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Five Ideas for Winter Family Fun

The Adirondacks are a geological treasure chest. They are an extension of the Canadian Shield, one of the world's largest continental shields.

These mountains, rivers, and lakes have the ancient magma, glacial errata, and billion years old rocks that make for fine hunting. Iron ore seams, dramatic sandstone layers, and plenty of igneous minerals add up to a delightful mix of opportunities.

Saranac Lake is a great base for exploration, with the additional attraction of the Twin Crystal Rock Shop. This delightful shop, run by twins Kean and Kasey Riley, offers custom crafted jewelry, rock-themed gifts, rock candy, and amazing displays of local and worldwide specimens of the geologic arts.

something pretty

From passionate rock hounds to kids looking for stuff that glitters, Twin Crystal has enough variety that there is plenty to fascinate. One of my favorite parts is the jewelry.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-earrings.JPG) with alt text: "These lovely earrings are crafted from pretty rocks. But then, so is all jewelry."

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-herkimercrystals.JPG) with alt text: "These uncut crystals might be destined for great things."

When polished, Herkimer diamonds (as seen in the header photo above) can be crafted into beautiful jewelry items. While not actual diamonds, they sparkle beautifully because they have both unusual clarity, and unique natural faceting from double termination points and 18 total facets.

The name comes from finding them in dolostone outcrops in Herkimer County, NY. All such gems still must come from there to be called "Herkimer diamonds."

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-Pendants.jpg) with alt text: "These beautiful stone pendants are examples of the color and style you can get from rocks."

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-stonependant.JPG) with alt text: "This graceful design shows off the gem."

Some of the jewelry is made on the premises by the proprietors, who also offer all kinds of classes on the lapidary arts; from choosing and polishing to actual jewelry design and assembly.

something unusual

Since fossils are the art of turning living things into rocks, there are plenty of "living rocks," too. There are displays of petrified wood, dinosaur bones, and the pattern of ferns in rock, which I always find beautiful.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-petrifiedwood.JPG) with alt text: "This large chunk of petrified wood shows how organic matter can become rock."

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-fossildolphin.JPG) with alt text: "This fossil is from what dolphins were like, before they were dolphins."

These rocks tend to have a beauty of form. Since the rock they were formed from could not be subjected to the great heat and pressure that forms crystals, the result is an array of pretty shapes and colors.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-dinosaur.JPG) with alt text: "From when real dinosaurs ruled the earth."

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-soaprocks.JPG) with alt text: "At the other end of the time scale, the rocks are really soap, and won't be around nearly as long."

Turning to things which are brand new, some of the items in the shop are not minerals themselves, but they do have a rock theme. I am particularly drawn to the SoapRocks. A real "gem" of a gift for anyone who loves rocks.

something for anyone

Kean or Kasey will be happy to identify rocks people bring in. "I get a lot of Leeverite," Kean told me. "I could have told you at the time, 'Leave 'er right there.'"

That sense of humor extends to the way people cannot tell which twin is manning the shop at any given time. Because it is hard to tell.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-shirtman.JPG) with alt text: "Which twin? It can vary. That is how they were part of the movie, "Cloned: The Recreator Chronicles" in 2012."

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-carbonquartz.JPG) with alt text: "You can see the carbon that didn't get turned into quartz."

This holiday season, the "Lights are shining bright on Broadway" promotion will include the Twin Crystal Rock Shop. The shops on the street named Broadway will be open until 9 p.m. through Christmas Eve.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-tiedyeminer.JPG) with alt text: "From tie-dyed shirts to miner's helmets. If it is about rocks, it's probably at the Rock Shop."

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/CRH-rockshop.JPG) with alt text: "Part of the fun on Broadway."

This is only one of the fun and interesting shops we have in our walkable, historic, park-filled downtown.

See you there!

Find the right cave to sleep in. You won't have to dig very deep to find a fine meal. Explore more shopping.

This week in related ADK news:

Counteract the calories

Cabins with character

On the move

Snow fun and all

Prep to play

Stick to the theme

Thrifty trails

Calling All Rock Hounds
Author:Pamela Merritt
Get Acclimated!
Five Ideas for Winter Family Fun

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