Make Historic Ruggles Mine in Grafton NH The 94th New Hampshire State Park
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Make Historic Ruggles Mine in Grafton NH The 94th New Hampshire State Park
I grew up in Massachusetts suburb outside of Boston .
As a child, my parents took my siblings and I to Ruggles Mine in Grafton NH every summer.
The visuals and possibilities of finding treasure always made it a magical learning experience.
My imagination would explode in a million directions as I explored the large caves, picked up huge sheets of mica and used my tiny hammer to chip off pieces of what I thought for sure were precious gems.
Completely captivated for hours out in the fresh air, I learned as I played about geology and how wondrous the nature is.
The only way my parents could lure me to get ready to leave was the promise to look at the large display of semi precious minerals mined at Ruggles in the gift shop.
Sitting on the tailgate of my dads Chevy pickup in the Mine’s gravel parking lot we would enjoy the panoramic views of dense green forested rolling hills while picnicking on ham and cheese sandwiches, chips and ice-cold homemade root beer.
I would always have wonderfully amazing dreams after our trip to Ruggles Mine. And all summer I would marvel looking at my sheets of mica and hunt for special stones wherever I went.
To this day I am a rock hound thanks to our summer trips to Ruggles Mine.
In my mid twenties I met the man of my dreams who had grown up in and still lived in the city of Boston.
We quickly discovered we shared the same fond childhood memory. My now husband of over thirty years used to go with his family to Ruggles Mine in Grafton every summer to get out of the city and enjoy nature.
My husband talked of the same childhood wonderment. Of exploring the caves and hunting for treasure. And they too would picnic in the parking lot after. Only my husbands family would dine on freshly picked local corn that they would cook right next to their car on a camping stove.
People from all over the world have come to visit Ruggles Mine.
Many like my husband and I were repeat visitors.
In 2012 TripAdvisor.com gave Ruggles Mine a five-star review. 68 people took the time to rate share their positive stories.
Below are a few reviews. if you want to skip, the gist of the feedback is great place for children and rock hounds.
- Junior Geoligists at Play - “We went for the first time yesterday and had a fun and amazing time. It is a huge place filled with lots of incredible tunnels to explore and rocks and samples to collect. What a truly wonderful place to take your budding geologists of all ages. I was somewhat skeptical based on some others peoples reviews, but decided that if you are not into gathering rocks, then this is NOT the place for you. Skip it because those people's reviews are unfair and misleading to others who truly want a fun place that kids and adults alike will enjoy. Bring your backpacks empty so you can fill them with samples, as we did, and as questions of the staff. They are here to help! And all the staff was most friendly and not unkind as some people posted. Go, have fun, and just be a kid again!”
- Rock Hounding - “The mine is as much or as little work as you what to do! I should bring a pad to knee down on or sit on, a bucket to wash stones, short handle tools, and canvas bags. You need a hammer, pick, three prong hoe, and/or folding shovel/pick. We should have spent more time in the cavels. The mine was worked to get minerals out. The unwanted materials were piled and left. You need to go through the piled material to find the good stuff. In the cave the piles a at least 20 ft deep. We went down a couple of feet is a small area. We found a wide selection of materials to add to my collection.”
- Great activity for anyone that loves rocks and minerals! - “I have 2 boys ages 9 and 10, and when they heard about this place, they were so excited! Many caves and such we have been at in the past, have those little gem "mining" areas where you get a bag of rocks and its kind of lame. I never let them waste their money on it. Here, at Ruggles Mine, you can really mine for rocks and minerals! It is in the backwoods of Grafton, NH (and I have seen other people review this and say it is so far off route and hard to find. But there are many signs and it was not hard to find at all.)
Upon arriving, you pay an admission fee - it is on the more expensive side, but you can take home as many rocks and minerals that you mine as you want! We filled an entire shopping bag full. The hammers they rent are only $3 a piece, so that really isn't too bad, considering if you purchased a mining hammer like that, they would be upwards of $40 or more.
The experience itself was awesome! They have a little museum and display on the different minerals you can find specifically there in their caves. Then, after you have looked all of that over, you walk down the path and through a tunnel, and voila! You feel like you are on the set of an Indiana Jones movie, and have just walked into another world. There are cool caves, and rocks and you totally feel like you are out on a treasure hunt.
We spent about 2 hours doing actual mining, although I am sure you could spend all day if you were hard core. The great thing was that one of the employees was down helping everyone identify the different minerals they were looking for, and how to find them. This was a huge help. It was great to know exactly what to look for.
We were very pleased with our experience - it's not something you do every day!”
- very unique -
This was a great place to take my children to actually hit the rocks and collect mica... wonderful family thing. but remember to wear your good sneakers!!!!! lots of walking though caves and mines and become a little miner
Grafton, incorporated in 1778, is next to the town of Orange where one of the main trails to Mount Cardigan State Park can be accessed.
I actually hiked up Cardigan yesterday, with my beloved husky mix dog Bella, (Where the banner photo was taken). During my trek I met people from Japan and Germany.
It is a common occurrence at Cardigan State Park to meet visitors who have traveled from all corners of the world to make the breathtaking hike.
Spectacular Grafton Pond and Grafton Pond Reservation is a huge draw for locals and tourists alike.
Grafton is also less than a half hour away from renowned Dartmouth College.
Famous alumni from that college include: Daniel Webster, Robert Frost, Meryl Streep, James Nachway, C. Everett Coop, Mr. Rogers, Nelson Rockefeller, and Dr. Seuss to name a few.
Lake Sunapee, home to Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler is about a half hour away as well as Newfound Lake, which is part of the Lakes Region.
My parents, now both deceased, loved the tiny town of Grafton so much that in 1962 they bought an old 1740 farm house no running water or electricity on Razor Hill road.
We spent our summers there.
My parents eventually retired there.
Right out of college my brother moved to Grafton and started his own business.
My husband and I bought land in Grafton to camp out on and eventually saved up enough to buy a tiny camp. I’m sitting in that very camp right now as I write this plea.
Please help make Ruggles Mine a State Park.
A 200 year-old historic New Hampshire treasure Ruggles Mine the oldest and largest mine of it’s kind in the United States has been put up for sale again, with a dramatic price drop.
The original price for the mine was 2 million now it’s down to $900,000
Grafton, New Hampshire with a population 1,340 is struggling economically. The property tax rate rose dramatically in Grafton from just over $20 on the thousand to almost $28 in four-years. The median household income being about $50,000, roughly 12 percent of the towns residents live below poverty level. Grafton like all New Hampshire towns lives in the shadow of the opioid crisis. The town operates with one law enforcement officer and a volunteer fire department.
Making Ruggles Mine a State Park would save the historic landmark from private ownership, protect Isinglass Mountain green space and via collaborative commitment between town and State create a tourism fueled economic boost.
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