By Harley Nefe
Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine and the Appalachian Fossil Museum are celebrating their official grand opening, as a ribbon cutting ceremony was held this morning.
“We got all the construction done, and everything is up and running, so it’s official,” said Randy “Doc” McCoy, who is the founder of Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine and the Appalachian Fossil Museum.
After 12 years of being at Mystery Hill, Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine relocated to Tanger Outlets in Blowing Rock back in October after being given the opportunity to have a bigger facility for both the gem mine and the museum.
Doc said the business now has roughly double the space for the gem mine and triple the space for the museum in addition to a larger parking area and a red light.
“I absolutely love it,” Doc said. “Foot traffic is higher. We get people walking from downtown Blowing Rock and in Tanger Outlets. We also get people who come just to see us. It’s amazing, and I’m very pleased with it.”
Now at Tanger Outlets, as some family members may want to go shopping in the different stores, others can find entertainment with gem mining.
How gem mining works is customers can come in and choose their ore bucket option, being either authentic or seeded.
The seeded buckets mean staff puts stuff in it for customers, and there’s a guarantee gems will be found. Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine has also added more variety for the seeded options. These types are generally marketed toward children who don’t necessarily care about what gems they find, they just want to discover them.
The other option of buckets offered are the authentic buckets that have mine ore that is a mix from 11 different active mines across the Appalachian Mountain Range, including from North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. For these buckets, staff won’t know what will be found until the gems are visibly pulled out, so every bucket is a luck of the draw.
Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine and the Appalachian Fossil Museum’s business goal is to educate the general public on the historical geology of the Appalachian Mountains, by explaining how they were formed and what can be found in the area.
The Appalachian Fossil Museum began in 2011, and it was appraised for $62,000. However, since 2011, the collection is now worth 10 million dollars.
The museum is a collection that Doc received over time. A lot of it he found personally, whereas other stuff was inherited. For example, many families donated specimens as individuals passed away. Doc also bought and invested in some larger items for the museum trying to build it up over the years and add to his collection.
“We have the largest private collection in North Carolina of fossils and gemstones,” Doc said.
Plans are also still being discussed about building an outdoor gem mining area to further expand the business, as Doc said they are figuring out spacing and permits.
However, Doc said he is thrilled with how business is going so far in the new location.
“Thanks for all the support from the community and Tanger Outlets, especially, and the Town of Blowing Rock for working with us,” Doc said. “We live in an amazing place.”
Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine is located at 100 Shoppes on the Parkway Rd., and the temporary hours are from Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. until Memorial Weekend. Then, Doc said the business will be open seven days a week. For more information about the business, visit https://docsrocks.org/ or call (828) 467-8817.
Read more about Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine here.
Pictures from the Gem Mining Room:
Pictures from the Appalachian Fossil Museum Room: