North River, New York: Barton Garnet Mine

Slosh around in an open-pit quarry for your chance to find a garnet, the bargain-basement ruby.
1126 Barton Mines Rd, North River, NY
Northway Exit 23 to Route 9 through Warrensburg. Left on Route 28 for Approximately 21 miles to the old North River General Store (now a rafting company). Left on paved Barton Mines Road for 5 miles to Garnet Mine Tours.
M-Sa 9:30 am - 5 pm, Su 11 am -5 pm. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults, $10, kids 7-14 $7, Seniors $9.50
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Barton Garnet Mine

Not quite a mine, more of an open quarry where blasts have left small bits of garnet lying around on the ground.

You drive up a tiny mountain road for what seems like forever and find a little white building. Tours leave on the hour and take about an hour. You drive down into the quarry behind the tour guides, who give a little history of the mine, and then you get to slosh water around looking for sparkles. You can take as many garnets out as you want for a dollar a pound, but they're probably not going to be jewelry quality.

The quarry is pretty interesting (The "little ponds" go an impressive 50+ feet deep!), but we were a little disappointed it wasn't an actual mine and you can't bring in any hammers or axes, through they do provide small shovels, buckets for sloshing, and bags for carrying.

The actual garnet mining still goes on elsewhere by industrial means, and the gift shop has everything garnet you could imagine, including cheese boards and jewelry from both the local and imported garnet. There's also garnet dust that you can pour into bottles to make designs and a little sluice that the kids can pan for 'jewels' in if they buy a bag of grit for six bucks.

There is some food there (mostly chips and sodas for a buck) and the guides and staff were all very friendly -- they hunted along with everyone else and gave all the big ones they found to the smallest kids.

[Shay, 09/11/2008]

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In the region:
Shrine of the North American Martyrs, Auriesville, NY - 54 mi.

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