Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Great Vacation: Empire Mine

The next day we woke up to a clear blue sky and frosty temperatures (still not as cold as Seoul). For this day I took JH to the historic Empire Mine so that he can see some mining history.

A visit to Nevada County would not be complete if you didn't visit this Empire State Mine, since it is probably what made most of the town anyways. But really this place turned out to be a lot of fun, so let's go and see.

We started off with a tour of the museum nearby the entrance. Here they featured displays of the mine's paraphernalia, photos and gear. At the back is a large scale model of the mines inner workings. When you press a button a light show and speech was given. Although it was only in English I think JH managed to follow along.

From what I recall the voice over said that one of these mines went 7,00 feet into the ground, perhaps even more.

 The museum also seemed to act like a little geology exhibition.

We headed outside to check out the mine yard and area. It sure was frosty, however we kept the pace up to keep warm.

After peeking around the mine yard buildings and contemplating what it all was for, and discussing the history behind it we headed to the blacksmith barn. To our surprise there were actual blacksmiths inside and at work.

This was the highlight of our visit, as these guys shared some living history with us and even gave us a demonstration.

One of the blacksmiths showed us a large nail used for horseshoes and told us he was going to make a salt spoon out of it. That's a small spoon miner's families used to scoop out salt at the dining table. While he worked he talked about the history of the mine and details about the blacksmith craft.

 Below they showed us their vial of gold that they collect in a local river.

 Here's what the salt spoon looked like when finished, after all the pounding and bending.

What a great souvenir! Something to take out and share with Grand-kids (if that every comes).
After the show was over we left the blacksmith area and looked around, while making our way to the cottage.

The cottage featured some fountains in front, which captured our attention. JH remarked how he wished this was his house and yard.

On some days you can get a tour of the cottage, but the day we went it wasn't open. Instead we peered through the windows.

 View from the back of the house...
The back exterior of the house has a rose garden, that of course was not in bloom while we were there. Instead we traversed the very icy path admiring a frozen bird-bath.

After the cottage we headed back to the main entrance where we explored the gift shop and JH got some souvenirs to take home.
The day wasn't over and we headed up the freeway to the Roseville mall to get some shopping done. I knew he wanted to experience an American mall and was pleased to find that he enjoyed it. He found one store he particularly liked and we even had to go back for something he hesitated buying.

On our way home we got a bite to eat in Grass Valley, at a local restaurant. It was kind of late so we just ordered salads and a soup. I found out that JH really likes minestrone soup and so I hope to figure out a way to make it when I get back to Korea.

It was an overall fun day and looking back I wish we would have walked even slower so as to enjoy our moments together.

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