Monday, August 10, 2009

Gem mining is one of the touristy things to do around here. I am aware that there is some valid and valuable aspects to gem mining in The Smokies. People find rubies, sapphires, emeralds, garnets, and other stuff. But, when you find the real stuff, it just looks like a nondescript rock unless you have it cut and polished by a jeweler. Kids just aren't that into the real thing and it can be expensive for just something to fill an afternoon. While Jill and Sam were here visiting, and again when Jennifer was here, we got to take the girls to Sheffield's Mine outside of Franklin. I really like Sheffield's, because they sell a rainbow bucket for kids to find things that they can be excited about. It costs ten dollars and they get two good-sized buckets. They pour it in a real tray and get their hands in it. It might not be a ruby, but it is the kinds of rocks and geodes that they might want to buy from a museum gift shop. So, not a bad price for a quart size bag of colorful rocks. It's a nice drive out there through Cowee with some gorgeous valleys. On the first trip, I had six girls to myself (cause Jill and Sam stayed at the house to help with a paint spruce up). I was short about 5 dollars and this outfit does not take visa. Alma is a big girl with a great attitude, so she was willing to sit out and let the others do this with the promise we would return with out next set of guests. The guy behind the counter overheard and said to let her have the buckets and on my return I could pay the extra. So, the next week, I gave him 5 dollars extra. I don't think he remembered me, but he was so nice about it all. So, anybody out there finding this because you googled ruby mining, take the kids to Sheffield's; you won't be disappointed.

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