grounds.  We had no idea that this restaurant is one of the top ten castles in the US until we got home and further looked  up information about it. Hmm... "haunted"?  I don't know, but it is an interesting building with history.  A complete castle with a Dungeon

View of the Beardslee Castle from the front gardens.  A fabulous place for a wedding. 

Doesn't it make a great place for a Murder Mystery?  That is covered.  Check it out! 

Murder Mystery Dinner Theaters

You can guess, we are going! 

I love arched entrances and what makes this remarkable is the hand forged iron, of course. The trumpet vines have been allowed to adorn the building which frames the entrance beautifully and naturally. 


I peeked around the side into a courtyard garden. 

It gave way to another view of the stately stoned building.

I can't wait to revisit. Usually a sea scallop and shrimp diner, I have my mind set on the Walnut Crusted Pork Loin. It's just to experience the ambiance of the castle.


Moving on and just directly across Old State Road is this stone barn. 
Manorsprings 


A gorgeous Holstein farm meticulously maintained and bordered with perennials.

A kind gentleman caring for the flowers showed me where to get better shots of the barn.  

I couldn't imagine the work put into this unique structure but certainly well worth it. If it has stood this long, it will never be affected by any kind of storm. 

Oh how I would love such a barn myself. 


We continued to Fonda, NY. 

An old abandoned stone built church, it seems.  

Zion, circa 1866 

Intrigued by it, I didn't find much information about it and was just glad to stop and check it out. After researching it a bit, I found it was sold on an Ebay auction for $20,100 after 55 bids two years ago.  I wonder if anyone will do anything with it.

Well, after chipping away at rocks and stones and seeing stone buildings, I think I had my fair share of rock examinations for now and best get back to work.