Have you ever wanted to explore a deep, dark mine, climb through tunnels, pound against the sides of mountains while listening to water drop in a shallow pool, or find wondrous gem or crystal treasures right from the earth?
Our family and our homeschool co-op friends seized one such opportunity by traveling one hour north of our location in Concord, NH to Ruggles Mine in Grafton, NH.
Walking through the entrance to the mine you get a real feel for what miners in the 1800′s lived daily, without the perils. Headlamps were a must as several areas were pitch black. Good hiking boots, eye protection, plenty of water, picks and hammers, and bags for your choice selections are all essential materials to bring. Whatever you find, you get to keep!
The girls were enthralled with picking for tourmaline crystals and I actually found some garnet- my birthstone!- that I could polish and have set into jewelry. We found bunches of mica, beryl, rose and smoky quartz, garnet, amethyst, and tourmaline crystals. I was actually amazed that this activity kept the kids happily busy for almost 5 hours! Our guide, Wendel, even helped us locate some uranium which we split and viewed with a blacklight to see the rock glow! Boy, the kids thought that was awesome.
Over the years many of the miners and eventually guest visitors have found huge pieces of various minerals and rocks that are on display. There is a gift shop and video station to learn more about the history of the mine. It is one day’s learning adventure that takes you back to another time and seemingly into a different world, all starting at the top of a mountain.