Emerald Village is a fascinating group of gem, mining, and historical attractions nestled deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Little Switzerland, near Spruce Pine and within an hour's drive of Asheville. Located in a spectacular mountain setting, Emerald Village is home to seven real mines and has been featured on The Travel Channel. Many exhibits are free to enjoy. It's open April through November.
Explore the North Carolina Mining Museum (small admission fee) and take an underground tour of the historic Bon Ami Mine. Learn the history of mining in this area, see the splashing Bon Ami Waterfall, and marvel at world-class collections of old mining and historical equipment.
Experience the thrill of discovery at The Gemstone Mine, and choose from a variety of gem buckets available. Keep everything you find! Have your special finds made into beautiful jewelry for a very special souvenir.
The sprawling Discovery Mill building encompasses 10 different floor levels of shops and exhibits and covers a wide variety of themes and collections. All the displays are free to the public. As you climb the stairs each level offers a different vantage point to enjoy the impressive view looking into the Big Deal Mine.
The first floor houses the Crabtree Junction Shop, with information, clean restrooms, a variety of souvenirs and gifts, and the Deli. There’s an indoor picnic area available right up the stairs or you can use any of the outside picnic facilities.
Some of the other free attractions in Discovery Mill include:
•The Model Railroad Exhibit – 2 working model trains in a fantastic display
•The Black Light Mineral Display – incredible hidden colors come to life
•The Homestead Museum – a collection of antique tools and equipment
•The Worldwide Gem & Mineral Collection – some fantastic stuff
•The Native Wildlife Exhibits – a favorite of the kids
•The Antique Music Museum – awesome collection of organs, music boxes & more.