As I mentioned yesterday, we are staying in Boone for a while since the new house needs some work done on it. I've been coming up here with Ian for eight years now but we are still learning about fun things to do with kiddos (we can tell you where all of the fun breweries are!).
My mother-in-law really enjoys gem mining up here and it has been YEARS since I've done it -- I was probably 10 years old or so. She was up here visiting us so I asked if she would mind spending some solo time with Charlotte so I could have some special one-on-one time with Camille. I enjoy my time so much with sweet Millie but I often have guilt these days over the time that I am needing to give to Charlotte since she's just so little.
So I made a BIG deal about how we were doing this together as big girls, how Baby Charlotte was not going to join us, and Camille was really jazzed about the whole thing.
We went to Foggy Mountain although there are several options here in Boone. My MIL said the guys that worked there were young and enthusiastic which I thought would really click with Camille.
If you've never been gem mining, you purchase a bucket of dirty rocks (we bought the smallest one at $30 -- not cheap by any means, but we shared it and this adventure was about 90 minutes long so I felt it was worth it). You are given a sifter screen and a trowel. You shovel some of the dirty rocks into the sifter and wash them in the running cold water of the trough. You then pick out the special rocks you want to keep and discard the "non-special" rocks into a bucket.
Later, the folks that work there help you to identify your findings! You even have the option to have some stones cut and set into jewelry.
We ended up with all of the raw stones below -- even some nice finds like emerald, ruby, and fire opal! I ended up not paying extra to get any cut yesterday but I can always do that at a later date.
Camille really loved this little adventure out together ... and so did I. Big girls only. :)