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Thread: Herkimer Diamonds - suggestions on an overnight trip

  1. #1
    Captain calculon's Avatar
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    Default Herkimer Diamonds - suggestions on an overnight trip

    For years one of my boys has been asking to go mine Herkimer diamonds - learned about them in school and has always had an interest in gemstones and the like. Other commitments and priorities have gotten in the way in the past so I'd like to do it before he gets too old (he's 13 now). I thought it would be a nice idea to head up to Herkimer, spend the day doing the mine thing and maybe stay overnight. I know many folks on NYF are from that area so I'm asking for recommendations:
    - when is best time of year to go (the "prospecting area opens on April 15th)
    - places to stay
    - places to get a good meal
    - is it worth going in the first place?

    Looking to spend some nice family time. Any input appreciated.

  2. #2
    Private
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    I stayed at a campground just down the road from there last year and we kayaked over there too. I mean anytime during the spring or summer would be fine im sure. I dont know much about the mine.
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  3. #3
    Major ProgSpear's Avatar
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    not sure about hotels/motels, but I think there's a KOA campground close to it. As far as places to go, within roughly 30 - 40 miles there is Fort Stanwix in Rome, Oriskany Battlefield, Remington Arms in Illion, Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, a ton of good to great restaurants in Utica, the list goes on. Google is your friend on this... good luck!
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  4. #4
    Colonel
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    I forget where we stayed but there was a little mine right on the campground.

    Dont go in the middle of summer and you won't die lol!

    Overall it it was a good time other than the fact I don't have a ton of interest in that kinda stuff. What was cool is we went on a walk one evening and didn't see any prints until our way back when there was a set of bear prints crossing the trail. Kinda freaky lol!
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  5. #5
    Major Eternal Shogun's Avatar
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    Bring decent tools for the job,
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  6. #6
    Corporal 08fz6's Avatar
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    Went when I was around 10 so about 18 years ago and had a blast. We didn't stay anywhere because I only live about an hour away.
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  7. #7
    Sergeant Pistol Pete's Avatar
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    As has been stated there is a KOA campground across the road, there are no major chain hotels in the immediate area, but in utica which is not far from there there are a couple. There is a restaurant at the location as well, but within 15 - 30 minutes there are several more. Hope this helps.
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  8. #8
    Corporal
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    herkimer home is pretty close
    Herkimer Home Academy

    suiter victorian museum is on main st. in herkimer, as is the old jail
    Herkimer County Historical Society
    Herkimer County Jail - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  9. #9
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    There is a Holiday Inn within walking distance of both of these places and exellent food
    Delmonico's Italian Steak House - Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Orlando & Clifton Park
    Babes Macaroni Grill and Bar: Utica Restaurant
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  10. #10
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    if you want good italian food, get a calzone from vinnys on state st in herkimer. ham subs are also excellent as is the meatball sub.

    Italian Restaurant Herkimer, NY - Vinny's Pizzeria
    Last edited by diablo; 02-18-2014 at 09:46 PM.
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  11. #11
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    and if you want some killer donuts hit up the friendly bake shop in frankfort, they were on the cake boss

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frien...17432594941649
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  12. #12
    Les
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    Remington has an awesome museum at the factory, you must check it out. I think they have a factory store there too.
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  13. #13
    Corporal
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    Quote Originally Posted by Les View Post
    Remington has an awesome museum at the factory, you must check it out. I think they have a factory store there too.
    just be sure to check the hours, and yes there is a factory store. you might want to check this out as it might not be there much longer...
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  14. #14
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    OK, I am only a few miles away, but still camp there several times a year. The diamond mines are basically 3 "pits" where you walk out and pound rocks until (hopefully) you crack one open and (sun beams and angels singing) you find that diamond in there. It is kinda fun when the kids find something, bummer if they don't. It can be a learning experience either way. If you find diamonds, then hard works pay off. If you don't well then this is what you may be doing if you break the law........

    Suggestions: You will be pounding rocks without any shade at all. So, if you like it hot then the summer will work for you. If not, then look towards the earlier or later season. The Herkimer KoA owns the mine, campground, and restaurant. If you like camping, the KoA is across the street and they have some KABINS on the same side as the mines and Crystal Chandelier restaurant. The restaurant is a nice family type place, reasonably priced casual place. If you go when it is warmer and you stay at the KoA, then they have a pool, activities each weekend from Memorial day on to Labor day, and then there is playing in the West Canada Creek where the campground is on the banks. They have fishing, tubing, you can kayak if you got it. All in all I enjoy it. If you do go, bring a cold chisel. Your trip to the mine will get you a beat up hand held mini sledge hammer. But if you hit diamonds, you will appreciate the chisel to carve around them to get them out.

    In Herkimer there are several eateries and also Gems Along the Mohawk, they have several boat cruises that are interesting, some are narrated and educational. I'm sure there are many more things out there, but my mind is now on making some camping reservations...........
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  15. #15
    Private Dozer's Avatar
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    I like PK's Pub in Herkimer (village). I don't get there as much as I'd like, but it's good. Don't be put off by the "pub" in the name; you can bring your son there and they have more than just pub food. I like the Tokyo Sushi place for lunch, though Utica/New Hartford hold fancier places. Burrito Jonez on N. Main Street is a new favorite. Feel free to visit the college, too, and check out the view of the valley (especially stunning in autumn).
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  16. #16
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    We go up there at least a couple times a summer .... my best advice is don't go to The Ace of Diamonds mine or the Herkimer diamond mine - neither for any bad experiences but because we have always had better luck,bigger finds,more layed back family feeling and a general better time at a place called Crystal Grove Diamond Mine just outside of St.Johnsville website - Crystal Grove Diamond Mine And Campground : Dig For Herkimer Diamonds
    Its a smaller lesser known mine ...people are always nice hell they even let you have your dogs if they behave .... and theres a campground ....
    Best time to go?.... always! .... just take some sort of bug repellant and if its a little chilly out you won't like it... your hands will hate it.
    Honestly you find a good amount of nice specimens just laying around ... but once you figure out the rock its fun to take some heavier tools and pound rock all day in hopes of hitting a decent pocket. They rent hammers and chisels and sifter trays there though not the best.
    The base rock is hard and sharp .... you will cut your fingers if you are doing it right! ....
    Its worth going .... you get to find cool sparkly stuff .... and seen as that is one of the few areas in the world that the crystals form like that some can bring a decent price to some collectors .... there is an area in crystal grove that always gives up enhydros when we are up there - thats a crystal that contains liquid from before the crystal formed ... my son found one last year that has anthraxolite floating in the liquid
    So yes its fun- the kids will love it ...everyone will go home filthy and happy with way to many rocks ... even the "junk" rocks with the druze on them I always bring some home to put in the garden.
    Check out Crystal Grove I think you'll like it .... and you'll go back ....once you start finding crystals there isn't enough hours of light in the day... Also there is a decent little site to collect trilobites up in cherry valley thats not too far from St Johnsville
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  17. #17
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    if you go to the remington museum, you'll see one of the local artists paintings on display, and if you like you can go to his farm and visit as it's just up the road.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parke...34224810019391
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  18. #18
    Captain HK Shooter's Avatar
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    My father has spent years and years up at Fonda digging herkimers. He has quite the collection as it's become an obsession. The thing with digging herkimers is that you need to spend some time there... A lot of time. Because there are ''claims'', areas that people rent to dig. And they have massive holes that you could park multiple cars in. That limits the areas you can work in and find what you're looking for. You can dig and find real small herkimers in random areas, but to find any significant stones, you need to dig deep and into rock. Consider spending a weekend or so to guarantee your findings. Best time of year is around June as the ground is softer. Most of these places are in the shade so you don't wanna be too cold, especially digging into cold earth.

    Went on a bit of a rant there... Hope some of it is useful.
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  19. #19
    Sergeant msrfrog's Avatar
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    I've gone a few times for day trips in the summer . Always had fun finding the crystals!
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  20. #20
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    Thanks all for the great suggestions. I'm feeling much better about going now. If I can ask about tools what do you recommend (per person as I will be bringing 2 boys and better half)? Shovels, pick, gloves, eye protection, hammers, cold chisel, adult beverages...?

    BTW - I assume CCW is not an issue.

  21. #21
    Sergeant Pistol Pete's Avatar
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    Only if YOU make it one.
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  22. #22
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    Remington Factory Tours

    the factory tour may be worthwhile as well if you make it to the museum.
    calculon likes this.

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