Wildacres attractions

Hi, all, For those of you who have been to Wildacres (or live near
it): I’m going there next month, and I’m driving down from the
Chicago area.

  1. I have heard that there are gem mines in the area. Does anybody
    know what is there, whether they are worth/open for visiting, what
    kinds of stones, etc?

  2. Anything else fun/interesting in the area?

  3. Random useful thoughts, tips or


Hi, Noel;

You’ll love Wildacres! It is so great!!! What course are you taking?
(Or are you teaching?)

  1. I don’t think there are any “genuine” mines around there that are
    open to the public. There are a bunch of “gem mines” around there,
    but they’re all of the “salted” type. The material is not necessarily
    collected locally, or even in N. Carolina. It goes like this: you pay
    your money and they give you a bucket of material, you take it over
    to the flume where there is a sieve and —. You can sometimes select
    what kind of gems you want, but usually you get a mixture; it’s
    mostly “rockhound” material rather than anything particularly
    valuable. A relatively inexpensive way to spend a hot summer
    afternoon in the shade with your hands in the water!

  2. There is a neat museum just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near the
    Little Switzerland turnoff. There are also some very pretty waterfalls
    nearby. On our afternoon off we drove south to Mt (?? Forgot the
    name; it’s the high peak to the west of the Parkway); great views,
    great wildflowers.

  3. Just relax and enjoy. Bring some snacks if you want, and soft
    drinks (no booze allowed) if you have some way of cooling them (they
    seldom have ice). You might want a small radio just to check the
    news. (Or, maybe they are not allowed, I don’t remember now). No TV
    there. No phones in the rooms, I think. (i.e. no internet access)



A good friend and member of our gem and mineral society grew up in
that area and knows just about every mine there…including many no
other are aware of. I checked his web site but it doesn’t seem to be
active ATT. He has been working on getting a camp ground set up in
NC. You can try his email at lckindredspirits@aol.com. (note first
letter is a small L)

You might also try Lisa Manojlovich at www.investagem.com. Lisa and
her mom recently were starting efforts to open a mine in the Little
Switzerland area.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2

There are emerald mines, the NC Mineral Museum, Penland School of
Crafts is not too far away, waterfalls, the Blue Ridge Parkway
(lovely drive through the mountains), lots of individual craft artist
studios. If you go to any mines (which is lots of fun) be prepared
to get very dirty, and ask whether the buckets are “salted”, and
whether they contain native stones. Many of the mines these days
salt their buckets with stones from South America - so everyone finds
something, and the buyers are happy. When I first started rock
hunting over 30 years ago we found wonderful local stuff. Now it
seems that so much is salted, and when you don’t do the salted you
don’t find much (although my dd loved actually digging her own dirt
from the mountainside at one near Franklin, NC!). They are finding
lots of emeralds in NC lately though - native ones!

The workshops I’ve been to at Wildacres only had one free afternoon,
and sometimes the instructor opened the studio then also (which I
took advantage of). There are also a couple of wholesale gem shops
in the area.

Good luck and have fun!
Beth in SC

Wildacres is a lovely place to spend your vacation and if you are
going with The south eastern federation, most of the instructors are
awesome. Local Gems in that area are mostly ruby, sapphire, quartz
and garnets. There are Several old “mines” you can visit.

I know you will enjoy your stay

Sylvia johnson

    You might also try Lisa Manojlovich at www.investagem.com. 
Lisa and her mom recently were starting efforts to open a mine in
the Little Switzerland area. 

Charles - thanks for the Lisa address - they have a wholesale “shop”
in the Little Switzerland area, and I can’t seem to put my hands on
the info, but that web address should get you there. A whole range
of gems, from inexpensive lower quality to very nice very expensive!
Worth a look - you need to make an appointment, as they don’t have
set hours.

Beth in SC

Margaret - there IS internet access if you use dial-up - there is a
jack by the pay phones. You have to have a local dial-up number, of
course! And the connection speed is not fast. Earthlink (my
provider) has a local dial-up for the Wildacres area.

When SFMS goes up (Southeastern Federation of Mineralogical Socities)
they bring “booze” - and have a wine and cheese reception one night.
So the no booze may be up to the individual group, as opposed to a
Wildacres rule. There used to be genuine mines in the area - as a
child, many, many years ago, we visited the area mines, way before
salting. In the Franklin area there still are genuine mines I know,
having done them recently. Just ask to be sure.

They have drink machines, but I bring snacks with me.

Beth in SC