Sandra Scott Travels: Searching For Diamonds

General Herkimer

Last week I asked: What can you do in Herkimer?

Search for diamonds.

Herkimer Home

Ok, the Herkimer Home, home of Gen. Nickolas Herkimer, is not in Herkimer.

It’s in Little Falls; however, it is where I started my day trip.

It has been on my list for years.

General Herkimer played a critical part in the American Revolution and was, in part, instrumental is thwarting the three-point British plan to win the war.

When the British were marching on Fort Stanwix in Rome, he and the Tryon County militia, marched to reinforce the colonists in Fort Stanwix.

His force was ambushed in what is now called the Battle of Oriskany.

General Herkimer

His side was losing.

His horse was shot, his leg injured, and, in spite of his injuries, he sat propped up against a tree, smoked his pipe, and directed his men.

He ordered them to fight in pairs so one could fire while the other reloaded.

It worked so well that the attacking force retreated to Oswego.

The losses were so great that some families lost all their male members.

Herkimer was taken to his house where his leg was amputated and he died shortly thereafter.

Herkimer Diamond Mines.

The British defeat at Oriskany meant the reinforcements never met up with the army of British Gen. Burgoyne.

With only a third of the troops he counted on, Burgoyne ultimately surrendered at Saratoga considered a turning point in favor of the colonists who ultimately won the Revolutionary War.

Today his home is a State Historical Site with a visitor center which is free and a tour of the house is available for a small fee.

Herkimer is only seven miles from Little Falls and there was another thing I have always wanted to do: diamond hunting at the Herkimer Diamond Mines.


Of course, they are not really diamonds but naturally faceted quartz crystals that are diamond-like.

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, was spotted wearing a bracelet, earrings and rings made of Herkimer diamonds.

I bet she didn’t mine them herself!

The price of admission includes a hammer and a plastic bag for all the diamonds you can find.

There is also an informational video.

Diamond kid

Basically, the place has been professional mined out but there were a lot of people mining.

Some came prepared with big sledge hammers, some had tents set up as a work stations.

It was hot and hard work.

Needless to say I didn’t find anything, nor did any of the people I asked.

The kids were happy with the “pretty” stones they found.

There is also a sluice people can use to sort through the dirt for diamonds.

Diamond mines sluice

There were a lot of people there so I saw if more as a “gold mine” for the owners.

I can check that off my “gotta’ do” list.

The best part of the day was one of my favorite things: a ride on the Erie Canal.

The Erie Canal is what made NYS the Empire State.

The Canal was a global network for immigrants, the spread of religion, part of the Underground Railroad, and part of America’s Manifest Destiny.

Canal view

The cruise went through one of the oldest still operational locks on the canal system where the water level changes 20 feet.

It went past Plantation Island, a Nature Center, and one of the oldest surviving churches in NYS.

In one place, it is possible to see remnants of all three versions of the canal.

The original Erie Canal was such a success that it was immediately enlarged.

In the lock

A great way to end a day trip to Herkimer.

Travel Trivia Tease™: What is NYC’s Downtown Connection?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!