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Moldy Bread
Hi there, i'm making a trip to maine in March and was wondering if anyone could give some input as to which mines are the best for first tiem maine miners. I've mined quartz in arkansas a couple of times so i'm not completely new to mining, but i've never dug anywhere else. I heard something about a mine that has an incredibly diverse array of gems and minerals, i especially liek the idea of being able to find a vast array of types of stones. So, any info on this would be most helpful and appreciated!
thanks very much

Hello mine that is very popular is the "Poland Mine" but unfortunately I believe isn't open till May. I haven't been myself but have heard many good things said about it, hope to get there someday. Their site on the net goes into great detail on what they have to offer, but I'm sure some of the folks from around the New England states can better help you. Dunno but here in Nova Scotia we're still buried under snow and Maine quite often is neck and neck with us season wise! Best of luck!
Elmer McElreath
Hi Moldy,
Try this:
Don't know how things have developed up there. I was there in 64&65. It ain't never "hot" up there. LOL
Don Peck
Elmer, you got that right! (Winter and the 4th of July)

Moldy, Poland is a camp, not a mine. They run collecting trips out to surrounding mines, etc. and can get into places that individuals cannot. Several of our club members make an annual trip to the camp and have been quite satisfied. And for the services, food, and digging the cost is reasonable. I don't know when they open, but I doubt if it is within the next couple of months.
I'm a huge fan of Poland Mine Camps, and have been up there a number of times. It does not open until 2nd week of June this year, IIRC, there is a conference there the first week of June. They have access to a number of mines, most of which are otherwise closed to the public. The rates are very reasonable to my mind. For a pretty spartan cabin + all meals + guides etc. the rates were around $80/night if you were there for a week. Rates might be different this year, I don't know. For all-inclusive and the experience, it can't be beat. The people up there are very nice, super helpful, and fun to chat, play cards, etc. with. Unless the weather is dreadful, you really can't miss.

I really, really like it there so I am perhaps a tad biased. If anyone is interested in the finds, I have a lot of minerals from SW Maine to trade or give away - see the buy-sell-trade thread above...

darren j

g'day i also would give the poland mineing camps the thumbs up
what a great place .last year i made the trip from my home (brisbane australia) to the usa and spent under 2 weeks with bralex (scott) and we drove up to maine from maryland and stayed at the mineing camps for 7 days .the people are awsome specially the owner mary .talk about being made feel welcome .the food all the running around thay do for you is unreal .real great value .and i did find a lot of great rocks
and had a awsome time .a place i will never forget ever .
(a aussie rockhound option) kor darren j
Jay Loch
I also stayed at P.M.C. and thoroughly enjoyed our trips and hosts! I would give it a 5 star rating on a four star scale. I also just seen on the weather channel that Maine's average snowfall for March is 12 inches .. .. .. keep that in mind. I wanted to hit the Sanford location when I was there but never made it. There is supposedly nice xl mins ( particulerly Vesuvianite! ) and multi colored fluorescents available. Here's a cple links:

I have never collected at this site and do not know the current availabilty of access. It does, and has, always intrigued me tho! Good luck and let us all know how you made out!
Jay, I have a vague recollection of hearing that a vesuvianite site had been recently closed to collecting. I don't remember if it was at Sanford specifically.

Joe Dunleavy

The following information was sent to me 2 years ago from a friend in Maine. I never got up to try the spot yet. Good luck.

Joe D.


The Sanford vesuvianite locality in Sanford, ME is a classic New England collecting locality that is an easy 90 mile (~1 2/3 hour) drive from the Boston area. This is a great locality for both beginning and experienced collectors. It is easy to get to and everyone is virtually guaranteed to find some well-formed vesuvianite crystals. The locality is described in the all editions of "A Collector's Guide to Maine Mineral Localities", which is published by the Maine Geological Survey. The mineralogy of the locality also is described in significant detail in an article by Duane and Nancy Leavitt in the Mineralogical Record, Volume 24, No. 5. This is basically a deposit of calc-silicate minerals in a metamorphic rock that is
bounded on all sides by biotite granite. According to the MR article species that are most likely to be found in specimens of collector interest include actinolite, andesine, clinozoisite, diopside, fluorite, red grossular garnet, meionite, molybdenite, powellite, scheelite, sphalerite, titanite, and (of course) vesuvianite. Several of these minerals are fluorescent.

Here are driving directions including distances from Lexington, MA as a guide:
1. Go North on I-95 passing by Peabody, MA to the New Hampshire border: ~40 miles
2. Continue North on I-95 (Portions toll) to the Maine border: 16.4 miles
3. Continue North on I-95 (Portions toll) to State Road 9 (Exit 2): 19.5 miles
4. Go Northwest on SR-9 to SR-109: 2.5 miles
5. Go Northwest on SR-109 to SR-4 in South Sanford, ME: < 9 miles
6. Turn right and go north on SR-4 for 0.6 miles
7. Turn left onto School Street and proceed northwest 1.05 miles to a faint woods road on your right (the road entrance is directly across the street from a 2-story white house. GPS coordinates are [N43°25'42.9",
W070°45'13.2"] 8. If the entrance to the woods road is passable (a car with high ground clearance is required), turn right and proceed ~ 0.15 miles to a small parking area. Otherwise park in the area next to the ball field on the left side of School Street just past the woods road and walk in.
9. Two paths lead out of the "parking area" - be sure to take the one to your right.

There are three basic areas where collecting has previously been heavy (see MR article). I have had the best luck around the pit furthest from the road.

This locality requires hard rock collecting tools. Bring a 3-4lb crack hammer, a heavy sledge hammer, chisels, and pry bars. If you want to look for fluorescent minerals bring your SW lamp and black viewing bag. This is a pleasant wooded area and bug spray is another essential "collecting tool".

Joe Dunleavy

I agree that the Poland Mine Camp is a great experience. I haven't been there since "Dudy" (Mary's husband passed). They still hold the Pegmatite workshop there in the (Maine Spring). It's another great experience. They have exclusive rights to a whole lot of different mines that can only be visited by using them. I used to love Dudy's old Garnet mine that he would pump out for us to explore. It also had plenty of other neat finds like blue Tourmaline and Ghanet. They are great folks and deserve some good press.

This is what they sent me when I first visited them

Poland Mining Camps
Dudy & Mary Groves
P.O. Box 26
Poland, Maine, 04274
(207) 998-2350

Come to Our Camp & Collect Minerals in Maine
We have exclusive access to private and closed locations like MOUNT MICA, MOUNT APATITE and more!

A unique and complete vacation opportunity, includes lodging, all meals, mine fees and a Guide to famous and active quarries closed to the public!
Poland Mining Camps is offering the mineral collector, from beginner to the advanced, a once-in-a-lifetime collecting opportunity in the state of Maine. Our facility, situated within the heart of Maine's mineral wealth, will be your base of operations to collect at world renown pegmatite quarries which are completely closed to the public. In the down-home atmosphere of our camp, you will be sharing this experience with other enthusiasts, making new friends and encountering some of the best collecting opportunities ever available within Maine.

Poland Mining Camps has obtained the exclusive permission to visit and collect at mineral and gemstone quarries which are being actively mined and thus closed to the public sector. As a group, you will be escorted by our guide to one of these quarries during the weekdays. Our visits are scheduled as to not interfere with the mining activity taking place on the weekends. As an example, we will be collecting at Mount Mica, the Pulsifer & Wade quarries at Mount Apatite, the Emmons quarry, Pitts Tenney and more. All are closed to the public. Since most locations are producing freshly exposed material each week, its a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to find great minerals for your collection. There will be restrictions at each location, but your guide will make every effort to explain them and make the collecting trip a success for you.

Our facilities at Poland Mining Camps are on Route 26 in Poland, Maine, just north of town and before the junction of Route 11. Our camp, situated in a pine tree glade, has lodging facilities tailored to your needs. Full service cabins are available (sleeping 1-4) with living rooms, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, full bath, all with fireplaces and loads of charm. For those who desire, we have RV/Motor Home sites with hookups. Additionally, we have Tent/Camper sites (some sites with platforms) which all have water and power. For those who prefer motel accommodations, we can make arrangements for you locally. The complex has laundry facilities, phone service, camp store and other services on site.

At the center of our complex is a new Pavilion. It will be the hub of activity at the camp for meals, functions and socializing with other campers. There will be displays of minerals from the various quarries you will visit inside the Pavilion, plus most lectures and demonstrations given by local craftsmen and minerals will be held here during the evening hours. If you would like to make a presentation to the group, please let us know.

Dudy and Mary Groves are your hosts at Poland Mining Camps. Dudy has over thirty years of experience in the field, professionally mining and collecting gemstones and minerals in the many pegmatite quarries you will visit in Oxford and Androscoggin Counties. His expertise and knowledge of the area is second only to his Down East wit and wisdom, hard working spirit and overall generosity. He has worked for and/or mined with many of the historically import mining operations and men of the past thirty years. In recent times, he has been mining at Mount Apatite and on occasion has worked for the Mount Mica operation. With his experience, he will make every effort to help you search for, locate and identify minerals from the various locations you'll visit.

Mary Groves, Dudy's loving wife, is happiest working in her large flower and organic garden on the premises. When in season, you will be sampling her fresh organic vegetables, prepared in her new kitchen in the camp's Pavilion. She is famous for her sumptuous, down-home cooking and will even cater to any special dietary requirements you may have. Her greatest love is entertaining friends and guests alike and together with Dudy, they will make your stay a warm and memorable experience ... a rewarding adventure ... one you'll long remember!

At Poland Mining Camps, everything is included for one price. Cost is based upon your choice of lodging, number in your party and length of your stay. Again, there are three lodging options: 1) Full Service Cabins, 2) RV/Motor Home or 3) Tent/Camper sites. Minimum stay is 3 days. A weeks stay is recommended to maximize your chances of visiting all of the localities on our list. The larger your party, the lower the per person rate. Large group rates are available well in advance of our season. Included in the one price is your lodging, three meals a day (continental breakfast, pack-your-own lunch, buffet-style supper with a few surprises included!), access and mine fees to all private quarries, a guide's service, lectures and demonstrations.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED! A 50%, non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your desired space and dates. "Walk-ins" will be welcome only if space is available. Call or write with your specific dates, size of party and lodging choice and we will quote you our price by phone or return letter. No reservations will be accepted or honored without a deposit.

Our season is from Memorial Day Weekend to September 30th. If you want to come off season, please call. Feel free to call or write for any additional information concerning our facility and current list of collecting sites open exclusively to Poland Mining Camps. Hope to see you this summer!

Maine is the "Vacation State" and there are many additional things to do within an hours drive from Poland Mining Camps. For example:
·         Visit and tour Shaker Village at Sabboth Day lake, 20 minutes away.
·         At the seacoast, an hour away: Whale Watching, beaches, factory outlets (like L.L. Bean), fishing day-boats and more.
·         Songo River Queen Paddleboat Cruise, day or evening, local
·         Fishing: lake, pond, river/stream
·         Lake beaches & boat rentals
·         Perham's Mineral Store (great mineral museum)
·         Mount Mica Rarities Store (displays of minerals)
·         State Mineral Museum, in Augusta
·         Oxford County Speedway - auto races
·         Flea Markets, Yard Sales, Antique & Craft Stores locally
·         Great bike riding territory
·         Even the old standby - Miniature Golf
If you have anything specific you are interested in, please let us know and we'll do some research for you!
·         From Interstate 495, Take Exit 11, Gray Maine.
·         Go North on Route 26 to Poland, Maine.
·         Continue North for a couple miles, Poland Mining Camps on the Right, just before Junction of 26 with Route 11.

Poland Mining Camps
P.O. Box 26
Poland, Maine 04274
(207) 998-2350

Joe D.
Elmer McElreath
Sorry I forgot to add. I was stationed at Brunswick, NAS. Brunswick is separated from Topsham by I-95. The Androscoggin? river devides them also. Topsham rd. runs kinda along the river N.
Dated a grrrrl who lived out that way. Picked up some 'sparklies'
that are tourmaline. Been a lot of hounding, and developement, since then. If Clare's resturant, is still there, stop in for a cup. Good people who exchanged a lot of tales with an old redneck from Ga. KOR Elmer
Don Peck
Some of my friends collected vesuvianite at Sanford early last summer. I don't know whether it has been closed since.
moldy bread
thanks for all the great responses. Yeah, i hadn't figured on that 12 inch average snowfall for march up in Maine. THats definately something to consider... but if it's at all possible to mine up there somewhere good, i'm going to go for it since i'll not be up that way for a year or more after this trip. Poland mining camps sounds great... too bad they don't open until june...
is there someplace i can get a sort of mine directory or somesuch? I live in arkansas and am nearly completely unfamiliar with the area. The vesuvanite mine sounds nice, but i'd really like to dig some tourmaline.
also, i've heard a rumor about a mine (or mines?) that feature a very diverse gem and mineral deposits. anyone know what mine(s) this might be?

again, thanks to all for the helpful responses

moldy B.
Elmer McElreath
I find this site fascinating. Don't know the people. Don't know the company or even how I found the site. Large site but worth reading I think....Elmer
Don Peck
Hi Moldy,

Try to get a copy of "A Collector's Guide to Main Mineral Localities" by Thompson, Joyner, Woodman, and King; Maine Geological Survey, Department of Conservation, Station #22, Augusta ME 04333. Telephone 202 289-2211.

I don't know what they charge for it. It is 104 pages with topographic maps, descriptions, mineral lists, etc. Access to many of the sites has probably changed, so it is important to get permission to dig, preferabley before you go.

Dear Moldy,
Don Peck is right on about getting that Collecting Guide; it is THE book to get.
Incidentally, Maine Turnpike recently re-numbered its exit numbers (there were more than on Exit 2, making for confusion, so they re-numbered them according to miles, approximately, when convenient), but the one you would want (to get off the pike to go to the Sanford vesuvianite site) would be the one (I forget its number, anyhow it's the one After the toll booth, several miles after) labeled for Wells, and perhaps labeled for Sanford.
I am in the same climate as Sanford, about, and there are only a few inches of snow on ground here right now, but who knows, maybe it will change in a week or two. Expect rocks to be stuck together with frost even if there isn't snow, and there might be snow besides, depending upon when your trip is, and the weather. I suspect that the mines in Oxford County, Maine, may be snowier, as that is somewhat chillier, climatically. However, even if snow covers all, there is the Maine State Museum in Augusta, and also Perham's Maine Mineral Store in West Paris, Maine (right on Rt 26), and that is said to be open most days of the year, and may be worth a visit.
I live in NH and visited a favorite mine in January (dumps all stiff with frost) at one point when there wasn't snow cover, but that doesn't occur often then. Did find an interesting specimen, though. Have been going through some stuff found in closet. Such can be good indoor off-season field trips.
moldy bread
So, i've not been able to obtain the booklet yet. I was wondering if anyone had any general suggestions of places to go. like in arkansas there are the hotspots for quartz of Mt Ida , Hotsprings, etc. and a person could theoretically just head to that area and find out about a nearby mine once you're there. Is there anyplace like that in maine? Some general geographic area that is particularly rich in deposits? Even if i got a name of a city or county or something it would give me something more to go on to do a google search with. Thanks again for your help

Don Peck
Hi Moldy;

The richest area in Maine is Oxford County. The best suggestion I can make is stop at Perham's mineral shop in West Paris and ask where you might do some digging successfully.

Good Luck,
moldy bred
thks don, that is exactly what i needed to know.
Jon Doody
Hi all. I just found this thread and thought I would add to it on Maine minerals from a local. The Collectors Guide mentioned before is a great palce to start. There are lots of different minerals to be found within an hour to an hour and a half drive time from Augusta. The Western part of the state has large amounts of pegmatite minerals, the Eastern part lots of metal ores, and Northern Maine has so many seashell fossils than in places, the material is used for road fill. A lot of the big name, famous quarries are closed due to liability issues, but there are still a lot of easily accessible areas, and the only way a collector leaves empty handed is by not leaving the car. If anyone is intersted in specific areas or minerals. feel free to drop me a line. Also, there is a list I ahve, three years old now, of specific mines that have been closed to public access. If there is any interest in this, let me know too. Weather, well, let's just say I'm glad I don't own a snowmobile. This year, I only took my snowshoes out once. There is very little, if any snow cover left. As a matter of fact, I'm going collecting first thing in the morning tomorrow (3-24). Good hunting...
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